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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎110r] (228/544)

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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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^^jj^HgBliLjhl lroperty of His Britannic/Majesty’s Goyernment.]
[January 18.]
1'23 J MU 911
\v '4: j 7
Section 1.
[ 2081 ]
No. 1 .
Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Ijuchanan.
(No. 19. Secret.)
1 T P A VTT P^ + T 5 i /i cc i -i Foreign Office, January 18, ]911.
Railway ^tion Un Benckendorff to - da y a short summary of the history of the Bagdad
For some time M Isvolsky had been reluctant even to admit the principle of
agreeing to the Bagdad Railway. In those days I had urged that, as the railway was
sure to be made sooner or later, it was waste of time to discuss whether it should be
be^greed to prmCip ^ e ’- and the lm P ort ant thing was to decide on what terms it should
On the occasion of the German Emperor’s visit to Windsor a few years ago, the
Germans had expressed themselves willing to discuss with us the question of the
railway 1 had told Herr von Schoen that the discussion must be d quatre. Neither he
nor the Emperor raised objections to that at the time, but subsequently the Germans
had reiused to have a discussion a quatre.
All this together with the Russian reluctance to accept the principle of the
railway, had for some time suspended negotiations.
Latterly the position had been that each of us might negotiate separately with the
German Government, but that we should make no arrangement definite until a
settlement was come to with all of us. I showed Count Benckendorff the conclusion
of my letter of the 31st May, 1910, to Sir Henry Babington-Smith, who was then
negotiating with Herr Gwmner on behalf of Sir Ernest Cassel. The last sentence was
as follows. • • • • it would be well for you to make sure that any proposals put
forward by Herr Gwinner have the approval of the German Government, and you
must clearly understand that we can approve no agreement definitely without consulting
the French and Russian Governments.”
It appears now that, at Potsdam, M. Sazonow had agreed definitely to give
Germany what she desired, namely, a junction at Khanikin. This was really all
that Germany did wash to get from Russia, and the fact that Germany had obtained
this fiom Russia definitely must to some extent weaken our position in dealing with
Germany with regard to the Bagdad Railway.
Count Benckendorff observed that this arrangement concerned only a branch of
the Bagdad Railway, and did not really settle the question of the railway. Indeed, it
might be said to be not the Bagdad Railway at all. More would be required from
Russia before the railway was concluded ; for instance, her agreement to the 4 per cent,
increase of the Turkish customs dues. In regard to this, M. Sazonow was still quite
unpledged. Further, though M. Sazonow had agreed to connection at Khanikin, he
had not undertaken to make the Persian branch in any definite time.
With regard to this last point, I observed that the negotiations between Russia
and Germany were not yet concluded, and I doubted whether it was certain that the
time for making the branch in Persia would remain indefinite, as Count Benckendorff
said it was now.
There was another point on which I wished to comment. I gathered from what 1
M. Sazonow had said to you that Germany might press for participation in the Tehran-
Khanikin branch. It would be a very serious matter if Germany obtained any control
of this branch. For, in times of Panislamic excitement, it might be used to mobilise
German-trained Mussulman forces. Germany, who had no Mussulman subjects, w^as
not embarrassed by Panislamism, but it might be very serious to Russia and England.
It was therefore most important that Russia should retain absolute control.
Further, I observed that, though M. Sazonow had stated originally that he would
not discuss the neutral zone in Persia without first consulting us, he had brought
part of it into his negotiations with Germany. I made no complaint as to what was
done with regard to this part taken by itself ; but the Germans might now contend
that as part of the neutral zone had been dealt with in the agreement this implied
that Russia would not raise any question about the rest of the neutral zone, and this
[1852 s—1]

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.' [‎110r] (228/544), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/58, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 August 2019]

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