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Amman

 | 
Jean Hannoyer
, 
Seteney Shami

Première partie. La ville et l’État, approches historiques

The Transjordanian State and the Enterprising Merchants of Amman

L’État transjordanien et les marchands entrepreneurs de Amman

Abla M. Amawi

Résumé

Le développement de la classe marchande de Amman et le rôle de l’État dans la création de cette classe durant la période du Mandat britannique sont analysés ici pour comprendre le passage des marchands comme groupe marginal à l’expression d’une classe économique dominante, consciente d’elle-même et active en tant que telle. La politique étatique, la guerre, les approvisionnements britanniques ont été les facteurs les plus significatifs de cette transformation des marchands en partenaires de l’État. Amman est ainsi devenue le centre commercial de Transjordanie et un foyer d’action politique. L’activité marchande était gérée par la Chambre de commerce constituée pour la première fois en Tranjordanie en 1923. Les relations qui liaient la Chambre au gouvernement permettent de suivre finalement celles de la classe marchande avec le pouvoir colonial britannique.

Note de l’éditeur

Sections of this article were previously published in Abla M. Amawi, "The Consolidation of the Merchant Class in Transjordan during the Second World War", in Eugene Rogan and Tariq Tell (eds.), Village, Steppe and State. The Social Origins of Modern Jordan, London & New York: British Academic Press, 1994, pp. 162-187.

Texte intégral

INTRODUCTION

  • 1 This phrase is borrowed from Waterbury, The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two (...)

1This paper examines two inter-related topics: the nature and development of the merchant class of Amman and the role that the state played in the evolution of that class during the British mandate (1921-1946). The autonomous Transjordanian state was able to effect economic and political changes in the country through policies which were "top-down, state-inspired and state-led”1. Indeed, what we see in Transjordan is that the colonial state assisted - whether intentionally or not - in the development of a merchant class. The establishment of the Transjordanian state by Great Britain in 1921, the import-quota system and the conditions of the Second World War, allowed the Transjordanian merchants to accumulate capital and become more able to act conceitedly as a “class”. Yet it is worth noting that this growing political and socio-economic influence of the merchants was almost solely limited to the city of Amman, which concomitantly grew in size and importance.

MERCHANTS UNDER OTTOMAN RULE

  • 2 For example, the Romans built fortresses to guard their trade caravans. F. G. Peake, “Transjordan”,(...)

2For millennia, the area of Transjordan has constituted a strategic location for commercial routes, especially between Egypt, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, and Iraq. Its geographic location was important for international trade as well, and it was the crossing point for merchants bound for Europe, Asia Minor, and Africa. However, trade within Transjordan was always limited by security concerns arising from the threat of bedouin tribes. This led all those interested in trade through Transjordan to take measures to protect their caravans2.

  • 3 Hani Hawrani, Al-tarkîb al-iqtisâdi al-ijtimâ’i li-sharq al-Urdunn, [The Economic and Social Struct (...)

3In the late nineteenth century trading as a whole had marginal importance in the area and was mostly linked to essential goods in a subsistence economy. Commercial exchange was limited in an economy that generated so little surplus. In fact, towns had a marginal role in the Ottoman period except for al-Salt, which was the region’s main trading centre. Irbid, Jarash, and Karak were small towns and Amman was a village with a small local market and a population of 6,0003.

  • 4 Selah Merrill, East of the Jordan. A Record of Travel and Observation in the Countries of Moab, Gil (...)
  • 5 Muhammad Salim Ghithyan al-Tarawina, Ta’rikh Mantiqat al-Balqa’ wa Ma’an wa’l-Karak 1281-1337 h./18 (...)
  • 6 Antonin Jaussen, Coutumes des Arabes au pays de Moab [Customs of the Arabs of Moab], Paris: V. Leco (...)
  • 7 Interview with Mrs. Sa’udi, Amman, 5 July 1992.

4It was for this reason that trading was often carried out by wandering merchants, especially in the period before the presence of Ottoman garrisons allowed for the growth of a mercantile sector in towns like al-Salt. Merchants and craftsmen accompanied the hajj caravan and enjoyed the protection it provided. In fact, Damascene merchants accompanying the hajj were estimated as comprising one-third of the caravan’s travellers4. They carried with them precious stones, coffee, textiles and spices5, and supplied Transjordan’s markets and bedouin encampments with textiles and ready-made wear in exchange for agricultural and pastoral produce6. For example, Muhammad Khayru al-Sa’di, a Damascene merchant from the Maydân area, immigrated to Transjordan in 1860. Initially he traded in cattle and later traded with the bedouin, exchanging ready-made wear with animal products such as wool and butter7.

  • 8 Hawrani, p. 106. See also p. 99 on trade.
  • 9 Charles M. Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1888; (...)
  • 10 Hamarneh, p. 68, and Eugene Rogan, Incorporating the Periphery: The Ottoman Extension of Direct Rul (...)
  • 11 Henry Baker Tristram, The Land of Moab. Travels and Discoveries on the East Side of the Dead Sea an (...)
  • 12 William Ewing, Arab and Druze at Home: a Record of Travel and Intercourse with the Peoples East of (...)
  • 13 Merrill, p. 474, quoted in Hamarneh, p. 68.

5The exchange was usually carried through barter exchange of wool, butter, and so forth for clothing, carpets and kitchen wares. Money transactions were very limited, and the money used generally had an intrinsic value, like gold or silver coins8. Despite the barter exchange system, merchants were able to make a respectable profit reaching twenty-five percent in some cases9. These small peddlers travelling among the tribes were usually representatives of merchants of the bigger towns10. Damascene merchants travelled among tribes such as the Adwân11. Jewish merchants from Jerusalem, Damascus, Safad, and Tiberius also travelled among the bedouin selling jewelry12, and even Indian merchants came to the area to purchase Arabian horses13.

  • 14 John Bagot Glubb, “The Economic Situation of the Transjordan Tribes,” Journal of the Royal Central (...)
  • 15 Ibid., p. 453.
  • 16 Laurence Oliphant, The Land of Gilead. With Excursions in the Lebanon, New York: D. Appleton and Co (...)
  • 17 Glubb, p. 453.

