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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Colonel S. F. Newcombe


Amman.

8.XI.21

Dear S.F.N.,

There's only one thing to tell the French: that the catching of assassins is no doubt desirable, and one of the functions of government: but that we in Trans-Jordan have first to make the government, and then to make public opinion disapprove of political assassination. After this the capture of assassins becomes timely. Meanwhile it would be silly, and I'll have no part in it. We cannot afford to chuck away our hopes of building something to soothe our neighbour's feelings: and the French have made our job here as difficult as possible - if it is possible at all - by their wanton disregard of the common decencies observed between nations.

Please remind them that they shot Arab prisoners after Meisalun and plundered the houses and goods of Feisal and his friends. The dirty-dog work has been fairly shared, and I thank what Gods I have that I'm neither an Arab nor a Frenchman - only the poor brute who has to clean up after them.

Last week we went to Maan by train and trolly: as soon as we get a petrol depot in Maan we'll go to Tebuk. Have got an excellent trolly thanks to Holmes who's a Prince.

If you can, drop over here friendly-fashion some time, and I'll show you the French picture from underneath. Not lovely,

à toi

TEL.

Source: DG 336
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 26 January 2006


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