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"The Afghan question" and its decision in the English-Russian convention of 1907 188

a. V. Salnikova


Work is presented by department of modern and contemporary history of the Vladimir state pedagogical university. The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor D.A. Makeev

In article the English-Russian negotiations on Afghanistan of 1907 and their results are analyzed. Considerable attention is paid to consideration of debatable questions, definition of positions of powers and motives of decision-making by the parties.

English-Russian negotiations of 1907 regarding Afghanistan and their results are under analysis in the article. Much attention is paid to contestable items, definition of British and Russian positions and their motives in decision making.

In the second half of the 19th century there is a reorientation of a foreign policy of Russia which priority direction becomes Central Asian. Here the empire faces the strong rival - Great Britain. Opposition of empires escalated for the last thirty years of the 19th century more than once, putting the parties on a war side. The beginning of the XX century is characterized by aspiration of Great Britain and Russia to rapprochement and permission of the main contradictions in Central

Asia, but on this way to them it was necessary to overcome many difficulties. Signing of the English-Russian convention 18 on August (31), 1907 in which the "Afghan question" taking the important place in opposition of empires found a solution became a result of long-term rivalry. It should be noted A.E. works as Snesareva1, I.M. Flight-nera2, A.F. of Ostaltsevoy3 in whom the reasons of the English-Russian rapprochement, process of negotiations are considered is analyzed the agreement. To a research proti-

vorechiya in powers on the issue of foreign policy orientation at the beginning of the 20th century I.V. works are devoted to Bestuzheva4, L.E. by Kertmana5. In the monograph by A.V. Ignatyev the course of the English-Russian negotiations is mentioned, in particular, on Afghanistan in connection with other aspects of the Russian foreign policy of 1905-1907 6 Despite a significant amount of works, in domestic historical a letter - a tour process of negotiations of 1906-1907, discussion of a number of controversial points on Afghanistan between London and St. Petersburg and also in the Russian government and military circles is insufficiently fully presented. Generally historians focus attention on discussions about the political status of Afghanistan. The research of documents of Archive of foreign policy of the Russian Empire and memoirs of contemporaries give the chance to expand a circle significant and to a greater or lesser extent controversial issues in the course of negotiations, to define positions of the parties and motives of decision-making.

In May, 1906 the ambassador of Great Britain in St. Petersburg Artur Nikolson offered the Russian foreign minister

And. To P. Izvolsky to begin negotiations with the purpose of resolution of conflicts in Cent - rolled Azii7. Great Britain actually suggested to carry out and fix the section of spheres of influence with Russia in the region. The active phase of negotiations on "the Afghan question" began on February 11, 1907 when in St. Petersburg points British storony8 were received. Most the dispute - ny became a question of determination of the status of the Afghan state. Under agreement 1872-1873 of Russia recognized Afghanistan out of the sphere of the influence, but as the buffer state dividing the British and Russian territories in Central Azii9. Under the Gandamaksky contract with Yaqub khan in 1879 Great Britain received control over foreign policy of Afghanistan that was confirmed

the contract of 1880 with Abdurrahman khan and Dan's contract of 1905 with Habibulla-ha-nom10. The plans of St. Petersburg were not recognition of the British protectorate over Afghanistan, and the tsarist government in every possible way avoided discussion of the matter which, according to him, concerns only the British government and emira11. Adhering to such line of conduct, St. Petersburg used A.M. Gorchakov's statement for recognition of Afghanistan out of a sphere of influence of Russia. Zinovyev specified that such formulation "bypassed silence a question of formal consent to brie - the tansky leadership in the external intercourses of an emirstvo and left a narrow hole where from time to time the Russian agents" 12 slipped. In general Russia abstained from a parcel of the agents except for N.G. Stoletov's mission to Kabul in 1878. In 1903 the tsarist government declared a possible parcel of agents to Afghanistan in budushchem13 officially. Now Great Britain raised directly a question of refusal of the political interests of St. Petersburg in Afghanistan.

