Libmonster ID: U.S.-1529

Of all the international problems of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, perhaps the most complex and intricate knot of contradictions was the Eastern question, related to the fate of the decrepit Ottoman Empire. It broke down into many private problems, each of which affected the interests of several powers. One of the most difficult issues was the Palestinian issue. Palestine never became the "sphere of interest" of any one Power. Everyone tried to gain a foothold here, and no one wanted to give up. The vast historiography devoted to the origins of the Palestinian conflict in the early twentieth century focuses almost exclusively on the relationship of the British Government with the Zionist movement and the first Arab-Jewish clashes. The role of this country in international, and in particular in Anglo-French, relations of that time is incomparably less studied. The article is devoted to the place of the Palestinian question in relations between the two leading European powers at the end of the First World War and in the first years after its end.

For many centuries, Palestine's international significance has been determined by two factors: its religious and historical significance and its strategic position. But for different powers, the role of these factors was not the same. Palestine is a Holy Land for three world religions. For Christian Europe, the problem of free access to the Holy Sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem has been relevant for many centuries and is intertwined with political and economic interests. The division of the Christian Church into several confessions gave rise to intense competition for the right to "use" certain shrines. Since the end of the 17th century, the " disputing parties "(Catholics and Orthodox) began to appeal to the largest "co - religious" powers-France and Russia [Chrysostom, 2003, p.129-133,141]. From the mid-nineteenth century, the leaders of these powers began to use the question of Holy Sites for political purposes, and it gradually developed into an international conflict, which caused the Crimean War of 1853-1856. After its end, the rivalry of the Powers in Palestine continued, but took on more hidden forms. It was expressed primarily in the establishment of various religious, charitable and educational institutions under the flag of a particular Power. France and Russia were the most active participants in this competition. Since the 1880s, Germany has joined it, and at the beginning of the XX century, Italy.

For France, the fate of the Eastern Mediterranean was, among other things, a matter of prestige. France has long assumed the role of protecting the interests of the Catholic Church in the East. Gradually, a whole system of French "Catholic protectorate"was formed. Its source was usually declared to be the vague wording of the capitulation acts of the XVII and XVIII centuries, but an unwritten tradition played a major role, which the Turkish authorities tacitly recognized. The "Catholic protectorate" was expressed in the consular patronage of Catholic churches.-

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public organizations and charitable organizations, regardless of the nationality of their members. In Palestine, the mediation role of the French consuls in the relations of these organizations with the Turkish authorities and with Orthodox institutions (which the Russian consul "defended") was especially important due to the constant disputes over Holy Sites. The external expression of the" protectorate "was the special honors paid by the Catholic clergy of the Holy Land to the French Consul (a special place at the main divine services, special "consular masses" , etc.). Other powers (especially Germany and Italy) disputed the legitimacy of the French "protectorate" (Kirova, 1973, pp. 54-70).

The economic importance of Palestine to the rival powers was determined by the fact that it was part of the" Levant " - a vast region in the Eastern Mediterranean, through which Asian countries were connected to Europe for centuries. Until the war itself, France remained the undisputed leader in terms of investment in the Palestinian economy, although it faced competition from German capital [Laurens, 1999, p. 147-149]. For Great Britain, which seized Egypt in 1882 and controlled the Suez Canal, the location of Palestine at the junction of Asia and Africa, between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, was of particular interest. After the discovery of oil reserves in northern Iraq, Palestine could become the beginning of a transport route from the Mediterranean Sea to oil wells. The possibility of foreign influence being established here was a serious threat to imperial communications. But the British, although they had their own bishop in Jerusalem, were generally indifferent to the religious side of the Palestinian question.

All the rival powers sought to enlist the support of one or another group of the local population - to acquire their own "clientele".

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Zionist movement has been a significant factor. Declaring their goal to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, the Zionists began by buying up land for the settlement of Jewish colonists. They certainly looked for contacts in the governments of leading European countries, but before the war, their activities did not create serious complications. Thanks to organized immigration (the first and second Aliyah), the Jewish population of Palestine increased from 15.6 thousand people in 1883 (3.3% of the population) to 60 thousand in 1914 (more than 8.3% of the population) [Laurens, 1999, p. 145-147].

Decades of hidden power rivalry created an extremely difficult situation in the early twentieth century. Before the war, Orthodox Christians in Palestine were twice as numerous as Catholics. Orthodox Palestinians were in the orbit of Russian influence thanks to Russian monetary subsidies and a flood of pilgrims. Catholics, on the other hand, were clearly divided into two groups, which were concentrated respectively around Italian Franciscans and various French religious and charitable organizations. The Franciscans, who "protected" the Holy Places on behalf of the Vatican, had a larger number of followers and were hostile to French claims. But the French congregations were more adept at politics and propaganda, were active in educating not only Christians but also Muslims, and greatly contributed to the widespread use of the French language in Palestine. The German presence was also noticeable. German religious buildings "practically dominated Jerusalem." There were German religious institutions in Bethlehem, and agricultural colonies near Jaffa1.

With the outbreak of World War II, the international significance of Palestine changed. Its border with Egypt has become a front line. For the British, it was the first tse-

1 This information about the pre-war situation in Palestine was provided by the British "political officer" W. Ormsby-Gore in his memorandum to the leadership of the Foreign Office at the end of August 1918 [British Documents..., 1985, p. 4].


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For the central Powers, it was a springboard for operations against British troops in Egypt.

Germany's policy was to preserve the territorial and political status quo while ousting its opponents from the Entente camp from the region. Germany did not want to unnecessarily complicate relations with its Turkish ally, and therefore the German Zionists, despite serious efforts, did not get any definite support for their cause from the Kaiser's government [Lacker, 2000, pp. 240-248]. In the event of an Entente victory, the separation of its Arab possessions from Turkey was inevitable. Therefore, the question of the future status of individual countries and territories became so important that the Allies preferred, at least formally, to settle it among themselves before the end of the war. Their plans were different, including with regard to Palestine.

The French originally planned the annexation of" United Syria " (la Syrie integrale) - a huge territory between the Taurus Mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia. Palestine was seen as an integral part of this future French colony. Such demands were voiced in 1915 in the speeches of French politicians and publicists [Pic, 1924, p. 55-56; Cumming, 1938, p. 17-18]. It was with such demands that in November 1915, the former consul in Beirut, F. Georges Picot came to London to discuss plans for dividing up Turkey's Asian possessions (Sanders, 1983, p. 258). This approach was unacceptable to the British. The French, obviously, themselves realized the excess of their claims and abandoned them within a month (Sanders, 1983, p. 281). After that, secret negotiations began between Pico and the British expert M. By Sykes.

The Sykes-Picot agreement they reached was formalized in an exchange of government notes in May 1916. It recognized the right of France to occupy Lebanon, the coast of Syria, Cilicia and part of Central Anatolia (the"Blue Zone"); Great Britain - to occupy southern and central Mesopotamia with Baghdad (the"Red Zone"). The vast territory between these zones was intended to create an Arab State or federation of such States. Its northern part was to be under French influence ("zone A"), its southern part was to be under English influence ("Zone B"). Palestine was singled out as a special "Brown Zone" where "an international administration will be established, the form of which will be determined after consultations with Russia and then during consultations with other allies and representatives of the Sherif of Mecca" [Documents..., vol. 4, 1958, p. 246]. The ports of Haifa and Acre came under direct British control. It is important to note that the Sykes-Picot agreement does not even hint at the involvement of Zionists in deciding the future fate of Palestine. Although the leading Zionists (x. Weizmann, N. Sokolov, etc.) already besieged the leaders of the Entente countries with their ideas and proposals, the British and French preferred to simply ignore them.