6Merchants also provided a valuable service to those tribesmen who were unable to purchase or sell their animals in distant areas due to fear of plunder “en route by hostile tribes”14. Long distance trade was carried out by merchants who wandered between Arabia, Syria and Egypt. To enable the merchants to fulfil this important service, the bedouin code protected them from attacks15. Travellers speak of agreements between Damascene merchants and influential bedouin shaykh-s to provide protection in return for a small share in the profits16. They also paid tribute (khuwwa) to “every tribal chief through whose territory they passed”17.

  • 18 Rogan, p. 247. He notes that merchants came from Beirut and that the extension of security even att (...)
  • 19 Ibid., p. 247. Karak had been integrated into wider markets much earlier, however. The American exp (...)
  • 20 Raouf Sa’d Abujaber. Pioneers Over Jordan. The Frontier of Settlement in Transjordan, 1850-1914, Lo (...)

7Once the Ottoman state increased its control over the area in the late 1860’s, permanently-based merchants and money-lenders from neighbouring regions began flocking to Transjordan, enjoying the new security which the Ottoman garrisons offered18. Another factor which assisted the advancement of trade in Transjordan was the Hijaz railway built by the Ottoman government in 1902-1908 to facilitate pilgrim traffic to the holy cities of Mecca and Madina. The railway strengthened the existing linkages between Transjordan, Damascus, and the Arabian Peninsula and facilitated the export of local agricultural produce while bringing more commodities into the villages and towns in Transjordan. Small shops began to appear in the area and peddlers were able to venture to Karak by 189319. Members of Syrian and Palestinian merchant families began settling in Irbid, Amman, and al-Salt while maintaining their links with their supply centres in Syria and Palestine. Moreover, partnership agreements were forged with local merchants, who received monthly consignments of stocks from the exporters in Palestine and Syria. For example, Abujaber documents how Farhan Abu Jabir exchanged wheat for other commodities such as alcoholic drinks, fruits, tobacco, olive oil, coffee, etc., from his trading partners (Husayn Nashashibi, Mikha’il Talil and Salim Marar) in Jerusalem20.

  • 21 Rogan, pp. 252-253.

8To preserve their profit margin, merchants had to export more of the local produce to the surrounding markets of Nablus, Jerusalem and Damascus. Therefore, Damascene and Palestinian merchants had to ensure a regular supply of grain, raisins and animal products to the markets by their direct presence in Transjordan. Seeking higher returns on their investments, Syrian and Palestinian merchants began settling in agricultural areas such as ‘Ajlun and al-Salt. They diversified their investments to include commercial operations, money-lending, and investments in land. Consequently, exports of grain, raisins, animal and agricultural products (such as cereals, grapes, fruits and tobacco) increased. Moreover, wool was also exported to European and American markets from ‘Ajlun and al-Balqa’ via Damascus21.

MERCHANTS UNDER THE MANDATE

  • 22 Great Britain, Colonial Office: CO 733/2, April 18, 1921. Henceforth, records of the Colonial Offic (...)

9The foundation of the state had a profound effect on the development of commerce in Transjordan. By its sheer presence, the Transjordanian state was able to dramatically alter the fortunes of the country’s small merchant class which benefited from state policies and initiatives. In fact, in order to ally the fears of the commercial and agricultural producers, the British from the outset made commitments to assist in the expansion of commercial life in the country. In the High Commissioner’s speech in Amman on April 18, 1921, he noted that “Every effort will be made to provide such commodities as you need and to make the markets of Palestine accessible to the produce of your country”22.

  • 23 For further details, see Abla M. Amawi, State and Class in Transjordan: A Study of State Autonomy, (...)

10The centralization of authority and extension of security which began under the Ottomans continued under the British. Other factors affecting commercial life in Transjordan which emanated from the creation of the state were the improvement of communications, the increase in the purchasing power of the general public through the British grant-in-aid and the initiation of projects such as the Iraqi Petroleum Company pipeline23.

  • 24 The number of Syrians was 855 and that of Palestinians was 515 out of a total of 1,902. Colonial Of (...)

11All these factors led to the growth and expansion of Amman, the chosen capital of the state, and of its small trading community. However, one of the fundamental factors for the socio-economic development of Amman and the evolution of trade was the increased immigration of Syrian and Palestinian merchants into Transjordan, and the consequences of such immigration. Syrians and Palestinians had a long tradition cf trading in Transjordan. Immigration of these merchants to Transjordan was by and large either politically or economically induced. As noted, the earliest immigration pre-dated the creation of the state in Transjordan and was economically induced. Palestinians from Nablus and Hebron immigrated to al-Salt and Karak due to proximity, administrative unity and trading links between these centres. Politically-induced immigration brought many fleeing the general political upheavals in Syria and Palestine in the 1920’s and 1930’s to Transjordan. There were several waves of Syrian and Palestinian immigrants into Transjordan. The census of non-natives in 1936 indicated that Syrian immigrants represented 45 percent of all immigrants and Palestinians 27 percent24.

  • 25 Shuqayr, a prominent merchant of Amman, argued that this is why those Damascene merchants who immig (...)

12These waves of immigration resulted in several important socio-economic and political consequences for Transjordan, such as the expansion of trade, the introduction of crafts and small-scale industries, the growth of railway towns, and the expansion of Amman (the capital of the emirate) as the major trading centre (with its chamber of commerce as the centre for all merchants as will be shown below). The incoming merchants expanded trade since the emigrants were established traders in their former countries, possessing the business sense and commercial links with established trading centres and producers, necessary for commercial success. Moreover, their trading connections with their hometown were never disrupted after their move to Transjordan. Most of the Damascene merchants hailed from the Maydân area in Damascus, a well-known commercial centre with a relationship to rural, semi-rural and nomadic areas25. These linkages facilitated the channelling of commodities to and from Transjordan’s markets and integrated these markets more closely with surrounding countries.

  • 26 ‘Abdallah Rashid, Maldmih al-haya al-sha’biyya ft madinat ‘Ammân, 1878-1948 [Aspects of Popular Lif (...)

13The immigrants also introduced several crafts and small-scale industries to Transjordan. For example, Syrian families like Sa’îd al-Suruj and his brother, and ‘Abd al-Razzâq al-Wazzân introduced the manufacturing of saddles and equestrian items, while the Sabbâgh family introduced cloth dying. Other Syrian families introduced fur and leather making. The Muhaysin family of Hebron introduced the making of daggers, and the Hâyiks from Nablus introduced the making of ‘abâya-s (cloaks)26. Of course, Circassian immigrants who predated this new wave of immigrants introduced horse-drawn carts and gold and silver jewellery making.

