Letter from Sir Frederic Aarthur Hirtzel, India Office, to the Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, dated 13 Sep 1922 [2v] (4/10)
The record is made up of 1 file (5 folios). It was created in Sep 1922. 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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ENCLOSURE No. 4 i—Telcgram from Viceroy to Secretary of State, 22nd April 1922,
498 S. Your telegram of the 13th April, 1542. Indian Moslem opinion, though
becoming reconciled to fact that Arab portions of old Turkish Empire must remain
autonomous, would like to see Turkish suzerainty restored over them in some
visible shape, however shadowy in substance. We ourselves, however, realise that,
in view of our war pledges, the Saltan's territorial suzerainty is now out of the
question, except with the assent of Arab rulers themselves. But il; Turkey's integrity
is adequately safeguarded in Anatolia and Thrace under tbe revised treafcv, we
believe Indian Moslem majority would accept position, and that extremist majority
would in time become reconciled thereto, always provided that the Sultan Caliph's
religious suzerainty over the Holy Places is formally recognised. Indian Moslems, no
doubt, desire formal recognition of such religious suzerainty to extend over all those
Holy Places which constitute centre of Moslem pilgrimage from all parts of the world.
We ourselves, however, realise diificulties this would involve, and believe that, with
the Sultan's religious suzerainty formally recognised over Mecca and Medina, sober
Indian Moslems will be appeased and ultimately carry rest with them. Opinions
would differ widely, of course, as to extent of outward recognition this would entail.
But it should certainly include such outward symbols as the restoration of all ancient
religious ceremonials, like Kiswah and Mahmal, and formal confirmation by the
Sultan Caliph, by virtue of his spiritual authority, of Arab rulers on their succession
as hereditary guardians and managers of Holy Places. Indian Moslem opinion would
also desire that Caliph should be entitled, if he so wished, to the presence of his
representative, with the right to fly his Hag, at the Holy Places themselves, though
we ourselves recognise that there may be difiiculties in acceding to this view. Nor
would this solution of the problem involve active imposition on the independent
rulers, irrespective of their assent, of whatever spiritual authority was previously
exercised by the Sultan. Amendment in treaty by the use of the term "temporal"
we suggested, and still suggest, in this respect is negative, not positive, in character.
Its effect would be simply the recognition of the non-removal of a spiritual authority
which, in the minds of vast number of pious Moslems, must continue to exist until
Islam itself decides otherwise. Of the territorial and spiritual authority exercised
by the Sultan before the war. Allied Powers are divesting him of the former. But
there is nothing in international jurisprudence or equity to prevent them saying that
grant of territorial independence to the Arab principalities does not affect position
of Sultan as Caliph of Islam, and, as such, religious suzerain over the Holy Places.
Indeed, were this not so, our affirmation that Caliphate is a question for Islam, and
Islam only, would be of no effect. Nothing will shake Indian Moslems in their con
viction that there can be no difficulty in obtaining acquiescence of the Arab rulers in
this recognition of the actual facts, provided that Great Britain, whom they regard as
the real author of Arab independence and the head and front of the Allied Powers,
is so minded. On the other hand, the formula you suggest implies that the Caliph's
spiritual authority has actually been removed, but may possibly hereafter be restored
by arrangement between Arab rulers and the Caliph. This would, we fear, arouse the
susceptibilities of the Indian Moslems.
ENCLOSURE No. 5 :— Telegram from Secretary of State to Viceroy, 4t/i May 1922.
1747. Your telegram of 22nd April, No. 498 S. It is important to be quite clear
as to position. In earlier part of your telegram you seem to limit religious suzerainty
to Hedjaz, whereas later you speak of Arab rulers plural. Argument about non-
interruption of spiritual authority, though it might be applied to Grand Shereef of
Mecca, who was Turkish nominee, .could not apply to Bin Sand, who required no
Turkish recognition of his succession, nor to Kingdom of Iraq, which did not exist.
Moreover, if successions are to require Turkish recognition, what would be position
of signatories of treaty if Turks in a particular case refused to recognise ? Again,
there is fundamental objection to attempt to distinguish between temporal and
spiritual functions, since such distinction does not really exist, and attempt to foster
belief in it was and is one of main planks in pan-Islamic platform.
It is impossible to specify in treaty Sultan as Caliph, since that would involve
pronouncement on Caliphate by non-Moslems. But 1 suggest a clause in following
terms to follow clause proposed by Foreign Office: " Nothing in this treaty shall
About this item
This secret printed memorandum is a copy of a letter from Sir Frederic Arthur Hirtzel, 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. , to the Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, dated 13 Sep 1922, concerning the proposed amendment of the articles of the Treaty of Sévres which have been represented as interfering with the 'spiritual power' of the Caliph. The letter is accompanied by a section of enclosures (folios 2-5) which includes fourteen enclosures consisting of various telegrams between the Secretary of State and the Viceroy of India, the Foreign Secretary of the Government of India 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. dated between 21 March 1922 and 1 September 1922. Enclosure No 7 includes an annex which is a minute entitled 'The Caliph's Religious Position' by Sir Muhammad Shafi.
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Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the front cover, and terminates at the inside back cover; 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 volume also contains an original printed pagination sequence.
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