The situation changed dramatically in early 1917. Several factors coincided here: the February revolution in Russia, the entry of the United States into the war, and the change of government in Great Britain. The Allied governments (especially the British) had long been concerned about the way German propaganda used the facts of Jewish pogroms in tsarist Russia to discredit the Entente's policy. The position of the influential Jewish lobby in the United States could, according to the British and French, play an important role in deciding the timing, form and scale of US participation in the war. It was necessary to wrest the "Jewish map"from the hands of the central Powers and counteract German propaganda. After the fall of the autocracy, the slogan "peace without annexations and indemnities" was popular in Russia, and the rest of the Entente countries seriously feared Russia's exit from the war. The large number of Jews among the leaders of the Russian revolutionary parties has led many politicians in London and Paris to think about the possibility of a revolution.

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winning their sympathies by supporting Zionist aspirations. Such illusions were strongly supported by Zionist leaders, most of them natives of Russia [Bovis, 1971, p. 5; Kimche, 1968, p. 26-30: Laurens, 1999, p. 329 - 330, 346 - 347].

The British Government had special reasons for paying attention to Zionism. The system of secret treaties created in 1915-1916 by the Asquith - Gray cabinet, which almost completely divided the Ottoman Empire between Great Britain, France, Russia and Italy, did not seem to be an ideal solution for the new Lloyd George-Balfour cabinet. Revolutionary Russia abandoned its annexationist plans and it was obvious that Great Britain would play a key role in the division of the Ottoman Empire. Zionist leaders, especially X. Weizmann, followed a clear pro-British course and strongly opposed the internationalization of Palestine [Friedman, 1973, p. 132-134]. This gave Lloyd George a chance to use the Zionists to "purge" Palestine of French influence and turn it into a British possession. As early as February 1917, shortly after the cabinet change, Herbert Samuel (the future High Commissioner to Palestine) and Mark Syke, at a meeting with leading Zionists, spoke in favor of a British protectorate in Palestine. Seike considered Zionism "an excellent opportunity to evade the 1916 agreement" (Lacker 2000: 266-268). In April, 1917. Lloyd George told the British Ambassador in Paris, Bertie: "The French will have to accept our protectorate. We will come to Palestine as conquerors and stay there" (Lord Bertie, 1927, p. 138).

The French, having the Sykes-Picot agreement in their hands, at first did not doubt the intentions of the British to implement it. This probably explains their favorable attitude towards Zionism in May-June 1917, when one of the leading Zionists, N. Sokolov, visited Paris. The leaders of the French Foreign Ministry assured him of their sympathy for the plans to settle Jewish colonists in Palestine, and then, at Sokolov's insistence, confirmed this in writing. Document signed by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zh. Cambon on June 4, 1917, was compiled very vaguely. The French Government recognized the justice of the efforts to "revive Jewish nationality" in Palestine and assured that it could "only feel sympathy" for this cause [Friedman, 1973, p. 162; Sanders, 1983, p. 534]. At the time, French leaders were only concerned about the impression that the document would make on what they thought were influential Jewish leaders in the United States and Russia. They also assumed that the Zionist colonies would become neighbors of French Syria in the future, and did not want to turn the Zionists into their enemies in advance [Laurens, 1999, p. 347-348]. They saw the implementation of the Zionist plans as a common cause of the Entente countries in "international" Palestine. The Cambon Declaration, for all its obscurity, was the first document to express a favorable attitude towards Zionist plans on behalf of a great power (although this word was not named). It was five months ahead of a similar British document, but was not published anywhere. Only the leaders of France, Great Britain and the Zionist movement knew about it.

The French declaration gave rise to fears among the British that they might lose the initiative. After much hesitation and agreement, the British Cabinet on November 2

1917. expressed his attitude to Zionism in the famous Balfour Declaration, framed as a letter from the Foreign Secretary to Lord L. Rothschild. Its text was also not very clear. It was announced that the British Government would "make every effort" to establish a Jewish "national home" in Palestine, while respecting the "civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish population".2. The Declaration in a certain sense prejudged the question of the future political structure of Palestine and thus violated the principle of its internationalization. The British declaration was first published and received a lively response from Jewish circles in Europe and the United States. In France, it initially did not arouse any sympathy. Nevertheless, in mid-February 1918, the Foreign Minister S. Pichon, on the instructions of the Prime Minister

2 For the history of the Balfour Declaration, see [Lacker, 2000, pp. 267-285].


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Zh. Clemenceau, in a special press communique, declared France's "full agreement" with Great Britain on the Palestinian question [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 155]. The special weight of the Balfour Declaration was given by the fact that it was issued on the eve of the British offensive in Palestine. On December 9, 1917, Jerusalem was captured, but northern Palestine remained in Turkish hands for another ten months. The military victory immediately created political problems.

The French by this time began to seriously suspect the British of insincerity of intentions. The British command made every effort to prevent the participation of French and Italian troops in operations in this direction (although this was already unlikely due to the concentration of almost all French forces on the German front) [Friedman, 1973, p. 168-169]. Nevertheless, the French insisted on sending two battalions (about 7,000 men) to the East [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 49-52]. The Italians marked their presence by sending a detachment of 200 people. Compared to the British army of a hundred thousand, this was a drop in the bucket. Realizing the weakness of their positions, the French tried to fix their presence in the Middle East in order to create conditions for the implementation of the Sykes-Picot agreement. To do this, his co-author F. was sent to the East. Georges Picot. He was instructed to speed up the establishment of an international administration in Palestine, with his own participation as the French representative. In turn, the British Commander-in-Chief, General E. Allenby received clear instructions from London not to allow any participation of the French and Italians in the government and to maintain the occupation regime in the country [Friedman, 1973, p. 168 - 169, 285 - 286.]. Pico's first attempt to talk about "civil governance" in Jerusalem was met with a sharp rebuke from Allenby.3 Thus began an active confrontation between the British and French in the occupied Turkish territories of the Middle East.

Faced with British resistance, Picot made every effort to establish a French presence in Palestine. Having no access to the administration's affairs, he turned to symbolic actions. French soldiers took over the protection of the Holy Places, one by one French schools and hospitals closed by the Turks began to open. The French flag was hoisted on their buildings in Jerusalem and other cities. What seems to have been a matter of protocol became particularly important: Pico ensured that, starting from Christmas 1917, he was given the same "liturgical honors" at solemn Catholic services as the pre-war French consuls. This was a vivid reminder of the old "Catholic protectorate" and the Italians were outraged and complained to Allenby, who sharply reminded Pico that he was only his adviser (Laurens, 1999, p. 389-390). The Catholic clergy were divided. The Custodia (Franciscan guard of the Holy Land) took a pro-Italian position, while the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (though Italian) was sympathetic to the French [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 157]. The French talked about the need to maintain the pre-war status quo until the conclusion of a peace treaty. In February, the British agreed to temporarily preserve the "liturgical honors" on the condition that the French would not interfere in the administration's affairs [Laurens, 1999, p. 390]. The Italians and the Vatican cardinals who supported them did not accept the possible restoration of the protectorate and for a long time protested against the "honors"at every opportunity. 4

An additional element of uncertainty was created by the situation in Russia, which is also a party to the secret agreements. But the Russian Empire has disappeared. The Bolshevik government immediately dissociated itself from the diplomacy of the previous regime by publishing all the secret agreements, and also quickly revealed its atheistic character. The Bolsheviks did not care about the fate of Orthodoxy in distant Palestine. There was a self-removal of one of the most active participants in the former rivalry in the East. The publication of the secret agreements forced the Entente governments to justify themselves to the leaders of the" interested peoples " (including Arabs and Jews). Disclosure of agreements made them difficult to review. In France, for example, "public

3 This scene is vividly described by the famous Lawrence of Arabia in his book [Lawrence, 1977, p. 464].

4 For more information, see [Minerbi, 1970, p. 157-173].


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opinion began to consider their terms as a guaranteed minimum of its share in the division of the"Turkish pie".

