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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎12r] (24/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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“.f }" 0W ; ers " to ^low quotation on the I'aris Bourse of any issue relating to the
t, ° , tL tcl1 Wcl 3 • ^ s such an agreement had not been reached at the time of any
h rench participation we should have ground for arguing that h'rench private
JhoroW 1 p° f ne the back of their own Government Such interests must,
thM,- ’ r to llle concessi unnaires lor indemnification—with the assistance of
Government, if it deemed them worthy. The part played by French
financiers and politicians in this business is dealt with at some length in M
S b()0k ', 0n 1 the Ba g h dad Railway. He is especially severe on M. Constans
M dM' Uouvier, the latter of whom he describes as an agent of the Deutsche Bank.
M. Dekasse is equally criticised, and the whole review is most unfavourable.
I lie exact degree of French participation cannot be definitely given, but it may
lere be convenient to indicate the stated composition of the £300,000 to which
reference has been made above. Ten per cent, was said to have been subscribed by
npr k01 ?P ai ?y> 10 P er cen t. by the Turkish Government, and 80
pci cent _ by the Deutsche Bank group of financiers. It is doubtful whether the
subscuption of the Anatolian Railway Company was more than nominal. Of the
80 per cent, subscribed by the Deutsche Bank group, 70 per cent, was believed to have
been subscribed m nearly equal proportions by French and German groups, and 10
pei cent, by groups of bwiss and other nationalities. Considering these figures with
the composition of the Administrative Council of the Company, it was held clear
that effective control of its affairs was in the hands of the Deutsche Bank group.
It may be added that m 1905 an Austrian, a Swiss, and a Belgian bank were each
represented on the Board of the Company by a director, and there was also an Italian
member, representing an Italian electrical company at Milan. There were also five
directors, who were French officials of the Imperial Ottoman Bank, and a number
of other prominent Frenchmen as well. There had already been an interchange of
directors between the I rench Smyrna-Cassaba Railway and the Anatolian Railway.
Uui mformation was briefly that there was close connection between the French
am lerman groups, that the interest of the former in the line was considerable and
that the I rench holding of shares in the Company was probably between 30
pei cent, and 40 per cent, of the whole. It is obvious that this is irreconcilable with
M. Gambon s assurances to Lord Lansdowne, or with the statement of the Com
mercial Controller of the French Foreign Office to Sir F. Bertie, that no negotiation
between French and German groups could take place without the knowledge of the
h rent h Government, who would not give their concurrence without previous com
munication with the British Government.
To revert to the present suggestions for internationalisation. The concession
being surrendered to the Allies collectively, it is suggested that the administration
of the Railway should be placed in the hands of some body analogous to the Danube
Commission Incidentally it has also been proposed that this body might create
revenue -replacing the kilometric guarantees—by selling the mineral rights
prmnled for by the concession, to the national authorities of the territory through
w ic i the line passes. (By article 22 of the 1903 concession permission was granted
to work minerals, which might be found within 20 kilom. on either side of the line
but tins was expressly qualified by the reservation that “no privilege or monopoly
is thereby constituted. ) ^ 1 •
If the working of different sections were handed over to different managements
the receipts of the entire system would presumably be pooled and distributed bv a
clearing-house managed by a committee from the several Boards. It should not be
forgotten that the commercial values of the various sections will be most unequal
rr-i -i • ^uthernmost section may be the most valuable, especially with the
Kli am kin branch. It was originally estimated that the Baghdad-Gulf section of the
line woutd alone pay at once as a commercial undertaking without kilometric
guarantees partly owing to the pilgrim traffic to Kerbela and Neiaf.
Apart from the political evils of internationalisation, there are serious disad
vantages from the railway point of view. For example, the construction of branch
lines and extensions would be a constant source of trouble. The controlling authority
might maintain that it was internationally more important to provide money for
extensions m the French sphere than in ours, and great difficulties might be put in
the wav of development in the British section. Branches not likely to be immediately
profitable would be eschewed, and the opening up of the poorer and more backward
sections would thus be arrested. The same considerations apply to the improvement
of existing lines, and under international control there would always be a tendency
[1057] B 2

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, 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.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎12r] (24/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 July 2024]

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