British Imperial Connexions to the Arab National Movement, 1912-1914; Lord Kitchener, the Emir Abdullah, Sir Louis Mallet -- the Case of Aziz Ali, 1914

From: Volume X, Part II: The Last Years of Peace (British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, GP Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds. with the assistance of Lillian M. Penson, PhD, 1938), pps 824-838.

(By permission of HMSO)

Appendix III
Preliminaries. Lord John Russell's refusal to favour independence of the Caliph (1860).

First stirrings of Arab Secret Societies (1865-1880).

Arab Secret Societies. From the Young Turk Revolution to 1912.

French Comments.
Syrian delegation to Lord Kitchener, 1912.

Arab Syrian Congress in Paris and Franco-Syrian Committee in Paris, June, 1913.

Lord Kitchener's conversation with Emir Abdullah, February 1914, and its aftermath.

(A) Lord Kitchener's account and views of Sir Louis Mallet.
(B) Emir Abdullah s account of his conversation with Lord Kitchener, transmitted with notes by Mr. G. Antonius.

Aziz Bey and the Arab Movement, 1914.

The origins of the Arab National Movement.

[ED. NOTE. -- The Arab national movement has its roots in the literary revival which began in Syria in the fifties of the XlXth century. This revival ultimately gave birth to Arab national consciousness in the Arab-speaking provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and to a movement for the political emancipation of those provinces from the Turkish yoke.

The project of using the Grand Sheriff as a kind of Caliph to counteract French influence in Egypt was actually discussed in 1860. It was decisively vetoed by Lord John Russell (F.O. 78/1514 of December 12, 1860). v. Temperley: England and the Near East--the Crimea, (1936), p. 422. There is no real evidence of Arab support of the idea.

The first stirrings appear to have taken place between the years 1865 and 1880, when secret societies were formed in Beyrouth and Damascus. The celebrated Midhat Pasha, Governor of Syria in the late seventies, is known to have lent some encouragement to the movement.]

Arab Secret Societies.

[ED. NOTE.-- ) Renewed activity, on a much larger scale, manifested itself in the years following the promulgation of the Ottoman Constitution in 1908. Arab literary societies, political clubs and other organisations for the promotion of racial interests were formed in various centres in the years 1909 to 1914. The majority of these were established in Constantinople, but they had branches in Cairo, Beyrouth, Damascus and (in some cases) Bagdad and Basra. A good many of them were secret societies in the sense that the members, while carrying on patriotic activities openly) were pledged never to disclose the existence of the organisation which directed their activities.

The group composed principally of Druse and Muslims of the Lebanon and of Damascus, who since the massacres of 1860 had looked to Great Britain as their protector, approached the British Consul General in Beyrouth with the request that the British Government should assist the Arabs in their struggle against the Turks.(l) A delegation of Syrian Muslim notables also visited Lord Kitchener, High Commissioner in Egypt, petitioning Great Britain to annex Syria to Egypt and to give Syria an independent administration.(2)

Lord Kitchener, no less than His Majesty's Government, was aware of the importance of extending British influence in western Arabia as well as on the coast of the Persian Gulf and with lbn Saud. Such influence was essential if a Khalifat independent of Ottoman control and of German influence were to be created(3) and if the still nebulous project of a Trans-Arabia railway from Akaba to the Persian Gulf were to be realised. The advances of the Syrians and of the Arab Nationalists were, therefore, tactfully received.]

(1) [Figaro and le Temps, November 18, 1912; L'Eclair, December 2, 1912.]
(2) [Le Temps, November 18, 1912; L'Écho de Paris, February 28, 1913; also Najib Azuri to Quai d'Orsay, March 16, 1913, cited by E. Jung: La Revolte Arabe, Vol. I (Paris, 1924), pp. 60-1.]
(3) [For an indication of the influence of this policy on war-time negotiations v. E. Adamov: Die Europäischen Mächte und die Türkei während des Weltkrieges. Aufteilung der Asiatischen Türkei. (Dresden, 1932), especially p. 30, No. 32, Sir A. Nicolson to M. Sazonov, March 20, 1915.]

Arab-Syrian Congress in Paris, June 1913.

[ED. NOTE.-In June 1913, as a result of preparations made by one of these Societies, an Arab-Syrian Congress was publicly held in Paris. It sat from the 18th to the 23rd June.]

Sir G. Lowther to Sir Edward Grey
F.O. 26655/253/13/44
(No. 504.)
Constantinople, D. June 7, 1913.
R. June 11, 1913.

With reference to my despatch No. 409 of the 13th ultimo, I have the honour to forward herewith a despatch from His Majesty's consul-general at Beirout reporting on the departure of the reform delegates for Paris and London.

I have, etc.

Consul-General Cumberbatch to Sir G. Lowther.
(No. 47 )
Beirout, May 30, 1913.

With reference to my despatch No. 36 of the 28th ultimo, reporting the departure of two members of the Beirout Reform Committee for Cairo and the capitals of Europe, I have the honour to report that three others left on the 26th instant to join them in Cairo and proceed to Paris together.

The names of the men composing this special commission or "delegation" are-
1. Ahmed Bey Moukhtar Beyhoum (Moslem), member of the most influential Moslem family of Beirout.

2. Khalil Effendi Zeynich (not Selim Taiarah, as mentioned in my above-quoted despatch), a Greek Catholic journalist.

3. Selim Effendi Selam, a Moslem merchant of very high standing of Beirout.

4. Ahmed Effendi Tabbarah, a prominent Moslem journalist of Beirout.

5. Dr. Ayoub Tabet, Maronite of Beirout. Highly respectable medical practitioner.

6. Albert J. Sursoek, a member of one of the leading Greek orthodox families of Beirout (this gentleman has not left yet).

The mission of these gentlemen, whose expenses are being defrayed by a public subscription, is to plead the cause of reforms and to lay special stress on the admission of Arabic as the official language along with Turkish in Syria, the extension of the powers of the General Provincial Councils but not those of the valis, the appointment only of officials who speak Arabic, and last, but not least, the employment of foreign advisers.

They hold no written mandate, but have letters of recommendation from some of the heads of religions at Beirout to the "Franco-Syrian" Committee in Paris, which is composed of a dozen Frenchmen interested in the affairs of Syria and a few natives of Syria residing in France.

They have no connection with the "Arab-Syrian" Congress Committee though they will no doubt meet and discuss matters with them.

They will first present themselves at the Ottoman Embassy in Paris to make the object of their mission known, and, after approaching such French statesmen as they can, they will proceed to London, and possibly to the other European capitals, to awaken interest and sympathy in their efforts on behalf of their country.

