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Coll 6/15 'Syria: Administration. Question of offer of throne to King Feisal of Iraq.' [‎106r] (211/497)

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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L 4
k 'I
EASTERN (Syria).
May 24, 1933.
Section 3.
[E 2719/120/89]
No. 1.
Acting Consul Todd to Sir John Simon.—(Received May 24.)
(No. 29.)
Sir, Damascus, May 4, 1933.
WITH reference to my despatch No. 28 of the 2nd instant, I have the honour
to inform you that the Cabinet was reconstituted yesterday under the presidency
of Hakki Bey-el-Azm.
2. The composition of the new Ministry is as follows :—
Hakki Bey-el-Azm: President of the Council and Minister of Interior.
Chaker Bey Chabani : Finance.
Yahia Bey Adali : Agriculture and Commerce.
Sheikh Suleiman Joukhadar : Justice.
Selim Bey Jambart: Public Works and Education.
3. It appears that Nassouh Bey-el-Boukhari accepted, and at the last
moment refused, the post of Minister of Public Instruction. He was formerly
Minister of Agriculture under Damad in 1926-27. The reason for his refusal
is not clear. He asked in vain for the Ministry of Finance. He was also
influenced in his decision by statements in the Nationalist press urging him not
to sever his family’s long connexion with the Nationalist cause by his joining the
new Cabinet.
4. The new Cabinet is composed entirely of moderate elements without
Nationalist participation. A separate Ministry has been created, i.e., the
Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Its members are all Deputies with the
exception of Suleiman-el-Joukhadar. Chaker Bey Chabani comes in as Minister
of Finance in place of Jamil Mardam Bey. The former is a Constitutional
Liberal and Deputy for Aleppo. The new Minister of Agriculture and
Commerce, Yahia Bey Adali, is the Deputy for Antioche, a Liberal, and,
incidentally the oldest Deputy in the present Parliament. Suleiman-el-
Joukhadar is not a Deputy, and his acceptance of the post of Minister of Justice,
in place of the Nationalist Mazhar Pasha, represents his first incursion into the
political arena. He is a member of the Reform party, and was defeated at the
elections of 1932. He was formerly president of Court of Cassation. Selim
Jambart, a moderate of Aleppo, was also Minister of Public Works in the late
Cabinet. It was rumoured at the time of the resignation of Jamil Mardam Bey
and Mazhar Pasha Rislan that he had also sent in his resignation, but this report
proved to be unfounded. He thus becomes Minister of Public Works and
5. It is not yet known whether the Nationalist Deputies will attend the
next session of the Chamber on the 8th May.
6. The formation of the new Cabinet has met with a good deal of hostile
criticism on the part of Nationalist elements here, and various delegations waited
on the President of the Republic yesterday to urge him to abstain from forming
a Government until formal assurances had been obtained from the French
authorities on the subject of Syrian unity.
7. The present Government does not represent the feeling of the majority
of the population, and it is feared that it will negotiate a treaty with the French
involving the sacrifice of the principle of unity.
8. The bazaars were closed yesterday afternoon as a protest against the
formation of a pro-French Cabinet, as soon as its composition became known.
9. This solution of the ministerial crisis is probably the best that could be
found in the circumstances, but in view of the non-co-operation of the Nationalists
and even of their active hostility to the new Government, only the future can
show whether the Cabinet will be able to withstand the attacks of the Nationalists
when the Chamber meets.
10. 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 aa—3]

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.' [‎106r] (211/497), 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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