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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎66v] (133/220)

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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18. But if this is so in the case of* Armenia, it will
also be so, in a hardly lesser degree, in the case of the
Arab countries. The French are well aware that in
Syria, with the possible exception of the Lebanon, opinion
is deeply averse from the idea of French assistance, and
that the Joint Declaration has been received with
enthusiasm, as implying that the French Government
do not intend to force it upon an unwilling people.
19. In Syria there is a de facto Arab administration,
recognised by the Allies, and unquestionably competent
to express the feelings of the population. On the
evidence that has reached us from the spot, do the
French seriously believe that the Syrians, through their
national representatives, will declare for France ?
20. It is already clear that they will refuse French
assistance, and in that event the only means left to
France for asserting her influence over Syria would be to
occupy the country militarily. But Sir Mark Sykes, who
cannot be suspected of lack of sympathy for French
aspirations, has telegraphed from Syria that the substitu
tion of a French Army of Occupation for the British
would precipitate a catastrophe.
21. It would, in fact, be resisted by the Syrians by
force of arms ; and while the Armenians are perhaps
better known than the Syrians to the Western civilised
world, and might excite more sympathy as being
Christians, it must never be forgotten that the Syrians,
as a predominantly Moslem nation, would have behind
them the sympathy of the Moslem world.
22. Great Britain, with her millions of Moslem
subjects, could not afford to be a consenting party to an
arrangement under which a Moslem people, liberated by
British arms from a Government which, though
oppressive, -was also Moslem, would be abandoned to
foreign conquest again, and this time by a Christian
Power. Could France herself, with her Moslem subjects,
afford to take such action ? And, apart from self-interest,
would she care to assume this role ?
23. North Mesopotamia has been occupied more
recently than Syria by the British forces, but it is already
evident that the Arabs of Mosul desire union with the
rest of Mesopotamia, so that what applies to Syria applies
to Northern Mesopotamia also.
24. His Majesty’s Government have, of course, no
intention of attempting any one-sided alteration of the
arrangements contemplated under the agreement, and
they recognise that in Syria and North Mesopotamia, if
taken by themselves, the principle of self-determination
would impose serious sacrifices upon France. Fortunately,
however, the same principle promises the French more
than adequate compensation in Turkish and Russian
25. It appears, therefore, that we have a strong case
for insisting on the revision of the 1910 Agreement,
seeing that, if it were carried out, the consequences
would be most prejudicial to our interests in the Middle
East, while the alternative settlement on the basis of
self-determination not only safeguards our interests but
is, if anything, more favourable than the other to the
interests of France.
Foreign Office,
December 19, 1918.

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 [‎66v] (133/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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