08 avr Anglo Russian Agreement
Tensions similar to those in Persia and Afghanistan were discussed with the Anglo-French Agreement. Under this agreement, neither Britain nor France would obstruct the other in Morocco or Egypt and maintain the status quo. There is only one word left about the Persian Gulf. I am sure we have listened with satisfaction to my noble friend`s announcement that Her Majesty`s Government is exactly where we were before them on this issue. I welcome this admission. It will announce to all concerned that the late government`s policy in this regard was not a temporary sentiment, but was based on the conscious judgment and opinion of the people of that country. But is my noble friend quite right to think that we cannot wish for more than the kind of reference to the Persian Gulf found in Sir Edward Grey`s sending to open this correspondence? I want to make your lord understand that my expectations in this matter are not exaggerated. I do not think it would have been possible to include in this agreement some sort of detailed agreement with the Russian government on the issues relating to the Persian Gulf. It would have been impossible, for example, for the two powers to deal with the rights of 1328 other powers in the Persian Gulf, but I do not understand why, by clear recognition, it was impossible for Russia to make us understand its own position vis-à-vis all the parties concerned. The same goes for the trade agreement. We will be in correspondence with Russia when it asks whether they are commercial agents.
But such correspondence is not always easy, as commercial and scientific expeditions have been almost the accepted way of establishing political relations for many years. That is why I cannot help wishing that during these negotiations on Afghanistan, the statement that the Russian Government has repeatedly made and which has been repeatedly quoted in that country – namely that Afghanistan is not a matter of Russian influence – has been posted in red letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a guiding principle that such concessions should be made. Even if the noble gentlemen on this side of the House have sympathy for the general scope of the 1317 Convention, we cannot help but have doubts and concerns about the actual way in which it was conducted, although I hope that they will not arise from a lack of patriotism or any reflection of the party. However, I think we agree that the agreement needs to be evaluated as a whole and, from that point of view, it has great pretensions to be viewed sympathetically. It is a desire of two large Western powers, the most interested in Asia, to put aside small jealousies and suspicions, to agree on points on which there is a risk of contradictory policies and to cooperate on the cause of progress and civilization.