A year later, the First World War came to an end. In the East, British forces reached Aleppo and Mosul. During the distribution of the occupation zones, all of Palestine west of the Jordan River ended up in the "Southern" British occupation Zone. The British were masters of the situation in the entire Middle East, but Lebanon, the coastal areas of Syria and Cilicia were formally transferred to the control of the French (the "Northern" and "Western" zones), and the interior of Syria and the east bank of the Jordan River - to the control of the British ally-Emir Faisal (the "Eastern Zone"). And only in Palestine did the legal state of affairs correspond to the actual one.

Establishing foreign control in the Middle East immediately ran into serious difficulties. In Palestine, as early as November 1918, the first mass demonstrations of Palestinian Arabs (Muslims and Christians) against Zionist plans took place [Laurens, 1999, p. 423]. Deep divisions quickly emerged between France and Faisal's self-proclaimed Arab government in Damascus. The British military authorities were clearly sympathetic to Faisal. But European leaders were convinced that a purely behind-the-scenes solution to the most important issues was possible.

At the end of 1918, J. Clemenceau arrived in London for preliminary coordination of positions with the British and American leaders. In early December, at an informal meeting, Clemenceau gave Lloyd George his consent to British monopoly control over Palestine, as well as to the transfer of Mosul to England, while extorting the right for France to share in the revenues from Mosul oil [Laurens, 1999, p. 429-434]. Although this oral agreement had no legal effect, Clemenceau never tried to deny it afterwards. Clemenceau's motives can only be speculated, but most likely, in exchange for Mosul and Palestine, he hoped to buy the British consent to the complete submission of all of Syria and Cilicia to France, as well as their assistance in certain aspects of the German question.

The December agreements remained hidden not only from public opinion, but also from many political figures. Both France and Great Britain continued to develop plans for the broadest colonial expansion in the Middle East, without taking into account the opinion of the Allies. In France, plans for a French "United Syria" were again being put forward, while the British wanted to somehow subjugate all the lands from the Indian Ocean to the Taurus Mountains, including the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine. The French, however, soon came to understand the unreality of the "Great Syrian" plans, and they had only to defend the letter of the Sykes-Picot agreement from English encroachments [Andrew and Kanya-Forster, 1981, p. 165-179]. Clemenceau, as we have seen, went even further, but Pichon, probably unaware of this, spoke in the Chamber of Deputies on December 29 about the "indisputable rights" of France in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. These" rights "were" reliably guaranteed", and Pichon was even going to demand their "extension" [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 199-200]. But he was clearly wishful thinking.

At the Paris Peace Conference, which opened on January 18, 1919, the problem of the future of Palestine "drowned" in a host of other issues of peace settlement, including the Middle East. Clemenceau and Pichon focused all their efforts on establishing French control over Syria, in which they were openly opposed by Emir Faisal, who arrived in Paris. The British, in the words of the Secretary of War, Lord Milner, tried to play the role of "honest broker" in this dispute, using it to their own advantage. Clemenceau considered Faisal to be a British agent hired to drive the French out of Syria.5 As the confrontation began to take on sharp forms, the French, in an effort to counterbalance the obvious British influence in Syria, tried to deprive the British of calm for their position in Palestine. In particular, they emphasized their cool attitude towards Zionism. The tone of the French press in relation to-

5 For the Syrian problem during this period, see [Fomin, 2003 (2), pp. 39-59].


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The Zionist representatives in Paris were dismayed by Weizmann and his colleagues ' interest in the plans [The Rise of Israel, 1987, p. 120,134 - 135]. When the official Zionist delegation led by Weizmann and Sokolov solemnly presented their program for "solving the Jewish question" by immigration to Palestine, Clemenceau gave the floor to the Chairman of the World Jewish Alliance (Alliance Israelite Universelle), Sylvain Levy. On behalf of the French Jews, he actually opposed the Zionist plans, which inevitably gave rise to the problem of dual citizenship and dual loyalty of Jews in European countries [Papers..., pp. 161-170].

Levy's position was a reflection of the actual split among politically active Jews in Europe. The World Jewish Alliance, created in Paris in 1867 to promote the "principles of the French Revolution" among Jews, was a serious competitor to the Zionist organization and in this capacity was very useful to the French government. The Zionists themselves admitted that they did not have any noticeable support among their "co-religionists" in France. The position of the French government was generally consistent with the statement of the "representative of Syria" Shukri Ghanem, invited by Clemenceau. According to Ghanem, Palestine should be open to Jewish immigration, but only as an autonomous province within French Syria [Papers..., p. 1307]. Emir Faisal, a staunch ally of the British, speaking at the conference, diplomatically excluded Palestine from the large Arab state south of the Alexandretta-Diyarbakir line, which he demanded to create in the Middle East [Papers..., p. 861.]6.

The" absentee dispute " between the delegations of interested parties was, in fact, the only time that Palestine was mentioned at the conference. The leaders of the great powers did not raise this issue while there were heated discussions around Germany, Central Europe, and Syria. It seemed that regardless of events in other countries and regions, the fate of Palestine was finally decided - the British mandate and the implementation of the Balfour Declaration (the interpretation of which no one has yet seriously thought about). But the problems of neighboring Syria have drawn Palestine back into the international orbit. Because of irreconcilable Anglo-French contradictions, as well as because of the Americans ' rejection of secret wartime agreements, the conference, at the initiative of the Americans, decided to send a joint inter-Allied commission to the Middle East to find out the wishes of the local population. However, Lloyd George offered Clemenceau separate Anglo-French negotiations on the Syrian problem outside the framework of the conference. They ended in failure (the British wanted to severely curtail future French possessions), and on May 21 Clemenceau refused to send representatives to the commission until the replacement of British troops in Syria with French ones. Lloyd George did the same, and the commission became a purely American one. She was supposed to start her journey in Palestine.

So, the further development of events around Palestine has once again returned to "place". However, the British administration was then busy establishing relations with the leading Zionists who had moved there, as well as the leaders of local Arabs. Among British officers and officials, there were sharp differences in attitudes towards Zionism, ranging from complete rejection to admiration.7

From the point of view of Anglo-French relations, Palestine was "in the shadow" of neighboring Syria, and the French were simply not up to it. But now and then there was friction and collisions. Fran-

6 Shortly before this, Faisal, with the help of Lawrence, had entered into a secret agreement with Weizmann, in which he agreed to give up Palestine, but only if the conference fully approved all his other demands.

