'Settlement of Turkey and Arabian Peninsula. Note by India Office on Foreign Office memorandum'. [2r] (3/4)
The record is made up of 2 folios. It was created in 30 Nov 1918. 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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
land. These borders in southern Syria, south of Hauran, will be under
British influence, Ruwallah of Jof will turn to native market towns (such
as Salt or Madabah) which we choose to organise and enlarge in Moab, and
unless hand of British Political Officer on the Euphrates loses its cunning,
the Anazeh of Central Arabia will turn more readily to him than to his
French colleagues in Damascus, charm they never so wisely."
9. It is suggested, therefore, that if the French cannot be induced to quit Syria
altogether, we should at all events endeavour to persuade them, in exchange for
Armenia, to give up Area A, or at least the part of it east of the Euphrates, and to
recognise the Ruwallah-Anazeh country as lying outside either sphere. The status
of Nuri Shaalan would then be the same as that of Bin Sand or Bin Rashid.
10. It is noticed that the Memorandum does not mention the Baghdad Railway.
But it is a British desideratum of the first magnitude that the section in the British
sphere should be the property of the Arab State and British controlled, without any
foreign voice in either the finance or the administration. The same applies to
that part of the concession which relates to the construction of ports at Baghdad
and Basra, and to mineral rights, as well as to any rights to participate in the
navigation of the rivers which may have arisen out of the concession,
30th November 1918.
(Guarantee to Bin Saud.)
The point is so important that it is worth while to set out the facts at length.
Bin Sand's original draft, which w 7 as communicated to us in January 1915, when
our negotiations with the Shereef were in their infancy, and the only enemy on the
horizon w r as the Turk, proposed that "Great Britain shall undertake defence of his
" territories from all external aggression and encroachment on the part of any other
" Power, whether by land or sea." On this Sir 1 J . Cox commented (telegram of 16th
January 1915) :—" When w T e invited Bin Saud to move on Basrah w y e undertook to
" protect him against reprisals by Turks, so that, as far as latter are concerned, what
" Bin Saud now asks us to give does not amount to much more. Apart from Turks,
Central Arabia is practically inaccessible by land to any Power but ours, and I
<c venture to think that we should incur little risk by giving the desired undertaking
subject to the reservation that aggression be unprovoked." (P. 561 b/T 5.)
Accordingly Article 2 of the British coumerdraft ran :—" In the event of unprovoked
" aggression by any foreign Power . . . the British Government will aid Bin
" Saud to such extent and in such manner as the situation may seem to them to
41 require." Bin Saud, replying on 24th April, struck out " unprovoked " (on the
ground that it was tautological, since the Arabic word meant "molestation without a
cause "), and for the last words substituted "will aid Bin Saud in all circumstances
and in any place." (P. 2832/15.) On 16th August His Majesty's Government
ordered that " unprovoked " should be restored, and that if Bin Saud would not
agree to the original language the following might be accepted:—" Will aid Bin
" Saud to such extent and in such manner as British Government, after consultation
" with Bin Saud, may consider most effective for protecting his interests."
(P. 2966/15.) Bin Saud w T as obdurate as regards "unprovoked," but accepted
another important modification, and in the Treaty signed on 26th December .1915 the
material part of Article 2 runs :—
" In the event of aggression by any foreign Power . . . without reference
to the British Government and without giving her [.sic] an opportunity of com
municating with Bin Saud and composing the matter, the British Government will
aid Bin Saud to such extent and in such manner as the British Government, after
consulting Bin Saud, may consider most effective for protecting his interests and
countries." (P. 668/16.)
About this item
The note was written by Sir Frederic Arthur Hirtzel for the 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. , 30 Nov 1918, and consists of remarks on three points drawn out from the Foreign Office memorandum:
- The Trucial System - disputing the assumptions made in the original memo that Great Britain effectively kept the peace over a large part of the Arabian Peninsula; and that no treaties had been made with Chief's of inland tribes, that all had been coastal tribes. Stating that the object of the treaties was maritime peace; that His Majesty's Government had always been firmly against interference in the interior of Arabia; the terms of the existing treaty with Bin Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd, Ibn Saud]; and the 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. 's opinion that there would be no benefit to extending the trucial system to the interior of Arabia.
- The Hejaz - detailing the 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. 's thoughts on what a treaty with the King of Hejaz should consist of and how diplomatic relations should be handled.
- Syria - regarding what the alternative approach to Syria should be if the French refuse to give it up, and citing the opinions of Captain Wilson and Gertrude Bell that the French should be persuaded to give up some areas of Syria within their control for Armenia.
Mention is also given to the Baghdad Railway and the importance of ensuring that it is British controlled.
The appendix to the note contains further details on the British Government's agreement with Bin Saud, setting out the full history of events leading up to the signing of the agreement; later modifications to it; and the definition of the term 'foreign power' within the treaty.
- Extent and format
- 2 folios
The file contains four copies of the note.
- Physical characteristics
Foliation: The sequence commences at the first folio and concludes on the last folio. It consists of pencil numbers, enclosed in a circle, located in the top right hand corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio.
Pagination: The booklet also has an original typed pagination sequence, with numbers printed at the centre of the top of each page, excepting page 1.
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- English in Latin script View the complete information for this record
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