Anglo-French Declaration

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The joint Anglo-French Declarion was issued four days prior to the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I. The joint public declaration was made to Arabs in the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire, a Central Power ally of Germany & Austro-Hungary during he war. The public declaration ran counter to war aims expressed by Great Britain only two years earlier during the Arab Revolt when certain promises were made to Arab leaders to incite a rebellion against the Turks. The earlier McMahon-Hussein Correspondence between Sharif of Mecca Husayn bin Ali and British Foreign Secretary Henry McMahon alluded to the possibility of creating a united Arab Federation out of former territories of the Ottoman Empire. After the drawing of the Sykes-Picot line, which remains the boundary between modern Syria and Iraq, it was becoming more obvious Britain and France intended to divide up territories into several nation states rather than a single united Arab Federation. And the Sykes-Picot line also was illustrative that the new system of "League of Nations mandates" bore striking similarities to the old "imperial spheres of influence."

Full Text

November 7, 1918

The goal envisaged by France and Great Britain in prosecuting in the East the War let loose by German ambition is the complete and final liberation of the peoples who have for so long been oppressed by the Turks, and the setting up of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations.

In pursuit of those intentions, France and Great Britain agree to further and assist in the establishment of indigenous Governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia which have already been liberated by the Allies, as well as in those territories which they are engaged in securing and recognising these as soon as they are actually established.

Far from wishing to impose on the populations of those regions any particular institutions they are only concerned to ensure by their support and by adequate assistance the regular working of Governments and administrations freely chosen by the populations themselves; to secure impartial and equal justice for all; to facilitate the economic development of the country by promoting and encouraging local initiative; to foster the spread of education; and to put an end to the dissensions which Turkish policy has for so long exploited. Such is the task which the two Allied Powers wish to undertake in the liberated territories.

See also