Skip to main content

Sykes–Picot Agreement (1916)

SYKESPICOT AGREEMENT (1916)

World War I document of 1916 that would have divided the Middle East into British and French spheres.

The SykesPicot Agreement was one of the pivotal diplomatic documents of World War I concerning the Middle East. It was negotiated in secret at the end of 1915 by Sir Mark Sykes of Great Britain and Georges François Picot of France, with full knowledge by their respective foreign ministries. It provided for a partition of the Middle East into French and British spheres.


The French were to have direct control of Syria, Lebanon, and Cilicia plus a zone of influence extending east from Damascus and Aleppo through Mosul. The British were granted direct control of the Mesopotamian provinces (now Iraq) of Baghdad and Basra as well as a zone of influence extending from Basra to Palestine. Palestine was itself to be placed under international administration.


Under the subsequent AngloRussianFrench Agreement of 1916, the Russians adhered to Sykes Picot after extensive discussions between Sykes and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Sazanov. In return for their support, the Russians were granted direct control over much of eastern Anatolia. In a successful attempt at embarrassing the coalition, the terms of the AngloRussianFrench Agreement were made public by the Bolsheviks in the spring of 1918. The Arabs claimed that SykesPicot contradicted promises made to them by the HusseinMcMahon Correspondence, and the Jews claimed that it contravened the Balfour Declaration. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson wished to annul SykesPicot, and even Sykes soon repudiated the agreement. Nonetheless, though the French renounced their claim to Mosul and Britain won control of Palestine, the Middle East treaties framed at the Paris Peace Settlements after World War I closely mirrored the SykesPicot Agreement.

see also balfour declaration (1917); husaynmcmahon correspondence (19151916); paris peace settlements (19181923); sykes, mark; wilson, woodrow.

Bibliography

Anderson, Matthew S. The Eastern Question. New York: St. Martin's, 1966.

Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace. New York: Henry Holt, 1989.

Hurewitz, J. C., ed. The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979.

Khalidi, Rashid. British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 19061914: A Study of the Antecedents of the Husseinthe [sic] McMahon Correspondence, the SykesPicot Agreement, and the Balfour Declaration. London: Ithaca Press, 1980.

zachary karabell

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sykes–Picot Agreement (1916)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sykes–Picot Agreement (1916)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sykes-picot-agreement-1916

"Sykes–Picot Agreement (1916)." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved November 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sykes-picot-agreement-1916

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.