7 The Commander - in-Chief, Field Marshal E. Allenby, was known for his pro-Arab sympathies, while Colonel R. Meinertzhagen (discussed below) was known for his Zionist sympathies. The commandant of Jerusalem, R. Storrs, later wrote: "Being neither an Arab nor a Jew, but an Englishman, I am not on the side of any of them, but rather of both. Two hours of Arab complaints push me to the synagogue, and after an intensive course of Zionist propaganda, I am ready to convert to Islam." Cit. by: [Sanders, 1983, p. 650].


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The French wanted to "indicate" their presence, but the British did not want to allow them to do so. Despite British opposition, a congress of Palestinian Catholics of all Rites met in Jerusalem in January-February 1919 and voted for the annexation of Palestine to French Syria (Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 179). In May, the British arrested a French officer (Picot's personal representative) in Nablus without explanation while he was presenting the Legion of Honor badges to the family of a local notable who was executed during the war by the Turks for sympathizing with France (Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 182). In June, the British prevented the French honor guard from visiting the monastery on Mount Carmel, the site of the unveiling of a restored monument to Napoleon's soldiers who died here from wounds and illnesses in 1799 (Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 182-184). The British delayed the reopening of the Credit Lyonnais bank branch in Jerusalem for six months and generally prevented any commercial activity of the French not only in Palestine, but throughout the Middle East [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 136]. It is not surprising that the French, absorbed in the struggle against the pro-English government of Faisal in Damascus, began to perceive the Zionist activities in Palestine as another anti-French tool of their allies [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 160-161].

In this situation, in accordance with the decision of the peace conference, the American King-Crane Commission arrived in Palestine. By collecting as many petitions as possible from leaders of various groups, clans and communities, she hoped to get an objective picture of the mood of the local population. In Palestine, of course, she was primarily interested in the prospects of Zionism and the British mandate. The Commission concluded that Palestinian Muslims (about 80% of the population) strongly oppose Zionist plans and support the inclusion of Palestine in a fully independent Syrian state. Christians (10% of the population) also strongly rejected the Zionist program and supported the British mandate. Only very small communities of Uniate Catholics (Melkites and Maronites)wanted the French mandate [Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 268 - 269]. Jews, of course, supported the Zionist program (in its more or less radical form), but they made up only 10% of the population.8 As a result, the commission recommended that Palestine should be included in a common Syrian state under the mandate of the United States or Great Britain, but in no case France [King-Crane Report]. The commission's findings did not have any impact on the solution of the Middle East problem, but the British managed to masterfully use them to weaken the already insignificant French influence in the region.

The Entente countries were able to start working out a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire only at the end of 1919. By this time, the reluctance of the United States to participate in the official summing up of the war in Europe and the Middle East had become apparent, peace treaties had been signed with Germany and Austria, and the British had abandoned their support for Faisal in favor of a closer alliance with France. On September 15, 1919, an Anglo-French agreement was reached, according to which British troops were withdrawn from Cilicia, Lebanon and Syria [Documents..., vol. 7,1958, p. 690 - 693,700 - 701]. Although the French occupied only Cilicia and the Mediterranean coast, the establishment of France in Syria was only a matter of time. It was from this point on that the Palestinian question returned to the agenda of Anglo-French relations. For France, it was clearly divided into two main problems: the future of its traditional "Catholic protectorate" and the definition of the borders between the English and French mandated territories, in other words, between Syria and Lebanon on the one hand and Palestine on the other.

The latter question was closely related to France's attitude towards the Zionist movement and its plans. French " public opinion "has long been concerned about the possible infringement of France's" ancient " rights in Palestine under the conditions of the British mandate and active Zionist activity. True, the atheist Clemenceau initially did not attach serious importance to this [Sat-bon,1946, p. 276], but the pressure on him was too strong. A. Millerand, who replaced Clemenceau in January 1920, looked at these things more seriously.

8 As can be seen, the statistics of that time differ somewhat from the calculations of modern historians.


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There were three points of view on the border issue. The French wanted it to follow the Sykes-Picot Agreement line, which began north of Acre, then turned south to Lake Tiberias and then followed the Yarmouk River (a left tributary of the Jordan River south of Lake Tiberias). The Zionist maximum program, presented by Weizmann at the Paris Conference, extended the northern border of Palestine almost to Sidon (Said), and the eastern border was drawn so that the Yar Muk River Valley (which included the Golan Heights)9 ended up in Palestine along with a wide swath of the east Bank of the Jordan. The British were completely dissatisfied with the Sykes-Picot line, but they were not able to decide on their own requirements for a phase.

Lloyd George, whose knowledge of geography was the subject of numerous anecdotes, always repeated on this occasion that Palestine should occupy its "historical" ("biblical")position territory - "from Dan to Beersheba". This is how he described it in his September memorandum on the replacement of British troops with French ones in Syria and Lebanon [Documents..., vol. 1., 1947, p. 700]. But at the beginning of the 20th century, there was no settlement in the Middle East called Dan. The location of the Hebrew town of that name mentioned in the Bible was not known for sure. Approximately its location was considered to be the vicinity of the city of Baniyas in the upper Jordan. But Baniyas is located quite far from the sea, and therefore the formula "from Dan to Beersheba" did not make it easier to determine the border, even if the French agreed to it. And they initially refused to do that, too. Clemenceau specifically stipulated in September that the replacement of British troops with French ones in the Northern and Western occupation zones does not mean that they accept the accompanying British demands, including territorial ones. As a result, when the replacement of troops actually took place, the British units remained in the territory south of the Litani river.10

The British proposals on the question of frontiers were based on a memorandum prepared on November 17 by Colonel R. R. Tolkien. Meinertzhagen was the chief political officer of the General Staff of the British forces in Syria and Palestine. Meinertzhagen was an ardent supporter of Zionism, so his proposals were based almost exclusively on the economic needs of the Jewish "national hearth" in terms of providing water for irrigation and electricity generation. The "Meinertzhagen Line", in fact, did not differ much from the requirements of the Zionists themselves: the border was supposed to run along the northern bank of the Litani river, then follow the river to turn north to the latitude of Saida and Damascus, cross the Anti-Lebanon ridge and descend south along the eastern bank of the Jordan River 25-30 kilometers from the Hejaz highway [Meinertzhagen, 1956. p. 61-65; Documents..., vol. 4,1958, p. 533 - 535]. Palestine was to include the cities of Safed. Safed) and Tyre (Sur) with the district, the southern part of the Bekaa Valley, most of the Hauran region (the Yarmouk River valley, including the Golan Heights) and a wide strip to the east of the Jordan. The "Meinertzhagen Line" passed much to the north of the ancient Dan, but later it was used by the British as a basis for negotiations. In fact, this was another renegotiation of the Sykes-Picot agreement in favor of the United Kingdom.

In December 1919, preliminary negotiations were held in London between the head of the Foreign Office, Lord Curzon, and the head of the political department of the French Foreign Ministry, Fr. Skewer on the preparation of a peace treaty with Turkey. The issue of the Palestinian borders remains one of the few that has not been resolved. At a meeting on December 23, the British demanded the lower Litani and Yarmouk rivers, the French did not want to retreat from the Sykes-Picot line. The British following sio-

9 The term "Golan Heights" is not used in documents of the time. But since it is often this territory that we are talking about, we use this term because it is well known to readers in connection with the events of 1967.

