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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Will save the integrity of Persia


matter of establishing Consulates, too, is of the greatest importance. We find even large trading cities like Kermanshah, Yezd, Shiraz and Birjand devoid of British Consuls. Undoubtedly we should wish a priority of right to construct roads and railways in Southern Persia--in the event of the Persians failing to construct these themselves--to be recognised, and it seems quite sensible and fair to let Persia give a similar advantage to Russia in Northern Persia. Nothing but a friendly understanding between England and Russia, which should clearly define the respective spheres of influence, will save the integrity of Persia. That country should remain an independent buffer state between Russia and India. But to bring about this result it is more than necessary that we should support Persia on our side, as much as Russia does on hers, or the balance is bound to go in the latter's favour.

The understanding with Russia should also--and I firmly believe Russia would be only too anxious to acquiesce in this--provide a protection against German commercial invasion and enterprise in the region of the Persian Gulf. Germany--not Russia--is England's bitterest enemy--all the more to be dreaded because she is a "friendly enemy." It is no use to try and keep out Russia merely to let Germany reap any commercial advantages that may be got--and that is the policy England is following at the present moment. The question whether or no we have a secret agreement

with Germany, in connection with the Euphrates Valley Railway, is a serious one, because, although one cannot but admire German enterprise in that quarter, it would be well to support it only in places where it is not likely to be disastrous to our own trade and interests generally.

Little or no importance should be attached to the opinion of the Russian Press in their attacks upon England. The influential men of Russia, as well as the Emperor himself, are certainly anxious to come to a satisfactory understanding with England regarding affairs not only in Persia but in Asia generally. An understanding between the two greatest nations in the world would, as long as it lasted, certainly maintain the peace of the world, and would have enormous control over the smaller nations; whereas petty combinations can be of little practical solid assistance or use to us.

As I have pointed out before on several occasions,[3] Russia is not to-day what she was half a century ago. She has developed enough to know her strength and power, and her soldiers are probably the finest in Europe--because the most practical and physically enduring. Her steady, firm policy of bold advance, in spite of our namby-pamby, ridiculous remonstrances, can but command the admiration of any fair-minded person, although we may feel sad, very sad, that we have no men capable of standing up against it, not with mere empty, pompous words, but with actual deeds which might delay or stop her progress. As matters are proceeding now, we are only forwarding Russia's dream of possessing a port in the Persian Gulf. She wants it and she will no doubt get it. In Chapters XXXIII and XXXIV the question of the point upon which her aims are directed is gone into more fully. The undoubted fact remains that, notwithstanding our constant howling and barking, she invariably gets what she wants, and even more, which would lead one to believe that, at any rate, her fear of us is not very great.

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