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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎91v] (191/544)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (268 folios). It was created in 1910-1912. 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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German railway will reach Khanikm, and when, therefore, the circum&tances foreseen m
the Potsdam agreement come into existence, will be brought matenally neaiei. I do not
venture to predict with any precision what the lesults will be. but X cannot behe\e that
they will be to our advantage, and therefore the longer that moment is deferred the
better. . [ ^ ■
In these circumstances, I think that our interests require^ that we should take some
action to prevent any further arrangement being reached, without _ our knowledge and
consent, between the German Company and the Porte. It will be within your
recollection that in not very dissimilar circumstances the French Ambassador and I
recommended (my telegram No. 29 et seq.) that, to prevent a surprise in the nature of
the Potsdam agreement, we should be authorised to inform the Porte in firm language
that our Governments desired to be consulted in regard to the negotiations then going
on between the Bagdad Railway Company and the Ottoman Government. The suggestion
was, however, overruled, partly on the ground that we had no legal standing to make
such a representation, and partly because the form which M. Bompard and I had
proposed that the communication might take would commit us too far in the question of
the 4 per cent, increase of the customs duties. No communication was therefore made,
and in the event the Germans *vere left free to obtain from the Porte not only such
valuable concessions as the Osmanieh-Alexandretta branch and the port at the latter
place, but also obtained stipulations which in effect secure to them the right to be
consulted at every phase in the negotiations concerning the Bagdad-Gulf section; for,
as you will remember, the International Company for its construction is to be formed
in consultation with the Bagdad Railway Company, and when it has been formed, the
Bagdad Railway Company have the right to obtain compensation for the loss it has
suffered by the sacrifice of that section. Such stipulations obviously afford endless
opportunities for obstruction and bargaining, so much so, that it is scarcely too much to
say that the possibility of our coming to an agreement with the Turks depends primarily
on German goodwill.
It appears to me that unless we take some action now we may again find ourselves
in the presence of another untoward fait accompli. But if, on the other hand, we avail
ourselves of the present conjuncture, we may possibly regain some of the lost ground.
Nor do the reasons which decided His Majesty’s Government to make no move last
February exist now. We have, I submit, valid and legitimate grounds for intervention.
On the one hand, the Turks have submitted to us proposals for the settlement of the
Bagdad Railway question on the basis of the situation which would be created by the
German agreement of March last. Negotiations are presumably imminent on that basis,
and it is not therefore legitimate for the Turks to enter into any arrangement which
would alter that basis without our knowledge and assent. No mention ot the 4 per
cent, need be made, as that question is reserved as a condition of a satisfactory solution
of the main issue. The Germans, on the other hand, as it seems to me, much as they
will dislike it, will have no plausible pretext for objecting to our action, for they have
by their agreement of last March substantially recognised our interests in the Bagdad
Railway question, and, that being so, they should be precluded from disputing our right
to be kept informed of all negotiations that may affect our interests in that question, or
to raise objections to a modification of the status quo.
I have not as yet mentioned this matter to my French colleague, as it appears to
me that our interests involved are so vastly greater than those of France that it was
better to ascertain your views before doing so.
I have, &c.

About this item


The volume comprises telegrams, despatches, correspondence, memoranda, newspaper cuttings, maps and notes, relating to negotiations over the proposed Berlin to Baghdad Railway in the period 1910-1912.

The discussion in the volume relates to the economic, commercial, political and military considerations impinging on British strategy for the international negotiations over the development of a railway to Baghdad.

Further discussion surrounds the motivations and strategies of British competitors in the area; included in the volume is a copy of the Russo-German agreement.

The principal correspondents in the volume include Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Sir Gerard Augustus Lowther, Ambassador to Constantinople.

Extent and format
1 volume (268 folios)

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

The subject 2764 (Bagdad Railway) consists of five volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/56-60. The volumes are divided into five parts with each part comprising one volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 269; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out. Pagination: a pagination sequence in red crayon is present between ff 244-252.

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English in Latin script
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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎91v] (191/544), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/58, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 15 July 2020]

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