I have, &c.

Mr. Carnegie to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 29037/29037/ 13/44.
(No. 339.)
Paris, June 24, 1913.

I have the honour to transmit to you herewith copy of the resolutions voted at an Arab-Syrian Congress in Paris, which have been forwarded to me by the officers of the Congress with a request that they should be communicated to your Department.

I have, &c.

Resolutions votées par le Congrès Arabe-Syrien.

Le Congres arabe-syrien, reuni à Paris, 184, Boulevard Saint-Germain, à adopté dans sa seance du 21 Juin 1913 les résolutions suivantes:

1. Des réformes radicales et urgentes sont nécessaires dans l'Empire Ottoman.

2. Il importe d'assurer aux arabes ottomans l'exercice de leurs droits politiques en rendant effective leur participation à l'administration centrale de l'Empire.

3. Il importe d'établir dans chacun des vilayets syriens et arabes un régime décentralisateur approprie à ses besoins et à ses aptitudes.

4. Le vilayet de Beyrouth, avant formulé ses revendications dans un projet spécial voté le 31 Janvier 1913 par une Assemblée générale ad hoc et basé sur le double principe de l'extension des pouvoirs du conseil général du vilayet et de la nomination de conseillers étrangers, le Congres demande le mise en application du susdit projet.

5. La langue arabe doit être reconnue au Parlement Ottoman et considerée comme officielle dans les pays syriens et arabes.

6. Le service militaire sera régional dans les vilayets syriens et arabes, en dehors des cas d'extreme nécessité.

7. Le Congrès émet le voeu de voir le Gouvernement Imperial Ottoman assurer au Mutessariflik du Liban les moyens d'ameliorer sa situation financière.

8. Le Congres affirme sa sympathie pour les demandes réformistes et decentralisatrices des armeniens ottomans.

9. Les présentes résolutions seront communiquees au Gouvernement Imperial Ottoman.

10. ll sera fait également communieation des mêmes résolutions aus puissances amies de l'Empire Ottoman.

11. Le Congres exprime ses chaleureux remerciements au Gouvernement de la République pour sa géneureuse hospitalité.

Le President:

Le Vice-President:

Le Secretaire:

Lord Kitchener's conversation Emir Abdullah on February 5, 1914, and its aftermath.
(A) Lord Kitchener's account and views of Sir Louis Mallet.

[ED. NOTE.- Lord Kitchener's meeting with the Emir Abdullah, the son of the Grand Sheriff of Mecca Hussein, in February, 1914, has been the subject of much discussion.

It has been suggested by Captain Liddell Hart (v. " T. E. Lawrence," (1934), p. 61) and by other authorities, that some acquiescence in a possible Arab revolt was winked at by Lord Kitchener, and these hints have been magnified into positive assertions in the Arab press, but no authentic evidence has hitherto been produced.

The Editors were unable to trace the official letters relating thereto in the Egyptian correspondence, but eventually found the relevant materials in the Turkish files, the matter having been referred to Sir Louis Mallet at Constantinople. All the relevant official evidence is here reproduced, and in addition there is a most important private letter from Lord Kitchener to Sir William [Lord] Tyrrell, of April 26, 1914, which sums up the whole affair. The Emir's own statement will be found in part (B) of this section.]

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 6672/6672/14/44.
(No. 22.) Secret.
Cairo, D. February 6, 1914.
R. February 14, 1914.

The Sherif Abdullah, son of the Sherif of Mecca, is now staying in Cairo on a short visit called upon me yesterday.

He begged me to convey to you his father's compliments, and said that affairs in the Hedjaz not going on as well as could be wished owing to the recent appointment of a new Turkish Vali who combined civil and military functions and who is not in sympathy with the people and does not act harmoniously with his father in the conduct of the internal affairs of the holy places as well as for the comfort and security of the Moslem pilgrims from all parts of the world which his father as Sherif has been so long responsible.

He wished me to ask you whether in case this friction became acute and an attempt was made by the Turkish Government to dismiss his father from the hereditary office of Sherif of the holy places, you would use your good offices with the Sublime Porte to prevent any such attempt. He pointed out that his father had always done his best to assist Indian Moslem pilgrims amongst whom he had many friends. He stated very decidedly that in case the Turkish Government dismissed his father the Arab tribes of the Hedjaz would fight for the Sherif and a state of war against the Turkish troops would ensue. He hoped in such circumstances that the British Government would not allow reinforcements to be sent by sea for the purpose of preventing the Arabs from exercising the rights which they have enjoyed from time immemorial in their own country round the holy places.

He wished his remarks to be kept very secret and on no account to be known in Constantinople, and he also asked me whether you would send his father some message. I said I thought would be improbable that you would do so.

I have, &c.

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
Cairo, February 14, 1914,
F.O. 6795/6672/14/44.
D. 11.35 a.m.
R. 10.30 a.m.
Tel. (No. 7)

Confidential. My despatch No. 22. Secret.(l)

I now hear that the difficulties between the Turks and the Sherif of Mecca have been amicably settled.

(1) [v. immediately preceding document.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 13871/4688/14/44.
Constantinople, D. March 18, 1914
R. March 30, 1914.

In my despatch No. 1021 of December 20th last,(l) I mentioned a rumour that some leading Arab chiefs contemplated holding a congress at Koweit or elsewhere, with a view to bringing pressure to bear on the Turkish Government, which showed some signs of uneasiness at the attitude of the Ottoman Arab world. In paragraph eleven of his summary of events for the three months ending January 1914, the Acting British Consul General at Bagdad reproduces the same rumour with the added detail that among those to be represented at the Congress were the Grand Sherif of Mecca, lbn Saud of Nejd, lbn Rashid Jebel Shammar, Ajeymi Sheikh of Muntefik, and Seyyid Talib of Basrah. Although Colonel Erskine goes on to state that the projected conference is unlikely to be held, the report is significant in view of the dissatisfaction which prevails among Ottoman Arabs generally; and the list of names given is an indication of the possibility of the great Chieftains on the Arab fringe of the Empire sinking their personal differences in order to enforce nationalist aspirations as against the Central Government, which is directed by the Committee of Union and Progress and which they still regard as pursuing a Turkifying policy. So far there had been little sign of cohesion, the Grand Sherif having been at open enmity with Ibn Saud, for instance, and Ajeymi having been until recently an avowed enemy of Seyyid Talib's.

