Correspondence Between Sir Henry McMahon, His Majesty’s High Commissioner at Cairo and The Sherif Hussein of Mecca, July 1915- March 1916.


Book ID: 2747


8vo. 18 pp., folding map, stapled pamphlet, Presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by command of His Majesty., Miscellaneous series No. 3 (1939), printed and published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, first edition, 1939.


The correspondence between Sir A. Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Cairo, and Hussain ibn Ali, Sharif of Mecca provides assurances to Arab leadership of Britain’s support for Arab independence in the region. Given the backdrop of World War I, which placed Great Britain as an allied power in opposition to Ottoman Empire, Sir Henry McMahon’s assurance can be read as a strategic move on the part of Great Britain to gain the support of oil-rich Arab countries against Constantinople. (Middle East oil was first discovered in 1908 at Masjid-I-Sulaiman in southwestern Asia, and the supply immediately became of critical interest to Britain). Consequently, Hussain sided politically with Britain, hoping for an independent kingdom of Hijaz at the end of the war. An interesting aspect of this correspondence is McMahon’s insistence that some Western parts of the territories are not purely Arab and, thus, should be treated uniquely. This is a nod to Zionist interest in Palestine

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