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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎64v] (129/220)

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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Hedjaz and for all Moslem territories detached from tlie
Turks as a result of the war. In this his interests co
incide with ours, which would likewise suffer if it could
be represented that the destruction of Turkey meant the
weakening of Islam and the incorporation of fresh Moslem
countries in Christian empires; while, from our point of
view in Mesopotamia, our understanding with him is not
only important as sanctioning our effective administration
of the country without limitation of period or function
(a sanction with which we could perhaps dispense), but
as helping to make our presence palatable to Moslem
public opinion. This is a powerful argument for support
ing the candidature of his son, Sheiif Abdullah, to the
throne of Mesopotamia as titular sovereign ; and there
would be the further advantage that Abdullah, as a
nominal Sunni with Shia proclivities, might be acceptable
to both sects, between which the population of Mesopo
tamia is divided. The choice of Abdullah would also
ease the situation in the Arabian Peninsula, since, if we
satisfied sherifial aspirations in Mesopotamia, we could
take a firm stand against any aggression by King Husein
upon Bin Sand. [We have recognised Bin Saud by treaty
as sovereign and independent ruler of his present terri
tories, and his overthrow would make havoc in the Persian
Gulf.] At the same time, if we secure King Husein’s
interests in the settlement in such a way as to justify his
action and save his prestige, he can build up—without
our taking any action whatsoever, either open or secret, in
regard to the Caliphate— a spiritual centre for the Moslem
world which may satisfy Moslem aspirations without
fostering chauvinism or encouraging the disastrous ideal
of a political pan-Islamic movement. Incidentally, he is
an eminently suitable guardian for the holy cities, and we
shall be able to point to his position there as a fulfilment
of our pledge that, whatever the outcome of our war
against Turkey, these places should remain Moslem and
5. We have also to consider what alternatives there
are to supporting the Arab movement. If we start from
the fact that we have broken with Turkey and destroyed
her, the only other alternative seems to be to set at defiance
both Islam and the principle of nationality, and to par
tition the Arab countries detached from Turkey between
India and France. The Anglo-French Agreement of
1916 was an attempt to compromise between support of
the Arab movement and this plan, but the balance was
heavily overweighted on the side of partition, and the
agreement would almost inevitably end in that if it were
carried into effect.
6. This opens up possibilities which can only be faced
with profound misgiving. We should have embarked
upon joining with France to hold down bv force the
whole Islamic world, a course at variance with our past
policy in India and beyond our strength to carry out;
and secondly, in order to obtain the necessary assistance
for attempting this impossible undertaking, we should be
letting France secure a foothold in areas where we least
wmmt to see her. As regards the strategical danger, it is
sufficient to refer to the memorandum recently circulated
by the War Office; as for the political consequences, the
lines drawn on the map attached to the 1916 agreement,
startling though they are, do not give the full measure
of the seriousness of the situation. Damascus is the
key, not only to Area “A” but to territory in AreaB,”
extending to a point south-east of the oasis of Jof, in 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 [‎64v] (129/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 7 December 2023]

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