The Grand Sherif's attitude being of special interest in consequence of his recent application to Lord Kitchener, I enclose a memorandum which I have had prepared concerning him. As for lbn Saud his occupation of El Hassa last year is an eloquent demonstration both of his power and of his feelings towards the Central Government. Seyyid Talib's influence in Basrah, the skill which he has displayed in consolidating it, and the relations which he maintains with Koweit and Nejib are well known to His Majesty's Government. If these leaders were to combine either in a constitutional agitation for devolution or autonomy or in an avowedly separatist movement they could undoubtedly cause much trouble. In this connection I may refer to that part of my despatch No. 117 of February 24th (2) last which deals with the wider aspects of the Aziz Ali case.

It is still impossible to say what real prospect there may be of any united Arab movement. That the Central Government is on the alert is perhaps indicated by the fact that energetic military valis on whom the Committee can rely have been within the last few months appointed to Bagdad, Basrah and the Hedjaz. Ibn Saud has been negotiating terms of submission to the Government. The Grand Sherif's son, Abdullah, who is a deputy in the Turkish Parliament, has come on from Egypt to Constantinople by invitation from them and according to accounts which I have heard, he appears to be nervous as to what may await him here.

I have thought it prudent to abstain from showing any particular interest in the Arab question in my conversations with the Grand Vizier and other Ministers in view of the suspicion which it might arouse, as the Turkish Government are probably aware of the inclination of the Arabs to look to His Majesty's Government for sympathy in their movement and even for eventual protection if they are successful in achieving their independence. I have reported in my despatch No. 117 of the 24th ultimo(2) the language which has been held to Arab officers in the Turkish army who have visited His Majesty's Embassy and have enquired what would be the attitude of His Majesty's Government in certain eventualities. As I am disposed to see in the recent outrages at Basrah which are principally directed against British subjects an attempt on the part of the Arabs to force the hand of His Majesty s Government in the direction of intervention, I informed Mr. Crow on the 17th ultimo that I could not recommend the despatch of a British man-of-war to the Shatt-el-Arab.

The need for caution is apparent at the present moment, when there is evidence of a concerted movement on the part of the Arabs. If these projects should mature and if the Arabs are eventually successful in defeating the Ottoman armies the loss of the Caliphate would probably follow, where, shorn of a further large portion of territory and of the religious leadership, Turkish rule, as it exists today, would presumably disappear. Europe might then be faced with the question of a partition of the Turkish Empire which might easily produce complications of a serious nature, whilst it is difficult to estimate what might be the effects on India of a prolonged struggle for the possession of the Caliphate.

I should imagine that in view of the great issues at stake the present Government would do all in their power to avoid bringing matters to a point at the present moment and that they will probably temporise with the Grand Sherif at any rate until they have either divided the Arabs and feel that they are in a position to face them with certainty of success.

I have, &c.

(1) [Sir L. Mallet's despatch (No. 1021) D. December 20, 1913, R. December 29, 1913, is not reproduced as the contents are sufficiently indicated above. (F.O. 58132/11950/13/44.)]

Memorandum on the position of the Grand Sheriff of Mecca.

The position of the Grand Sherif of Mecca differs considerably from that of other Arab potentates in as much as he is always invested with his authority by the Sultan's firman, and is in close touch with the capital, where several members of his family ordinarily reside. Any given Grand Sherif might quite conceivably put himself at the head of an Arab movement, and, if he wished to do so, his alleged descent from the Prophet, and membership of the Koreish tribe would doubtless be a valuable asset; but in order to gain any widespread influence he would have to start almost from the beginning, and, in the case of the present man, I think he would have to live down a past in which, while working for his own aggrandizement, he has posed very definitely as the representative of the Central Government. The following is a sketch of his recent history so far as it is known to me.

During the last years of the old regime Sherif Hussein Pasha was a member of the council of State here. Towards the end of 1908 he was appointed Grand Sherif in the ordinary course of succession, his predecessor Abdullah (who seems to have been Grand Sherif without proceeding to Mecca) having died that year. He was then about 56 years of age. On his arrival he created a good impression, and it was hoped that he would not prove extortionate and would restore security in the country about Mecca. In reporting his appointment to the Foreign Office Sir G. Lowther spoke favourably of him, and mentioned that some months before, at a time when there was no prospect of his becoming Grand Sherif, he had gone out of his way to express his friendship towards England. Since his appointment it cannot be said that he has done anything definite to alleviate the pecuniary burdens of the pilgrim. On the other hand, although insecurity continued to prevail on the roads in 1909, no robberies were reported to the Embassy in the three following years until nearly the end of 1912, when there was a recrudescence of brigandage. Meanwhile the Grand Sherif was engaged in consolidating his own power, and his success in doing so was facilitated by the frequent changes of Valis, most of the nominees to that post having been men of little account. He and his sons took a considerable share in military operations, which though undertaken in the name of the Government, contributed to his own aggrandizement. Thus, in 1910, he conducted an expedition against the Nejd ruler Ibn Saud, which ended in a paper success for the Turkish Government, though the promises made by Ibn Saud were never kept and extremely bad relations subsisted between him and the Grand Sherif throughout the following year. ln 1911 again he (the Grand Sherif) and his sons campaigned in Asir and in July he actually succeeded in relieving Ebha, which had been besieged by the followers of Idris for many months.

By 1912 the position as reported by His Majesty's late Consul was that the improved pilgrimage conditions which followed the Constitution had been superseded by a renewed policy of extortion on the part of the Grand Sherif, and that his authority had grown vastly, while that of the Vali had sunk to nothing. When in the summer of that year three Indians were found murdered in the Medina district, the Consul was assured that the guilty parties were emissaries of the Grand Sherif, who had been ordered by the Government to withdraw has son and his Bedouins from Asir, and who, so the informant said, was deliberately seeking to create disturbance in the Medina district so as to convince the Government of the necessity of bringing it also under his authority. However that may be there was certainly a recrudescence of brigandage, as mentioned above, towards the end of 1912.

While the Grand Sherif has stood for the authority of the Turkish Government, as above described, vis-à-vis chiefs like lbn Saud and Idris, he has not been well disposed towards the Committee of Union and Progress. His own son Sherif Abdullah sat for Mecca in the first parliament, and in the packed Committee Parliament of 1912 he was able to put in one son for Mecca and the other, Faizal, for Jeddah. They played no prominent part in Parliamentary life here but it is significant that in 1911, some months before the second election, the Committee Clubs in Mecca and Jeddah "died a natural death." It is also interesting to note that the two best known Sherifs resident in Constantinople, Ali Haidar and Jafer, are close allies of the Committee, the former having been for a time Minister of Evkaf and being now Vice-President of the Senate, while Jafer toured Syria in the Committee interest at the time of the 1912 elections. Now these brothers are reported to be bitterly hostile to the present Grand Sherif. Ali Haidar is the head of the dispossessed Motallib branch of the Sherifian family and is said to cherish the ambition of becoming Grand Sherif himself.

