Last updated on: 5/1/2008 4:31:00 PM PST
What Was the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Bernard Reich, PhD, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, editor of the 1996 book An Historical Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, contained the following:

"In the late fall of 1914, Turkey [Ottoman Empire] entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers. Soon thereafter, Great Britain, France, and Russia began to contemplate the disposition of the Ottoman Empire's territory in the Middle East...

Britain's negotiator was Sir Mark Sykes, a member of Parliament, an Arabist, and assistant secretary to the British War Cabinet. France was represented in the negotiations by Francois-Georges Picot, a French diplomat who had served as consul general in Beirut. The two countries officially ratified the agreement in May 1916 in an exchange of letters from British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey to France's ambassador to Great Britain, Paul Cambon.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement defined areas of British and French control as well as spheres of interest. Britain's authority was to extend in southern Iraq (Mesopotamia) and from the Egyptian border to Iraq. The agreement identified this as the 'red zone.' In addition, the ports of Acre and Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea were to be under British control. The French authority was to include a coastal strip of Syria and Lebanon as well as a portion of Palestine west of the Jordan River. The agreement identified this as the 'blue zone.' A 'brown zone' was established as well. This territory was to be administered internationally. Palestine, including Jerusalem, was part of the internationalized area."

1996 - Bernard Reich, PhD 

Efraim Karsh, PhD, Director of the Mediterranean Studies Program at King's College, London, in his 1999 book titled Empires of the Sand, wrote:

"In the end a compromise agreement [between France and Russia] was reached in an exchange of notes between Sazonov and Paleologue on April 26, 1916, giving Russia a 60,000-square-mile band of territory between the Black Sea and the Mosul area, including the provinces of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van, and Bitlis in Ottoman Armenia, and substantial parts of northern Kurdistan. The following month Britain gave its formal approval to the modified Sykes-Picot Agreement in an exchange of notes between Grey and the French and the Russian ambassadors to London, Cambon and Benckendorff."

1999 - Efraim Karsh, PhD