[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Lawrence's Mid-East map on show
TE Lawrence
Lawrence's proposals were opposed by British authorities
A map showing Lawrence of Arabia's proposals for the reconstruction of the Middle East following World War I is set to be displayed for the first time.

The newly-found map shows TE Lawrence opposed the allied agreement which eventually determined the borders of Iraq as it is now.

He said separate governments should operate in the predominantly Kurdish and Arab areas in what is now Iraq.

The map is to go on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

It is just one of a number of previous unseen items in the museum's new exhibition, Lawrence Of Arabia: The Life, The Legend.

Lawrence, who presented his proposals to the Eastern Committee of the War Cabinet in November 1918, also mooted the idea of separate governments for the Mesopotamian Arabs and Armenians in Syria.

Allied agreement

These proposed borders would have replaced those drawn up in the 1916 allied agreement, which was negotiated between Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot on behalf of Britain and France.

Lawrence's stance was formed during the Arab Revolt of 1916/18 when he heard the views of men from across the Middle East who were serving in the army of Britain's Arab allies against Turkey.

He was also in contact with other British experts on the region, such as DG Hogarth and Gilbert Clayton.

But Lawrence's suggestions came across opposition by the British administration in Mesopotamia.

Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence biographer and historical adviser to the exhibition, said the discovery of the map was "particularly interesting" because "it suggests that Lawrence's proposals were taken fairly seriously, at least in London".

Mr Wilson added that the proposals "would have provided the region with a far better starting point than the crude imperial carve-up agreed by Sykes and Georges-Picot".

Meanwhile, Hania Farhan, regional director of the Middle East and North Africa, Economist Intelligence Unit, said: "The map shows that the opinions of those who knew the region well were often ignored, as the colonial powers in London and Paris had their own agendas and did not appear to care about the facts on the ground or the people of those areas.

"Lawrence's proposed borders differ substantially from those that ended up being put in place."

The exhibition will run from 14 October to 17 April 2006.

It will also include the Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle Lawrence was riding when he had his fatal accident on 13 May 1935.

Lawrence home is hot property
07 Mar 02 |  Wales
Lawrence rarity sells for 18,000
19 Feb 01 |  Entertainment
Lawrence of the Secret Service?
02 Feb 98 |  Despatches
Pilgrim railway back on track
05 Jun 00 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific