Nuri As-Sa'id's Fertile Crescent Project
The following proposals of mine are based on the close and firm ties between
Iraq and all the Arabs inhabiting historical Syria. The States of the Arabian Peninsula
The Arab States and the Arab League have an economic system which differs from our own, though they are very close to us in respect of language, customs and religion. On the other hand, Egypt has a bigger population than that of backward (i) States. It also has its (own) problems in the Sudan and elsewhere. Because of this, I have assumed that these States are not inclined to join an Arab federation (2) or an Arab League from the start (3). But if the union (ittihad) of Iraq and Syria does materialize, it may then be very likely that these States mentioned (4) may in the course of time show their desire to join this union. But I expect that this union - even if confined to Iraq and Syria - will at the very beginning lead to the facilitation of joint consultation among all the Arab States and to
all these States acting in concert, whether they are inside the union or outside it...
...In my view, the only equitable solution indeed, the only hope of securing permanent peace, reassurance and progress in these Arab areas, is for the United Nat- ions to declare now the following:
(1) That Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Trans Jordan be reunited into one State.
(/) Translated by the Editor from the original (Arabic) text which forms part of the
Memorandum submitted by Nuri as-Sa'id at the beginning of 1943 to Mr. R.G. Casey ,
British Minister of State in the Middle East (Cairo). This Memorandum was entitled) in
part) Istiqlal al-'Arab wa Wahdatuhum: Mudhakkira fi al-Qadiyya al-'Arabiyya
(Arab Independence and Unity: Memorandum on the Arab Cause)) printed by the
Government Press, Baghdad, 1943. The part translated above occurs on pp. 19-22 of
this Memorandum and follows a somewhat lengthy exposition (15 pages) of political condi-
tions in the Arab countries since the latter part of the Ottoman era) as well as their rela-
tions with Britain and France since the First World War. ED.
A. The Syrian Unity Project "The Unified Syrian State", and the Arab Federation :
1. The Allies should declare their support of the independence of Syria in its natural boundaries, and consider its national and geographic unity as the basis of its system of government;
2. This declaration will, in fact, uphold the interests of the country and the wishes of the Syrian people, which they have expressed at the end of the last World War and on all occasions, as recorded by the American Plebiscite Commission, namely, Mr. Crane's Commission, (i) Moreover, the Syrian Congress which was held in Damascus, representing all the regions of liberated Syria, namely, Northern Syria, Lebanon, Trans Jordan and Palestine, also declared the above in (its) resolution of March 8, 1920, which was duly communicated to the (various) States and to the League of Nations.
The (Syrian Congress) thus expressed in this historic resolution the real wishes of the Syrian people. It was that resolution which has since then become the National covenant of all Syrians. The present Syrian Government still considers the day on which it was proclaimed an official national day, and the flag which was designed (by that resolution) for Syriaas the same flag which (now) shelters the Government of Transjordan.
3. The project of the Unified Syrian State consists of:-
a) The recognition of an independent and sovereign Syrian State whose system of government shall be a constitutional monarchy.
b) The Unified Syrian State shall comprise Northern Syria, Transjordan, Palestine and Lebanon.
c) Both Palestine, in some of its districts, and ancient Lebanon shall each have, in accordance with the constitution, a special administration. In the case of the former, the rights of the Jewish minority and the special status of the Holy Places shall be duly safeguarded, while in the case of the latter due regard shall be paid to the national aspirations of the Lebanese.
d) The Balfour Declaration shall be revoked for its inacceptance by the Arabs, who are the legitimate owners of the country. Otherwise, it shall be given a definitive interpretation which will dissipate the fears in the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Thus, the status quo, namely, a proportion of one third (Jews) to two thirds (Arabs), will be considered as adequate, and Jewish immigration will be absolutely prohibited.