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Official Correspondence UK Residency Baghdad to Secretary of the State for the Colonies, Downing Street, London




BAGHDAD, dated 4th July, 1923


No. C.O.634



Grace the Duke of Devonshire

K.G., P.C, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O,

Secretary of the State for the Colonies,

Downing Street,



My Lord Duke,

I have the honour to reply to Your Grace’s despatch No. 430 dated 17th May, 1923, with regard to the establishment of a trans-desert motor service between Baghdad and Damascus as discussed in the despatch of the 16th April, 1923, from His Majesty’s Consul at Damascus.

2. As Your Grace is aware various routes connecting ‘Iraq and the Mediterranean have been canvassed and explored during the past two years, of which the following are the chief.

(a) Baghdad-Mosul-Deir-al-Nor-Aleppo

(b) Baghdad-Ramadi-Deir-al-Nor-Aleppo

(c) Baghdad-Amman

(d) Baghdad-Damascus

Routes (a) and (b) are in constant and increasing use, and in may last 751 persons made use of the latter route as against 269 in January. With regard to route (c), upon the possibilities of which Major Holt has reported fully, as I informed Your Grace in my Confidential despatch  of 28th March, 1923,


I have heard nothing further concerning the negotiations between the Oriental Overland Company, Limited, which proposed to develop it and the Palestinian Government. This route has, however, not been exploited commercially and requires an expensive process of road-making over the 40 miles of lava belt.


There does not appear to be any prospect that it will seriously compete as the route for lighter motor transport.