Under all these circumstances it is easy to understand how anxiously Hussein Pasha must have viewed the advent of a young and possibly energetic Vali. This doubtless explains his sending Abdullah Bey to Lord Kitchener. As for the subsequent report of an amicable settlement of his differences with the Turks, it is difficult to form an opinion as to the sincerity of either side. It is conceivable that statesmen here may have thought it best not to seek for trouble and the Grand Sherif may not think his position sufficiently menaced to make it worth his while to risk everything on open defiance of the Central Government. On the other hand Constantinople may feel that his aggrandizement has gone too far, and the Grand Sherif may think that the existence of a rival, friendly to the Committee and already a candidate for the post increases very considerably the danger of his position. In that case the reconciliation would be merely a form of temporising and the Grand Sherif might still be tempted to associate himself with Arab adventures. Evidently he has no desire to precipitate matters for his son Abdullah has just come from Egypt to Constantinople at the invitation of the Central Government, accompanied by the Grand Sherif's brother, Sherif Nassir, also a Senator, who, I understand, went to Egypt to fetch him. Sir W. Garstin has told Your Excellency in what a nervous frame of mind the young man was as to his reception here.

(2) [Sir L. Mallet's despatch (No. 117) D. February 24, 1914, R. March 2, 1914, is not reproduced as the contents are sufficiently indicated above. (F.O. 9033/7963/14/44.)]

A very delicate situation. I have always felt that the policy we are pursuing towards Ibn Saud is fraught with grave danger to the integrity of Turkey, and I was always personally strongly opposed to the interviews which took place between him and our officials.

Qu[ery] telegraph to Sir L. Mallet.

"Your Excellency's despatches Nos. 193(3) and 205.(4)

" I fully appreciate the delicacy of the situation, and the objections to pressing our mediation about Bin [sic: Ibn] Saud. On the other hand, if the Ottoman Government do not reach an amicable settlement shortly by direct negotiation, which seems very uncertain, it may be preferable both to them and to us that our mediation should be offered again rather than that there should be a general outbreak of hostilities with possible consequences indicated in penultimate paragraph of your Excellency's despatch No. 193.(3)

" If you do offer mediation you should make an emphatic statement in writing to the effect that His Majesty's Government adhere strictly to the treaty of July 29, 1913,(5) and have no intention whatever of undermining Ottoman authority."

Copy to I[ndia] O[ffice].

A. P.
March 31, 1914
E. A. C.
March 31
F. D. A.
A. N.

(3) [v. immediately preceding document.]
(4) [Sir L. Mallet's despatch (No. 205) D. March 25, 1914, R. March 30, 1914, is not reproduced; it reported a conversation with Talaat Bey on the general Arab question. (F.O. 13883/4588/14/44.)]
(5) [v. supra, pp 183-98, No. 124.]

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
Cairo, March 21, 1914.
F.O. 12662/6672/14/44.
D. 2.30 P.M.
R. 2 P.M.
Tel. (No. 20.)

Secret. A messenger from the Sheriff of Mecca to the Khedive reports that the Sheriff and Vali have fallen out about the extension of the Hedjaz railway and Vali's high-handed action ( ? group omitted) Arabs. Messenger says that the Arabs are all with the Sherif and will not (?) tolerate Vali whose recall they have demanded. He reports the road from Jeddah to Mecca closed by Arabs.

Sent to Constantinople.

The amicable settlement has not lasted long.

If the Turkish Government now attempt to remove tho Sherif, the question whether His Majesty s Government can profitably support him may arise. Please see Lord Kitchener's despatch No. 22 (6672).(1)

Q[uer]y. Await further information from Cairo or Constantinople before expressing any opinion to the India Office.

C. N.
March 21.
But send them a copy.
E. A. C.
March 21.
A. N.
E. G.

(1) [v. supra, p. 827.]

Lord Kitchener to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 15883/4588/14/44.
(No. 58.) Confidential.
Cairo, D. April 4, 1914.
R. April 11, 1914

In the enclosure to Sir Louis Mallet's despatch No. 193(1) of the 18th ultimo of which His Excellency forwarded me a copy, I notice it is stated that the Sherif of Mecca sent his son, Abdullah Bey, to me. This does not, however, quite accurately represent what took place, as Abdullah Bey was actually on a visit to the Khedive and only called on me quite unofficially, and some time after his arrival in Cairo, when he spoke to me as reported in my despatch No. 22 Secret,(2) of the 6th of February last. You will remember that he received no sort of encouragement from me.

I quite agree with Sir Louis Mallet in thinking that great care will have to be taken in dealing with the Arab question, so as not to wound Turkish susceptibilities and arouse their suspicions. At the same time we cannot afford to lose sight of the interests which Great Britain must always take in the Holy Places, owing to the annual pilgrimage which is attended by thousands of Indian Moslems and also by many Egyptians. The welfare and indeed safety of these pilgrims is intimately bound up with the maintenance of order in the districts in question and of a good relationship between Turks and Arabs whose animosity has undoubtedly been roused by the recent Turkish policy of centralization adopted during the last few years and more especially by the proposal to push forward railway communications which would cause great pecuniary loss to the Arabs who live on their camel hire.

I take this opportunity of saying that the suspicions entertained by the Grand Vizier with regard to my interest in the case of Aziz Bey el Masri are quite groundless (see Sir Louis Mallet's Telegram No. 191 of March 27th(3) ). Egyptian public opinion has been genuinely and sincerely aroused by the arrest and trial of this officer, and so far from taking the initiative in pressing the matter at Constantinople I have had some difficulty in calming the resentment caused by the proceedings of the Turkish Government. Nothing is known here of his alleged intrigues with the Arab leaders in Mesopotamia and his arrest is generally attributed to the personal animosity and. jealousy of Enver Pasha.

I have, &c.

(l) [v. supra, pp. 827-8.]
(2)[v. supra, p. 827.]
(3) [v. infra, p. 835]

Lord Kitchener to Sir W. Tyrrell.
Grey MSS., Vol. 9.
British Agency, Cairo, April 26, 1914.

