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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎34v] (69/220)

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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question might be put in reply : “ Would you sooner lose Baghdad, or ensure its
retention by the aid of Japanese troops ? ” To such a question I believe that there
would be but one answer.
Another Indian objection may be that even if Mesopotamia becomes an Arab State
under a British Protectorate, still, both in Baghdad and Basra, which have been won for
the most part by Indian arms, Indian interests have been created which in the long run
will be predominant, and that no other Asiatic rival should be allowed to intrude upon
an Indian preserve. My reply would be that I contemplate no such intrusion, and that
the climate of Mesopotamia is not such as to encourage an active colonising policy on
the part of Japan. She lias much better prospects elsewhere.
A more formidable objection is the general consideration whether, by inviting
Japan to join in the military defeat of the Central Powers, supposing them to be
defeated, we might foment her ambitions or unduly aggrandise her position throughout
the Asiatic continent. I am not myself much alarmed at this. When the European
treaties with Japan were revised, and she obtained judicial and tariff autonomy, and
when at a later date she defeated Bussia, she became a great World Power, comparable
with the Powers of the West. Nothing can deprive her of that position. Her
co-operation in the present war has recognised and emphasised it. If she can help to
search for and sink German ships with her fleet, and if her guns and shells have been
employed to kill German and Austrian soldiers in Europe, is it a great aggravation of
her claim that a Japanese army corps should be in at the death of one of the main
enemies of the Alliance, an enemy who is being trained, armed, spurred on, and led by
the arch-enemy, Germany herself?
I am aware that objections may be entertained to any undue or premature
encouragement of Japanese pretensions by our Australian Dominions, who have their
own reasons for disliking and even fearing the Japanese in the future. I hardly think,
however, that these suspicions would be aroused in the present case ; for, firstly, no
Australian troops have been or are likely to be employed in the Mesopotamian
campaign ; and, secondly, there is not, nor is likely to be, any considerable Australian
trade or connection with those countries in the future.
To my mind the question is one to be decided in the last resort by military and not
by political considerations. If the position in Mesopotamia cannot be rendered
permanently secure with our own forces, if the European Allies cannot by themselves
crush the Turk and destroy German ambitions in Baghdad, then I would not hesitate
to invoke Japanese aid in the task.
It is conceivable that the Turkish position, squeezed by the British, French, and
Indian nippers on every quarter, might with the addition of Japanese pressure collapse
in irretrievable ruin. And, moreover, it might not be a bad thing at the Peace
Conference to have at least one Ally who would have a personal interest in seeing that
we do not give back Mesopotamia in order to satisfy the aspirations of some unfortunate
minor member or even major member of the Alliance.
October 3, 1917.
C. of K.

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 [‎34v] (69/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 13 July 2024]

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