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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎36r] (72/220)

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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W e liave recently been discussing the ways in which such a situation might be
(a.) By the reinforcement of General Allenby.
(b.) By the reinforcement of General Maude.
(c.) By a French landing at Ayas Bay.
i he question I raise is whether, if matters develop as I forecast, the solution
might not be immensely facilitated and the final smash-up of the enemy in Asia
rendered certain by the landing of a Japanese Army Corps at Basra early next year.
I am assuming that it could be transported in Japanese ships, escorted by Japanese
war vessels, and that the transport, supplies, and munitions would come direct from
Japan. Mesopotamia is the only available theatre of war where these conditions would
exist. It possesses the further advantage that its maritime approach is free from
submarine attack.
1 am aware that objections may be raised to this proposal which are deserving of
very serious consideration. I doubt if they will come from any of our Allies. France,
Italy, Kussia (if she is still in the war), and America will probably say, “ If you like to
get the Japanese to help you in smashing the Turk and defeating Falckenhayn, it is
your concern rather than ours, and in so far as it will contribute to an Allied victory, it
will be all to the good. By all means go on.”
Nor do I imagine that the objections will come from our own military advisers.
The Chief of the Imperial General Staff has air. ady suggested that we should employ
Chinese troops (of very problematical military value) in Egypt or at Aden. He will
hardly be likely to resent the use of so powerful a military ally as Japan in a secondary,
though very important, theatre of war, where her appearance would relieve the drain
upon the Western front and upon our resources elsewhere. His criticism is more likely
to be that her aid is not necessary.
The objections will more probably come from the 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. and the Govern
ment of India ; and the Secretary of State for India has already, in reply to a request from
me, favoured me with a general outline of the form wdiich they might conceivably take.
It may be said that Japan will not render military assistance without demanding
her political quid pro quo in advance. I am not myself much impressed by this danger.
It is true that most of the Allies, before entering the war, have made a statement of
their claims, territorial or otherwise, and have sought to bind, or have bound, the other
members of the alliance to an acceptance of them by formal agreement. But Japan
entered the war three years ago, and I am not aware of any case in which an Ally,
merely because he has been asked to move his troops in this or in that direction, has
demanded blackmail before consenting to the operation. I doubt if Japan would
demand any terms at all as a preliminary condition. She might demand them at the
Peace Conference or later on* and that possibility must be carefully considered. But
I doubt her making- them a condition at the start.
It may be urged that if she is concerned in the defence of Mesopotamia she
will demand commercial concessions, rights of settlement, &c., there later on, which may
be embarrassing to us. The answer to this is twofold : Mesopotamia has already been
conquered and won by the valour of British and Indian forces alone. Japan, if she were
to come in now, would have had no share in that undertaking. The future of
Mesopotamian administration, if we win the war and are able to retain it, has already been
determined in outline, and does not admit of Japanese intervention at this stage. If,
however, her ambitions are commercial, what are the advantages which she could claim
now or at the end of the war which we should not in any case be bound
to concede to her? Supposing that she desires after the war to run a
subsidised line of steamers to Basra, could we stop her any more than we
could stop her from running steamers to India itself ? Supposing she demands a
Japanese consul at Basra, could we in any case refuse her ? Supposing she demands
rights of settlement, will not that issue be governed by the municipal laws which we
shall make in the Basra and Baghdad vilayets? Is the danger of Japan acquiring a
powerful or menacing position in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. or Mesopotamia a serious one ? Will
not all her energies be concentrated for many years, possibly for generations to come,
upon Cliina and the countries lying between China and India, possibly including India
itself (where she has been making since the war began most pertinacious efforts at
commercial penetration). Need we really be afraid of her in the Nearer East ?
It is very likelv that the Government of India, influenced by such alarms and by a
latent resentment that India itself is not to obtain more of the spoils of Mesopotamia (if
the latter be retained) may advise against the, suggestion that we are discussing. The

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 [‎36r] (72/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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