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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎35v] (71/220)

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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to be unable either to defend Egypt or to solve the problems without the
aid of an Asiatic ally. On the other hand, about Palestine there can be no
shadow of doubt. To recover from the Turks the Holy Oity of the
Christian faith by the aid of a non-Christian ally would be universally
regarded as unseemly, if not shocking. The same objection does not apply
to the employment of Indian troops by ourselves or of Senegalese troops
by the French in Palestine, because they fight in the armies of their over-
lords as a natural consequence of their political status.
(iii.) Itussia. I need not now discuss the question whether the spectacle of
Japanese armies marching to the rescue of the European Power upon whom
they so recently inflicted a severe defeat would in any case have been
desirable. It has now become impracticable for the reason that to lescue
Russia by military aid is beyond the power of man, and that no Power
would be less likely to undertake the impossible task than Japan herself.
(iv.) Any other European theatre of war. Here, again, the question is one to a large
extent of racial ascendancy and international prestige. I do not suppose
that British or French troops would be unwilling to tight alongside of
Japanese troops, any more than they are of Portuguese, or Indians, or
Annamites, or Pathans. But in Asia itself the impetus that would be given
to Japanese ambitions and to racial jealousies between East and West
would be enormous, and no one who knows Asia and is anxious to maintain
European influence there would lightly run the risk.
I he above considerations, if accepted, would appear to confine the possibility of
Japanese military assistance to a somewhat narrow sphere. It must apparently be an
Asiatic sphere, and the points that have already been urged would seem to require that
it shall be a theatre where Japanese intervention cannot be regarded as derogatory to
the valour or capacity of European troops, where it can be satisfactorily represented as
being directed against the common enemy of all the Allies (of whom Japan herself is
one), and where it is invoked at a crowning moment of the conflict when the assistance
of a Japanese army may have a decisive effect, not upon a subordinate campaign, but
upon the capital issues of the war.
I am inclined to think that Mesopotamia may answer the above description, and
that the time may come for us seriously to contemplate the desirability of inviting
Japanese military co-operation there.
Let me here say that Japan has, in my opinion, far from pulled her fair weight in
the war. Her assistance, if not grudgingly given, has been, at any rate, narrowly
restricted, and has been qualified at each stage by a most scrupulous regard for her
own interests. Moreover, it has been more than amply repaid, for the promise of the
reversion of the German possessions and rights in Shantung, and of the German
islands in the Northern Pacific, which we have made to her, will place her in a position
of great advantage at the end of the war, an advantage which will have been won by
an infinitesimal sacrifice of money or men. Japanese policy towards China in the same
period has been dictated by similarly selfish and calculating considerations, and has
been similarly rewarded.
Should the occasion therefore be deemed suitable, I conceive that there is a very
good case for asking, and if necessary for pressing, Japan to play a much more vigorous
militaiy part m defeating the common enemy than has vet been proposed by her or
considered by us. She might refuse. But such an answer would surely be detrimental
to her own ambitions.
Now w 7 hat is the position, present and probable, in Mesopotamia ? I do not doubt
that a most desperate and determined effort will be made by the Turks and Germans m
combination to turn the British out of the Turkish territories in Asia. The main attack
may be delivered in Palestine or against Baghdad; or an equal attack may be directed
against both. ^ There seeins every reason to hope that either attempt or both
attempts will fail. But they may also be renewed, and the recovery of Mesopotamia is
so vital to the future of German plans of world hegemony and the destruction of the
British Empne, that i cannot believe that discomfiture this autumn and winter will
mean an abandonment of the effort (if the war lasts as long) next spring. The Indian
Commander-in-Chief clearly contemplates such a possibility, for he speaks of General
Maude as “ certainly requiring reinforcements during 1918,” and he offers nine battalions,
but cannot offer more, for the purpose. The situation may become even more acute if a
simultaneous 01 corresponding attack of great magnitude is developed against the
British forces in Palestine.

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 [‎35v] (71/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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