  • 27 For further details on the transformation of the bedouin life and camel transport, see Glubb, pp. 4 (...)
  • 28 Oxford University, St. Antony’s College, Middle East Centre, “The St. Anthony’s Papers, Philby’s Pa (...)
  • 29 Ihsan Nimr, Ta’rîkh Jabal Nablus wal-Balqa’ [History of Mount Nablus and Balqa’], Nablus, 1961, p. (...)
  • 30 Nawfan Raja al-Humud. “Amman kama tusawwiraha sijillât mahkamatuha al-shar’iyya,” [Amman as Depicte (...)
  • 31 “St. Anthony’s Papers”, Somerset Papers, Memo by Peake and Somerset, “Observations on Dr. Weizmann’ (...)
  • 32 Interview with Walid Mithqal ‘Asfûr, Amman, 11 September 1990.

14Another consequence of the immigration of merchants to Transjordan was that many settled in the towns along the railway line. The railway dealt a heavy blow to camel transport because it was more economical than the latter27. Chief British Resident, H. St. J.B. Philby noted that : “... a ton of corn can be delivered from Amman to Jerusalem at about P 60 to P 70 per ton less than the camel rate”28. The railway consolidated the primacy of Damascus as Transjordan’s main supplier, eclipsing other centres like Nablus29. Moreover, this economization in transportation expenses through the railway led to the growth of railway towns such as Amman, which became the centre of attraction for merchants from Damascus and Nablus to the detriment of others30. It was the establishment of the railway and later the mandate which led to Amman’s importance, and the town emerged as Transjordan’s trade and financial capital, eclipsing the position of al-Salt. In 1921 Amman had a population of about 8,000 of whom about half were Circassians while the rest included several hundred Damascene traders31. This growth intensified once Amman became the capital of the new emirate of Transjordan. Once that happened, Amman possessed several advantages over al-Salt - the original trading centre in Transjordan. Besides its position on the railway, Amman benefited from government spending on procurement, buildings, employment, and so forth. It lay along communication networks, telegraph and telephone lines, and enjoyed accessible financial establishments. Moreover, Amman was linked through the Mandatory power to the outside world. This prompted several leading traders, such as the Mango, Abu Hasan, Mu’ashshir, al-Nâbulsi, Abu Jâbir, Musharbash, Hajj Hasan, Bakhit, Shâ’ir and al-Muflih families, to move from al-Salt to Amman (with the exception of Bakhit, who came to Amman from Fuhays)32.

15Amman thus became Transjordan’s commercial centre and provided the link between Transjordan’s hinterland and the rest of the world. It was a metropolis attracting Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants searching for political refuge or a safe asylum for lucrative commercial gains. As a result, Amman became the trading centre of Transjordan. The story of the rise of the Transjordanian merchant class is the story of Amman as the following section indicates.

THE MERCHANTS OF AMMAN

16One of the remarkable aspects about Amman in connection with the merchant class is that Amman was home to the first Chamber of Commerce in Transjordan, which was created in 1923. Other Chambers were later established in Madaba, al-Salt, Karak and Irbid. However, the Amman Chamber was by far the most significant in the history of trade in Transjordan due to the movement of big merchants from other towns to Amman. The Chamber was significant because it articulated the concerns of the merchant class, and through the relationship between the Chamber and the government, we can chart the changing relationship of the merchant class as a whole to the state. Most significantly, the establishment of the Chamber of Commerce in Amman indicates by fiat the numerous characteristics of the emerging capital of Transjordan.

17The Chamber was one of the first manifestations of the materialization of the institutions of civil society in Transjordan. Governmental structures established or re-organized by the British mandatory power were in fact not new structures but the remnants of the developed Ottoman state apparatus, such as the sharî’a courts and the communal tribunals. The emerging Transjordanian state integrated itself within the tribal society through its regulation of nomadic life and the absorption of sons of tribal leaders within the Arab Legion. But, on the level of civil society there were no organized societal organizations similar to the merchants’ guild in Damascus and other urban centres. In fact, the Amman Chamber of Commerce was the first purely Transjordanian structure. It represented a societal response to the formation of the state and a medium through which the merchants reacted to the state’s imposed policies of custom duties and other regulations.

  • 33 In 1918 the British captured al-Salt and withdrew two days later. Many of the inhabitants, particul (...)

18Secondly, the establishment of the first commercial Chamber in Amman represented the final surrender of the city of al-Salt as the commercial centre of Transjordan. Indeed, as noted earlier, many of the established merchants of al-Salt moved to Amman once it became the state’s capital. This flight of the merchant families (besides the reasons mentioned in the previous section) particularly Christian ones, may have had its roots in what has been termed al-Hijra of 1918 once the British occupied and later left the city of al-Salt33.

19Thirdly, the establishment of the Chamber confirmed Amman not only as the administrative, but also as the commercial, capital of the state. It also made manifest the fact that, from the beginning, the Jordanian economy would be run by non-natives because the big commercial families of Amman were not native Transjordanians but those hailing from Damascus and Palestinian towns. The Transjordanian economy as seen in the Chamber’s board came to be dominated by newcomers.

Table 1. Membership of the Chamber of Commerce Council, (1941-43)

Table 1. Membership of the Chamber of Commerce Council, (1941-43)

Source : RACC, Al-kitâb al-dhahabi [The Golden Book] (Amman).

  • 34 CO 831/51/8 #77065, Political Situation, March 1939.

20This non-native characteristic of the merchants may also explain the alliance which was forged between the merchants and the state from that date onwards. As non-natives, they were less likely to actively organize resistance to the state and the Emir. Thus, the merchant class clung to the authority rather than challenged it. They never attempted to contest the political existence of the Transjordanian state or the nature of its regime as such. Their political objections centred mainly around two issues : those pertaining directly to the politics of Greater Syria (either Palestine or Syria) and those connected to mandatory policies affecting their fortunes in Transjordan to the advantage of “foreigners” whether they were British or otherwise (as will be shown below). Finally, as non-natives, the Chamber provided the vehicle for those merchants to exert their authority since many of them (until today) abstain from participating directly in the political sphere. This sense of “non-nativeness” was exacerbated by the repeated attempts of members of the executive council to acquire governmental posts for “locally born candidates at the expense of naturalized Transjordanians ”34.

