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PARIS, September 22, 1919, 11 p.m. [Received 11.40 p.m.] 4312. Department's 3193, September 20, 10 p.m., 3060, September 8, 7 p.m., 3021, September 3 , 3 p.m. The French offer mentioned in my 3960, August 20 , 11 a.m., to land troops at Alexandretta and Mersina meant that an expeditionary force of about 12,000 men of all arms would be moved into Cilicia and would occupy the points in southern Armenia such as Marash, Malatia, and Urfa now occupied by British troops. In pursuance of this plan the British and French agreed on the 15th instant, that the British garrisons in Syria west of the Sykes-Picot line in Cilicia and southern Armenia will be replaced by a French force; that the garrisons at Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo will be replaced by an Arab force; and that after the withdrawal of the British forces neither the British Government nor the British commander-inchief shall have any responsibility within the zones from which the army has retired. This carries out the arrangements contemplated by the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, under which the Syrian littoral with Cilicia and southern Armenia was to be occupied and administered [by the] French. This plan will merely protect the relatively few Armenians now occupying southern Armenia....
Appendix B to HD-53
Aide-Memoire in Regard to the Occupation of Syria, Palestine ad Mesopotamia Pending the Decision in Regard to Mandates 1. Steps will be taken immediately to prepare for the evacuation by the British Army of Syria and Cilicia including the Taurus tunnel. 2. Notice is given both to the French Government and to the Emir Feisal of our intentions to commence the evacuation of Syria and Cilicia on November 1, 1919: 3. In deciding to whom to hand over responsibility for garrisoning the various districts in the evacuated area, regard will be had to the engagements and declarations of the British and French Governments, not only as between themselves, but as between them and the Arabs: 4. In pursuance of this policy the garrisons in Syria west of the Sykes-Picot line and the garrisons in Cilicia will be replaced by a French force, and the garrisons at Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo will be replaced by an Arab force. 5. After the withdrawal of their forces neither the British Government nor the British Commander-in-Chief shall have any responsibility within the zones from which the Army has retired: 6. The territories occupied by British troops will then be Palestine, defined in accordance with its ancient boundaries of Dan to Beersheba, and Mesopotamia, including Mosul, the occupation thus being in harmony with the arrangements concluded in December 1918, between M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George. 7. The British Government are prepared at any time to discuss the boundaries between Palestine and Syria and between Mesopotamia and Syria. In the event of disagreement in regard to the above boundaries, the British Government are prepared to submit the question to the arbitration of a referee appointed by President Wilson. 8. In accordance with the principles of the Sykes-Picot agreement the French Government shall not object to the Arab State granting to the British Government the right to construct, administer, and be the sole proprietor of a railway line connecting Haifa with Mesopotamia on a trace to be decided on after survey anywhere as far north as the latitude of Deir-ez-Zor. The British Government shall have the right to construct oil pipe lines as well as the railway line. The British Government shall, in addition, have a perpetual right at all times to improve the facilities of these railway and oil pipe lines and to transport troops along the railway, and these rights shall be exercisable even in time of war, without infringement of the neutrality of the French Government or of the Arab State. In the event of disagreement as to the trace of the railway line and oil pipe lines the British Government are prepared to submit this question to the arbitration of a referee appointed by President Wilson. 9. The British Government notify the French Government and the Emir Feisal of their intention immediately to carry out a survey with the object of finding, if practicable, a trace for the railway line and pipe lines entirely within the British mandate, in order to enable them to avoid the necessity of exercising the rights of construction referred to above: 10. Until the boundaries of Palestine and Mesopotamia are determined the British Commander-in-Chief shall have the right to occupy out-posts in accordance with the boundary claimed by the British Government: 11. The French Government, having accepted responsibility for the protection of the Armenian people, the British Government will consent to the immediate despatch of French troops via Alexandretta and Mersina for this purpose. PARIS, September 13, 1919.
HD-53 Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Clemenceau's Room at the War Office, Paris, on Monday, 15 September, 1919, at 10: 30 a. m. PRESENT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Hon. F. L. Polk Secretary Mr. L. Harrison BRITISH EMPIRE Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, 0. M., M. P. Secretary Sir M. Hankey, G. C. B. FRANCE M. Clemenceau Secretary M. de St-Quentin ITALY M. Tittoni Secretary M. Paterno JAPAN M. Matsui Secretary M. Kawal Interpreter - M. Camerlynek The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:FRANCE M. Tardieu. Marshal Poch. General Weygand. [AGENDA ITEM] 5. MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that as regards Turkey it was impossible at the present moment to discuss the question of mandates. All that could be discussed usefully was the arrangements for the military occupation of the various spheres. He had discussed this matter with M. Clemenceau on Saturday, September 13th, and had handed to him an Aide Memoire, which he would now place before the Conference. (Appendix "B") (The Aide Memoire was handed round.) MR. LLOYD GEORGE then gave a summary of what was contained in the Aide Memoire. He referred first to the final paragraph, in which it is stated, that the French Government having accepted responsibility for the protection of the Armenian people, the British Government will consent to the immediate despatch of French troops via Alexandretta and Mersina, for this purpose. Field Marshal Allenby had seen General Weygand on this subject on Saturday. The withdrawal of British troops from Cilicia was to take place immediately. The British troops would also be withdrawn from Syria, beginning on November 1st. Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo had been included within the boundaries of the Arab State. He therefore, proposed that the British troops should hand the garrisons of