My dear Tyrrell,
I do not think it necessary to write a despatch about the Sherif Abdullah having passed through here on his way back from Constantinople to the Hedjaz, as I did not see him. He sent for Storrs who under my instructions told him the Arabs of the Hedjaz could expect no encouragement from us and that our only interest in Arabia was the safety and comfort of Indian pilgrims. I have written privately to Mallet about what passed. The Sherif seemed to be disappointed with the result of his visit to Constantinople and with the determination of the Turkish Gov[ernmen]t to push the railway on to Mecca which he saw would mean the economic death of the camel-owning population of Arabia.

It will be interesting to see developments as the Arabs seem to be much excited.

Yours very truly,

[ED. NOTE.-References are made in Sir George Arthur, Life of Kitchener, (1920), Vol. III, p. 153, to an important Sheikh, who is stated to have sent a message, on Turkey's entry into the war, couched in these terms: " Following for Lord Kitchener. Remember our conversation at .... the day has come." Sir George Arthur informs the Editors that he can throw no light on this incident and Sir Ronald Storrs, when he was consulted, was equally at a loss. Mr. G. Antonius thinks that there was an interview between Sayyid Talib al Nakib of Basra and Lord Kitchener at Cairo in 1913 or possibly in 1912, but the Editors have found no evidence relating thereto. Sir Ronald Storrs generally confirms the account given in the above documents as to the negotiations with Abdullah.]

(B) Emir Abdullah's account of his conversations Lord Kitchener, transmitted with notes by Mr. G. Antonius.

[ED. NOTE.-The Editors are here able to reproduce, through the kindness of Mr. G. Antonius, on the authority of the Emir Abdullah, His Highness's account of his conversations with Lord Kitchener. Some notes have been added by Mr. G. Antonius, based on Arab information.]

Jerusalem, May 1, 1936.

In the course of my researches into the origins and development of the Arab National Movement, I had occasion to consult His Highness the Emir Abdullah, Ruler of Transjordan, and was privileged to draw upon his unrivalled knowledge of certain phases of its history. The following account of His Highness's relations with the late Lord Kitchener in the years immediately preceding the war, when the Emir was deputy for Mecca in the Ottoman Chamber, and Kitchener His Britannic Majesty's Agent and Consul-General in Cairo, was drawn up by me, at the request of the Editors of British Documents on the Origins of the War, from notes taken at my numerous conversations with the Emir. I have His Highness's authority to state that this account is a fair summary of his recollection of the facts and that it is published with his permission:-

"My acquaintance with Lord Kitchener began in the spring of 1912 in Cairo when, being on my way back from Constantinople to Mecca, I stayed at Abdin Palace as the guest of the Khedive. Accompanied by Mr. (now Sir Ronald) Storrs, his Oriental Secretary, Kitchener paid me a visit at the Palace, which I returned two days later at the British Agency. The conversation we had during his visit to me had no special political significance, Kitchener's main contribution being that the British Government had noticed and were gratified to know that the arrangements made in the Hejaz for the safety and comfort of the pilgrims had improved since my father had assumed the dignity of Sherif of Mecca. On the occasion of my visit to him, Kitchener displayed a marked interest in Hejaz affairs and questioned me as to the form of its administration, the relations between Vali and Sherif, and the degree to which the Turkish officials tried to exercise control in purely religious matters. I did not feel at liberty to answer his penetrating questions as fully as I should have liked, yet tried to give him a general idea of our fears and anxieties. I had liked him and been greatly impressed with the power of his personality, and we parted on very cordial terms. It was two years before I was to see him again.

" Early in 1914, l found myself in Cairo once more, and again staying with the Khedive. One day, while I was having an audience of His Highness, Lord Kitchener was announced. I greeted him and took my leave. Later in the morning when his own audience was over, Kitchener paid me a visit in my apartments. I returned his call two days later. This time, the conversation bore on political topics. ln the two years that had elapsed, I had kept up friendly relations with Storrs and become infected with his own enthusiasm for his chief. Moreover, things had come to such a pass between the Porte and the Sherif, and indeed between Turks and Arabs in general, that a conflict seemed inevitable. I decided to speak openly to Kitchener.

"An opening was afforded me by Kitchener remarking that he had heard of the recent strengthening of the Turkish garrison in the Hejaz. I seized the opportunity to describe to him, with greater freedom than on the previous occasion, the realities of the situation in the Hejaz, the delicacy of the Sherif's position, the causes of the disaffection between Turks and Arabs, and the aims of the Arab movement as a whole. I explained that although the immediate causes of the trouble lay in the attempts made by the Turks to curtail the privileges of the Sherifate and to coerce the population of the Hejaz into accepting a new and unsuitable bureaucratic system, yet our problem was only part of the main Arab problem and was bound up with that of the future of the other Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. I expressed the view that unless the Turks were to abandon their dragooning methods the situation in the Hejaz might take a very serious turn.

"Kitchener appeared to listen carefully to my statement and asked me several questions in elucidation of it. On my remarking that the Sherif of Mecca was, in the last analysis, a nominee of the Porte and thus liable to arbitrary dismissal, Kitchener said that whatever their powers in theory, in practice the Turks would be reluctant to depose the Sherif. When I asked him to tell me whether, in the event of a rupture, the Sherif could count upon any support from Great Britain, Kitchener replied negatively, on the plea that British relations with Turkey were friendly and that, in any case, the dispute was an internal matter in which it would not be proper for a foreign Power to intervene. I could not refrain from pointing out that those friendly relations had not prevented Great Britain from intervening in the dispute between Turkey and the Sheikh of Kuwait, which was likewise an internal matter. Kitchener laughed and rose to depart. As he was leaving, he said that he would make a point of reporting our conversation to his Government.

" That was my last interview with him. About two months later, I was in Cairo again, on my way back from Constantinople. I saw Mr. Storrs, with whom I had a long and cordial conversation, but not Kitchener."

In order to ascertain the dates of those interviews, I have had recourse to the files of contemporary newspapers. In its issue of February 6, 1914, al Muqattam (Cairo) records that the Khedive had, on the preceding day, received the Emir Abdullah and subsequently Lord Kitchener in audience at Abdin Palace. In its issue of February 9, 1914, the same paper relates that, two days earlier, Lord Kitchener had paid a visit to the Emir Abdullah.


Aziz Bey and the Arab Movement, 1914.