  • 35 Classification was based on the amount of each merchant’s capital. The amount of capital required f (...)
  • 36 RACC, Al-rasâ’il al-sâdira [Letters Sent], Chamber to Amman Governor, April 1, 1924.
  • 37 RACC, Ibid.. December 31, 1924.
  • 38 RACC, Ibid., Chamber of Commerce to Amman Governor, letters dated: April 1 & 3, 1924; August 31, 19 (...)

21The Chamber’s main functions were to classify merchants and to estimate their capital. Classification of merchants was carried out on the basis of the merchant’s capital at time of registration. This classification system was beneficial to the merchants in times of elections for the Chamber’s board (only those in first and second class could be elected) and for enhancing the social prestige of the merchant in the community35. Secondly, the Chamber also registered merchants and collected membership fees. The obligatory nature of membership to the Chamber was won through many years of arduous petitioning by the Chamber’s board36. The Chamber also registered all those who wished to enter into governmental bids and certified all commercial deals37. Finally, the Chamber was charged with registering all those connected directly or indirectly with commercial transactions, such as the dallâl-s, simsâr-s (brokers), hammâl-s. These various functions of the Chamber meant in effect that the Chamber had total monopoly over all facets of commercial activities in the country. Through this monopoly, the Chamber was able to exert its power over society. This power was clearly manifested through the system of “guarantee” imposed by the state and the Chamber. This was a system whereby the guarantee seeker would enlist the financial "guarantee" of a registered merchant in return for a sum of money. This guarantee system meant in effect that the merchants were needed for the employment of almost all non-white collar workers. This system included anyone wishing to enlist in the police force, the mechanized forces, drivers, the dallâl-s, simsâr-s, hammâl-s, carpenters, electricians, builders and craftsmen, among others38.

  • 39 RACC, Daftar qararat, 1928-42 [Decisions File], 15 December 1928. The Chamber started meeting twice (...)
  • 40 RACC, Daftar qarârât, 1928-42 [Decisions File]. 11 May 1932. See also Article 33 of the “rocurement (...)

22The Chamber’s board met once a week to discuss issues related to the merchants’ interests in order to represent such concerns to the government39. The growing economic and political importance of the merchants is reflected in the Chamber’s activities which articulated the merchants’ concerns. These concerns focused on two major issues: the ill-effects of colonial control over Transjordan and the usual commercial concerns over prices, taxation, custom and excise dues. There were three ill-effects of colonial control to which the merchants objected: the procurement policies of the British colonial apparatus in Transjordan, the granting of vital economic concessions to foreign concerns, and the dismemberment of Greater Syria. In order to benefit British interests, the mandatory power made it obligatory for the government of Transjordan to submit requests for supplies to the Crown Agents, the purchasing agency for the colonies. The lists covered everything from pens to soldiers’ clothing40, and meant that the Transjordan government was obliged to buy British products. Transjordanian merchants objected strongly to such procedures which deprived them of a lucrative source of revenue in a country where agriculture was dependent on fluctuating rains and where no industries to speak of existed.

  • 41 CO 733/3, 3 June 1921.
  • 42 RACC, Al-rasâ’il al-sâdira [Letters Sent, 1924-28], Chamber to the Prime Minister, 27 July 1924.

23Another ill-effect of colonialism was the granting of concessions to foreign concerns, such as the Dead Sea Salt concession and the Rutenberg Electric concession41. Merchants in Transjordan were specifically concerned about the Rutenberg concession and wanted to establish a national electric company instead. Their objections centred on granting such a vital project which “will endanger the wealth of the country” to a foreign Zionist company when there were nationals able to do the job, and could benefit instead42.

  • 43 Interview with Muhammad ‘Ali Budayr, Amman, 22 August 1988 & 3 September 1990.
  • 44 Noureddine Bouchair, The Merchant and Money Lending Class of Syria under the French Mandate, 1920-4 (...)

24Finally, one of the consequences of colonial control was the dismemberment of Greater Syria, which affected the movement of people and commodities. Merchants even today speak nostalgically of the days when they were able to go to Damascus without being asked to present passports and visas43. The new frontiers separated the inhabitants of the area, disrupted the flow of trade through obstacles such as tariff barriers44.

  • 45 Interview with ‘Ali Hamdi Mango, Amman, 4 September 1990.

25Yet in all fairness, the merchants’ responsibilities towards the state were actually quite light and British policies favoured them with free trade provisions45. Merchants had very few responsibilities towards the government. They did not pay income tax but paid the tamattu’ (equivalent to a professional trade taxation), municipal tax and excise duty.

  • 46 CO 831/31/1 77065, Political Situation Report for February 1936, and CO 831/41/8 #77065, Political (...)
  • 47 CO 831/31/1 #77065, Political Situation, April 1936.
  • 48 CO 831/41/8 #77065, Political Situation Report, July 1937.
  • 49 CO 831/55/8 #77065, Situation Report, September 1940.
  • 50 CO 831/58/2 #77065, Situation Report, May 1945.
  • 51 CO 831/46/6#77065, Situation Report, May 1938.
  • 52 Ibid.
  • 53 CO 831/55/8 # 77065, Situation Report, September 1940, Chamber to general public.

26As a result of economic growth, the merchants developed into a vital segment of society and were able in some instances to use their newly acquired importance for their advantage. The merchants exhibited this importance in political as well as social ways. Amman became the hub of political action by the activist merchants. Most of the shop closures in protest for political events in Syria and Palestine which took place in Transjordan during the Mandate were carried out in Amman46. For example, shops were closed on April in sympathy with the 1936 strike in Palestine47, and in sympathy with the opposition to the partition commission of 1937-3848. Shops were also closed following the spread of rumours that Great Britain was attempting to arrange for Turkey’s occupation of Aleppo in 194049, and the merchants led demonstrations to protest the bombardment of Damascus by French forces50. Moreover, organized action against governmental commercial policies were also organized by the Amman Chamber51. Shops were closed in Amman in protest against municipal taxes imposed on advertisements and awnings52, and a boycott of all French merchandise was made by the Chamber in protest against French “cruelty” in Syria53.

