Oil and Empire pp 137-157 | Cite as

Unmaking the Sykes-Picot Agreement: Oil Negotiations November 1918-April 1920

  • Marian Kent


The last sixteen months in the twenty-year period covered by this study of the British Government’s interest in the Mesopotamian oil concession demonstrate the way in which the threads of the preceding years had by now drawn together. The oil question was greatly affected by the conclusion of the armistice with Turkey on 30 October and with Germany on 11 November 1918. Not only was Britain a victorious power, whose friendship was therefore additionally valuable to an international oil combine, but in addition there were now material quid pro quos, such as Mesopotamian oil, to include in the bargaining.


Prime Minister Arab State Ministerial Conference Cent Share Private Letter 
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  1. 3.
    André Tardieu, ‘Mossoul et ses Pétroles’, in L’Illustration, 19 June 1920; Henri Bérenger, Le Pétrole et la France; and Pierre L’Espagnol de la Tramerye, La Lutte Mondiale pour le Pétrole. See also Nevakivi, Britain, France, and the Arab Middle East, p. 90.Google Scholar
  2. 62.
    Memorandum of Agreement between M. Philippe Berthelot, Directeur des Affaires Politiques et Commerciales au Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, and Professor Sir John Cadman, kcmg, Director in Charge of His Majesty’s Petroleum Department, 24 Apr 1920, Cmd. 675, Misc. no. 11 (1920); also in FO 371/5085, no. E8622. The text of the Mesopotamian section of this agreement is reproduced below in Appendix IV, parallel to the text of the Greenwood-Bérenger Agreement, for ease of comparison. It can thus easily be seen that, despite statements in some books to the contrary, the 25 per cent share allocated to France remained unchanged in the later agreement.Google Scholar

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© Marian Kent 1976

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  • Marian Kent

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