[ED. NOTE.-In March 1914, the trial took place in Constantinople of Colonel Aziz-el-Masri, an Arab officer of the Turkish Army. The ostensible charges on which he was tried were connected with his alleged misdirection of the campaign in Cyrenaica, but it has been supposed that. the real reason of his arrest and trial was that he was known (though actual evidence was lacking) to have been the founder and guiding spirit of a secret political society whose membership was confined to Arab officers of the Turkish Army. His trial evoked a great deal of interest and caused effervescence in Egypt and Syria. As will be seen the British Ambassador in Constantinople (Sir L. Mallet) intervened with the Porte in favour of Aziz. delight throughout the Arab provinces. There were many loose statements on the subject in Arab press at the time and since that date, and the Editors think it best therefore to reproduce here all that they have been able to find of importance on the subject.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, February 21, 1914.
F.O. 7963/7963/14/44.
D. 3-45 P.M.
R. 6.15 P.M.
(No. 117.)
Very Confidential.

Aziz Bey, an ex-officer of Egyptian origin who enjoys great consideration in various countries, was arrested here about twelve days ago. He has influential connexions in Egypt, and at Lord Kitchener's request I made friendly unofficial representations to Grand Vizier. Matter is extremely delicate for reasons which I am reporting fully by bag. I do not propose to take any further action at present, but I think it well that you should be aware of the matter.

Sir L. Mallet apparently thinks we may hear of this from another source. Await report.

This is not Aziz Bey who was Military Attaché in South Africa and elsewhere and later Chief of Police in Constantinople. He was not of Egyptian origin.

Feb[ruary] 23.
He is the man who was Enver's second in Tripoli and earned much reputation there.
E. A. C.
Feb[ruary] 23.
A. N.
E. G

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.(l)
F.O. 9033/7963/14/44.
(No. 117.)
D. February 24, 1914.
R. March 2, 1914.

In my telegram No. 117 of the 21st instant(2) I briefly reported the arrest here a couple of days ago of Aziz Ali Bey, which has attracted much attention in Egypt and elsewhere. Born in Egypt about thirty-four years ago, Aziz Bey entered the Turkish army in the usual way, and served in Macedonia under the Hamidian régime. After the Constitution he accompanied Izzet Pasha to the Yemen, and is said to have had a large part in the negotiations with the Imam Yahya for the settlement of that region. During the Italian war he took a leading part in organising resistance to the Italians in Benghazi, and was one of those who continued the struggle after the Treaty of Lausanne. He returned to Constantinople some months ago, but was already in disfavour in high places, and his refusal of a post at Allgora eventually led to his resigning his commission. It is alleged by Aziz Ali's friends that personal dislike on the part of Enver Pasha, who is said to have played a more conspicuous but in reality less distinguished part in the Italian War, has had a good deal to do with his arrest; but it derives its chief importance from the effectiveness of his own personality and the position which he appears to hold in the esteem of Arabs over a wide area. Immediately after his arrest l was approached from a variety of sources with requests for intervention, and as one of these came from the Governor of Cairo, who is Aziz Bey's brother-in-law, through Lord Kitchener, I addressed friendly and unofficial enquiries to both the Minister of the Interior and the Grand Vizier.

The Grand Vizier gave me to understand that Aziz Ali Bey's arrest was due to his attitude towards the Government since his return to Constantinople, and it is clear from what I have since learned from other sources that the matter is really a political one, for there is no doubt that Aziz Ali Bey has been one of the leading spirits in a group of young Arabs, officers and others, who are dissatisfied with the present Turkish Government. It is difficult to gauge the importance of this group, but it has come to my knowledge that some at least of them are identified with more or less definite schemes for organising a movement which would aim at releasing the whole region from Mosul to the Persian Gulf from Turkish domination. They claim to have established communications with various local notabilities, including the Sheikh of Koweit, whose sympathy they say they have secured, and one of their plans would appear to be to attach the tract of country in which they are interested to the Sheikh's dominions. They profess to be in a position to organise an insurrectionary movement on such a scale as would enable them to cope with the strong repressive measures which the Turkish Government would, they realise, take to repress it.

Schemes of this kind are of course not new, and I have no reason to believe that the originators of this one are powerful or competent. As, however, a definite role is attributed to the Sheikh of Koweit, and in view of the unrest which undoubtedly prevails at Basra, I think it my duty to bring it to your notice. If the plan of creating an insurrection in Mesopotamia should take shape, one of the aims of its promoters would be to compel British intervention. I have caused it to be known to some of the persons concerned that His Majesty's Government would give no countenance to any such schemes and have no intention of pursuing a policy of adventure, which could only compromise serious British economic interests in Mesopotamia.

In the meanwhile, the fact that Aziz Ali's friends are mixed up in such projects, of which the Turkish Government have doubtless at least an inkling, makes it a very delicate matter for me to intervene further on his behalf; and I have told Lord Kitchener that I do not propose to make any further representations unless his life should appear to be in definite danger. I enclose for your information copies of the telegrams which have passed between his Lordship and myself on the subject.(3)

I have, &c.
LOUIS MALLET. P.S.-Since writing the above it has come to my knowledge that Aziz Ali has been more strictly confined, and that there is some reason to fear that his life may be in danger. I have therefore mentioned the matter again to Talaat Bey, and have the honour to enclose a further telegram which I am to-day addressing on the subject to Lord Kitchener.(3)
L. M.
February 25, 1914.

(l) [A copy of this despatch was sent to the India Office.]
(2) [v. immediately preceding document.]
(3) [Sir L. Mallet enclosed copies of a considerable correspondence he had had with Lord Kitchener on this subject since February 12, 1914; not reproduced as the matter is sufficiently indicated above. (F.O. 9033 / 7963/ 14/ 44.)]

Sir Edward Grey to Sir L. Mallet.
F.O. 9033/7963/14/44.
(No. 135.)
Foreign Office, March 16, 1914.

I have received your Excellency's despatch No. 117 conf[identia]l of the 24 ult[im]o(l) rel[ating] to the arrest and imprisonment of Aziz Ali Bey. I approve your action as therein reported, and I agree that the matter does not seem to call for your Exc[ellenc]y's further intervention, unless, in your opinion, it should be occasioned on humanitarian grounds.

I am, &c.

(1) [v. immediately preceding document.]

Merchants of Cairo to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 10444/7963/14/44.
D. March 8, 1914.
R. March 9, 1914

In the name of humanity We the undersigned beseech your kind intervention in the affair of Aziz Bey Elmasri who has been lying in prison at Constantinople for a month and who is completely unaware of the cause of his arrest. We appeal to you to press for his fair trial or release and in making this appeal we express the sentiments of the entire Egyptian nation.

