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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎47r] (94/220)

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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[This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty's Government.]
EASTERN. ' [October 25.j
[176523] No. 1.
Mr. Balfour to M. Cambon.
Your Excellency, Foreign Office, October 25, 1918.
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note which you were good
enough to address to me on the 22nd October on the subject of the provisional
arrangement of the 30th September for the administration of the districts occupied by
our military forces in the Levant A geographical area corresponding to the region around the eastern Mediterranean Sea. .
2. I note that in your Excellency’s communication reference is made to a “ Haut
Commissaire fran^ais ” and that it is stated that the provisional arrangement applies to
Palestine and will eventually apply to Cilicia. I would point out that none of these
expressions are to be found in the agreement of the 30th September which we have
recently confirmed by an exchange of notes. Under that arrangement the official who
is to be recognised as chief political officer, subject to the conditions stated in the
arrangement itself, is styled “ the representative of the French Government.” There is
not and cannot be any question of appointing a French High Commissioner and any
attempt to create in Syria a French official of that description would produce the
greatest unrest among the Arabs, and is explicitly objected to by General Allenby, the
3. Further, the agreement refers to “ territory occupied or to be occupied ” and not
to Cilicia, as to which no question arises at present, since it has not been occupied and
may not be occupied in the future ; still less does the agreement refer to Palestine
which is outside the area of special French interest.
4. While taking note with pleasure of the acceptance by the French Government
of our proposal that fresh conversations on the subject of the territories comprised in
the agreement of 19Fi should take place between the Governments of France, Italy, the
United States and Great Britain, His Majesty’s Government find the reference to
“the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire” in this connection open to possible
misconstruction. If it means, as it no doubt does, that the territory in which the
Ottoman Turks unquestionably predominate may rightly be claimed by a Turkish
Government, His Majesty’s Government would in principle agree. But the phrase
might convey the impression, far removed as I assume from the intentions of the French
Government, that Turkish domination over other races, such as, for instance, the
Armenians, the Syrians and the Jews, was not to be entirely abolished, and to any
policy of that kind the British Government would be as resolutely opposed as would
doubtless be the French Government also.
5. We seek, as has often been said, a lasting peace and such a peace must be based
not on any considerations of finance or political advantage for this or that Power, but on
the principle of giving to each people, as far as possible the Government which is most
in accord with its desires and most likely to secure for it stability and prosperity, having
regard to all relevant historical, geographical and strategetic considerations.
G. Finally, His Majesty’s Government, though always ready and willing to discuss
with the French Government with the frankness and cordiality which befit Allies all
questions connected with the subject matter of these agreements, yet ventures to point
out that our experience of 1916 indicates the disadvantages and dangers of any
separate negotiations between France and Great Britain upon a subject which is of great
interest and importance to their other Ally, Italy.
I have, &c.
(2827 bb—2)

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 [‎47r] (94/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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