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American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-1939

American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-1939

JOHN A. DeNOVO
Copyright Date: 1963
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 464
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt5c9
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  • Book Info
    American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-1939
    Book Description:

    Scholars concerned with the diplomatic history of the United States have largely neglected the subject of American relations with the Middle East during the four decades before World War I. With this study, Professor DeNovo fills the gap by describing and assessing the United States’ cultural, economic, and diplomatic relations with Turkey, Persia, and the Arab East in that period. He traces, chronologically and topically, the activities of such American interest groups as Protestant missionaries, educators, philanthropists, archaeologists, businessmen, and technical advisers, as well as the official actions of their government. The account falls roughly into three chronological periods. The first section traces the interest groups through the pre-World War I years of political and cultural stirring in the Ottoman Empire and Persia. Special attention is given to the Chester Project for railroad development in Turkey. The second part deals with the upheavals accompanying World War I and the tasks of peacemaking from the Mudros armistice through the Lausanne settlement of 1923. The latter chapters detail the rise of the Turkish national movement, the deepening Persian and Arab nationalism, and the accommodation of American cultural and economic groups to these conditions. The author points out that before World War II began, Americans had acquired a significant interest in Middle Eastern oil and had become emotionally involved in the Arab-Zionist tension. In 1939 the United States was on the verge of a new phase in its Middle Eastern relations when that region would become more intimately linked to America’s national security._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6211-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  4. 1 THE HERITAGE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
    (pp. 3-26)

    By the turn of the twentieth century the United States had passed through the early stages of the transition that was to make it a full-fledged world power within another half century. Although the origins of the new Manifest Destiny of the 1890s can be traced back at least to the 1870s, it took the Spanish-American War with its dramatic consequences to give Americans a sense of having turned a corner and entered new paths of empire, and of involvement with the world powers. At first, the new overseas interests and responsibilities were confined largely to the Western Hemisphere (especially...

  5. 2 THE UNITED STATES AND THE MIDDLE EAST, 1900–1914
    (pp. 27-57)

    In the Middle East of the early twentieth century, critics of traditional ways and existing institutions instigated movements of far-reaching significance for the future of the area and for its relations with the Western world. Demands for reforms from within and for an end to Western intervention in the affairs of the region began to alter the setting in which foreign interests operated. While most Americans active in the area appeared oblivious to the adjustments which would have to be made eventually, a few perceived somewhat dimly the meaning of the changes which were brewing. Policy-makers in Washington, however, secure...

  6. 3 DOLLAR DIPLOMACY IN TURKEY: THE CHESTER PROJECT, 1908–1913
    (pp. 58-87)

    Early in the twentieth century, Admiral Colby M. Chester and associates developed a gigantic program for railroad and mining ventures in Asiatic Turkey.¹ They were beguiled by a vision of great commercial and industrial possibilities for Americans in the Ottoman Empire, a mirage similar to that which had already fostered great expectations for American economic enterprise in Latin America and the Far East. In all three instances, the advocates were optimistic about foreign markets for American industrial surpluses.²

    Had the ambitions of the Chester syndicate materialized, they might well have altered the course of American relations with the Middle East,...

  7. 4 THE DISRUPTION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE, 1914–1920
    (pp. 88-127)

    Amid the gathering diplomatic crisis in Europe during the summer of 1914, members of the small American colony in Constantinople assembled at the embassy to celebrate the Fourth of July. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., had just left members of the diplomatic corps and Ottoman dignitaries after attending memorial services for the assassinated Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, and his duchess. As Americans watched the fireworks display commemorating the commencement of their independence, some among them had an awareness of the imminence of European war. Americans in the Middle East were, as Dean Lynn A. Scipio of Robert College put it later,...