Provost of Cairo Merchants
Abdelkhalek Madkour Pacha
Hassan Radouan Pacha
Sinot Bey
Hanna Deputé
Nassif Wissa Bey
Sawiris Mikhail Bey
Avocat Mansour Chedid Bey
Docteur Saad Elkhadey
Abdelmagid Elremali Negociant
Mahmoud Elremali Negociant.

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey(1)
F.O. 10697/7963/14/44. Constantinople,
D. March 9, 1914, 9-40 P.M.
R. March 10, 11.50 A.M.
Tel. (No. 153.)

My despatch No. 117.(2)

I mentioned again to-day to the Grand Vizier unofficially the case of Aziz Ali. The Grand Vizier told me in confidence that this Officer was suspected of having been in secret correspondence with the Khedive who had been engaged in intrigues with Italians at the time of the Mariut railway affair. I was greatly surprised at this information which I said was quite new to me and did not seem to be borne out by Italian satisfaction at his imprisonment His Highness assured me that his trial, which was imminent, would prove the truth of their suspicions and that the Italians were merely playing a comedy.

I said that, even if this were true, it would be better to let the man go back to Cairo under guarantees from the Governor that he will not be allowed to intrigue with the Arabs because the case was exciting so much interest and the "Times" had published an article on the subject which in my opinion was ill-judged and uncalled for but which might leave an unpleasant impression .

I said that I was speaking quite unofficially and without instructions from you, as His Majesty's Government would not interfere in such a matter.

I do not propose to do anything further because there is some (group omitted) that the man was engaged in intrigues with the Arabs, because, if the story of intrigues with Italians was found to be baseless, the Italian Government would have good ground for resenting our active intervention to obtain the release of an Officer of Egyptian origin who fought against them in Tripoli after peace was concluded and because alienation of Egyptian sympathies from Turkey would not seem to be disadvantageous for us.

Confidential. I am informed on good authority that trial will take place immediately and that, if found guilty, he will be pardoned and set at liberty.

(1) [This telegram was sent to Cairo.]
(2) [v. supra, pp 833-4.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, March 26, 1914.
F.O. 13434/7963/14/44.
D. 12 50 P.M.
R.. 2.30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 189.)

My tel[egram] No. 153 of Mar[ch] 9(1) Following sent to Lord Kitchener.

"It is reported that Aziz Ali Bey has been condemned to death, but I have reason to believe that he will be pardoned.

Confidential. I shall speak to Grand Vizier to-day, but I would rather that this was not mentioned."

At a moment when the Turkish gov[ernmen]t are asking for the pardon of the Turkish officer(2) who avowedly has engaged in engineering a rebellion in Albania, it would be singularly inappropriate for them to insist on carrying out this death sentence.

E. A. C.
M[ar]ch 26.
A. N.
E. G.

(1) [v. immediately preceding document.]
(2) [Bekir Bey.]

Sir Louis Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.(1)
March 27, 1914.
F.O. 13601/7963/14/44.
D. 2 10 P.M.
R. 4.40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 191.)

My tel[egram] No. 189 of Mar[ch] 26.(2)

On hearing report that Aziz Ali had been condemned to death, I spoke very seriously to Grand Vizier, whom I met last night at a party, of probable effect on opinion in England and Egypt, if sentence were carried out. Grand Vizier was stiffer than on previous occasion, seemed to be suspicious of Lord Kitchener's interest in the case, and made light of Egyptian public opinion, which, he said, had been manufactured and meant very little.

If Aziz were to be liberated, there would be no guarantee that he would not intrigue with Arabs; undertaking on the part of Egyptian Government or of Governor of Cairo would be worthless. British guarantee would be a different matter.

I said that if he made a request of this nature, I would consider whether I would recommend you to comply, but that it seemed an unusual thing for one Government to ask guarantee from another in regard to one of their own subjects.

I think that visit of Shereef of Mecca's son to Cairo and London negotiations about Ibn Soud are causing suspicion of our good faith in regard to Arab movement, and that great prudence is necessary, especially with regard to the latter question.

(l) [This telegram was sent to Cairo. Copies were sent to the India Office; to Sir A. Hirtzel on March 30.]
(2) [v. immediately preceding document ]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, April 1, 1914
D. 8.15 P.M.
R. 10 P.M.
Tel.(No. 209.) Confidential.

My telegram No. 191 of Mar[ch] 27.(1) I spoke to Minister of Interior again last night about Aziz Ali. He says that he will be pardoned.

(1) [v. immediately preceding document.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
F.O. 15520/7963/14/44.
D. April 7, 1914, 11.30 P.M.
R. April 8, 8 A.M.
Tel. (No. 225.)

Following sent to Cairo to-day;--

"(Private.) Your telegram of 6th April. I have no confirmation of Aziz Ali's condemnation. I have recently made further unofficial representations. (Repeated to Foreign Office.}"

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.(1)
F.O. 16768/7963/14/44.
Constantinople, D. April 12, 1914
R. April 17, 1914
(No. 249.)

A connection by marriage of Aziz Ali, Dr. Khadem Bey by name, who arrived last night from Cairo, called this morning at the Embassy. He gave me the following account of what happened in Africa between El Senoussi, Aziz Ali and Enver.

El Senoussi had on the 28th Zulkeida 1329 (20th Nov[embe]r, 1911 signed an agreement with the Italians by which he undertook to cease all resistance on condition of receiving all an annual subvention and of being recognised as the religious head of the desert Arabs. He subsequently broke this agreement under pressure from Enver Bey, who promised a larger subsidy than the Italians offered and the title of Sultan. When Enver left Cyrenaica he promised El Senoussi more money and ammunition, which, he said, would be sent through Aziz Ali.

Dr. Khadem stated that he did this without any intention of keeping his promises, merely to make trouble between El Senoussi and Aziz Ali, of whose influence with the Arabs Enver was jealous. Whatever Enver's intentions may have been, El Senoussi received nothing and on two separate occasions El Senoussi wrote to Enver complaining that he had received nothing from Aziz Ali. In the last letter he said that he intended to come to terms with the Italians as he had been betrayed by the Turks.

Enver, thereupon, sent him some money which he had obtained by putting on an illegal tax and said that the former instalments which had been regularly sent had been intercepted by Aziz Ali for his own uses and that on his return to Constantinople he would have him tried by Court Martial and executed.

This incriminating letter has been obtained from the Senoussi by the friends of Aziz Ali in Egypt and Dr. Khadem has come from Egypt to inform Talaat Bey that, unless Aziz Ali released, the letter will be published. At his request, I gave Dr. Khadem a card of introduction to Talaat Bey, which he will use if he finds any difficulty in obtaining admission to His Excellency in the ordinary way.

