Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [32r] (64/220)
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.
Circulated by the Secretary of State for India.
My dear Curzon, 28th September 1917.
My view of the employment of Japanese troops is dilferent from ray
view of the employment of Chinese troops, for the former have a real military
value, and.therefore if they are employed in sufficient numbers, 1 cannot
argue that we are not doing something to aid our prospects of military
Hut 1 have strong political objections to the employment of Japanese in
Asia, or with Indian troops, and these objections are certainly not fanciful,
even if they are not conclusive.
The employment of Japanese troops i'n itself makes me less apprehensive
than consideration of the price which we may have to pay for Japanese
assistance and of the footing which the Japanese would secure in Mesopo
tamia. The claims of the Japanese in Asia are w r ell known, and have been
emphasised by my predecessor; everything that I hear leads me to feel that
these aims are.growing in Japan. There are already indications of Japanese
attempts at commercial penetration in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. (besides those we
know of in India), and w'e may be sure that the Japanese Government w r ould
use any weapon that came to hand in furtherance of their aims. Commercial
influence in the Gulf leads inevitably to political influence, and it is clearlv
not in our interests to encourage a new rival. ' We do not want the Japanese,
for instance, to endeavour to obtain concessions for settlements at Basra and'
Baghdad, or to establish a line of steamers and subsidised export companies
in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. .
Further, it must be remembered that our policy is a policy of “ Mesopo
tamia for the Arabs,” and in pursuance of this w r e feel that we shall have to
restrict Indian immigration after the war to Mesopotamia within very narrow
limits. This will not be easy in any case, having regard to the part played
hyMudian troops in the Mesopetqmian campaign, but the difficulty of closing
the door to Indians will be sensibly increased if w r e find ourselves compelled
to hold it open to Japanese.
I now take the analogy suggested by you of France and Tsingtao. As
regards France, it differs from Mesopotamia in that I fancy that the latter
is regarded popularly as an “ Indian show.” India has furnished the
majority of the troops, and has served tbroughout'as the base of supply, &c.
The country has always had close connections, commercial, religious, Ac.,
with India, and falls geographically within the area usually regarded as the
sphere of India’s external relations.
Before the war the British Consul-General at Baghdad was normally an
officer of the Indian Political Department, and bore in addition to his Consular
designation the Indian title of “ Resident ” in Turkish Arabia A term used by the British officials to describe the territory roughly corresponding to, but not coextensive with, modern-day Iraq under the control of the Ottoman Empire. . It is hardly
too much to say that the Mesopotamian operations have excited greater
general interest in India and have been regarded more in the light of a
domestic concern than those in any of the other great theatres of war. In
these circumstances the employment of Japanese troops in Mesopotamia
seems to me open to the same objections as those urged against the use of
Chinese troops at Aden. It has already been rumoured that we intend to
use Japanese troops to help us to maintain order in India itself. I would
hesitate to do anything that might give these rumours colour, and I do tlnnk
that the presence of Japanese might affect not only the Indians, but the
As regards Tsingtao, surely the Japs hope that they wall keep that for
themselves. 1 do not want them to think the same thing in a smaller degree
As I have admitted the military value of the Japanese, I can onlv ask
that these political considerations shall be taken into account when the
military question is being decided.
The Right Hon. Edwin S. Montagu.
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston, K.G.
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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