10 They subsequently retreated further south under unclear circumstances.


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the Nists insisted on the need to use the water resources of the named rivers for the needs of Palestine, the French had legal arguments on the side - the 1916 agreement "The Meinertzhagen Line" was presented by the British as "more or less ideal from an economic and Zionist point of view", but a compromise option was offered in the form of a concession: almost the same line, but passing through following the current, rather than the right bank of the Litany, and slightly shortened in the northeast (now it passed to the south of the city of Hasbeya). The French were not satisfied with this either. The British offered to refer the issue to the arbitration of US President W. Wilson, but the French refused here. For the first time, a fundamental divergence between British and French attitudes toward Zionism became clear: Vertelot agreed to supply only existing Jewish settlements in northern Palestine with Syrian and Lebanese water, while Curzon talked about future widespread Jewish immigration. Discussion of the border issue was postponed until the conference of Heads of Government [Documents..., vol. 4, 1958, p. 597-602].

At the London Conference held in February and March 1920, the Palestinian question was linked from the very beginning to other Middle Eastern issues: the fate of Faisal's government in Syria and the oil wealth of northern Iraq. At the same time, the question of the "Catholic protectorate" and Holy Sites came to the fore again.

At a meeting on February 17, Vertelot recognized the inability of France to retain most of Cilicia 11 and proposed replacing the direct occupation regime there with a French sphere of influence regime. This formulation of the question raised many questions of a political and legal nature. Lloyd George decided to take advantage of this to get concessions from France on other controversial issues. At his suggestion, the conference moved from discussing the" private " issue of the situation in Cilicia to discussing the fate of all the non-Turkish possessions of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. Skewer prevented Lloyd George from raising the Syrian issue again by announcing the agreement reached with Faisal. Regarding Palestine, he said that the country should be "open to all peoples." If the United Kingdom wanted the right to mandate the administration of Palestine, then France asks that its traditional rights be respected and that the interests of local Catholics and Catholic missions be taken into account. France, for its part, was ready to make the "surplus" water resources of its zone available to the Zionists on the basis of a clear agreement. Vertelo did not say anything definite about the borders, thus separating the "water" issue from the territorial one.

In response, Lloyd George, after another tirade about the need for additional irrigation of Palestine and a reminder that Britain conquered Palestine almost alone, questioned the special rights of France in relation to the Holy Sites. According to him, he received many protests against the possible transfer of control over them to France. Great Britain is not a Catholic power, but it has always advocated a balanced and impartial approach to religious issues. Lloyd George was supported by Italian Prime Minister Nitti. He demanded "full equality" of all countries with regard to the use and protection of Holy Sites. In response, P. Cambon, the French ambassador in London, stated that " The Holy Sites have been in French hands since the 15th century. The Vatican has always recognized this fact, and every French government, even if it quarreled with Rome, has accepted this responsibility. Even during the war, the Vatican recognized France's right to a protectorate over the Holy Sites. This question is extremely important for French Catholics. Consequently, if the mandate for Palestine is granted to Great Britain, France will be obliged to make some reservations regarding the Holy Sites. Otherwise, it will be difficult to convince the French Senate to accept such conditions."

Cambon's statement reflected the quintessential views of French Catholic and colonialist circles on France's role in the Palestinian question. The reference to the nearly five-century-old history of France's special rights was intended to imply ignorance of the terms of the ancient capitulation acts. Cambon relied only on the non --

11 In this area there was a real war between French troops and Armenian militias, on the one hand, and Turkish nationalists, on the other.


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a written historical and ideological tradition that is too shaky to be a serious argument. But Nitti, who represented another Catholic country, argued that Italy had never recognized France's special rights to Holy Sites, and in any case, all French privileges in Palestine were justified only under Muslim rule. Under the British mandate, no physical protection of Holy Sites will be required, and from now on "no country should have any privileges in relation to Holy Sites or religious communities, and every country should protect its citizens regardless of their attitude to religion." Lloyd George ended the conversation by actually supporting Nitti. If Great Britain was recognized as capable of governing the whole of Palestine, there was no point in not trusting it to protect the Holy Sites. An attempt to place a religious organization under the protection of another country will lead to the creation of an "empire within an empire", which is unacceptable for Great Britain [Documents..., vol. 7, 1958, p. 102 - 111].

The discussion on Holy Sites was not resumed until the end of the conference. Meanwhile, the issue of borders is once again"hanging in the air". On February 18, Vertelot, as an extreme concession, proposed to fix the line of actual deployment of British troops, which then passed to the north of the city of Safed (Safed), as a permanent border12. Curzon refused, repeating Lloyd George's old formula, " from Dan to Beersheba." Lloyd George advised all those present to read the book "The Historical Geography of the Holy Land" by Scottish Professor A. Smith, so that Vertelot and Curzon could meet again to discuss the border issue, armed with historical knowledge [Documents..., vol. 7, 1958, p. 113-116]. If such a meeting took place, it was a minor success. Skewer apparently agreed to Lloyd George's" biblical " formula, but did not specify it in any way. The question of ownership of the lower reaches of the Litani River remained open. At the same time, the British probably agreed to "separate water from land" and resolve irrigation issues independently of border issues.

When the conference considered the first plan for a peace treaty with Turkey on February 20, it again referred to Palestine "from Dan to Beersheba" under the British mandate. Lloyd George once again confirmed his unwillingness to claim any land north of the Dan, with the "residents of Palestine" having to settle irrigation issues with France as the mandate holder for Syria. To finally convince Vertel of the validity of the" biblical " border, the British Prime Minister read out a message addressed to him from the American judge L. Brandeis, a personal friend of President Wilson and the head of the American Zionists. Brandeis, in a sharp, almost ultimatum form, demanded the inclusion in Palestine of not only the Litani Valley, but also the Hermon mountain range and the Hauran Plain to the east of it (i.e., the Golan Heights). This almost coincided with the" Meinertzhagen line", and against this background, the" biblical formula " seemed quite moderate. The tone of Brandeis ' message, which "greatly exaggerated its own significance," angered Vertelot, but he was quite willing to take a "liberal" approach to the issue of supplying Syrian and Lebanese water to northern Palestine. Discussion of the exact boundaries was again postponed [Documents..., vol. 7, 1958, p. 182 - 185]. There was no further discussion of Palestine at the London Conference. The problem of the "Catholic protectorate" and the issue of the border remained unresolved again. The planned consultations between Vertelot and the British representatives in early 1920 did not take place.

The issue remained in this "limbo" until April, when the heads of the allied powers were to complete the work they had begun in London at the San Remo conference. The conference was held against the backdrop of a sharp aggravation of the Syrian problem. Emir Faisal was proclaimed King of Nez against the will of the Entente on March 8, 1920-

12 Consequently, by this time the British had abandoned the southern coast of the Litani from the city of Tyre. We have not been able to determine why they did this.