  • 54 There was a tradition whereby merchants and other notables such as Mithqal al-Fayiz, the shaykh of (...)
  • 55 Khayr al-Din Zarkali, ‘Âmân fi ‘Ammân, [Two Years in Amman], Cairo: al-matba’a al-’arabiyya, 1925, (...)
  • 56 Interview with Hamdi Sabri Tabba’, Amman, 22 September 1990.
  • 57 CO 733/4, High Commissioner to Secretary of State, July 23, 1921, Tel. No. 288. See also, CO 733/4, (...)
  • 58 Interview with Jawdat Sha’sha’, Amman. 9 September 1990. and interview with Ali Hamdi Mango, Amman, (...)

27One of the social manifestations of the economic growth that the merchants experienced as a result of the establishment of the state, was the social prestige they acquired through their relationship with Emir Abdullah. The Emir met with the merchants regularly and those privileged enough met with him on a daily basis54. The relationship between the Emir and the merchants was based on several mutually-beneficial interests. The Emir occasionally bestowed his close associates with honorary titles. Indeed, the Emir bestowed these titles on those whom he favoured either for political reasons (to win them to his side), to please those in need, or as gifts. For example, in May 1923, the Emir granted the title of Pasha to Sa’d al-Dîn Shatîla who lent money to Abdullah and was his political agent in Syria55. In addition, close confidents gained social leverage due to their relationship with the Emir. Anyone who had a problem would go to the influential merchant, who in turn would relay the message to Abdullah56. As the merchants acquired social prestige and other windfalls of the royal leverage through their close relationship to the Emir, the Emir was able to use them financially and politically. The merchants were a source of ready cash for the Emir, especially when his personal allowance from the British fell short of his social obligations. For example, even as early as 1921, the Emir was indebted to his local creditors for approximately L22,000, a fact that alarmed the British and brought on the more stringent financial regulations which were imposed on him by 192457. In a sense, the position of the Emir in the Transjordanian tribal society necessitated the endless show of hospitality to his guests and extension of patronage to the various bedouin tribes. It was understood among the merchant community that the funds they advanced to Abdullah were “grants” which would not be repaid58. Money was not the only gratuity which was advanced to the palace but also provisions, furniture items and other accessories which Abdullah needed when he entertained influential dignitaries as guests. For example, the homes of Isma’îl al-Bilbaysi and that of Sabri al-Tabba’ were frequently used as guest houses by the Emir for his political contacts. In return, the merchants who were seasoned in the overall game of "patronage" gained the social prestige of being the Emir’s trusted friends and advisers which enhanced their social status in society. They were also granted all the assistance that the Emir’s leverage could bequeath them with the mandate state, a fact that became more useful during the Second World War with the application of strict restrictions on the importation of commodities, as the next section will show. For his part, Abdullah used the merchants’ extensive links with their former homelands to further his political ambitions in establishing a Greater Syrian unity under his rule.

  • 59 For further details, see Michael R. Fischbach, State, Society, and Land in Ajlun (Northern Transjor (...)
  • 60 Walid Kazziha, The Social History of Southern Syria (Transjordan) in the 19th and Early 20th Centur (...)
  • 61 CO 831/34/#77114, 1935.
  • 62 CO831/41/#77033, 1937.

28Yet, it must be noted that the social, economic and political clout of the merchants had its negative effects as well on Transjordanian society, particularly its peasant population. The indebtedness of the peasants and their falling prey to money-lenders, which pre-dated the creation of the state59, continued afterwards. Not only was the peasant population affected during Ottoman times, but also the bedouin tribes. As Kazziha notes “it would appear that the merchants and money lenders from Damascus bit harder on the semi-nomadic population of Ajlun”60. The peasants’ indebtedness did not cease under the mandate. Indeed, the state was very alarmed by the system of borrowing and money lending by merchants to the peasants61. In fact, the Situation Report noted that the “merchant regards the farmer as a milk-cow. He takes practically everything from him and leaves him very little on which to live... The merchant takes from the farmer whatever it is possible for him to take, and renews the bill, after adding interest, which is often twice the amount of the original loan”62.

29Despite their monetary growth, social prestige and influence with the Emir, the merchants did not acquire sufficient clout to effect changes in state policy-formulation, which remained in the hands of the British-dominated bureaucracy. Economic policy making was confined to British officials, and the merchants, as non-natives (of Damascene and Palestinian origins) and conspicuously absent from direct involvement in executive power, were reluctant to strongly push their agenda for policies which favoured their interests. However, state policies, wartime conditions, and British supply policies drastically altered the composition of the merchant class in Transjordan and led to the emergence of a wealthy economically-dominant class able to exert its influence on decision-making.

THE ENRICHMENT OF THE MERCHANTS

30The process by which the merchant class in Transjordan was enriched resulted from several closely connected, intentional and accidental factors during the Second World War. The first was the ramifications of the creation of the Middle East Supply Centre (MESC) in 1941 by the British in order to control imports, exports and allocation of foodstuffs, a system from which the merchants profited immensely. The second was the result of wartime shortages and particularly high prices. The final factor was the ingenuity of the Transjordanian merchant class in exploiting wartime conditions.

  • 63 CO 732/87/10 #79238/4, Federation in the Middle East; Annex 1, Extract from Middle East War Council (...)
  • 64 Great Britain, Foreign Office: FO 922/34, MESC File No. 1/100.45, MESC to Sir Arthur Rucker, secret (...)

31The MESC was established by the British and headquartered in Cairo from 1941-45 as part of the Middle East theatre of war63. In 1942, the United States joined the MESC and it became an Anglo-American enterprise. The Centre’s mission was to develop the production of essential foodstuffs and materials in the Middle East, to restrict imports only to essentials, and to ensure equitable distribution of imported supplies throughout the region64.

32In order to fulfil these goals, the MESC established tight control over the movement of commodities within the Middle East. This control of supplies was achieved by controlling imports and exports through issuing licences specifying the category and quantity of commodities, regulation of shipping orders, maintaining a reserved stock under central control, rationing of commodities and creating local food control committees.

33The ramifications of the creation of the MESC for Transjordanian merchants were three-fold : the role that Transjordan came to occupy in the MESC supply policies and the resulting flourishing contraband trade ; the inability of the MESC to apply a uniform system of control in all Middle Eastern countries or establish adequate control over the flow of imports and exports regionally ; and finally, the mechanisms by which import-export controls were applied locally in Transjordan and which surpassed attempted MESC strict supervision.

  • 65 Martin W. Wilmington, The Middle East Supply Centre, New York, 1971, pp. 4, 18, 23.

