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Coll 6/15 'Syria: Administration. Question of offer of throne to King Feisal of Iraq.' [‎100r] (199/497)

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).
- 86

May 31, 1933.
Confidential. Section i.
[E 2851/120/89] No. 1.
Acting Consul Todd to Sir John Simon.—{Received May 31.)
(No. 30.)
Sir, Damascus, May 10, 1933.
... WITH reference to my despatch No. 28 of the 2nd instant, I have the honour
to inform you that I was present at tKeTNesumed sitting of the Chamber on the
8th instant.
2. As on the previous occasion, the shops were closed as a protest against
the present constitution of the Cabinet. A good many of the shopkeepers wished
to keep their shops open, but were compelled by groups of students and agitators,
who threatened them with violence, to put up their shutters. A few shops did
actually remain open until noon, but afterwards were compelled to fall into line
with the rest. The streets leading to the Parliament building were heavily
guarded by gendarmes and police equipped with revolvers and batons.
Furthermore, machine guns had been placed at various strategic points in the
town and on the roofs of certain buildings. These extensive precautions against
disorder had a sobering effect on the extremists and there was complete calm
throughout the day.
3. The Nationalist Deputies once again refrained from attending the
sitting, but even so there were forty-four Deputies present—all supporters of the
present Cabinet.
4. The President of the Council, Hakki Bey El Azm, read the ministerial
declaration, which in essence stated the determination of the Government to
maintain order and public safety. This was an essential prerequisite for the
realisation of the country’s national aspirations in the political, economic and
social sphere. Their efforts would be directed towards obtaining guarantees for
their independence and sovereignty, and the abolition of the mandate through the
signature of a treaty with the French defining the future relations between
France and Syria. The Government would carry on the present negotiations with
the chief object of realising Syrian unity.
5. The proposed legislative programme of the Government included
measures of economy to balance the budget, help for the peasants and the trading
community, judicial reform for the improvement of the administration of justice,
greater educational facilities, decentralisation of the administrative system,
special consideration for the rights of minorities, &c.
6. The House was asked to vote on these proposals, and after certain
explanations had been given by Chaker Bey Chabani (Minister of Finance), a vote
of confidence in the Government was passed with only one abstention.
7. The sitting was thereupon adjourned until the 11th, having lasted
forty-five minutes.
8. I am sending copies of this despatch direct to His Majesty’s consul-
general at Beirut and His Majesty’s consul at Aleppo.
I have, &c.
[795 hh—1]

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.' [‎100r] (199/497), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2081, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 October 2019]

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