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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919

The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919,   pp. [V]-917 ff. PDF (305.7 MB)

Page 4

posal had asked for a recognition of the historic and traditional case
for including the regions claimed in the French zone. It had pointed
out that there was no Government in the world which had such a posi-
tion as France in the regions claimed. It had given an exposition of
the historic rights of France dating from the time of Louis XIV.
M. Pichon continued by pointing out that French intervention in Syria
had been frequent, the last instance being the case of the expedition or-
ganised in Syria and Lebanon in 1860, which had resulted in the estab-
lishment of the status of the Lebanon. France, he pointed out, had a
great number of hospitals in Syria. There were a great number of
schools in many villages, and some 50,000 children were educated in
French primary schools. There were also a number of secondary
schools and one great university in Beyrout. Moreover, the railway
system of Syria was French, and included the Beyrout to Damascus
line, and the Tripoli-Homs line, which latter it was proposed to prolong
to the Euphrates and to unite with the Bagdad system. Altogether it
was contemplated to have a system of 1,233 kilometres, of which 683
kilometres had already been constructed. Beyrout was entirely a
French port. The gas and electricity works were French, and the same
applied to the lighting along the coast. This was not the limit of
French enterprise, for France had perfected the agriculture and the
viticulture of Syria and had established many factories. No other
country had anything like so complete a development in these regions.
Hence, France could not abandon her rights. Moreover, France
strongly protested against any idea of dividing Syria. Syria had
geographical and historic unity. The French Government frankly
avowed that they did not want the responsibility of administering Pal-
estine, though they would prefer to see it under an international ad-
ministration. What they asked was:-
(1) That the whole Syrian region should be treated as a unit:
(2) That France should become the mandatory of the League of
Nations of this region.
On January 30 of this year Mr. Lloyd George had urged the Con-
ference to reconsider the distribution of troops in Turkey and the
Caucasus with the object of lightening the heavy burden which fell on
Great Britain.8 As a result, the Military Representatives had been
asked to prepare a plan. The scheme of the Military Representatives
provided fore-
The occupation by France of Syria and Cilicia, with 2 divisions
and 1 cavalry brigade:
The occupation by Great Britain of Mesopotamia, including
Mosul, by 2 divisions and 1 cavalry brigade:
The occupation by Italy of the Caucasus and Konia.
See BC-18, vol. In, pp. 806-808, 817.

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