34The fortunes of the Transjordanian merchants would not have been made without the factors at the time affecting the commercial situation in Transjordan and elsewhere. One of those factors was the war-time shortages which influenced Transjordan’s trading partners, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine65. These shortages led to the flourishing of contraband trade during the war years.

35The disparity between the internal price levels in Syria and Transjordan made it impossible for the Transjordanian government to control the contraband trade.

  • 66 CO 831/60/2 77065, Situation Report for May 1943; CO 831/55/8 #77065, Political Situation Report fo (...)

36Another factor in the enrichment of the Transjordanian merchants was the role played by Transjordan in the food-supply schemes devised by the MESC. Transjordan’s cereal production was a significant rationale for the inclusion of Transjordan in the MESC grain-extraction inducement schemes which were intended to provide consumer goods for the cultivators to induce them to sell their grain for the state’s benefit. Cereals were an important commodity for military and civilian use, and the British army in Palestine as well as its population needed the cereals. Therefore, Transjordan’s cereals became earmarked by the MESC for the markets of Palestine. The merchants benefited from the cereal schemes by naming their prices, knowing well that it was a seller’s market, by speculating in the grain markets, by smuggling the cereals, and finally, by taking advantage of the consumer goods offered as inducements to the grain cultivators in return for their produce66. In fact, the consumer goods imported by the merchants for the inducement plan (including cotton piece goods, silk yarn, sugar, rice, coffee, tea, etc.) in many cases never reached the cultivators and were instead smuggled to neighbouring countries where they reaped astronomical prices. Merchants in Transjordan kept the profits, which exceeded 100 percent and could reach as high as 1 000 per cent.

37Merchants also benefited from the inability of the MESC to apply an across the board system of control. Since the Centre’s sphere of operations was worldwide, it proved very difficult to institute import-export controls. Despite the attempts by the MESC to regulate the flow of goods by matching import and export licences and shipping lists, merchants everywhere excelled at evading these controls.

38Finally, Transjordan’s merchants were enriched as a direct result of the mechanisms by which import-export controls were applied locally in Transjordan and which surpassed MESC strict supervision. Local import-export committees were established to implement food control policies devised by the MESC. These committees were responsible for issuing import licences to merchants in accordance with a specific commodity-quota allocation for each country. Merchants in Transjordan benefited from this in several ways. First, since Transjordan constituted an important component of the grain-extraction scheme, its quota allocation for what were considered “luxury” items for the general population was enlarged. This in effect meant, as mentioned before, that merchants smuggled the items to more urban centres such as Palestine and Lebanon. Secondly, the most significant aspect of the quota-allocation mechanism which tremendously benefited the merchants, was the actions of the two British officials in charge of the control system, namely P. Livingstone and his assistant, R.T. Ledger, who were in charge of the import-export and currency control committees of the Transjordanian government. Livingstone and Ledger practised favouritism to the advantage of their “close” merchant associates. Indeed, the active assistance extended by these two officials to a specific group of merchants was manifested in informing the merchants of quota availability, facilitating letters of credit, processing applications for imports, putting in process the system of import monopolies commended by the MESC, and finally, tacitly approving of the illegal dispersion of allocated merchandise. Through these mechanisms, the state increased its revenues by its enhanced ability to impose a new income tax on the merchants and augmented its revenues through customs collection. Therefore, the policies of the local control committee on the one hand benefited the mandate state by alleviating some of its financial burdens, on the other hand they harmed the imperial war effort. One of the decisive motivations behind these conflicting objectives lay in the ultimate goal of the British to maintain a stable Transjordan in a volatile area during the revolt in 1941 in Iraq, the troubles in Palestine and the occupation of the Vichy French in Syria.

39The import-export quota-allocation procedure worked as follows. Transjordan received its quota allocation for provisions from the MESC. The availability of foodstuffs and other commodities from exporting countries was announced by the MESC and corresponding import licences were issued in importing countries. Import-export control was coordinated in Transjordan by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. There were no criteria for import licence applicants. Decisions to allocate a specified commodity quota among the merchants were personal and not based on the specialization of the merchant or his monetary capability. As the ultimate decision for quota allocation lay in the hands of Livingstone and Ledger, this decision was heavily influenced by three factors: the social influence the specific merchant wielded with the committee; the merchant’s influence or connections (wâsita) with Emir Abdullah, who, in turn, would influence the committee’s decision ; and to a lesser extent, the merchant’s financial standing. Those “selected” few of merchants possessing these characteristics acquired the lion’s share of quotas; they also were issued carte blanche letters of credit; and were able to benefit from the lax system of commodity control applied by the import-export control committee. However, this selection process was not random. Those favoured were already, for the most part, established merchants possessing the know-how of business transactions, having connections with trading centres in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine through their extended family networks since most of them hailed originally from these areas; and finally, enjoying more capital compared to the rest of the mercantile class (although in relative terms this capital was minimal compared to their established counterparts outside Transjordan).

40The ramifications of these inter-related factors affecting commercial transactions and quota allocations in Transjordan during the war years on the merchant class and commercial life in Transjordan were astronomical. As a result of war-time conditions and the mechanisms by which import-export controls were applied locally and regionally, a significant stratification of the merchant class emerged whereby a handful of merchants emerged as “big” merchants. Those were connected to the mandatory state as well as to the Emir and were the only group able to accumulate capital in a society where peasants were increasingly being impoverished due to increasing land indebtedness and erratic climatic conditions, where the nomadic population was similarly experiencing severe hardships that dated back to the establishment of the state with its border restrictions, monopoly over legitimate means of violence, and strict regulation over raiding and tax imposition, and finally where salaried employees were being increasingly impoverished due to inflationary prices.

41Thus, by the end of the war years, a nucleus of a merchant class aware of its interests emerged in Transjordan. This class possessed the capital to engage in industrial ventures, voice its interests in concerted actions and benefit from the lucrative commissions of state-contracts, all characteristics which remain today with the top layers of this class.

CONCLUSION

42The war years were a radical departure from the way commercial life had been conducted in Transjordan. Merchants began establishing trading links with outside agents and countries. Prior to the war, Transjordanian merchants were small-scale traders who mostly used their agents in Syria or Palestine as sources of supplies. The merchants’ mode of operation underwent a complete transformation as they formed connections directly with sources of supplies, such as India, Argentina, and the U.S. Merchants also became heavily dependent on the use of financial institutions as their operations and foreign contacts expanded. Prior to the war, merchants rarely relied on banks. However, with the increased integration of the Transjordanian economy into the world economic market, Transjordanian merchants’ use of the banks greatly accelerated as they now needed letters of credits and access to hard currency.

