What Is Sykes Picot Agreement?
Sykes Picot Agreement, 1916
Letter 1: From Sir Edward Grey To Paul Cambon May 16, 1916. I shall have the honor to reply fully in a further note to your Excellency's note of the 9th instant, relative to the creation of an Arab state, but I should meanwhile be grateful if your excellence could assure me that in those regions which, under the conditions recorded in that communication, become entirely French, or in which French interests are recognized as predominant, any existing British concessions, rights of navigation or development, and the rights and privileges of any British religious, scholastic, or medical institutions will be maintained. His majesty's government is; of course, ready to give a reciprocal assurance in regard to the British area. Sir Edward Grey.
Letter 2: From Sir Edward Grey To Paul Cambon May 16, 1916. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's note of the 9th instant, stating that the French government accept the limits of a future Arab state, or confederation of states, and of those parts of Syria where French interests predominate, together with certain conditions attached thereto, such as they result from recent discussions in London and Petrograd on the subject. I have the honor to inform your Excellency in reply that the acceptance of the whole project, as it now stands, will involve the abdication of considerable British interests, but, since his majesty's government recognize the advantage to the general cause of the allies entailed in producing a more favorable internal political situation in turkey, they are ready to accept the arrangement now arrived at, provided that the co-operation of the Arabs is secured, and that the Arabs fulfill the conditions and obtain the towns of Homs, Hama, Damascus and Aleppo. It is accordingly understood between the French and British governments:
- That France and Great Britain are prepared to recognize and protect an independent Arab states or a confederation of Arab states (a) and (b) marked on the annexed map, under the suzerainty of an Arab chief. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall have priority of right of enterprise and local loans. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall alone supply advisers or foreign functionaries at the request of the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.
- That in the blue area France, and in the red area great Britain, shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit to arrange with the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.
- That in the brown area there shall be established an international administration, the form of which is to be decided upon after consultation with Russia, and subsequently in consultation with the other allies, and the representatives of the sheriff of Mecca.
- That Great Britain is accorded (1) the ports of Haifa and acre, (2) guarantee of a given supply of water from the Tigres and Euphrates in area (a) for area (b). His majesty's government, on their part, undertakes that they will at no time enter into negotiations for the cession of Cyprus to any third power without the previous consent of the French government.
- That Alexandretta shall be a free port as regards the trade of the British empire, and that there shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards British shipping and British goods; that there shall be freedom of transit for British goods through Alexandretta and by railway through the blue area, or (b) area, or area (a); and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect, against British goods on any railway or against British goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.
- That Haifa shall be a free port as regards the trade of France, her dominions and protectorates, and there shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards French shipping and French goods. There shall be freedom of transit for French goods through Haifa and by the British railway through the brown area, whether those goods are intended for or originate in the blue area, area (a), or area (b), and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect, against French goods on any railway, or against French goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.
- That in area (a) the Baghdad railway shall not be extended southwards beyond Mosul, and in area (b) northwards beyond Samara, until a railway connecting Baghdad and Aleppo via the Euphrates valley has been completed, and then only with the concurrence of the two governments.
- That great Britain has the right to build, administer, and be sole owner of a railway connecting Haifa with area (b), and shall have a perpetual right to transport troops along such a line at all times. It is to be understood by both governments that this railway is to facilitate the connection of Baghdad with Haifa by rail, and it is further understood that, if the engineering difficulties and expense entailed by keeping this connecting line in the brown area only make the project unfeasible, that the French government shall be prepared to consider that the line in question may also traverse the Polgon Banias Keis Marib Salkhad tell Otsda Mesmie before reaching area (b).
- For a period of twenty years the existing Turkish customs tariff shall remain in force throughout the whole of the blue and red areas, as well as in areas (a) and (b), and no increase in the rates of duty or conversions from ad valorem to specific rates shall be made except by agreement between the two powers.
- There shall be no interior customs barriers between any of the above-mentioned areas. The customs duties livable on goods destined for the interior shall be collected at the port of entry and handed over to the administration of the area of destination.
- It shall be agreed that the French government will at no time enter into any negotiations for the cession of their rights and will not cede such rights in the blue area to any third power, except the Arab state or confederation of Arab states, without the previous agreement of his majesty's government, who, on their part, will give a similar undertaking to the French government regarding the red area.
