British diplomacy had long secured the integrity of the Ottoman Empire against the ambitions of France and Russia. But since the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 British influence began to decline and that of Germany to rise at Constantinople, for a variety of reasons. By the autumn of 1914 German influence was overwhelming, and Britain lost whatever influence it still had with the Turkish government after the seizure of the two dreadnoughts. Britain had therefore to take precautions on the military and the political levels. A contingency plan was worked out in India for landing British troops in Lower Iraq immediately Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany. On the first of September, a note was issued on the instructions of Sir Edward Grey, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that “directly Turkey joins Germany His Majesty’s Government should at once give every encouragement and support to the Arabs to possess themselves of Arabia and the Holy Places.” 1

1. F.O. 371/2139. The Note is signed by Sir Eyre Crowe, under secretary of state.

From Chapter 2- The British Overtures, p.34-35.