The Kurdish Demand for British Support to Establish an Independent State at the Paris Peace Conference

Authors

  • Ranjdar Mohammed Azeez Department of History, College of Humanities Science, University of Halabja, Halabja, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.32410/huj-10321

Keywords:

Paris Peace Conference, Kurdish Question, the Armenian question, British policy, Sevres Treaty

Abstract

This attempt made by the Kurdish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference played some part in bringing their question into the international debates.  Studying new post-war British policy towards the Ottoman Kurdistan, based on the territorial, local and international perspectives are essential to understand how at 1919’s Peace Conference, Britain and the Allies had agreed that self-determination must be the way to determine the Kurd's future; however, they did not have intention on the recognition of Kurdish national state of their own.

The secondary literature has explained important assessments of how British policy was not to ignore the Kurdish demands during the Peace Conference, but to negotiate Kurdistan’s future within the Turkish peace treaty. In fact, most of them did not analyze the reasons that were decisive for how British strategic and economic interests conflicted with applying the idea of self-determination. The optimum characteristic of this review is that it primarily concentrates upon analysing original British published and unpublished primary sources to give a more serious understanding of the most significant factor determining the ultimate decision by Britain towards the Kurds at the Peace Conference. Thus, it consults the substantial bulk of documents found in the different British Archives and libraries.

The aim of this study; it covers three sections, which to throughout the first part examines the attendance of the Kurdish representatives at the Peace Conference and their attempt to secure the Allied support. The second one investigates the response of British officials to the Kurdish claim. The last one considers how Britain concluded the fate of Kurds through the peace settlement at the Sevres Treaty of 1920.

References

Books

Busch, Mudros (1976) to Lausanne: Britain’s Frontier in West Asia, 1918-1923 .New York, USA.

Hilmi, Rafiq (2003) Yadasht [Kurdish: Memoir],Publisher Sardam Ltd, Sulaimaniyah.

McDowall, David (2007) A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I. B. Tauris.

Thesis

Eskander, Saad Basheer (2014) Britain’s Policy Towards the Kurdish question 1915-1923 (PhD thesis, The London School Of Economics And Political Science, Proquest .

MacMillan, Margaret(2010) Paris 1919 (New York: Random House, 2003) quoted in: Durham, Whitney Dylan, The 1920 Treaty of sevres and the struggle For a Kurdish homeland in Iraq And Turkey between world wars (PhD thesis, Oklahoma State University.

Memoirs

Hilmi, Rafiq, Yadasht [Kurdish: Memoir], (Sulaimaniyah: Sardam, 2003).

Secondary Sources

Busch, Briton Cooper, Mudros to Lausanne: Britain’s Frontier in West Asia, 1918-1923 (New York: Albany: State University of New York Press, 1976).

MacMillan, Margaret, Paris 1919 (New York: Random House, 2003), pp.87_88, quoted in: Durham, Whitney Dylan, The 1920 Treaty of sevres and the struggle For a Kurdish homeland in Iraq And Turkey between world wars (PhD thesis, Oklahoma State University, 2010).

McDowall, David, A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007).

Unpublished thesis

Eskander, Saad Basheer, ‘Britain’s Policy Towards The Kurdish Question, 1915-1923’, Ph.D. Thesis (The London School of Economics and Political Science, 1999).

Newspapers

Los Angeles Times, ‘Fourteen real Peace Points’, 13 October 1918.

Documents

BL/IOR/L/PS/10/782, ‘Telegram from the Secretary of State for India to Civil Commissioner in Mesopotamia’, 30 April 1920.

BL/IOR/L/PS/10/782, ‘The British Secretary’s notes of a meeting of the Supreme Council at San Remo Conference’, 19 April 1920.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Second additional note on the situation in Kurdistan, Foreign Office’, 10 January 1920.

DBFP, series 1, 8, p.43, ‘Considering the question of Kurdistan at the San Remo Conference’, 19 April 1920.

DBFP, series 1, 8, p.45, ‘Revised draft Articles as to Kurdistan’, 19 April 1920.

BL/IOR/L/PS/10/782, ‘Secretary of State for India to Civil Commissioner in Mesopotamia’, 30 April 1920.

IOR/L/PS/10/782, ‘Indian Office recommendation on Kurdistan’, 20 December 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Telegram circulated by India Office’, 20 December 1919.

PA/F/206/4, Lloyd George paper, ‘Anglo-French Conference on the Turkish settlement’, 22 December 1919.

PA: Lloyd George MSS, F/206/4, ‘Anglo-French understanding with Arabs in Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Arabia’, 12 December 1919.

