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Coll 6/81 'Syria: Status of Alexandretta and Antioch.' [‎171v] (343/576)

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The record is made up of 1 file (286 folios). It was created in 17 Sep 1936-31 Aug 1939. 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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sanjak as soon as possible a mission of three observers, whose role would he
defined in the following terms :—
“ It should be understood that, according to the French proposal, the
task of these observers would be neither to study the substance of the question
nor to enquire into the events which may have occurred recently in the district
of Alexandretta and Antioch. Nor will the observers have to take any action
themselves with a view to the maintenance of order or the pacification of
the state of mind of the population. Their duty will simply be to observe
and to keep in touch with the facts in order to be able to inform the Council
if necessary. 5 '
The rapporteur then proposed the following draft resolution : —
“ The Council,
“ (1) Noting that the Governments of France and Turkey have agreed
to postpone to the Council’s ordinary session in January the examination of
the substance of the question which has arisen regarding the distinct of
Alexandretta and Antioch, recommends the two Governments to continue
their conversations meanwhile in close contact with the rapporteur;
“ (2) Notes the assurances given by the representatives of France and
Turkey that they will spare no effort to contribute to a satisfactory solution
of the question:
“ (3) In response to the request formally made by the French Govern
ment, decides to send as soon as possible to the Sanjak of Alexandretta three
observers with the task defined in the present report;
“ (4) Requests the President of the Council to appoint the said
observers on the rapporteur's proposal;
“ (5) Fixes the end of January 1937 as the maximum time-limit for the
observers’ mission;
“ (6) Requests the Secretary-General to provide the observers with the
necessary secretarial staff;
“ (7) Authorises the Secretary-General, under Rule 33 of the Financial
Regulations, to draw, if necessary, on the working capital fund, up to a
maximum of 75,000 Swiss francs, for the sums necessary to cover the
expenditure involved by the execution of the present resolution, it being
understood that France shall defray this expenditure;
££ (8) Stipulates that the adoption of the present resolution shall not be
regarded as in any way prejudging the substance of the question, which
remains entirely open.”
32. In the debate which followed, the Turkish Representative said that,
although Turkey had decided to abstain from voting on the resolution, she would
not hinder its adoption by voting against it and would continue to seek an
amicable solution of the question. M. Aras recalled the proposals of his Govern
ment as regards conservatory measures, and said that, if these proposals had been
agreed to, the Turkish Government would have been ready to submit to the
suggested enquiry into events, past and present, extending to its own territory,
as well as the sanjak. They considered that a simple mission of observers would,
not be able to form a correct picture of the position in the sanjak, since it could
only obtain information from prejudiced local authorities. Even then the
Turkish Government would have been willing to accept the French proposals
provided the mission of enquiry included French and Turkish members as well
as a neutral. The French Representative replied with the observation that the
French request for a mission of neutral observers was an unprecedented
concession by a mandatory Power. M. Vienot also pointed out that the
conciliatory measures proposed by the rapporteur emanated entirely from the
French Government.
33. The United Kingdom Representative drew attention to the special
interest of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in this question.
The United Kingdom was herself a mandatory Power; His Majesty’s Govern
ment were most anxious that nothing should occur to disturb the political
tranquillity of the Near East, and they had close and cordial friendship for both
Governments concerned. His Majesty’s Government were convinced, in view of

About this item


This file documents the British response to developments regarding the status of the Sanjak [administrative district, referred to in Arabic as Liwa] of Alexandretta, including the cities of Alexandretta [İskenderun, Turkey] and Antioch [Antakya, Turkey].

The file features the following principal correspondents: His Majesty's Ambassador, Istanbul (Sir Percy Loraine, succeeded by Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen); His Majesty's Ambassador, Bagdad [Baghdad] (Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, succeeded by Sir Maurice Drummond Peterson); His Majesty's Ambassador, Paris (Sir George Russell Clerk, succeeded by Sir Eric Phipps); the British Consul, Aleppo (Archibald William Davis); the British Consul, Damascus (Gilbert MacKereth); His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Reader William Bullard); the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Anthony Eden); officials of the Foreign Office.

The correspondence includes discussion of the following:

  • The demography of the Sanjak of Alexandretta.
  • Turkey's claim for the Sanjak to be given autonomy.
  • The progression of Franco-Turkish negotiations, brokered by the League of Nations and resulting in the Sanjak's new autonomous status (in its internal affairs only), as granted in a League of Nations statute, concluded in January 1937 and brought into force on 29 November 1937.
  • Reports of both Arab and Turkish demonstrations in Alexandretta and Antioch during January 1937 (as well as Arab demonstrations in Aleppo).
  • Pressure from Syria and Iraq for the Sanjak to be partitioned between Syria and Turkey.
  • The reported registration of non-Turkish electors in the Sanjak as Turks.
  • Reported divisions in the Syrian Nationalist Government.
  • The conclusion of a treaty of friendship between France and Turkey in July 1938.
  • The announcement in September 1938 that the Sanjak of Alexandretta will in future be known as the Republic of Hatay, with Antioch as its capital.
  • The Franco-Turkish agreement regarding the change of status of Hatay to that of a Turkish province, concluded in June 1939.

The French language material in the file consists of several items of correspondence, plus copies of the aforementioned Franco-Turkish agreement (dated 23 June 1939) and the Turco-French treaty (dated 4 July 1938).

The file includes two dividers which give a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. These are placed at the back of the correspondence (folios 2-3).

Extent and format
1 file (286 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 287; 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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/81 'Syria: Status of Alexandretta and Antioch.' [‎171v] (343/576), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2154, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 November 2019]

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