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in independent Syria, which made a direct clash with France almost inevitable. The Palestinian issue was discussed on April 24. The dispute began with Vertelot's objections to the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the text of the treaty. In his opinion, this could indicate a certain special status of Palestine in comparison with other mandate countries and would cause "great difficulties in both the Muslim and Christian world." In addition, according to him, the British allies in the Entente never officially adopted this declaration. Curzon's reminder of Pichon's letter to Sokolov had no effect: the French considered this document too "vague". Vertelot even called the Balfour Declaration a "dead letter" in the English protocol. From Millerand's speech, the reason for French concern became clear: it was about preserving the "Catholic protectorate"in one form or another. The subsequent discussion largely turned out to be a repeat of the February controversy over this issue. The French insisted that their "traditional rights" should be respected, but the British and Italians objected: what was appropriate under Turkish rule was completely unacceptable under British rule. Nitti suggested that the treaty should include the following paragraph: "All privileges and prerogatives in relation to religious communities are abolished. The mandating Power undertakes to appoint, as soon as possible, a special commission to examine and resolve all issues and complaints of the various religious communities. When forming this commission, all existing religious interests will be taken into account. The Chairman of the commission will be appointed by the Council of the League of Nations."

Millerand considered such a formula unacceptable and referred to the importance of this issue for the "public opinion" of his country. But all his efforts to preserve at least some traces of the French political presence in Palestine met with stubborn resistance from Lloyd George and Curzon. They have repeatedly pointed out the impossibility of having two mandate holders in one country. Lloyd George also used this argument: "We must remember that the Orthodox Church also has significant interests in Palestine. Russia may be broke now, but it may be reborn in the not-too-distant future." Lloyd George foresaw " the tragic consequences that may arise if the Orthodox Church is not taken into account."

Realizing the futility of fighting, Millerand tried to retreat less hastily. First, he suggested that the proposed commission on religious issues should be made inter-union, including representatives of all interested religious communities. He was told that such a body would be incapacitated. Faced with a united Anglo-Italian "front", Millerand again conceded. He only succeeded in removing the first phrase in Nitti's proposed text. As a result, article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres stipulated that a mandatory government would be established in Palestine, the mandate holder would have to act in accordance with the Balfour Declaration (which, at the insistence of the British, was reproduced verbatim), and all religious issues would be decided by a special commission, the head of which would be appointed by the Council of the League of Nations. France's renunciation of traditional privileges was recorded in a separate resolution adopted on the same day [Documents..., vol. 8, 1958, p. 159-171]. The French "Catholic protectorate" in Palestine went down in history on April 24, 1920.

The issue of borders was raised the next day. According to Vertelo, there were no more difficulties here. The formula "from Dan to Beersheba" assumed the cession of the Safed district (kaza) in favor of Palestine, but otherwise the border should follow the Sykes-Picot line. Curzon replied that the fate of the eastern section of the Palestinian-Syrian border (i.e., the Golan Heights) it hasn't been resolved yet. In addition, the issue of Syria's borders could not be resolved without the participation of Faisal, who remained the de facto head of the Syrian government. This prospect did not suit Vertelot at all, who emphasized the importance of a unified position of the powers in relation to Feisal. With regard to borders, Vertelot noted that, taking the "biblical" formula, the French race-

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it was assumed that the British would not make any further claims. Lloyd George supported Curzon, but he put it into a long and unintelligible tirade. The French decided not to continue the border dispute and only insisted that only a formal decision on the distribution of Middle Eastern mandates be made on this day [Documents..., vol. 8, 1958, p. 172-177]. The problems of Palestine and neighboring territories were not raised at the conference.

The issue of the border remained unresolved, while the British could write down the elimination of French claims related to the "Catholic protectorate"as their asset. However, in May, the French made a last attempt to revive at least outwardly memories of the "protectorate", demanding that the Vatican preserve the "liturgical honors" for the French consuls in Jerusalem. The Vatican cardinals had the foresight to ask the British government's opinion and were told that the French rejection of the" protectorate " should be considered final and that even its external manifestations should not be preserved. The French attempt to offer the Vatican their services as an intermediary representing Catholic interests in Palestine ended in the same failure. Curzon's response, transmitted to the Vatican, stated that the French presence in Palestine would now only be recalled by the numerous religious buildings (sanctuaries) belonging to France, as well as religious and charitable institutions that "although not belonging to the French Republic, are French in national character" [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 307 - 308, 331 - 332].

After the San Remo conference, the attention of British and French leaders was diverted by a host of other issues. Among them, the situation in Syria played an important role. The French were preparing for a decisive battle with Feisal, and the British were watching closely, but did not interfere. At the same time, the terms of mandates for Mesopotamia, Palestine and Syria were being prepared. With the decision of the San Remo Conference in hand, the British decided to legitimize their authority over Palestine. On June 7, military power there was replaced by civilian power, and the administration was headed by High Commissioner G. Samuel , an English Jew who sympathized with Zionism, but was not formally a Zionist himself [Laurens, 1999, p. 523].

Meanwhile, the need to resolve border issues remained. In order not to raise this issue again at the conferences of heads of Government, R. G. Vansittart, a special representative of the British Foreign Office, was sent to Paris at the end of June. His negotiating partner was F. Skewer. We have only fragmentary information about these negotiations, as the minutes were not kept, and Vansittart's letters and dispatches to London are not fully published. However, you can restore their main content. The French again raised the issue of the northern border, but it was no longer the main one. The British insisted on carrying out significant irrigation works in the French mandated territory, which would direct some of the water from the Litany, Yarmouk and upper Jordan rivers to the needs of northern Palestine. Serious contradictions have arisen around the eastern border of Palestine with Syria (the right bank of the Yarmouk river-the Golan Heights). The British had not yet decided what to do with their possessions east of the Jordan River (plans for the creation of the Transjordan Kingdom had not yet matured). The "Meinertzhagen Line" assumed the inclusion of a significant part of these lands in Palestine. At that time, the British did not doubt the correctness of this approach, and, naturally, they wanted this line to continue north of the Yarmouk river at the expense of the former French "sphere of influence". The Zionists pushed the British in every possible way to a tough position. In Palestine, a commission formed by them, headed by Engineer Rutenburg, worked to determine priority measures for irrigation of Northern Palestine. Naturally, the waters of the Litani, Yarmouk, and Upper Jordan were considered vital for this purpose.

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At the same time, the Paris talks were hampered by the Syrian issue. Before the complete victory over Faisal, the French generally wanted to abandon the previously made concessions and start all over again. In fact, negotiations began only after General Gouraud's forces captured Damascus on July 25 and drove out Faisal. But even then the negotiations were difficult. The British conveyed to the French Zionist demands for the unlimited use of the waters of the Litani, Yarmouk and Upper Jordan for the needs of Palestine [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 300, 304]. For the French, this was absolutely unacceptable. Moreover, they have taken steps to strengthen their control over southern Lebanon and Syria. The right bank of Yarmouk was included in the draft Syrian mandate, and the city of Tyre (Jabal Amel)was included in the draft Syrian mandate. Together with the entire Litani basin and the upper reaches of the Jordan River, the French initially feared that the British would take advantage of the anti-French sentiments of the Metawil Shiites who inhabited these places [Zamir, 1985, p. 136]. But the attention of the British was distracted at that moment by the suppression of the uprising in Mesopotamia (whose outer borders were also not yet fixed), and for the Metawils, the French were a lesser evil than the Zionists operating under the protection of the British.

