By April 16, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Arabs: The Anglo-French Declaration and the Declaration to the Seven, The Emergence of the Jewish Problem 1878-1939,James Parker, Oxford University Press, 1946, p.20.

On the 3 October 1918, Faysal entered Damascus as conqueror. His personal qualities and the fact that he was there as the visible embodiment of an Arab victory, ensured him the support of the bulk of the population, while at the same time his presence considerably enhanced the British reputation for friendship to the Arabs. Much of the effect of this was undone a fortnight later when Allenby was obliged to agree to the transference of the administration of the coastal region of Syria from British to French military detachments, although the latter still nominally remained under his supreme control. Some attempt was made to counter-balance the unpopularity which this and similar acts created, by an official Franco-British Declaration, issued on 7 November 1918 by the Military Command, in which it was unequivocally stated that-

“The object aimed at by France and Great Britain in prosecuting in the East the war let loose by the ambition of Germany is the complete and definite emancipation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations.

In order to carry out these intentions France and Great Britain are at one in encouraging and assisting the establishment of indigenous Governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia, now liberated by the Allies, and in the territories the liberation of which they are engaged in securing and recognising these as soon as they are actually established.

Far from wishing to impose on the populations of these regions any particular institutions they are only concerned to ensure by their support and by adequate assistance the regular working of Governments and administrations freely chosen by the populations themselves. To secure impartial and equal justice for all, to facilitate the economic development of the country by inspiring and encouraging local initiative, to favour the diffusion of education, to put an end to dissensions that have too long been taken advantage of by Turkish policy, such is the policy which the two Allied Governments uphold in the liberated territories.”

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