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Coll 6/15 'Syria: Administration. Question of offer of throne to King Feisal of Iraq.' [‎70r] (139/497)

The record is made up of 1 file (247 folios). It was created in 13 Jun 1928-15 Dec 1939. It was written in English and French. 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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EASTERN (Syria).
November 27, 1933.
Section 4
[E 7245/120/891
No. 1.
Consul Mackereth to Sir John Simon.—{Received November 27.)
^ Damascus, November 20, 1933.
2 It remains now for the Syrian Parliament to ratify or reject the treaty
as signed by its Prime Minister. Without doubt it will meet with lively
opposition from the pan-Arab Nationalists, but intensive lobbying, on oriental
lines of the Deputies is being conducted by and on behalf of the Irench
delegation M. Veber told me this morning that he was afraid a majority lor
ratification might not be forthcoming; he had hopes, however, that there would m
the end be a bare majority in its favour.
3 . The alternatives to ratification leave an opening lor speculation. I ne
French official view appears to be that in the event of the Parliament s rejecting
the treaty, a pro-treaty Government can be established deriving its authority
from French arms. The official communicjue rather naively states that the pallia
mentary vote on the treaty will provide a proof to France and the League o
Nations of the possibility or otherwise of Syria’s obtaining its independence by
way of agreements. , . , . , -r, a
4. It has been officially and gratuitously proclaimed that the Franco-Synan
Treaty is more generous to Syria than the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 was to
Iraq.' But they protest overmuch. Certainly, the Franco-Syrian Treaty follows
along the broad lines of its predecessor in type, yet the curious and obviously
intentional vagueness of the drafting, unusual in French texts, leaves ample^room
for the suspicion that France has no intention of relinquishing her hold on Syria
if she can help it. This, of course, the Nationalists realise and multiply their
prayers for another European conflict, hoping thereby that the French girp may
be slackened. The treaty now signed furnishes in almost every article a bone tor
future contention, and the fifth paragraph of article 5 provides the means whereby
France will be on the spot when the wrangle begins. By article 6 , provision is
made against a lack of French magistrates, advisers and officials. Possibly the
form of General Noury Said’s letter (III) of the 30th June, 1930 (attached to the
Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930), made little appeal to the French official mind.
5 x n article 5 of Protocol B, France promises to use her good offices to
obtain Syria’s admission into the League of Nations, if and when Syria has
realised the programme of reforms set out in the preceding articles ol that
protocol. The time required for the completion of the programme is put quaintly
as a “d&ai normal de quatre annees,” whatever that may eventually be held to
mea e Should the treaty be ratified by the Parliament, or otherwise obtain
formal recognition, I propose to address you in further detail on the subject ol
its fuller implications. ^
7. I am sending copies of this despatch and its enclosures to Aleppo.
Amman, Bagdad, Beirut, Cairo, Jedda and Jerusalem.
I have, &c.

About this item


This file relates to the administration of Syria and the possibility of the French Government installing a King of Syria.

The file mostly contains copies of Colonial Office and Foreign Office correspondence, much of which consists of copies of the minutes, memoranda and correspondence of the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Official Sub-Committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East, which discuss how the British Government should respond to rumours that the French Government has been approaching both King Feisal of Iraq [Fayṣal bin Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī] and his brother, Ali [‘Alī bin Ḥusayn al-Hāshimī], as candidates for the throne of Syria.

Related matters discussed in the correspondence include:

  • The British stance on whether Iraq and Syria should be ruled by one king.
  • The possibility of Syria becoming a republic rather than a monarchy, with a Syrian as President (an outcome which is deemed to be more suited to British interests).
  • Reports in the Turkish press that the ex-Khedive of Egypt, Abbas Hilmi [ʿAbbās Ḥilmī II] has aspirations for the Syrian throne, and that the Turkish Government also favours the ex-Khedive as a candidate.
  • Reports that the French Government is contemplating ending its mandate over Syria and is negotiating a treaty with Syria, using the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty as a basis.
  • Details of the Treaty of Alliance between France and Syria (signed on 16 November 1933), and of its suspended ratification.
  • Details of the Franco-Lebanese Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, signed on 13 November 1936.
  • Egypt's preference for Prince [Muhammad] Abdul Moneim to be installed as King of Syria.
  • Ibn Saud's [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd's] concerns that the throne of Syria might be offered to a Hashimite candidate (i.e. a member of the Hāshimī family).

The principal correspondents are the following: His Majesty's Consul at Damascus (Edwyn Cecil Hole, succeeded by Gilbert Mackereth); the High Commissioner for Iraq (Sir Francis Henry Humphrys and his Acting Commissioner, Hubert Winthrop Young); His Majesty's Ambassador in Baghdad (Humphrys again, and later, Basil Cochrane Newton); the Secretary of State for the Colonies; the British Consul-General at Beirut (Harold Eustace Satow); the High Commissioner for Egypt (Percy Lyham Loraine, succeeded by Miles Wedderburn Lampson); His Majesty's Ambassador in Angora [Ankara] (George Russell Clerk, succeeded by Loraine); the British Minister at Jedda (Sir Reader William Bullard); His Majesty's Chargé d’Affaires, Jedda (Alan Charles Trott); officials of the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office.

The French material in this file consists of several items of correspondence, a copy of the Franco-Syrian Treaty of 1933, a copy of the Franco-Lebanese Treaty of 1936, and copies of extracts from two French language publications (the Lebanese newspaper, L'Orient , and the Damascus newspaper, Les Échos de Syrie ).

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.

Extent and format
1 file (247 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the inside front cover with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 248; 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. An external leather cover wraps around the documents; the front inside of this cover has been foliated as f 1. A previous foliation sequence, which is present between ff 12-247 and is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Coll 6/15 'Syria: Administration. Question of offer of throne to King Feisal of Iraq.' [‎70r] (139/497), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2081, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 15 October 2019]

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