Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [12v] (25/220)
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. .
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
to curtail unduly the working expenses on the sections which contributed least
revenues to the common pool. . . ,
Moreover, the French will also probably not welcome the plan lo begin h
they are quite likely to take the pretext of the French private interests already
involved in order to aim at a preponderance incompatible with real inter nationalisa
tion. That the French Government was not really indifferent to the operations o
French financiers is indicated in the report of an interdepartmental committee, in
March 1907, that the French “ interest in the enterprise is apparently above all
financial.” Further, the plan would certainlv involve the creation of some such
body as the above-mentioned Federal Commission; but this might entail the constitu
tion of Alexandretta, and probably some of the Syrian harbours as tree ports.
Indeed the creation of a free port at Alexandretta would be the sole really tangib e
advantage that this country would derive from internationalisation, and e^n t is
is now somewhat discounted. There seems to have been considerable consensus in
the past on the necessity in our interests that Alexandretta should not be controlled
by France or any other Great Power. This view would have seemed likely to be
accentuated as the development of oil increasingly provides cheap haulage to Alexan
dretta, which should be geographically the westward outlet for our Persian an
Mesopotamian trade, as opposed to the alternative circuitous route by the buez
Canal. This view, however, is not upheld by the Board of I rade opinion quo e
France, moreover, will probably oppose a project which would weaken her grasp
on coveted points like Alexandretta. Her opposition may also not be much dimin
ished by the regulation of details like the nationality of the employes m the various
sections, or even by some modification in the sense that the Federal Commission, or
similar body, while taking over the trunk lines, should entrust their management
to local administrations working under a joint traffic agreement, H er appetite will
not easily fall in with internationalism in any veiled form at Alexandretta or m
Syria, nor can we count upon success in switching her attentions from those i egions
by baits in Armenia. . .
As regards internationalisation, the position therefore is
1 It is an inherently cumbrous and in many respects vicious method, especially
in this particular instance. Those who have recommended international
isation or partial internationalisation in the past <?.</., Sii G. Clarke, in
1907—have only done so as a pis aller. The Interdepartmental Com
mittee of March 1907 reported that British control from Mosul, or
failing that Baghdad, southward wa ; s essential to British interests, and
such control could not, in their opinion, be obtained under any system
•of internationalisation.” Incidentally, it has always been held that
nothing less than Mosul would really serve. . ..
2. Whatever the views of this department may be, internationalisation will not
command unanimity, even in our own ranks.
3. It is unlikely of acceptance by France, with whom, at the end of the chapter,
we must probably deal, and deal tete-a-tete as we have done in the past,
whether we will or not.
On the credit side its recommendation is that it may get a blessing from Mr.
Wilson. Presumably, however, we do not mean to base our policy on this hypothesis
al011 The following solution would seem on all grounds preferable: Whether by “ self-
determination,” or by any other process, we shall obtain practical control in Meso
potamia Our position vis-a-vis of our Allies will be the stronger if we are spon
taneously selected. Even President Wilson could hardly fall foul of our railway
policy in such an event. We should then take a firm stand against internationalisa
tion and we mi^ht strengthen the argument for national control by the examples of
Serbia and Bulgaria above mentioned. (The latter bought out the Orient Railway
Company for 42,000,000 francs in 1909.)
\s regards French financial interests, the line to be taken is indicated m the
body, of this memorandum. We should have fairly good ground for such an
attitude regards French political opposition, our course must depend somewhat on the
territoriafsettlement which is still in the melting-pot. Our success will, however, m
any case depend entirely on the firmness of our attitude, and we should leave no
doubt that this will not be modified even if the French refuse the Armenian offer.
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 View the complete information for this record
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- Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East
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