Coll 6/81 'Syria: Status of Alexandretta and Antioch.' [172r] (344/576)
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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
the very conciliatory spirit which had been displayed, that it would soon be
possible to reach an amicable solution of the whole question. Meanwhile, they
would vote for the resolution, while feeling obliged, in view of the capacity of
the United Kingdom as the only other Power besides France still charged with an
A mandate, to recall that it was a fundamental principle of the mandatory
stem that the mandatory Power is responsible for the maintenance of order in
mandated territory. In the present case, however, the mandatory Power had
itself expressly and formally requested the despatch of a mission of observers.
In these circumstances, His Majesty’s Government were prepared to agree to the
proposal, particularly as the procedure proposed in the present case (which arose
out of a difference of opinion in the interpretation of a treaty between the
mandatory Power and another State) could not be considered as forming any
precedent in respect of purely internal events within a mandated territory.
34. The rapporteur’s report and draft resolution were adopted by the
Council with the abstention of Turkey, and the session of the Council was
brought to a close.
35. The Turkish delegation were understood to be distinctly disappointed
at the way in which matters developed at Geneva and generally at the lack of
sympathy which they found for their case, particularly in the French delegation
and the rapporteur. M. Aras himself was evidently actuated mainly by fear for
his personal position in Turkey, and the real master of the Turkish delegation
appeared to be rather the Ghazi’s secretary (see paragraph 29 above), who is said
to have referred complacently in conversation to the prospect of the Aleppo
district being detached from Syria together with the sanjak. In general the
handling of the negotiations by the Turkish delegation gave the impression that
the ultimate object of their Government was rather imperialist expansion than
safeguards for a Furkish minority.
36. On the othei hand, it is worth recording that m private conversation
the able Turkish Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (M. Numan
Menemencioglu) stated that while the Turkish Government felt very deeply about
the question and could never agree to the handing over of a Turkish population
to an Arab State, they had no intention of taking drastic steps which would lead
to a rupture with France. He hinted that if the Turkish Government could not
get their way they might prefer to leave the whole question of the future of the
sanjak in suspense on a de facto basis, although this would inevitably poison their
relations with Syria.
37. So far as His Majesty’s Government were concerned, thev were, however,
able to retain good relations with both parties during the proceedings at Geneva!
M Aras expressed to Lord Cranborne his pleasure at the renewed assurance of
the friendship of His Majesty’s Government for Turkey, and the French Foreign
Minister expressed through His Majesty’s Embassy at Paris appreciation of tie
attitude of the United Kingdom delegation.
Part V .—Subsequent Developments.
38. The bilateral conversations were resumed at Paris shortly afterwards
between M. Aras and M. Vienot, but soon broke down, a joint communique
published on the 23rd December stating that as the exchange of views had not
enabled the parties to reach agreement, they contemplated the possibility of
continuing conversations through the diplomatic channel and in contact with
the rapporteur before the next session of the Council.
39. From the information so far available it seems that the breakdown was
inevitable since the Turks adhered rigidly to their demand for the complete
independence of the sanjak, while the French failed to put forward any concrete
proposals for a compromise, and merely talked vaguely of “ autonomy ” subject
to allegiance to Syria. (The Turks themselves have stated that the desiderata
which they put forward in Paris were :—
(1) Complete independence for the sanjak.
(2) Demilitarisation of the sanjak.
(3) Lease to Turkey of an area in the port of Alexandretta and a railway
(4) A new suggestion for the inclusion of Alexandretta in a federation with
Syria and the Lebanon.)
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.
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- English in Latin script View the complete information for this record
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- Coll 6/81 'Syria: Status of Alexandretta and Antioch.'
- front, front-i, 2r:5v, 11r:12v, 14r:23v, 26r:81v, 84r:84v, 87r:131v, 133r:170v, 172r:194v, 196r:217v, 223r:236v, 239r:263v, 265r:287v, back
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