43Moreover, as a consequence of wartime windfalls, commercial specialization developed in the merchant community.

44These changes led to an increase in the number of commercial companies, the building of an economic infrastructure based on an expanded communications network (the creation of a national airline, the development of the port of Aqaba, and the importation of a large number of cars and commuter buses), the expansion of a new service sector (insurance, cinemas, rest-houses, fisheries, custom clearance), and the increased integration of Transjordan regionally and internationally (increased exports and re-exports).

45The development of commerce and the changes in the economy, especially during the war years, led to the expansion of the state’s role in the Transjordanian economy and its increased intervention in the merchants’ accumulation process following the war. This was to benefit both the state and the merchants. The state took a more active economic role as a result of the wartime conditions from which it itself benefited. The government increased its revenues by imposing a wartime tax, and collecting additional customs duties as a result of the expansion of trade. But the government also lent its support to the merchants by granting them monopolies and some form of customs protection. The government issued several laws in 1955 to encourage and support the emerging industrial sectors. In addition, the government also became one of the biggest shareholders in several companies which formed the nucleus of the mixed sector in Jordan.

46It is worth noting that these remarkable developments in the nature of commerce in Jordan were confined mainly to Amman and its merchants. The wealthiest and most influential merchants (the quota coterie) were all long-time residents of Amman. They monopolized its Chamber of Commerce and commercial life in Amman. Thus they were the main beneficiaries of government contracts and largesse. Amman also took the lion’s share of infrastructural development, the expansion of transportation companies, communications networks linking it to the outside world, and so forth. Amman’s development and that of the merchants are thus inextricably linked.

Notes

1 This phrase is borrowed from Waterbury, The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two Regimes, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983, p. 243.

2 For example, the Romans built fortresses to guard their trade caravans. F. G. Peake, “Transjordan”, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, XXVI (July 1939), p. 376.

3 Hani Hawrani, Al-tarkîb al-iqtisâdi al-ijtimâ’i li-sharq al-Urdunn, [The Economic and Social Structure of Transjordan], Beirut: Palestine Liberation Organization, Research Center, 1978, p. 68.

4 Selah Merrill, East of the Jordan. A Record of Travel and Observation in the Countries of Moab, Gilead and Bashan During the Years 1875-1877, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1881, p. 342, quoted in Mustafa B. Hamarneh, Social and Economic Transformation of Transjordan, 1921-1946, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 1985, p. 69.

5 Muhammad Salim Ghithyan al-Tarawina, Ta’rikh Mantiqat al-Balqa’ wa Ma’an wa’l-Karak 1281-1337 h./1864-1918 A.D. [History of the Region of Balqa, Ma’an and Karak, 1864-1918], M.A.Thesis, University of Jordan, 1990, pp. 346-350.

6 Antonin Jaussen, Coutumes des Arabes au pays de Moab [Customs of the Arabs of Moab], Paris: V. Lecoffre, 1908; reprint edition, Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1948, p. 259, and Charles M. Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta, Vol. 1, London: Jonathan Cape, 1936, p. 111.

7 Interview with Mrs. Sa’udi, Amman, 5 July 1992.

8 Hawrani, p. 106. See also p. 99 on trade.

9 Charles M. Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1888; reprint edition, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1979, p. 111.

10 Hamarneh, p. 68, and Eugene Rogan, Incorporating the Periphery: The Ottoman Extension of Direct Rule Over Southeastern Syria (Transjordan), 1867-1914, Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 1988, p. 247.

11 Henry Baker Tristram, The Land of Moab. Travels and Discoveries on the East Side of the Dead Sea and the Jordan, New York: Harper & Bros. Publishers, 1873, p. 351.

12 William Ewing, Arab and Druze at Home: a Record of Travel and Intercourse with the Peoples East of the Jordan, London and Edinburgh: T.C. and E.C. Jack, 1907, p. 143.

13 Merrill, p. 474, quoted in Hamarneh, p. 68.

14 John Bagot Glubb, “The Economic Situation of the Transjordan Tribes,” Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society , 25 (July 1938), p. 453.

15 Ibid., p. 453.

16 Laurence Oliphant, The Land of Gilead. With Excursions in the Lebanon, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1881, p. 270.

17 Glubb, p. 453.

18 Rogan, p. 247. He notes that merchants came from Beirut and that the extension of security even attracted silversmiths from Aleppo and Nazareth.

19 Ibid., p. 247. Karak had been integrated into wider markets much earlier, however. The American explorer Lynch found English cloth for sale in Karak in 1848.

20 Raouf Sa’d Abujaber. Pioneers Over Jordan. The Frontier of Settlement in Transjordan, 1850-1914, London: I.B. Tauris & Co., Ltd., 1989, pp. 104-106.

21 Rogan, pp. 252-253.

22 Great Britain, Colonial Office: CO 733/2, April 18, 1921. Henceforth, records of the Colonial Office will be cited as “CO.”

23 For further details, see Abla M. Amawi, State and Class in Transjordan: A Study of State Autonomy, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 1992.

24 The number of Syrians was 855 and that of Palestinians was 515 out of a total of 1,902. Colonial Office, Annual Report to the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and Transjordan, London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1936, p. 324. Henceforth, this source will be cited as Annual Report, followed by the specific year.

25 Shuqayr, a prominent merchant of Amman, argued that this is why those Damascene merchants who immigrated to Transjordan did not undergo a major change in their life-styles since they dealt with a similar population - nomads and semi-nomads. Interview with Amin Khalil Shuqayr, Amman, 9 September 1990.

26 ‘Abdallah Rashid, Maldmih al-haya al-sha’biyya ft madinat ‘Ammân, 1878-1948 [Aspects of Popular Life in the City of Amman, 1878-1948] Amman, Dar al-Sha’b, 1983.

27 For further details on the transformation of the bedouin life and camel transport, see Glubb, pp. 445-449, and Eliahu Epstein, “The Bedouins of Transjordan: Their Social and Economic Problems”, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Studies, 25 (April 1938), pp. 228-236.