  8. 5 THE LAUSANNE CONFERENCE AND ITS AFTERMATH
    (pp. 128-166)

    “At sundown tonight I looked out of my window and saw the new moon, looking remarkably like a Turkish crescent, hanging directly over the tower of the Hotel du Chateau where the Peace Conference is to take place. Was it an omen? We shall learn eventually.”¹ Joseph C. Grew made this striking entry in his diary on November 20, 1922, after attending the formal opening of the Lausanne Conference called by Great Britain, France, and Italy to forge a peace settlement with the Turkish nationalists. The State Department appointed Grew, a career diplomat at the time minister to Switzerland, together...

  9. 6 A STAKE IN MIDDLE EASTERN OIL, 1919–1939
    (pp. 167-209)

    The Arabian-American Oil Company (a joint enterprise of Standard Oil of California and the Texas Company) began an elaborate celebration on May 1, 1939, at Ras Tanura, the company’s new deep-water port on the Persian Gulf, to mark the opening of this terminal and the loading of the first tanker to carry Arabian oil to the channels of international commerce. Some four hundred automobiles had transported more than two thousand guests across the desert from Jiddah, Mecca, and Riyadh. King Ibn Saud had arrived with a considerable entourage — seventeen members of the royal family, four government ministers, and a...

  10. 7 THE POSTWAR CHESTER PROJECT
    (pp. 210-228)

    The postwar need for petroleum in the United States provided a favorable environment for the revival of Admiral Colby M. Chester’s ambitious plans for economic development in Asia Minor. Undaunted by the burden of his seventy-six years, the admiral enthusiastically approached the State Department in 1920 with a request for governmental support of what he represented as his legal claims to oil rights in the Middle East. In a letter of May 19, 1920, he summarized the first Chester Project from its origins in 1908 through 1911, emphasizing that the projected railroad construction included mineral rights in a zone measuring...

  11. 8 THE TURKISH REPUBLIC BEFORE WORLD WAR II
    (pp. 229-274)

    On July 15, 1939, the Turkish government issued three pairs of postage stamps celebrating the sesquicentennial of the American Constitution. Two stamps carried a map of the United States flanked by portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk¹ and George Washington. Another pair substituted President Ismet Inönü for Atatürk, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt for Washington, while the third set carried a Turkish star and crescent alongside the American flag, surmounted by a large star representing the political freedom of both countries. Reflecting on the significance of this event, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions concluded that “evidently there is...

  12. 9 IRAN BETWEEN THE WARS
    (pp. 275-317)

    An upsurge of nationalism dominated the history of Persia during the years between the two world wars. The sovereignty and independence of that ancient country had been gravely compromised during the tragic disruptions accompanying World War I. Although Great Britain was temporarily in the ascendancy at the close of the war, the Soviets were soon able to renew the old Russian competition with Great Britain for power and position in Persia.¹

    The United States was more of a spectator than an actor in the Great Power competition, but American interests in Persia could not escape entirely being identified by Persian...

  13. 10 THE ARAB EAST BETWEEN THE WARS
    (pp. 318-382)

    As Bayard Dodge, president of the American University of Beirut, contemplated the ominous international scene during the fateful summer of 1939, he sensed that the Arab Middle East was at the close of an era. Dodge was representative of a small group of Americans whose careers in education, missionary endeavor, or business had brought them into close contact with the Arab lands. In the report he was preparing for his trustees, he correlated the history of his university with the profound changes in the Eastern Mediterranean where his family before him had devotedly served the university and where he had...

  14. 11 CONCLUSION
    (pp. 383-394)

    The foregoing survey of American interests and policies in Turkey, Persia, and the Arab East during the first four decades of the twentieth century contradicts the popular assumption that the Middle East wasterra incognitafor the United States before World War II. Without assigning the Middle East a larger role in America’s international relations than the record justifies, it is still apparent that the various cultural, educational, and economic enterprises there made up a significant chapter in the extension of American influence into areas where the United States government remained relatively aloof. Although frequently extending benevolent protection to its...

  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 397-410)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 411-447)