The success of the negotiations was also hindered by the fact that shortly after Faisal's flight from Damascus, the British had an idea to put him on the throne in Baghdad. The French did not like this neighborhood in any way [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 336-338]. They regarded both the Emirs of the Hashemite dynasty and the Zionists as their enemies. Naturally, they didn't want to make any concessions in their favor. In addition, they had such an advantage as actual control over disputed territories and water resources. The uncertainty of the situation in Transjordan also did not contribute to the negotiations. Until July 25, this region was under the jurisdiction of Faisal as part of the "Eastern" occupation Zone. After the fall of the emir, a power vacuum was created here. It was to Transjordan that many of Feisal's supporters fled and launched anti-French activities there. The British feared a punitive French expedition, and the French tried in vain to persuade the British to send troops to Transjordan [Klieman, 1970, p. 68-76]. To top it all off, the decisions of the San Remo conference (distribution of mandates) and the events in Damascus in July soured relations with Faisal's father, King Hussein of the Hejaz [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 352 - 355]. Considering himself the supreme suzerain of the Arab territories liberated from Turkey, he did not forgive the British "treacherous" passivity during the July events. As a result, the Treaty of Sevres was not signed by the Hejazi representative. This meant that the authority of the Hashemite dynasty, which had hitherto served the English faithfully, could now be used against them.

On October 12, two colonial administrators met in Jerusalem: G. Samuel and R. de Caye, Secretary General of the French High Commission for Syria and Lebanon. De Caix expressed concern about the anti-French activities of the Arab sheikhs of Transjordan, as well as about the fate of French schools in Palestine. Although de Caye received the most reassuring assurances, in his report to Paris he stressed the importance of the still open border issue, which should be resolved as soon as possible, but "without any hint of concessions" [Documents. ., vol. 13, 1963, p. 356 - 358; Laurens, 1999, p. 525, 534 - 535].

In London, meanwhile, at meetings of the special interdepartmental committee, it was decided to abandon territorial claims to the Litani Valley, but to increase pressure on the issues of Yarmouk and Upper Jordan [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 349-352]. In the north, the British agreed to the compromise line proposed by the French (from Cape al-Naqoura on the Mediterranean Sea to the east with a projection to the north in the Jordan Valley), but demanded that the north-eastern border be drawn along the "Meinertzhagen Line", i.e. the inclusion of the Golan Heights in Palestine. If the French refused, it was proposed to put forward a number of alternative conditions: the use of the waters of Yarmouk and Litani for irrigation of Palestine; convenient access to Lake Tiberias for the construction of a railway station on its shore; the right to use the existing (in French possession) railway from Tiberias in the interests of the British territories-

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Lake of Hell to Deraa; confirmation of British rights to build a railway from Palestine to Mesopotamia through French possessions 13. The French irrevocably rejected only the first point. Not objecting to the construction of a British railway on their territory, they rejected all options for its route under various pretexts. Then the British abandoned this idea altogether in exchange for the right to use the existing Tiberias - Deraa line until the construction of a "purely British" road [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 359-361].

By October 21, Vansittart had managed to persuade the French to accept the "railway" terms altogether. But the French still refused to turn part of the Litani waters towards Palestine or give the British the land north of Yarmouk (the Golan Heights) [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 381]. At the beginning of November, Curzon wanted to break off the negotiations altogether and not sign the border convention [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 382]. Vansittart had urged him not to. Such a solution could only be in the hands of the French, since the situation would return to the starting point-the Sykes-Picot agreement - and the results of the negotiations already achieved would be lost.

Vansittart believed that the British government had to choose which ally was more important to it: France or the Zionists? He himself was convinced that it should be France. It was almost impossible to reconcile the two allies, since France by this time had taken an almost open anti-Zionist position. The French admitted that they had agreed to a Jewish "national home" in Palestine, but not to a Jewish state (and they were convinced of the British intention to turn Palestine into one)14. And of course, they did not want to make any territorial or economic concessions to this State. They didn't care about the British promises on that score: Vansittart summed up the French position with the phrase " talk if you want, but not at our expense "(vous barbotterez si vous voulez, mais vous ne barbotterez pas a nosfrais) [Documents..., vol. 13, 1963, p. 385 - 387,390 - 392]. Moreover, the supposed Jewish state was soon to be transformed, in the eyes of the French, into a "Bolshevik colony" close to Syria and Lebanon. 15 In Vansittart's opinion, it was necessary to look for an opportunity for concessions to the French, which would convince them to meet the English demands. For example, it was possible to include this issue in the general colonial agreement, the possibility of which the French themselves unsuccessfully hinted at in the summer of 1919. The French could be given the Gambia, and in return get not only their full loyalty in the Middle East, but also French enclaves in India. Curzon found no support for these ideas, although he asked Mr. Samuel about possible "local concessions" to the French. In his reply of November 22, Samuel was unable to suggest anything serious [Documents..., vol. 13,1963, p. 385 - 387, 390 - 392]. The negotiations threatened to break down completely.

The inability of the Foreign Office to untie this "border knot"became obvious. Lloyd George took matters into his own hands. At the end of November, an inter-Union conference was held in London, mainly devoted to the situation in Greece. 16 In addition to the new Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker was also included in the French delegation. Leiga also included F. Skewer and head of the Middle East Department of the Foreign Ministry Camerer. Most likely, the Palestinian contradictions were resolved in a short time.

13 These "rights" were already recorded in the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

14 This was indicated by the appointment of G. Samuel, as well as some articles of the draft Palestinian Mandate that granted the Zionist Organization exclusive rights in the economic development of Palestine (later the British softened the wording of these articles).

15 This idea was suggested to them by the fact that among the Jewish immigrants in Palestine, there were many immigrants from the former Russian Empire. In addition, the Zionist organization had a left wing, the Poalei Zion, which at first belonged to the Third International (Gontaut-Biron, 1922, p. 165-166; Lacker, 2000, p.417-420).

16 For more information, see [Fomin, 2004, pp. 29-53].


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behind the scenes of this conference. On December 4, the last day of her work, Lloyd George had an official conversation with Skewer. The issue looked like it had already been resolved. The British finally abandoned the "Meinertzhagen line" north of Yarmouk (i.e., from the Golan Heights), and the French agreed to send "surplus" water from Yarmouk and the upper Jordan, but not from Litani, to "benefit" Palestine [Documents..., vol. 8, 1958, p. 865; vol. 13, 1963, p. 419-420]. Thus, only those waterways that were already international due to their geographical location were shared (a section of the new border passed through Yarmouk, and the Jordan crossed it). The Litani River, which lay entirely on Lebanese territory, remained inaccessible to the British and Zionists. At the insistence of the French, the Zionists were not allowed to participate in the future hydraulic engineering commission. Thus, the Zionist organization was denied an independent international status.

The final convention was signed in Paris by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. Leigh and the British Ambassador Ch. Harding December 23, 1920 It went down in history as the Leig-Harding Convention [Mezhdunarodnaya politika..., 1929, pp. 74-75], although neither of them took any part in its elaboration (it would be more correct to call it the Berthelot-Vansittart Convention). The borders between the British and French mandated territories in the Middle East were fixed. The line drawn at that time still separates Syria and Lebanon, on the one hand, from Iraq, Jordan and Israel, on the other (without taking into account the Israeli conquests of 1967). The Convention also dealt with transport and irrigation issues on the basis of the conditions described above. At the insistence of the French, article 9 guaranteed the preservation of foreign schools established before the war in the countries of concern, but without the right to open new schools. This provided some legal guarantee for the preservation of the numerous French schools in Palestine, which were like a living memory of the lost "Catholic protectorate".

