Exhibit 22: Het ABC memorandum (5)

The chief potitical obstacle to an Anglo-Russian understanding is, no doubt, due to the desire of Russia to come down to the Persian Gulf. If we are able to recognise and tolerate her ambition in that quarter our antagonism would come to an end, at least for a generation. This admittedly is a subject of great difficulty and one not to be settled off-hand; but that is no reason, as the Times has lately pointed out, why statesmen should not be prepared to face it. It is clearly our interest, as it is our intention, to preserve intact the status quo in the Gulf unless we can come to an arrangement with Russia by which we get a quid pro quo. That status has been lately threatened by the Sultan of Turkey at Kuwait, the port at the head of the Gulf which the Germans are believed to have marked as their future naval base and which is to be the southern terminus of the great trunk line which will cross Constantinople. The Sultan of Turkey lately made use of certain local disturbances between Mubarak, the Sheikh of Koweit and the Emir of Najd in order to assert his sovereignty over the independent sheikhs of the coast and he counted on vindicating his pretensions over the ruler of Kuwait, after that personage had been defeated by his enemies. Accordingly, the Sultan sent a corvette-full of troops to Kuwait. Mubarak immediately applied for British protection and when the Turks appeared they found one of our gunboats in the port and the British officer informed the Turkish commander of the expedition that his troops would not be allowed to land. There the matter stands for the present, but the whole incident is illustrative of the handiwork of Germany, who was undoubtedly egging on the Sultan. The attempt was mainly directed against the British policy of upholding the present situation in the Persian Gulf, but, if successful, it might have a very considerable bearing on the future interests of Russia. ls it not idle to argue that Germany has „claims’ to a port on the Persian Gulf, while we are to regard the appearance of Russia in that part of the world as a casus belli? Some acknowledged authorities have held that the manifest anxiety of Russia to penetrate into Southern Persia and to secure a seaport is a subject to be carefully considered by England. In this connection a thoughtful paper by Sir Richard Temple, in the July number of the Royal United Services Journal, deserves the attention of the statesmen of both countries; and it may also be remarked that the policy of endeavouring to close our controversy with Russia by an accord on the Persian Gulf was advocated at the close of his career by no less a person than Sir Henry Rawlinson. But it cannot be too often repeated that the condition precedent of such an agreement is the active goodwill of the powers that be in St. Petersburg. It is for them to reflect as to whether the co-operation of England might not be of enormous use in promoting Russian trade in the Far East. At present Russia has already a road from the Caspian to the Persian capital, which is a source of great profit to her; but she can only transport goods to and from the Persian Gulf on the backs of camels or of mules; and the cost of carriage between the Caspian and the sea-coast, even at the most favourable time of the year, is not less than twenty pounds a ton. In another part of the world it is for the Russians to consider whether the goodwill of England might not be worth cultivating. The question of Manchuria naturally rankles in the mind of the Japanese, who can clearly see that if a Japanese pied à terre constituted a menace to the integrity of the Chinese Empire, which was the pretext on which she was ordered out of Port Arthur, then the establishment of Russia in Manchuria may become a very formidable menace to Japan. That conviction is coming home with increasing force the closer Japan views the situation; that Russia is aware of it is shown by her studied conciliation to the first-class naval and military Power lying off her most exposed flank. She feels constrained to go out of her way to the Japanese Government, to which she ostentatiously communicates the movements of her troops in Manchuria; but these courtesies do not conciliate; the burning indignation which the Russian appropriation of Manchuria raises in the breast of Japan may be concealed for a while, but she is merely biding her time and awaiting an opportunity for displaying her real sentiments. The keystone to British policy in the Far East is a friendly understanding and co-operation with Japan but, that being recognised, there is nothing to prevent this country from supporting a settlement of the Manchurian and Corean questions on lines which would be regarded as fairly satisfactory both in St. Petersburg and in Tokio. If the Corean question were regularised, Japan would have considerably less reason than at present to apprehend Russian schemes and Russia; on her part, might devote herself to developing her far eastern dominions without risk of interruption from Japan. Russian statesmen have to make up their minds whether, in the present condition of Russian industries, Russian agriculture and Russian finance, a friendly understanding with England, which would relieve her anxieties in the Far East and which might result in her being able to continue her. Trans-Caucasian and Siberian railways to the shores of the Persian Gulf and which, last but not least, might enable her to carry out her historic mission in the Balkans, is not worth a high price. Whether our readers agree with the view propounded in this paper or not we do not think that those who adopt a purely negative attitude by denying the existence of any basis for an entente between the Russian and British Empires are entitled to be heard. If others have a positive policy opposed to that which we are setting forth, by all means let them produce it and induce or compel the British Government to adopt it and execute it. But in the interval we venture to sketch in outline some suggestions for a comprehensive settlement between the two Powers with the object of demonstrating to the sceptics that at any rate the raw material for an Anglo-Russian agreement abounds — whatever may be the case as regards the goodwill and statesmanship requisite to evolve the finished article. We would invite the reader to note that these suggestions are calculated to compromise neither the relations between Russia and France nor those between Great Britain and Japan.

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