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

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


Page 7

THE COUNCIL OF FOUR
7
right of enterprise and local loans . . . and . . . "shall alone supply
advisers or foreign functionaries at the request of the Arab State or
Confederation of Arab States." Was France prepared to accept
that? This, however, was not a question between Great Britain and
France. It was a question between France and an agreement which
we had signed with King Hussein.
(At this point M. Orlando and General Diaz entered).
M. PIcHoN said he wished to say one word. In the new arrange-
ments which were contemplated no direct administration whatso-
ever was claimed by France. Since the Agreement of 1916, the whole
mandatory system had been adopted. If a mandate were granted by
the League of Nations over these territories, all that he asked was
that France should have that part put aside for her.
MR. LLOYD GEORGE said that we could not do that. The League
of Nations could not be used for putting aside our bargain with King
Hussein. He asked if M. Pichon intended to occupy Damascus with
French troops? If he did, it would clearly be a violation of the
Treaty with the Arabs.
M. PIcHoN said that France had no convention with King Hussein.
MR. LOYD GEoRGE said that the whole of the agreement of 1916
(Sykes-Picot), was based on a letter from Sir Henry McMahon'
to King Hussein from which he quoted the following extracts:-
"The districts of Mersina and Alexandretta, and portions of Syria
lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and
Aleppo, cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded
from the proposed limits of boundaries. With the above modifi-
cations, and without prejudice to our existing treaties with Arab
Chiefs, we accept these limits of boundaries; and in regard to those
portions of the territories therein in which Great Britain is free
to act without detriment to the interests of her ally France, I am
empowered, in the name of the Government of Great Britain, to
give the following assurances and make the following reply to your
letter:-
'Subject to the above modifications Great Britain is prepared to recognise
and support the independence of the Arabs within territories included in
the
limits of boundaries proposed by the Sherif of Mecca.'-(Extract from a
letter from Sir H. McMahon to King Hussein, Oct. 24, '14).["]
M. PIcHoN said that this undertaking had been made by Great
Britain (Angleterre) alone. France had never seen it until a few
weeks before when Sir Maurice Hankey had handed him a copy.
Mn. LLOYD GEORGE said the agreement might have been made by
England (Angleterre) alone, but it was England (Angleterre) who
had organised the whole of the Syrian campaign. There would
have been no question of Syria but for England (Angleterre).
Great Britain had put from 900,000 to 1,000,000 men in the field
'British High Commissioner for Egypt, 1914-16.


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