28 Oxford University, St. Antony’s College, Middle East Centre, “The St. Anthony’s Papers, Philby’s Papers, 2 September 1922”. Hereafter, this source will be referred to as the “St. Anthony’s Papers,” followed by the name of the particular collection of documents.

29 Ihsan Nimr, Ta’rîkh Jabal Nablus wal-Balqa’ [History of Mount Nablus and Balqa’], Nablus, 1961, p. 208.

30 Nawfan Raja al-Humud. “Amman kama tusawwiraha sijillât mahkamatuha al-shar’iyya,” [Amman as Depicted in its Shari’a Court Records], Dirâsât, Vol. 15, No. 7, 1988. See also Tarawina, pp. 337-339.

31 “St. Anthony’s Papers”, Somerset Papers, Memo by Peake and Somerset, “Observations on Dr. Weizmann’s Letter to the Secretary of State,” 14 March 1921.

32 Interview with Walid Mithqal ‘Asfûr, Amman, 11 September 1990.

33 In 1918 the British captured al-Salt and withdrew two days later. Many of the inhabitants, particularly Christian families, were very receptive of this occupation. However, with the British withdrawal, those cooperating feared Ottoman reprisals - which did take place when the Ottoman armies bombed al-Salt later - and fled to Jerusalem. Munib al-Madi and Sulayman Musa, Ta’rîkh al-Urdunn fil-qarn al-’ishrîn [History of Jordan in the Twentieth Century], First Edition, N.P.: 1959. Second Edition, Amman: Maktabat al-Muhtasib, 1988, pp. 77-78.

34 CO 831/51/8 #77065, Political Situation, March 1939.

35 Classification was based on the amount of each merchant’s capital. The amount of capital required for each class varied over the years. First class membership required over LP 1.000 in 1923; over LP 1,500 in 1925 and 1930; and over LP 10,000 in 1935 and 1937. Records of the Amman Chamber of Commerce, Sijill asmâ’ al-tujjâr, 1933-1938. [Registration of Merchants]. Henceforth this source will be referred to as RACC.

36 RACC, Al-rasâ’il al-sâdira [Letters Sent], Chamber to Amman Governor, April 1, 1924.

37 RACC, Ibid.. December 31, 1924.

38 RACC, Ibid., Chamber of Commerce to Amman Governor, letters dated: April 1 & 3, 1924; August 31, 1924; RACC, Daftar qararat, Chamber to Amman Governor, December 19, 1928; Daftar qarârât. Chamber to Prime Minister, January 20, 1929: January 24, 1929.

39 RACC, Daftar qararat, 1928-42 [Decisions File], 15 December 1928. The Chamber started meeting twice a month in 1935. See. RACC, Daftar qarârât, 28 August 1935.

40 RACC, Daftar qarârât, 1928-42 [Decisions File]. 11 May 1932. See also Article 33 of the “rocurement Law” of 19 March 1932 published in the Official Gazette, 344, 14 April 1932, which stipulated that all procurement (with the exceptions made under Article 6) should be made through the Crown Agents. Article 6 stipulated that in urgent and exceptional cases items of Palestinian or Transjordanian produce or manufacture could be purchased, in small quantities, locally.

41 CO 733/3, 3 June 1921.

42 RACC, Al-rasâ’il al-sâdira [Letters Sent, 1924-28], Chamber to the Prime Minister, 27 July 1924.

43 Interview with Muhammad ‘Ali Budayr, Amman, 22 August 1988 & 3 September 1990.

44 Noureddine Bouchair, The Merchant and Money Lending Class of Syria under the French Mandate, 1920-46, Ph.D. Thesis, Georgetown University, 1986, p. 57.

45 Interview with ‘Ali Hamdi Mango, Amman, 4 September 1990.

46 CO 831/31/1 77065, Political Situation Report for February 1936, and CO 831/41/8 #77065, Political Situation Report for July 1937.

47 CO 831/31/1 #77065, Political Situation, April 1936.

48 CO 831/41/8 #77065, Political Situation Report, July 1937.

49 CO 831/55/8 #77065, Situation Report, September 1940.

50 CO 831/58/2 #77065, Situation Report, May 1945.

51 CO 831/46/6#77065, Situation Report, May 1938.

52 Ibid.

53 CO 831/55/8 # 77065, Situation Report, September 1940, Chamber to general public.

54 There was a tradition whereby merchants and other notables such as Mithqal al-Fayiz, the shaykh of the Bani Sakhr and Salih Abu Jâbir (a big landowner), would visit the Emir on Friday mornings. Interview with Hamdi Sabri Tabba’, Amman, 22 September 1990.

55 Khayr al-Din Zarkali, ‘Âmân fi ‘Ammân, [Two Years in Amman], Cairo: al-matba’a al-’arabiyya, 1925, p. 66.

56 Interview with Hamdi Sabri Tabba’, Amman, 22 September 1990.

57 CO 733/4, High Commissioner to Secretary of State, July 23, 1921, Tel. No. 288. See also, CO 733/4, High Commissioner to Secretary of State, July 11, 1921, No. 2301.

58 Interview with Jawdat Sha’sha’, Amman. 9 September 1990. and interview with Ali Hamdi Mango, Amman, 4 September 1990.

59 For further details, see Michael R. Fischbach, State, Society, and Land in Ajlun (Northern Transjordan), 1850-1950, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 1992.

60 Walid Kazziha, The Social History of Southern Syria (Transjordan) in the 19th and Early 20th Century, Beirut: Beirut Arab University, 1972, p. 12.

61 CO 831/34/#77114, 1935.

62 CO831/41/#77033, 1937.

63 CO 732/87/10 #79238/4, Federation in the Middle East; Annex 1, Extract from Middle East War Council, Resolutions on the Political Situation in the Middle East. 19 May 1943 (43) 25.

64 Great Britain, Foreign Office: FO 922/34, MESC File No. 1/100.45, MESC to Sir Arthur Rucker, secretary of the office of Mr. Lloyd, economic adviser, Minister of State. Henceforth, records of the Foreign Office will be cited as “FO.”

65 Martin W. Wilmington, The Middle East Supply Centre, New York, 1971, pp. 4, 18, 23.

66 CO 831/60/2 77065, Situation Report for May 1943; CO 831/55/8 #77065, Political Situation Report for November 1940 and for December 1940; CO 831/58/2 #77065, Political Situation Report for February, March and May 1941.

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Department of Government Georgetown University

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