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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎121r] (250/544)

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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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[This Document is the
His Britannic
No. 1 .
Mr. Marling to Sir Edward Grey.—(Received December 28.)
(No. 920. Confidential.)
Si r > Constantinople, December 20, 1910.
AS I had the honour to report in my despatch No. 918 of to-day’s date, Rifaat
Pasha, at the end of our conversation of this morning, introduced the topic of the
Bagdad, Railway. His Excellency said that, as he understood it, the desire of His
Majesty s Government was to protect their commercial interests which they conceived
to be threatened if the railway were entirely controlled by Germany, and that they
therefore wished that the Bagdad “ to the terminus ” section should not be constructed
and worked by Germans, and he suggested that adequate protection would be assured
if that section were built and exploited by an Ottoman company or by the Ottoman
Government, I pointed out to his Excellency that, as the two lines would be presum
ably worked on the same system, the administrative board of the German line would
naturally have a considerable voice in the joint management, whereas, unless the
Turkish Government was ready to admit an adequate British element on the board of
fP® Turkish line, we should have none at all j and I further asked his Excellency how
the Germans would view the loss of what promised to be the most paying portion of
their concession. From a financial point of view it would of course affect the Turkish
Treasury more than the Germans, as the loss of the receipts on this section would tend
to raise the amount for which Turkey is liable in respect of the kilometric guarantees.
Rifaat Pasha said that the Germans were ready to make concessions—though he would
not specify of what nature they would be—and went on to say that of course British
trade would be guaranteed a fair share m the orders for materiel, &c., for the Turkish
line. He believed that if there was a sincere desire on both sides to come to an agree
ment, a solution of the question satisfactory to His Majesty’s Government could be
found, and suggested that, as the direct negotiations between the Germans and
ourselves had failed, we might address ourselves to Turkey to act as intermediary. I
told his Excellency that I was sure that His Majesty’s Government would welcome any
suggestion that promised a satisfactory solution of this thorny question, and recom
mended that, if the Sublime Porte had any definite proposal to make, they should
instruct Tewfik Pasha to communicate it to you in London.
Ycm will note that Rifaat Pasha’s suggestions do not go beyond those made to
Sir G. Lowthsr by his Excellency and Hakki Pasha in May last (see Sir G. Lowther’s
o. 276, Secret, of the old May), and that no reply has been given, as then*promised
by his Highness, to your despatch No ; 107, Secret, of the 20th April, of which a copy
was handed in by Sir Gerard on your instructions.
Although Rifaat Pasha put marked emphasis on his wish to see a solution
satisfactory to ourselves of this question, I am rather sceptical of any real sincerity on
the part of the ^Ottoman Government. You will remember that prior to the approaches
made to J\lr. Whittall by Dr. Gwmner a year ago, Hilmi Pasha, who was then Grand
Vizior, hinted to me once 01 twice tlmt -Turkey conld or would promote an arrange*
ment. Phe pouipailers between Sir E. Cassel and Dr. Gwmner, however, only
resulted in inadmissible proposals being put forward by the Germans with the object
of saddling us with the onus of refusing to continue the negotiations, which, if
successful, carried with them an assent to the increase of the 4 per cent. Very
possibly similar tactics are now being pursued, the difference being that the unaccept
able basis for an understanding would be put forward by Turkey instead of Germany
and that possibly more plausible terms will be submitted to us. At any rate, I feel
convinced that the real object of the Turks is to endeavour to force our hand with
regard to the 4 per cent.
At the same time it is, I think, safe to affirm from these overtures that the Turks
are more than a little uneasy both at the silent disapprobation we have shown of their
general policy and also at the unexpected support which we gave to France in the
question of the loan. The Grand Vizier was very careful in his declarations in
1 amament to disclaim any resentment over the latter question against the French or
[1821 ee — 3 ]

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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎121r] (250/544), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/58, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 25 August 2019]

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