No judgment has been pronounced in the case in spite of many rumours but Dr. Khadem has heard that the sentence will be pronounced to-day.

I shall take an opportunity of speaking myself to Talaat Bey again to-day. He is, I believe, in favour of releasing Aziz Ali and realises the gravity of the position, but Enver Pasha is said to be opposing his liberation, an attitude, which, I fear, will not be modified by the personal attacks upon him in the columns of the " Times " which I do not think well advised in openly attributing to him motives of jealousy, as it makes it more difficult for him to give way without loss of face.

I have, &c.

(1) [A copy of this despatch was sent to Cairo.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, April 14, 1914.
F.O. 16306/ 7963 / 14/44.
D . 11.25 A.M.
R. 1 P.M.
(No. 235.)

On hearing a rumour last night that Aziz Ali had been condemned to death, I sent to Talaat Bey who confirmed the news but added that the sentence had been commuted to 15 years penal servitude and hinted that it will be still further reduced.

Repeated to Cairo.

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, April 17, 1914.
D. 10.45 A.M.
R. 2.40 P.M.
F.O. 16904 /7963/14/44.
(No. 243.)

Following sent to Cairo to-day:-

" I have spoken to the Grand Vizier and urged His Highness to put a stop to accusation against Enver Pasha by releasing Aziz Ali: I argued that now was the time to show that these charges were baseless and that by prompt release the Government would gain much more morally than they would risk by possible future intrigues on the part of Aziz Ali."

"This line of argument seemed to appeal to His Highness and it is my impression that something will be done."

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, April 18, 1914.
F.O. 17088/7963/14/44
D. 7.5 P.M.
R. 10.15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 246.)

Following sent to Cairo to-day:-

" My telegram of yesterday.(1)

" Minister referred to in my last telegram tells me that Enver Pasha will ask Sultan for free pardon for Aziz Ali, and that he will be released very shortly.

" (Very Confidential.)

It will be politic, in view of possible future incidents of similar character, if Enver Pasha is allowed to get the credit of this and if it is assumed that he has acted spontaneously. I have taken line, in talking to the Grand Vizier, that it will be easy and natural for Enver Pasha, who was Ali s friend, to appeal for his pardon."

(1) [v. immediately preceding document.]

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, April 20, 1914.
F.O. 17373/7963/14/44.
D. 5-30 P.M.
R. 5.55. P.M.
Tel. (No. 251.)

The Grand Vizier has informed me confidentially that on the intervention of Enver Pasha, Aziz Ali will be liberated, and will probably leave for Egypt tomorrow.

(Sent to Cairo.)

Ahmed Ali and Others to Sir Edward Grey.
El Mehalla El Kubra
D. April 16, 1914
R. April 25, 1914

Sir Edward Grey,
We have the honour to submit you that we, the inhabitants of El-Mehalla, became very sorry for the evil news of Constantinople which tell of the final judgment of Aziz Bey El-Masry the Egyptian officer.

We cannot express our feelings towards such trial, which proves well that his punishment was only for some personal deed. Anwar Pash, the Minister of War, is the only man who hates this honest officer. If someone asks why he was let free for seven months without punishment, I cannot answer such question. If you visit even the smallest cottage in Egypt you can hear grief and sorrow for Aziz Bey. All of the persons who accompanied Aziz Bey can tell his noble deeds. We wonder why Great Britain did not set him at liberty as he is a native of Egypt. All the Egyptian Papers are not satisfactory towards such bad treatment. You can ask Lord Kitchener to explain you the feelings of all the inhabitants. The Arabian Nation is very unhappy to hear of his judgment. You see that all the classes even the Europeans are surprised towards his treatment. We never forget the Turkish fault, this bad error which proves that Turkey does what will displease the Egyptians, those persons who assisted her in time of trouble. We have placed ourselves near cannons in honour of Turkey. We think that She missed that Aziz Bey is an Egyptian.

He did not err, but had done all his best for the sake of rasing the Turkish, those people who could not know their enemies out of their own friends. The nation is waiting your help. To you we send our application hoping do your best so as to let all the Egyptians know that there is a Gov[ernmen]t which look after our own life and property.

We are,
Your Most Obed[ient] Servants,

for 400,000 persons.

Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, April 26, 1914
F.O. 18207/7963/14/44.
D. 12 noon
R. 1 P.M.
Tel. (No. 73.)

The minister for Foreign Affairs has heard that Aziz Ali, who is proceeding to Egypt on his release, contemplates returning to Cyrenaica to organise opposition to the Italians, and greatly hopes that means may be found to dissuade him from doing so.

Sir L. Mallet to Sir Edward Grey
F.O. 22038/7963/14/44.
Pera, D. May 12, 1914
R. May 18, 1914
(No. 331.)

l have the honour to enclose herein copies of an article which has appeared in the recently published pan-Islamic periodical, the " Jihan-i-Islam," regarding the intervention of this Embassy in the case of Aziz Ali.

It is noticeable that this article is reproduced briefly in the Arab portion of the paper, and at greater length in the Urdu portion. The frontispiece of this portion is moreover a large photograph of Enver Pasha which is headed " The Sword of the State and Helper of the People."

I have, &c.

Enclosure in Sir L. Mallet's despatch No. 331. Translation from the Turkish of article published in Turkish, in the issue of May 7 (April 24) of the "Jihan-i-Islam."

A rumour had been published that the Egyptian Aziz Ali Bey who, after condemnation by the Court Martial, became the object of the Imperial clemency, owed his pardon to the intervention of the British Ambassador. Because we knew how exalted is the patriotism of our Egyptian brethren, we considered it improbable that they should have invited foreign intervention in connexion with the trial and condemnation of an officer on counts relating to his military duty. The intervention of one Government in connexion with the condemnation by another Government of an officer of its own army being completely contrary to the essential principles of international law, we could not regard such a direct intervention as possible. However, with a desire to learn the truth, our proprietor visited the Minister of War and made enquiry. The Minister declared that Aziz Ali Bey's pardon was due to no foreign intervention, but that the Imperial pardon had been granted solely on his proposition. Hereupon, our proprietor sent tho following telegram to the Egyptian newspaper, Es-Shaab, on April 15/28, 1914:-

" I have had an interview with His Excellency the Minister of War. His Excellency denied the intervention of the British Ambassador in the question of Aziz Ali, and stated that the Imperial clemency had been extended to Aziz Ali owing to his efforts."

The " Agence Ottomane " afterwards published its démenti.

Created: 6 October 1996, 06:32 AM Last Updated: 6 October 1996, 06:32 AM