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The Sykes-Picot Agreement
15 & 16 May, 1916

1. Sir Edward Grey to Paul Cambon, 15 May 1916

I shall have the honour to reply fully in a further note to your Excellency's note of the 9th instant,
relative to the creation of an Arab State, but I should meanwhile be grateful if your Excellency could
assure me that in those regions which, under the conditions recorded in that communication,
become entirely French, or in which French interests are recognised as predominant, any existing
British concessions, rights of navigation or development, and the rights and privileges of any
British religious, scholastic, or medical institutions will be maintained.

His Majesty's Government are, of course, ready to give a reciprocal assurance in regard to the
British area.

2. Sir Edward Grey to Paul Cambon, 16 May 1916

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's note of the 9th instant, stating
that the French Government accept the limits of a future Arab State, or Confederation of States, and of those parts of Syria where French interests predominate, together with certain conditions attached thereto, such as they result from recent discussions in London and Petrograd on the subject.

I have the honour to inform your Excellency in reply that the acceptance of the whole project, as it
now stands, will involve the abdication of considerable British interests, but, since His Majesty's
Government recognise the advantage to the general cause of the Allies entailed in producing a more
favourable internal political situation in Turkey, they are ready to accept the arrangement now
arrived at, provided that the co-operation of the Arabs is secured, and that the Arabs fulfil the
conditions and obtain the towns of Homs, Hama, Damascus, and Aleppo.

It is accordingly understood between the French and British Governments---

1. That France and Great Britain are prepared to recognize and protect an independent Arab State or
a Confederation of Arab States in the areas (A) and (B) marked on the annexed map, under the
suzerainty of an Arab chief. That in area (A) France, and in area (B) Great Britain, shall have
priority of right of enterprise and local loans. That in area (A) France, and in area (B) Great Britain,
shall alone supply advisers or foreign functionaries at the request of the Arab State or Confederation
of Arab States.

2. That in the blue area France, and in the red area Great Britain, shall be allowed to establish such
direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit to arrange with
the Arab State or Confederation of Arab States. 3. That in the brown area there shall be established
an international administration, the form of which is to be decided upon after consultation with
Russia, and subsequently in consultation with the other Allies, and the representatives of the
Shereef of Mecca.

4. That Great Britain be accorded (1) the ports of Haifa and Acre, (2) guarantee of a given supply of
water from the Tigris and Euphrates in area (A) for area (B). His Majesty's Government, on their
part, undertake that they will at no time enter into negotiations for the cession of Cyprus to any third
Power without the previous consent of the French Government.

5. That Alexandretta shall be a free port as regards the trade of the British Empire, and that there
shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards British shipping and British goods;
that there shall be freedom of transit for British goods through Alexandretta and by railway through
the blue area, whether those goods are intended for or originate in the red area, or (B) area, or area
(A); and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect against British goods on any railway or
against British goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.

That Haifa shall be a free port as regards the trade of France, her dominions and protectorates, and
there shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards French shipping and French
goods. There shall be freedom of transit for French goods through Haifa and by the British railway
through the brown area, whether those goods are intended for or originate in the blue area, area (A),
or area (B), and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect, against French goods on any
railway, or against French goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.

6. That in area (A) the Baghdad Railway shall not be extended southwards beyond Mosul, and in
area (B) northwards beyond Samarra, until a railway connecting Baghdad with Aleppo via the
Euphrates Valley has been completed, and then only with the concurrence of the two Governments.

7. That Great Britain has the right to build, administer, and be sole owner of a railway connecting
Haifa with area (B), and shall have a perpetual right to transport troops along such a line at all
times.

It is to be understood by both Governments that this railway is to facilitate the connexion of
Baghdad with Haifa by rail, and it is further understood that, if the engineering difficulties and
expense entailed by keeping this connecting line in the brown area only make the project unfeasible,
that the French Government shall be prepared to consider that the line in question may also traverse
the polygon Banias-Keis Marib-Salkhab Tell Otsda-Mesmie before reaching area (B).

8. For a period of twenty years the existing Turkish customs tariff shall remain in force throughout
the whole of the blue and red areas, as well as in areas (A) and (B), and no increase in the rates of
duty or conversion from ad valorem to specific rates shall be made except by agreement between the
two Powers.

There shall be no interior customs barriers between any of the above-mentioned areas. The customs
duties leviable on goods destined for the interior shall be collected at the port of entry and handed
over to the administration of the area of destination.

9. It shall be agreed that the French Government will at no time enter into any negotiations for the
cession of their rights and will not cede such rights in the blue area to any third Power, except the
Arab State or Confederation of Arab States without the previous agreement of His Majesty's
Government, who, on their part, will give a similar undertaking to the French Government
regarding the red area.

10. The British and French Governments, as the protectors of the Arab State, shall agree that they
will not themselves acquire and will not consent to a third Power acquiring territorial possessions in
the Arabian peninsula, nor consent to a third Power installing a naval base either on the east coast,
or on the islands, of the Red Sea. This, however, shall not prevent such adjustment of the Aden
frontier as may be necessary in consequence of recent Turkish aggression.

11. The negotiations with the Arabs as to the boundaries of the Arab State or Confederation of Arab
States shall be continued through the same channel as heretofore on behalf of the two Powers.

12. It is agreed that measures to control the importation of arms into the Arab territories will be
considered by the two Governments.

I have further the honour to state that, in order to make the agreement complete, His Majesty's
Government are proposing to the Russian Government to exchange notes analogous to those
exchanged by the latter and your Excellency's Government on the 26th April last. Copies of these
notes will be communicated to your Excellency as soon as exchanged.

I would also venture to remind your Excellency that the conclusion of the present agreement raises,
for practical consideration, the question of the claims of Italy to a share in any partition or
rearrangement of Turkey in Asia, as formulated in article 9 of the agreement of the 26th April,
1915, between Italy and the Allies.

His Majesty's Government further consider that the Japanese Government should be informed of
the arrangement now concluded.