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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to B. H. Liddell Hart

Ozone Hotel,


I found this today, digging deep into the pile of slowly-rotting letters that await a reply: I fear it is yours, and should have gone back long ago.

I've not anything to say about it. The 'trace' of the Hejaz Railway was drawn by Meissner, a German Engineer. The technical staff (foremen and section men) were mostly Greek and Italian.

Mustapha Kemal was a great patriot, and anti-foreign from 1913 onwards. His Nationalism was founded to combat the pro-German tendency of Enver.

The Oil Company had (contrary to rumour) little or no influence in deciding our policy towards Mesopotamia. I can say this with complete assurance. I know foreigners are always smelling rats - but in practice if you tell a F.O. man that 'Oil' wants this or that, his reaction is to go dead contrary to their wishes, in the name of honesty. I can truthfully say that neither Ll.G., nor Curzon, nor Bonar Law, nor Arnold Wilson nor myself paid any heed to the Anglo-Persian or the Imperial Petroleum Co. The British policy in Mesopotamia was decided on purely Imperial lines.

P.S. I think the German Bagdad participation offers were more onerous than advantageous to us.

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Source: DG 830-31
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 7 February 2006


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