these towns over to the Emir Feisal. In other parts of Syria, west of the SykesPicot line, the garrisons would be handed over to French troops. In the first instance, British troops would be withdrawn to the line which the British Government conceived to be the boundary between Syria and Mesopotamia, and Syria and Palestine respectively. This would be the provisional boundary line. As regards the permanent line, if the British could not come to an agreement with the French Government and with Feisal, they were prepared to submit the question to the arbitration of someone nominated by President Wilson, if the President would accept this charge. The Aide Memoire also contained an arrangement as regards a railway outside the British zone, but this was a matter which would have to be settled as part of the permanent arrangements. He had taken on himself the responsibility of sending for the Emir Feisal to Europe, because the British Government had entered into certain engagements with King Hussein, on the strength of which, the latter had given strong support to our forces. In consequence of these engagements, the Arabs had greatly harassed the Turks, and had kept some thirty or forty thousand of them constantly occupied and given us very material assistance in conquering the country. The Arabs had fulfilled their engagements and we were bound to fulfil ours. There was a suggestion in the French press, that the British Government had not told the French Government of their engagements with the Arabs. Consequently, he had promised M. Clemenceau on Saturday to hand him a document clearing up this point. (At this point, Mr. Lloyd George handed M. Clemenceau a document, prepared in the British Foreign Office, on the question of whether the French Government had been notified of the engagements made by the British Government with King Hussein.) Mr. Lloyd George, continuing, said that the Sykes-Picot agreement had also been based on the engagements of the British Government with the Arabs. In fact, the Emir Feisal declared that by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the British Government had given away something which was promised to him, but the British Government could not accept this view, and felt certain they could convince the Emir Feisal on the matter. In their communications with King Hussein, they had always made it clear that in their view, the country west of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo was not Arab in character. He hoped to be able to make it clear to the Emir Feisal that this point had been explained fully to the Emir's father in the letters sent to him by the British Government. In any case, it had been necessary to summon the Emir Feisal to Europe, in order to make the same declaration to him as to the French Government, as regards the withdrawal of the British forces. M. CLEMENCEAU said that the solution of the Turkish problem must be considered as a whole, otherwise great difficulties would be encountered. On the first point mentioned by Mr. Lloyd George, President Wilson had always thought he would be ready to announce the American attitude as regards mandates by the end of September or in October. In his personal opinion, however, a matter of six weeks would make no material difference. He, himself, had read Mr. Lloyd George's Aide Memoire and was preparing a reply. He had, however, of course, not yet had time to read the document handed to him that morning, in regard to the declaration to the Arabs and the notification to the French Government thereon. In his view, the question of an Arab Empire raised great difficulties, and the Governments concerned must take time to consider it. He desired to state that he reserved the right to discuss more fully Mr. Lloyd George's Aide Memoire. The pressing question today, on which he wished to have an answer from Mr. Lloyd George, was as to whether the occupation by French troops of Syria and Cilicia would be considered as not merely as part of the agreement suggested in the Aide Memoire, but as a definite acceptation of the agreement. It would not be possible for him to promise things he could not carry out. If Mr. Lloyd George was unable to come to France later to discuss the question, then he himself would be prepared to go to London. Until this later discussion, he could accept no condition in the Aide Memoire, other than the occupation by French troops. As for the question of sending French troops to Armenia, this was a very serious and grave responsibility for France to take. He offered to send French troops to Armenia because the Armenians were threatened with massacre, in order to render a service to the Conference. This offer, however, could not constitute a provision of an agreement since France was not desirous of going to Armenia and it would involve an enormous burden. For the moment, he merely wished to put this question:
"Does the sending of troops by France to Syria and Cilicia mean that he accepted the whole agreement?" If it was so, he could not undertake to send troops. (The answers to M. Clemenceau's questions, summarised below, were mainly interjected by Mr. Lloyd George, during the interpretation of M. Clemenceau's remarks.) MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that M. Clemenceau would not be committed to the whole agreement by sending troops. It was the intention of the British Government to withdraw their troops from Syria and Cilicia in any event. The only point was, that in the Syrian portion, the British Government would, in accordance with their engagements, hand over their posts to French troops. M. CLEMENCEAU observed that it was no advantage for France to go to Armenia, which would cost them a great deal of money. MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that Field Marshal Allenby had informed him that the mere presence of troops in the places now occupied, had a good effect in averting massacres in Armenia. MR. POLK observed that the present discussion was merely an exchange of views between his British and French colleagues. It was understood that the question would be debated hereafter as a whole. MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that, nevertheless, in loyalty, he had felt it necessary to notify the Conference, otherwise it might be said in the newspapers, that these arrangements were being made behind the backs of his colleagues. M. CLEMENCEAU said he was in agreement that Mr. Lloyd George was right to notify the Conference. In consequence, of Mr. Lloyd George's remarks, he would agree to replace the British troops in Syria and Cilicia by French troops, but as regards the rest of the Aide Memoire, he must reserve his opinion. When the question of the future of Turkey was considered as a whole, it might be possible to grant what could not be granted when the question of Syria was considered in isolation. He would always be ready to go to London. MR. LLOYD GEORGE suggested that the French military authorities should make the necessary arrangements with Field Marshal Allenby, who was now in Paris, for replacing the British garrisons within the zone proposed. He wished to be perfectly clear that M. Clemenceau had accepted that France should occupy Syria and Cilicia. M. CLEMENCEAU said that French garrisons would take the places evacuated by the British. MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that was what he had understood. This was a purely provisional arrangement for the military occupation. M. CLEMENCEAU said that as the British left the French would take their places. The matter did not really affect the Conference. MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that it did not prejudice the settlement of mandates or boundaries. (M. Clemenceau instructed an Officer of his Staff to summon Marshal Foch and General Weygand to meet him at 3 p. m. to take his instructions on this question.)
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