St. Antony College Middle East Centre Archive, Edmonds, 3/3, ‘ North Kurdistan’, 8 march 1920.

St. Antony College, Middle East Centre Archive, Edmonds MSS, 7/1, ‘Note on the Kurdish situation, by Major Noel’, July 1919.

TNA/AIR/20/512, ‘Report from Civil Commissioner in Baghdad to the Secretary of State for India’, 30 October 1918.

TNA/AIR/20/741, ‘political, Baghdad to Zinneremo London’. 22 October 1919.

TNA/AIR/20/741, ‘telegram from Political Baghdad to the Secretary of State for India’, 1 September 1919.

TNA/AIR/20/741, ‘Telegram from political, Baghdad to Zinneremo London’, 22 October 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘letter by the Military Section of British Delegation at Paris’, 21 March 1919.

TNA/AIR/20/741, ‘telegram from the Secretary of State for India to Political Baghdad’, 31 August 1919

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Interdepartmental conference on Middle Eastern affairs, situation in Kurdistan’, January 1919.

TNA/FO/141/806, ‘Précis of affairs in southern Kurdistan during the great war, Office of Civil Commissioner’, June 1919.

TNA/FO/141/806, ‘Précis of affairs in southern Kurdistan during the great war, Office of Civil Commissioner’, June 1919.

TNA/FO/141/806, ‘Précis of affairs in southern Kurdistan during the great war, Office of Civil Commissioner’, June 1919.

TNA/FO/371/3398, ‘Memorandum of interview between Cox and Sharif Pasha’, 3 June 1918.

TNA/FO/371/3398, ‘Telegram from the Secretary of State for India to Civil Commissioner, Baghdad’, 28 October 1918.

TNA/FO/371/4149, ‘Foreign Office’, 17 April 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘Political department, India Office’, 27 August 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4191, ‘Letter circulated by the India Office’, 22 May 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4191, ‘Memorandum on the claims of the Kurd people’, 22 March 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4191, ‘Telegram by Civil Commissioner, Baghdad’, 12 May 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4191, ‘The Kurdish national movement’, 20 June 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Telegram from political Baghdad to the High Commissioner’, 29 September 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Memorandum by the High Commissioner in Constantinople’, November 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Telegram from the Secretary of State for India to the Civil Commissioner in Baghdad’, 22 November 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Second additional note on the situation in Kurdistan, Foreign Office’, 10 January 1920.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘the Kurdo-Armenian declaration’, 28 November 1919.

TNA/FO/371/5069, ‘Telegram from Admiral de Robeck to the Foreign Office’, 28 July 1920.

TNA/FO/371/5069, ‘Telegram from the Civil Commissioner in Baghdad to the Secretary of State for India’, 3 July 1920.

TNA/FO/371/6342, ‘Middle East report of the Interdepartmental Committee’, 31 January 1921.

BL/IOR/L/PS/10/782, ‘Secretary of State for India to Civil Commissioner’, 30 April 1920.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘A letter by Sharif Pasha to the Paris Peace Conference’, 6 February 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘Dispatched a letter by the British High Commissioner in Constantinople’, 5 January 1919.

TNA/FO/371/4193, ‘Inter-Departmental Conference on Middle Eastern Affairs’, 28 March 1919, Briton Cooper.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘Dispatched letter by Mr. Mallet’, 21 April 1921

TNA/FO/371/4191, ‘Letter from the British delegation at Paris to Balfour, 27 May 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘letter by Kurds to the British government’, 16 December 1918.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘letter from the British Director of Military Intelligence to the Acting Under-Secretary of State, Foreign Office’, 27 January 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘Political Department, India Office’, 27August 1919.

TNA/FO/608/95, ‘Political Department’, 27August 1919.

TNA: CO 732/4, ‘The Cairo Conference on the Middle Eastern Affairs by the Secretary of State for the Colonies’, March 1921.

TNA: CO 372/5, ‘Circulated telegram by the Secretary of State for Colonies’ 24 March 1921.

Unpublished Manuscript Collections

(a) Government Records

AIR Air Ministry at National Archives

CO Colonial Office at National Archives

DBFP Documents on British Foreign Policy

FO Foreign Office at National Archives

IOR India Office Records (Asia, Africa and Pacific department) at British Library

TNA the National Archives

(b) Private Papers

Edmonds MSS Middle East Centre Archives, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

Lloyd George MSS Parliamentary Archives (PA)

Published

2020-09-30

How to Cite

Azeez, R. M. . (2020). The Kurdish Demand for British Support to Establish an Independent State at the Paris Peace Conference. Halabja University Journal, 5(3), 110–124. https://doi.org/10.32410/huj-10321