- The British and French government, as the protectors of the Arab state, shall agree that they will not themselves acquire and will not consent to a third power acquiring territorial possessions in the Arabian peninsula, nor consent to a third power installing a naval base either on the east coast, or on the islands, of the red sea. This, however, shall not prevent such adjustment of the Aden frontier as may be necessary in consequence of recent Turkish aggression.
- The negotiations with the Arabs as to the boundaries of the Arab states shall be continued through the same channel as heretofore on behalf of the two powers.
- It is agreed that measures to control the importation of arms into the Arab territories will be considered by the two governments.
I have further the honor to state that, in order to make the agreement complete, his majesty's government are proposing to the Russian government to exchange notes analogous to those exchanged by the latter and your Excellency's government on the 26th April last. Copies of these notes will be communicated to your Excellency as soon as exchanged. I would also venture to remind your excellency that the conclusion of the present agreement raises, for practical consideration, the question of claims of Italy to a share in any partition or rearrangement of turkey in Asia, as formulated in article 9 of the agreement of the 26th April, 1915, between Italy and the allies. His majesty's government further considers that the Japanese government should be informed of the arrangements now concluded.
Sir Edward Grey
Letter 1: From Sir Edward Grey To Count Benckendorff
May 10/23, 1916
I have received from the French ambassador in London copies of the notes exchanged between the Russian and French governments on the 26th ultimo, by which your excellency’s government recognize, subject to certain conditions, the arrangement made between great Britain and France, relative to the constitution of an Arab state or a confederation of Arab states, and to the partition of the territories of Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia, provided that the co-operation of the Arabs is secured. His majesty's government take act with satisfaction that your excellency's government concur in the limits set forth in that arrangement, and I have now the honor to inform your excellency that his majesty's government, on their part, in order to make the arrangement complete, are also prepared to recognize the conditions formulated by the Russian government and accepted by the French government in the notes exchanged at Petrograd on the 26th ultimo. In so far, then, as these arrangements directly affect the relations of Russia and great Britain, I have the honor to invite the acquiescence of your excellency's government in an agreement on the following terms:
- That Russia shall annex the regions of Restroom, Trapezoid, van, and Battles, up to a point subsequently to be determined on the littoral of the black sea to the west of Trapezoid.
- That the region of Kurdistan to the south of van and of Battles between Mush, Sort, the course of the Tigris, Jazzier Ben Omar, the crest line of the mountains which dominate Acadia, and the region or Merge Vary, shall be ceded to Russia; and that starting from the region of Merge Vary, the frontier of the Arab state shall follow the crest line of the mountains which at present divide the ottoman and Persian dominions, these boundaries are indicated in a general manner and are subject to modifications of detail to be proposed later by the delimitation commission which shall meet on the spot.
- That the Russian government undertake that, in all parts of the ottoman territories thus ceded to Russia, and concessions accorded to British subjects by the ottoman government shall be maintained, if the Russian government express the desire that such concessions should later be modified in order to bring them into harmony with the laws of the Russian empire, this modification shall only take place in agreement with the British government.
- That in all parts of the ottoman territories ceded to Russia, existing British rights of navigation and development, and the rights and privileges of any British religious, scholastic, or medical institutions shall be maintained. His majesty's government, on their part, undertakes that similar Russian rights and privileges shall be maintained in those regions which, under the conditions of this agreement, become entirely British, or in which British interests are recognized as predominant.
- The two governments admit in principle that every state which annexes any part of the ottoman empire is called upon to participate in the service of the ottoman debt.
Sir Edward Grey
Letter 2: From Sir Edward Grey To Count Benckendorff
Oct. 10/23, 1916
In reply to your Excellency's note of the 1st ultimo, regarding the arrangement between great Britain, Russia, and France, relative to the creation of an Arab state, or of a confederation of Arab states, and to the partition of the territories of Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia, provided that the cooperation of the Arabs is secured, i have the honor to state that his majesty's government take note of the reservation formulated by the imperial Russian government at the end of article 4 of the arrangement respecting the rights of the imperial government to grant sabotage in the black sea, and of the desire manifested by that government that this question should be submitted later to a friendly examination by the governments of the parties interested.
Sir Edward Grey