One day during the Peace
Conference, Arnold Toynbee, adviser to the British delegation, had to
deliver some papers to the prime minister. “Lloyd George, to my
delight, had forgotten my presence and had begun to think loud. ‘Mesopotamia…yes…oil…irrigation…we
must have Mesopotamia; Palestine…yes…Holy Land…Zionism… we must
have Palestine; Syria…h’m…what is there in Syria? Let the French
have that “. Thus the lineaments of the peace settlement in the Middle
East were exposed: Britain seizing its chance; the need to throw
something to the French; a homeland for the Jews; oil; and the calm
assumption that the peacemakers could dispose of the former Ottoman
territories to suit themselves. At their meeting in London in
December 1918, just before Wilson arrived in Europe, Lloyd George and
Clemenceau found time to agree on a division of the Ottoman empire’s
vast Arab territories, stretching from Mesopotamia on the borders of the
Persian empire to the Mediterranean. Both men were still buoyed up
by their victory over Germany and by the novel but apparently warm
friendship between their two nations.
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That
Changed the World, 2002, p. 381. (MacMillan is a professor of
history at the University of Toronto and the great-granddaughter of
David Lloyd George. Emphasis above is Holdwater's.)
In 1916, Great Britain, Russia, France and Italy had agreed to divide all of
the Turkish nation among themselves, save for the small area in white that
remained. For enlarged view of the secret treaty map, click here.
excerpt is from the King-Crane Commission, formed primarily to examine the
situation in Syria, originally sponsored by Britain, France and the USA (with
the first two nations eventually dropping out). King was a “theologian,” which sounds like he could have been a
missionary, and Crane was a former secretary of the original Committee on
Armenian Atrocities in 1915. The biased gentlemen interviewed many
missionaries for their report, and relied upon the propaganda of Lord Bryce as
evidence of Armenian massacres. While concluding that it would be impossible
to suggest an Armenia extending from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,
King and Crane set upon themselves the task of taking lands from Turkey (and a
bit from Russia) to enlarge Armenia, emphasizing that a powerful mandatory
state would be necessary to implement the land-grab.
The secret treaties
agreed upon by the imperialistic Allies to divide the booty of the Ottoman
Empire gives us an understanding as to why it was necessary for nations such
as Britain, France and Russia to demonize the Turks, regarding the Armenian
"Genocide." British statesmen proclaimed
that it would be only just to appropriate Turkish lands as penalty for Turkish
crimes ("...I therefore suggest punishment should rather take the form
of, nationally, dismemberment of the late Turkish Empire..."; British
Deputy High Commissioner Webb, April 3, 1919) and propagandist Arnold Toynbee
made his nation's intentions clear in a memorandum (dated September 26, 1919,
F.O. 371/3404/162647, p. 2): "The treatment of Armenians by the Turks
is the biggest asset of his Majesty’s Government, to solve the Turkish
problem in a radical manner, and to have it accepted by the public."
In TAT's analysis of "The
Burning Tigris," more light was shed on the King-Crane Commission.
Next, we examine a
"mini"-secret treaty, The Balfour Declaration, followed by Richard
Hovannisian's look from 'Armenia on the Road to Independence.'
Most of these secret treaties concern Turkey, the choicest bit of war loot for the
victors. The first of the lot had to do with Constantinople, and the last- so far as the
world knows-dealt with Mosul and its oil, and this treaty was drawn up by the British and
French in February, 1919, a month after the Peace conference, with its pledge of
"open covenants, openly arrived at," had formally opened. Any honest man may be
excused for the use of strong language in characterizing this impenitent diplomacy which
stultified the soldier dead and the aims for which they died.
Summarized, the principal secret treaties among the allies, or sub-divisions of the
allies, are given below. They must be borne in mind if the King-Crane report is to be
Ever since the days of Peter the Great, Russia had coveted Constantinople, so, in March,
1915, by a series of three notes exchanged between Russia, France and Great Britain,
Constantinople was promised to Russia, after the allies had won the war. The other allies
were to have compensations elsewhere in Turkey, and Britain was also to be given the
"neutral zone" in Persia, with its rich petroleum perquisites This treaty also
provided for independent rule of the Moslem holy cities, and, if possible, the caliphate
was to be taken away from the Turks. By it Britain abandoned her historic policy of
nursing "The Sick Man of Europe." When the Revolutionists came into power in
Russia they renounced this treaty and made a battle-cry of the phrase, "No
annexations and no contributions (indemnities)."
Most sordid and cynical and shameless of all the secret treaties, and described by Mr.
Balfour at one of the Peace Conference sessions in a cynical and sardonic speech that is
perhaps unmatched in the annals of friendly international negotiations, was "The
Treaty of London," signed in April, 1915. This was Italy's price for entering the
war. In addition to giving Italy amazing stretches of territory within the Austrian
Empire, and the best port in Albania, and making the Adriatic an Italian lake, plus
territorial extensions in Africa, the treaty awarded the Italians the Dodecanese Islands
in the Aegean, off the shore of Turkey, and territory in Turkey equal to what Britain or
France would get! Incidentally, the Italians demanded a share of the German indemnity, and
a loan from Great Britain of £50,000,000.
