Re: Lawrence of Arabia and the Sykes-Picot Agreement, revisited

From: Jeremy Bradley (
Date: Wed 04 Dec 2002 - 23:26:57 GMT

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    Snip............Lawry wrote:
    >I can find nothing in the various volumes of Lawrence letters to suggest
    >that he knew of the S-P agreement; indeed in 1917 he reports on a discussion
    >he had with Sharif Hussein, head of the Arab Revolt, in which Hussein tells
    >Lawrence of the visit by Sykes to explore Hussein's post-war thoughts. This
    >letter does not conclusively prove that Lawrence did not know of the
    >agreement, but it does suggest that he only knew of it second hand and no
    >more than the Arabs themselves had come to suspect.
    >God is in the details...
    >So, I think this is the best I can do for now, Grant.
    Yes I think that you have it right there Lawry. My mother is a Lawrence buff, and she has researched this too. She also agrees that Lawrence may have suspected that there was some deception (see Lawrence, TE, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" BCA, London 1970, p.572-3). IMO the deception was based in the British anti-Semitic sentiment (see the Alien's Act, 1906). The support of Zionism was seen as an answer to the
    'Jewish problem', as mentioned in the Act. I will add a quote, by way of giving a postscript to the deception and showing the recipe for the ensuing disaster, from Lord Balfour. Balfour was both author of the 1917 declaration which re-classified Palestinian Arabs as 'non-Jewish' Palestinians, and vocal supporter of the abovementioned Act. In a memorandum to the Cabinet in 1919 Balfour wrote:
    "In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of even consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…the four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the seven hundred thousand Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land…So far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate" ( quoted in: Weizmann, C.
    "Trial and Error" London, 1950, p.115) .

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