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The record is made up of 1 file (2 folios). It was created in 20 Jan 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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Content

This memorandum was written by Sir Frederic Arthur Hirtzel in January 1917. Its purpose is to explain 'why the exclusion of Italy from Western and Southern Arabia and the Red Sea littoral is important in British interests'. It notes the importance of Arabia lying as it does along two of the main approaches to India from Europe. Hirtzel's memorandum also notes the absence of an effective state in Arabia, and the concomitant influence of tribes and their chiefs.

It reviews the strategic importance of Aden and its protectorate along with the significance of the Aden-Yemen frontier in the context of British relations with the Imam of Sanaa and Turkey (paragraphs 4-5). It notes that the Italian ambitions are mainly focused on the Yemen and that the Italo-Turkish war made Italy the most unpopular 'Christian power' in the Muslim world. It analyses the implications of any British consent to an Italian occupation of the Yemen.

It concludes that the 'present war has shown the use that may be made against us of Islam' and contends that the success of H M Government in the Middle East 'depends to a large extent on the transfer of the Caliphate from Turkey to Arabia. This in turn depends on the possibility of making the ruler of the Hejaz sufficiently strong to be able to pose as an independent sovereign. This again depends upon keeping the Christian powers at a sufficient distance.' The memorandum finishes by noting that it was for these reasons Britain took the precaution of inserting in the Anglo-French convention [Sykes-Picot agreement] that the British and French Governments agree that they will not themselves acquire and will not consent to a third Power acquiring territorial possessions in the Arabian peninsula with a sphere of influence being seen as equivalent to territorial possession.

Extent and format
1 file (2 folios)
Arrangement

The memorandum consists of eleven paragraphs.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the first folio and terminates at the last folio; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. Pagination: The booklet also has an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
Type
Archival file

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers
Access conditions

Unrestricted

Archive reference
IOR/L/PS/18/B247

History of this record

Date(s)
20 Jan 1917 (CE, Gregorian)

Related material

Related primary sources

IOR/L/PS/10/527: 453/17

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'British interests in Arabia', British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B247, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100000000833.0x00028a> [accessed 16 September 2019]

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