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'Synopsis of our Obligations to our Allies and Others' [‎138r] (5/18)

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The record is made up of 1 file (9 folios, including 3 maps). It was created in 6 Feb 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.


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1. At the time when we were obtaining Chinese coolies for
work in France we gave the Chinese Government an assurance
(30th December, 1916) to the effect that “His Majesty’s Govern
ment would protect China against any aggressive action taken by
an enemy Power on the ground of a supposed breach of neutrality
arising out of the engagement of these coolies.’’
2. On the occasion of China’s entry into the war we agreed—
(a.) To the raising of the Tariff to an effective 5 per cent.
(b.) To the postponement of the Boxer indemnity for a period
of five years.
1. Declaration of the 14th February, 1916, by which we assured
the Belgian Government that “ Belgium will be invited to take part
in the Peace Conference, and the guaranteeing Powers will not cease
hostilities unless Belgium is reinstated in her political and economic
independence and largely indemnified for wrongs suffered.” The
guaranteeing Powers at the same time undertook to lend Belgium
their assistance to secure her commercial and financial recovery.
2. By the Assurance of the 9th April, 1916, we promised the
Belgian Government that we would support them at the Peace
Conference with a view to maintaining the present territorial limits
of the Belgian Congo and to securing for that colony a special
indemnity for losses suffered during the war.
3. Lord Grey, in May 1916, indicated to the Belgian Minister
for Foreign Affairs that if the Netherlands Government after the
war desire to enter into any general agreement with us, His Majesty s
Government might be prepared to use their good offices to secure a
solution of the Scheldt question in a sense favourable to Belgium.
The above intimation, however, can scarcely be regarded as a
4. The Belgian Foreign Minister endeavoured subsequently to
elicit from Lord Grey an assurance that His Majesty s Government
would support the claim of Belgium for a customs union wit h Luxem
bourg, Lord Grey merely replied that this was a question that
concerned France more than us, but that “if the Allies won the war
they ought to secure the independence and integrity of Luxembourg.
^ 5. We are also bound to Belgium under the decisions of the
Paris Economic Conference. (See under 4ranee (3).)
6. By the resolutions of the Conference (Paris, October 1917),
whereby the so-called policy of the bloc was ^ decided upon,
i.e., enemy private property and interests in Allied or occupied
territory at the end of the war is to be held as a pledge for Allied
private property and interests in enemy or enemy-occupied territory.
(See under France (4).) _
7. Assurances have been given that wc will do our utmost to
help in tire industrial reconstruction of Belgium, and an Inter-Allied
Commission has been formed in London to consider ways and means.
We are bound—
1. By the decisions of the Paris Economic Conference. (See
France (3).) .. b
2. By several public statements regarding restitution and
reparation, and by the references to Serbia in the Allies reply to
President Wilson s Peace Note. a u* '
N.B. In August 1915 we guaranteed to Serbia Bosnia,
Herzegovina, Slavonia, and Syrmia, with portions of the Dalmatian
[2381 °

About this item


In this document, the author outlines the basic details of agreements, treaties and general obligations which exist between Britain and the following countries and individuals towards the end of the First World War (1914-1918):

  • France;
  • Italy;
  • Russia;
  • Roumania [Romania];
  • King of Hedjaz;
  • Japan;
  • China;
  • Belgium;
  • Serbia;
  • Portugal;
  • Greece;
  • Sweden;
  • Holland;
  • Switzerland;
  • 'the Poles';
  • 'the Jews';
  • Jugo-Slavs;
  • Czecho-Slovaks;
  • Albanians;
  • Armenians;
  • Persia;
  • Afghanistan.

The document was printed for the War Cabinet in 1918 by the Foreign Office, and is initialled by 'H G N' whose full name is unknown

Following the synopsis of relations between Britain and other international powers, there is a table between folios 139v-144 which details the 'war aims' of the Americans, British, French, Italians, Russians, Austrians, Germans and Turkish relating to various 'issues', and notes the degree of agreement between the aforementioned countries on these issues. The 'terms' of each country which are noted in the document are often taken from speeches or statements made by their leaders. In the middle of the table are three maps (ff 141-143) which reflect the details of some of the agreements mentioned in the synopsis.

Extent and format
1 file (9 folios, including 3 maps)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 136, and terminates at f 144, as it is part of a larger physical volume; 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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Synopsis of our Obligations to our Allies and Others' [‎138r] (5/18), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/D228, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 January 2020]

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