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Memorandum by the Emir Feisal

The country from a line Alexandretta - Persia southward to the Indian Ocean is inhabited by "Arabs" - by which we mean people of closely related Semitic stocks, all speaking the one language, Arabic. The non-Arabic-speaking elements in this area do not, I believe, exceed one per cent, of the whole. The aim of the Arab nationalist movements (of which my father became the leader in war after combined appeals from the Syrian and Mesopotamian branches) is to unite the Arabs eventually into one nation. As an old member of the Syrian Committee I commanded the Syrian revolt, and had under me Syrians, Mesopotamians, and Arabians. We believe that our ideal of Arab unity in Asia is justified beyond need of argument. If argument is required, we would point to the general principles accepted by the Allies when the United States joined them, to our splendid past, to the tenacity with which our race has for 600 years resisted Turkish attempts to absorb us, and, in a lesser degree, to what we tried our best to do in this war as one of the Allies. My father has a privileged place among Arabs, as their successful leader, and as the head of their greatest family, and as Sherif of Mecca. He is convinced of the ultimate triumph of the ideal of unity, if no attempt is made now to force it, by imposing an artificial political unity on the whole, or to hinder it, by dividing the area as spoils of war among great Powers. The unity of the Arabs in Asia has been made more easy of late years, since the development of railways, telegraphs, and air-roads. In old days the area was too huge, and in parts necessarily too thinly peopled, to communicate common ideas readily. The various provinces of Arab Asia - Syria, Irak, Jezireh, Hedjaz, Nejd, Yemen are very different economically and socially, and it is impossible to constrain them into one frame of government. We believe that Syria, an agricultural and industrial area thickly peopled with sedentary classes, is sufficiently advanced politically to manage her own internal affairs. We feel also that foreign technical advice and help will be a most valuable factor in our national growth. We are willing to pay for this help in cash; we cannot sacrifice for it any part of the freedom we have just won for ourselves by force of arms. Jezireh and Irak are two huge provinces, made up of three civilised towns, divided by large wastes thinly peopled by seminomadic tribes. The world wishes to exploit Mesopotamia rapidly, and we therefore believe that the system of government there will have to be buttressed by the men and material resources of a great foreign Power. We ask, however, that the Government be Arab, in principle and spirit, the selective rather than the elective principle being necessarily followed in the neglected districts, until time makes the broader basis possible. The main duty of the Arab Government there would be to oversee the educational processes which are to advance the tribes to the moral level of the towns. The Hedjaz is mainly a tribal area, and the government will remain, as in the past, suited to patriarchal conditions. We appreciate these better than Europe, and propose therefore to retain our complete independence there. The Yemen and Nejd are not likely to submit their cases to the Peace Conference. They look after themselves, and adjust their own relations with the Hedjaz and elsewhere. In Palestine the enormous majority of the people are Arabs. The Jews are very close to the Arabs in blood, and there is no conflict of character between the two races. In principles we are absolutely at one. Nevertheless, the Arabs cannot risk assuming the responsibility of holding level the scales in the clash of races and religions that have, in this one province, so often involved the world in

difficulties. They would wish for the effective super-position of a great trustee, so long as a representative local administration commended itself by actively promoting the material prosperity of the country. ---------In discussing our provinces in detail I do not lay claim to superior competence. The powers will, I hope, find better means to give fuller effect to the aims of our national movement. I came to Europe, on behalf of my father and the Arabs of Asia, to say that they are expecting the Powers at the Conference not to attach undue importance to superficial differences of condition, and not to consider them only from the low ground of existing European material interests and supposed spheres. They expect the powers to think of them as one potential people, jealous of their language and liberty, and ask that no step be taken inconsistent with the prospect of an eventual union of these areas under one sovereign government. In laying stress on the difference in the social condition of our provinces, I do not wish to give the impression that there exists any real conflict of ideals, material interests, creeds, or character rendering our union impossible. The greatest obstacle we have to overcome is local ignorance, for which the Turkish Government is largely responsible. In our opinion, if our independence be conceded and our local competence established, the natural influences of race, language, and interest will soon draw us together into one people; but for this the Great Powers will have to ensure us open internal frontiers, common railways and telegraphs, and uniform systems of education. To achieve this they must lay aside the thought of individual profits, and of their old jealousies. In a word, we ask you not to force your whole civilisation upon us, but to help us to pick out what serves us from your experience. In return we can offer you little but gratitude. January 1st, 1919.

Territorial Claims of the Government of the Hedjaz

As representing my father, who, by request of Britain and France, led the Arab rebellion against the Turks, I have come to ask that the Arabic-speaking peoples of Asia, from the line Alexandretta - Diarbekr southward to the Indian Ocean, be recognized as independent sovereign peoples, under the guarantee of the League of Nations. The Hedjaz, which is already a sovereign State, and Aden, which is a British dependency, are excluded from the Arab demand. The confirmation of the States already existing in the area, the adjustment of their boundaries with one another, with the Hedjaz, and with the British at Aden, and the formation of such new States as are required, and their boundaries, are matters for arrangement between us, after the wishes of their respective inhabitants have been ascertained. Detailed suggestions on these smaller points will be put forward by my Government when the time comes. I base my request on the principles enunciated by President Wilson (attached), and am confident that the Powers will attach more importance to the bodies and souls of the Arabic-speaking peoples than to their own material interests. FEISAL. January 29th, 1919.

APPENDIX. Second Point of President Wilson's Address at Mount Vernon of July 4th, 1918.
"The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantages of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery".

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