The status of the mandated territories, including Palestine, remained unresolved for a long time. Although the draft mandates were developed in the summer of 1920, they were generally approved by the League of Nations only in August 1922, and entered into force only on September 29, 1923. This was partly due to the delay in the peace settlement with Turkey, where the nationalist government of M. Kemal Pasha did not recognize the Treaty of Sevres. The mandate countries had a civil administration established by the mandate holders, but nominally they remained part of Turkish territory until 1923.

In accordance with the San Remo decision, article 8 of the Palestinian mandate provided for the termination of all privileges in the Palestinian territory resulting from the capitulation acts of the Ottoman Empire. However, at the insistence of the United States, this article was supplemented in 1923 - privileges were automatically restored after the termination of the mandate [Bovis, 1971, p. 17]. Subsequently, the French took advantage of this reservation and restored the old "liturgical honors" that are still paid to the French consuls in Jerusalem. Article 13 transferred to the mandatory Power all rights to protect freedom of religion, holy Sites and the activities of religious organizations. Article 14 of the same mandate, following article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres, provided for the establishment of a special commission on the status of the Holy Sites of Palestine. The method of its formation was to be determined by the Council of the League of Nations. However, it was never formed, as France, Italy and the Vatican could not agree on the form of Catholic representation. As a result, this article was not applied in practice, and all controversial issues concerning Holy Sites were transferred to the exclusive jurisdiction of the British High Commissioner [Bovis, 1971, p. 17]. Thus, the last "consolation" condition, which in San Remo allowed France to "save face" when rejecting the "Catholic protectorate", lost its meaning.

Over the next 27 years, the Palestinian problem temporarily lost its international character, causing only increasing trouble to the British mandate authorities.

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The problem of Palestine after the end of the First World War was an integral part of the peace settlement in the entire Middle East region. The approaches of the great Powers to the question of the status of Palestine have undergone a significant evolution. France gradually "surrendered" its positions to Great Britain. Initially, the French colonialists saw Palestine as part of the French "United Syria", in the Sykes-Picot agreement they reconciled with the international status of this country, and immediately after the war they completely ceded it to the British. The attempt to preserve the old "Catholic protectorate" failed, with partial success achieved only in matters of border and water resources. The British did everything possible to turn Palestine into their undivided possession. At the same time, the Zionist movement was used as an effective tool in British hands, although the plans of Great Britain were far from identical with the Zionist ones. In addition to Weizmann and his associates, the British had to take into account the position of the Arab leaders and France itself. The French, realizing who would benefit from Zionism, quickly changed their indifference to ill-concealed hostility. For them, British support for Zionism was on a par with support for the Syrian government of Faisal and the Greek invasion of Asia Minor. All this, in their eyes, looked like the assertion of British influence in various regions of the Middle East with the help of "small figures" of big politics.17 It can be said that they were not far from the truth.

This was the time when the old Eastern question was finally resolved and a new one was emerging. The traditional rivalry between the great powers was closely intertwined with the acute conflict caused by the beginning of the Zionist program to turn Palestine into a center of attraction for the Jewish people. The problem of foreign patronage of Christian communities in the Middle East, which once provoked the Crimean War, has finally gone down in history. But the appearance in a small Middle Eastern country of many foreign immigrants, attracted only by the memories of centuries ago, but already claiming to participate in the management of this country, could not but cause an acute conflict with the local population. Many of the seeds of future conflict were sown at that time, as evidenced by the territorial dispute. Under the pretext of regulating irrigation needs, the Zionists (and the British after them) claimed the Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon. This is where the troops of the Zionist-created Jewish state will end up in 1967 and 1981.

list of literature

Lord Bertie. Behind the scenes of the Entente. Diary of the British Ambassador in Paris. 1914-1919. Moscow: State Publishing House, 1927.

Kirova K. E. Italian expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of the XX century. Moscow: Nauka, 1973.

Lacker V. Istoriya Zionizma [History of Zionism], Moscow, Kron-press, 2000.

Modern International Politics in Treaties, Notes, and Declarations. Part 3. From the Lifting of the Blockade on Soviet Russia to the Decade of the October Revolution. Issue 2. Akty diplomatiki inostrannykh gosudarstv [Acts of diplomacy of foreign states]. Comp. and ed. by Prof. Yu. V. Klyuchnikov and A.V. Sabanin.

Fomin A.M. Anglo-French relations and the problem of ratification of the Sevres Treaty. The History series. 2004, N 5.

Fomin A.M. Problems of the Middle East in Anglo-French Relations in 1918-1923. Dissertation for the degree of Candidate of Historical Sciences, Moscow, 2003.

Fomin A.M. Syria and Lebanon in Anglo-French relations in 1918-1920 / / " Vostok (Oriens)". 2003, N 2.

Chrysostomos I, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. History of the Mother of Churches, Moscow: Sretensky Monastery Publishing House, 2003.

"For more information, see: [Fomin, 2003 (1), p. 119 - 121, 151 - 153, 209 - 210, 238 - 249].

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Andrew Ch.M., Kanya-Forster A.S. France Overseas: The Great War and the Climax of French Imperial Expansion. L., 1981.

Bovis H.E. The Jerusalem Question, 1917 - 1968. Stanford (Calif.), 1971.

British Documents on Foreign Affaires. Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential. Print. Ser. B. Near and Middle East. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1985.

Cambon P. Correspondence. 1870 - 1924. T. 3. P., 1946.

Cumming H. H. Franco-British Rivalry in the Post War Near East. The Decline of French Influence. L., 1938.

Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919 - 1939. Ser. 1. Vols. 1,4,7, 8, 13. L., 1947, 1958, 1963.

Friedman I. The Question of Palestine. 1914 - 1918. L., 1973.

Gontaut-Biron R. Comment la France c'est installee en Syrie (1918 - 1919). P., 1922.

Kimche J. The Unromantics. The Great Powers and the Balfour Declaration. L., 1968.

King - Crane Report: http://www.cc.ukanS.edu/ @ ~kansite / ww_one / docs / kncr.htm.

Klieman A.S. Foundations of British Policy in the Arab World. The Cairo Conference of 1921. Baltimore-L., 1970.

Laurens H. La question de Palestine. 1799 - 1922. T. 1. L'invention de la Terre Sainte. P., 1999.

Lawrence T.E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. L., 1977.

Meinertzhagen R. Middle East Diary. 1917 - 1956. L., 1956.

Minerbi S.I. L'Italie et la Palestine. 1914 - 1920. P., 1970.

Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States. 1919. The Paris Peace Conference. Vol. IV. Washington, D.C., 1943.

Pic P. Syrie et Palestine. Mandats francais et anglais dans le Proche - Orient. Preface de Gouraud. P., 1924.

The Rise of Israel. Tension in Palestine. Vol. 10. Peace-making in Paris. 1919. Washington, 1987.

Sanders R. The High Walls of Jerusalem. A History of Balfour Declaration and the Birth of the British Mandate for Palestine. N.Y., 1983.

Zamir M. The Formation of Modern Lebanon. L., 1985.


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A. M. FOMIN, THE PROBLEM OF PALESTINE IN ANGLO-FRENCH RELATIONS IN 1917-1920. // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 02.07.2024. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/THE-PROBLEM-OF-PALESTINE-IN-ANGLO-FRENCH-RELATIONS-IN-1917-1920 (date of access: 24.07.2024).

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Ann Jackson
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