The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 57
1st or Turkish Section of Thorough route
1st or Turkish Section of Thorough route.
To Aleppo from either Alexandretta, Suedia or Tripoli and thence viâ Birejik, Urfa, Mardin, Nisibin to Mozul and the foot of the pass selected for the passage of the hills to Karmanshah, with a branch line, from near this point, to Baghdad. This line will enable the Indian force from Baghdad to co-operate with the Turks, viâ Mozul on Van and towards Tabriz and Bitlis and to block all the roads from Kars and Erivan on Mozul; to take in flank any movement from Erivan towards Tehran and to co-operate with the Home Army at Mozul.
2nd Turkish Section.—From Samsoun, viâ Tocat, Sivas, Kharpout, Diarbekir to Mardin with easterly branches to Ertzrum from Sivas and to Van from Kharpout. In the first instance good roads might take the place of these branch lines.
Of the lines from Mardin that to Samsoun is of greater strategic importance than that to Aleppo, but the latter passes through an easier country and will be more rapidly constructed.
The line Samsoun, Sivas, Kharpout will enable the Home army to operate towards Ertzrum and Van. The same army would also operate on the line Trebizond, Baibourt, Ertzrum.
The above lines secure that we shall be in a good position to help the Turks and ourselves.
The junction of the lines from Mozul and Baghdad, at the most convenient and defensible position on the western side of the pass leading to Karmanshah, will place the Indian army in a position to move on the line Karmanshah, Hamadan, Rasht.
This, the 3rd Section or Western Persian Section, viâ Karmanshah and Burujird to Isfahan is of next importance, to facilitate the movements of the force acting through Persia and to aid the Persians about Tabriz or Tehran or Astrabad.page 27
The 4th or Eastern Persian Section from Isfahan to Sistán is of the least strategic importance and can be constructed last.
With reference to the Turkish sections no new propositions are made—
Section I, is the commercial line proposed by Sir M. Stephenson, extended so as to readily allow of it being carried on to Baghdad and Karmanshah.
Section II, from Sivas to Mardin is the commercial line proposed both by the Stafford House Committee and Sir M. Stephenson.
Section III, is the line now put forward as necessary to supplement the above, and to enable us to help the Persians and ourselves.
Section IV, is necessary as a completing link. With these lines opened to traffic, as a natural consequence, the navigation of the rivers Euphrates, Tigris and Karun, and the construction of roads will follow to suit the demands of increased commerce.
Hitherto many of our strategists have looked upon these lines only as a speedy means of conveying troops to India and the majority of our merchants have regarded them merely as a through route for goods. These are the very least uses to which they could be put.
Their best use will be in developing local traffic, good government, and in forming contented peoples and therefore strong nations; their greatest value lies in their political and strategical importance. As a means enabling Turkey and Persia to withstand the encroachments of Russia they are most necessary, as a means to enable us to help them to do so and to co-operate with them in so doing and to insure the safety of our empire they are altogether indispensable and if the British nation has to raise an income tax of one penny in the pound for the few years required to develop traffic on the lines emumerated, to properly secure her Empire, the insurance may be considered to be a most moderate one and one in which, no doubt, the whole of the eastern portion of the Empire from Egypt to Hongkong and Australia, would be glad to join, did they understand the imperial, as against the Great Britain, or purely Indian and commercial sides of the question.
When traffic is developed, a most certain result, the capital invested in the defence of the Empire will have, therefore, a remunerative, as well as a political and philanthropic result and a fund be raised whereby preparation for defence will have been made to pay for itself and for any war that may arise and imperil imperial interests and unity.
M. S. B.page break