By a later secret treaty in April, 1917, Italy was promised a still larger zone in
Anatolia, and Smyrna also, if the Russians agreed. Since revolutionary Russia was about to
denounce secret treaties it never approved. Consequently, Paris had heated discussions as
to Italian rights in Smyrna; and the squabble ended in the Greek expedition of May 15,
1919, to circumvent the Italians. It was this adventure, with its attendant excesses,
which called into existence the Turkish Nationalist movement, which has since become
victorious over the Christian powers. If there had been no secret treaties there would be
no Near Eastern crisis today.
As early as March, 1916, what is known as the Sazanof-Paleologue Treaty between Russia and
France, gave to Russia the land lying between Persia and the Black Sea. It extended
France's prospective territory in Turkey over a large section of Asia Minor and Syria
clear to the Tigris River.
Two months later came the famous and troublesome "Sykes-Picot Agreement,"
between France and Great Britain. By this secret treaty, France was to have Syria down as
far as the famous Crusader port of Acre. Great Britain was to have Haifa, potentially the
best port on the coast. She was also to receive Lower Mesopotamia. The cities of Damascus,
Homs and Aleppo were to go to some future "Arab State -and already King Hussein, of
the Hejaz, was on Great Britain's payroll! Explicitly, no other nation-meaning Italy-was
to be allowed any rights in the Arabic-speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire.
From the day of its signing until now this agreement has been smeared with oil, and other
forms of commercialism and imperialistic exploitation, as the reader of the King-Crane
Report has seen. One of the rawest sessions of the plenipotentiaries at Paris was held in
Lloyd George's apartment on March 20. It was but of this acrimonious discussion that there
was born President Wilson's suggestion for the sending of a commission of inquiry to
Turkey, which resulted in the King-Crane Report. He said.[NOTE: See "The Turkish
Empire as Booty," which is Chapter Four of Volume One of Ray Stannard Baker's
"Woodrow Wilson and World Set.]
Declaration, a "Mini" Secret Treaty
Arthur Balfour was mentioned in the King-Craine
Commission excerpt above. A promise was made to create a Jewish homeland within the
remarkable document of the Balfour Declaration. The catch was that the promised land
(hmm!) was part of another country... the Ottoman Empire. Arthur
Koestler wrote that in the letter "one nation solemnly promised to a second
nation the country of a third."
Foreign Office, November 2nd,1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you on
behalf of His Majesty's Government the following declaration of sympathy with
Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the
"His Majesty's Government view with
favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,
and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object,
it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the
civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the
rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this
Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour.
(A Survey of Palestine, 1945-1946, H.M.S.O.,
vol. I, p.1.)
General Allenby's forces were still south of
the Gaza-Beersheba line, and it was decided that the "Declaration" should
be kept secret until the end of the war; word surfaced only after the establishment
of the Civil Administration in 1920.
|Richard Hovannisian's insight on the treaties
From 'Armenia on the Road to Independence,'
1967, pg. 59:
While conducting "academic" talks with Dr. Zavriev, the
Russian Foreign Ministry and other Entente governments were busily planning to partition
the Ottoman Empire. In March, 1915, Foreign Minister Sazonov impressed upon British
Ambassador George Buchanan and French Ambassador Maurice Paléologue that a lasting
postwar settlement demanded Russian possession of "the city of Constantinople, the
western shore of the Bosporus, Sea of Marmora, and Dardanelles, as well as southern Thrace
up to the Enos-Midia line," and "a part of the Asiatic coast between the
Bosporus, the Sakarya River, and a point to be determined on the shore of the Bay of Ismid."
He requested the benevolence of Britain and France in this matter, promising in return
that “the Allied governments may be assured that they will meet, on the part of the
Imperial Government, the same sympathy for the realization of plans which they may have in
regard to other regions of the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere.” 98 Through
diplomatic exchanges of the next few days, the London and Paris governments received
guarantees regarding commercial privileges at Constantinople and passage through the
Straits. In addition, Britain requested, among other things, that Arabia and the Holy
Lands be made a separate Moslem state,99 and France expressed the
desire "to annex Syria, including the province of the Gulf of Alexandretta, and
Cilicia to the Taurus Range." 100 With the provisions approved,
the Constantinople-Straits Agreement was scaled on April 10, 1915.101 Two
weeks later, on April 26, other negotiations in London climaxed in Italy’s promise to
enter the war against Austria-Hungary in return for numerous territorial gains, primarily
along the eastern coast of the Adriatic, and against the Ottoman Empire in return for the
Dodecanese Islands and, in the event the Empire were partitioned, the Adalia vilayet on
Several months later, at the end of 1915, the British and French
governments found it advisable to reach an understanding regarding their plans for Western
Asia. The resulting Sykes-Picot accord was the most comprehensive secret agreement of the
Entente. By February 10, 1916, Sir Mark Sykes, British Foreign Office Near East expert,
and Georges Picot, former French Consul-General of Beirut, had arrived at a provisional
arrangement that gave France "direct or indirect" rule over Lebanon, the Syrian
coastline, Cilicia, and territory protruding onto the Anatolian highlands and along the
Taurus Mountains as far as the Persian border. Mesopotamia, from the environs of Baghdad
to the frontier of Persia and to the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean ports of Acre and
Haifa were included within the British zone of domination. Most of the remaining areas,
the desert regions, were divided into spheres of British and French influence.103