A.P. Izvolsky, Minister of Finance

> N. Kokovtsov, the adviser of the Russian Embassy in London S.A. Poklevsky-Kozell, the assistant to the Minister of War A.A. Polivanov, the member of council Gosoborony A.P. Protopopov considered it necessary to recognize by V. Afghanistan out of the sphere of interest of Russia, and its external relations under the British control. Among arguments moved forward:

1) remoteness and inaccessibility of Afghanistan to the Russian influence (Kokovtsov);
2) unsatisfactory martial law of Russia in Central Asia and need of big expenses for "reduction of the Central Asian forces on the necessary degree of combat readiness" (Polivanov);
3) isolation of Afghanistan evading from more or less constant intercourses with the neighboring states of (Izvolsky);
4) the limited nature of the intercourses between Calcutta and Kabul and a small part of the Afghan and Anglo-Indian agents in the capitals (Poklevsky - To - zell) 14. The General Staff led by F.F. Palitsyn held other opinion. The last opposed recognition of complete control of Great Britain over foreign policy of Afghanistan and insisted on maintaining the status of the buffer state behind it. The chief of the General Staff pointed to a new course British weed - tics concerning Afghanistan, stated in respect of Kerzona-Kitchener on which Great Britain regarded Afghanistan not as the buffer, and as the advanced theater any more and trained him in political and military and engineering otnoshenii15. Pali-tsyn claimed that in case of the English-Russian disagreements in the future the British could "bring down" the Afghan force on the Central Asian borders of Rossii16.

Members of a special meeting were uniform, expressing fears about whether recognition of the right of the British control over the international relations of Afghanistan will be equivalent to recognition of protectorate of Great Britain over this country. After long consultations and exchange of views it was decided to recognize Afghanistan out of a sphere of influence of Russia and under control of Great Britain in foreign policy. At the same time it was offered to include definition of Afghanistan as the buffer in the text of the convention, and from London guarantees were required:

1) not to attach the Afghan territory or not to occupy its any parts, to abstain from intervention in internal affairs of the country;
2) not to take any actions directed against Rossii17 in Afghanistan.

Great Britain rendering for a number of years military aid to Afghanistan, strengthening it, sought to keep the country in isolation. Main motive

was not to allow influences of the third power (at the beginning of the 20th century - Germany which was actively getting on the East) which could promote strengthening of the anti-British moods in Afghanistan. Having got advice of London, Nikolson said that definition "state buffer" concerning Afghanistan excludes its recognition out of the sphere of the Russian influence, the British control over its foreign policy and allows a possibility of a parcel Russian agentov18. Great Britain directly stated that it will not allow any restriction of freedom of the actions on Afghanistan and that the possibility of military operations British troops in this state has to "mean always" equally for protection of the Anglo-Afghan contracts and future konventsii19. Elimination of a concept "state buffer" concerning Afghanistan, the obligation of Russia to use for the intercourses with this country by means of the Great Britain government and not to send the agents in Afganistan20 became result of negotiations. Thus, St. Petersburg refused political interests in Afghanistan. Izvolsky specified that the disclaimer of the political intercourses with Afghanistan was, first, purely theoretical concession as the empire never had direct connections with this state, secondly, in exchange she received the important obligation of Great Britain - not to change political provision Afganistana21. The importance of the last promise was undoubted. Originally London undertook to keep the status quo of Afghanistan on condition of performance by the emir of Dan's contract 1905. In this case the Indian government quite could compel consciously the emir for breach of contract and use a situation for occupation of any part of the Afghan territory or intervention in internal management strany22.

An important question was establishment of straight lines Russian-Afghan pogranich-

ny contacts for non-political character. The agreement on the section of spheres of influence of 1872-1873 "was not given a certain interpretation in the sense of full elimination of Russia from the Afghan affairs" 23. The Turkestan governor general K.P. fon Kaufman conducted constant correspondence with Cher-Ali up to the death of the emir in December, 1878 24 After capture by F. Roberts's troops of Kabul in 1879 the letters fell into hands of the British, and the British foreign minister lord of Derby protested against any correspondence with the Afghan possessor, and in case of need - to inform of it Anglo-Indian pravitelstvo25. In 1880 in connection with coming to power of the liberal office whose course of action met "full approval" of the Russian government, to Kaufman were given to the instruction to abstain "from a parcel of any secret agents to Afghanistan and correspondences with Abdurrahman khan without preliminary coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs" 26. In general restriction and the termination of the intercourses with Afghanistan at that time did not represent for St. Petersburg of special inconveniences as the Russian and Afghan possession did not adjoin. Gain Akhal-Tekinsky and Mervsky's joining of oases, results of negotiations of the 80th of the 19th century on northwest border of the Afghan state and, at last, led inclusion of Bukhara in 1897 in the Russian customs line to close contact of possession of Afghanistan and the Russian Empire. In new conditions St. Petersburg believed that it cannot belong is indifferent to events in border gosudarstve27. The Turkestan authorities were included in exceptional cases into the intercourses with governors of certain Afghan areas, rejecting requirements of Great Britain to conduct the similar intercourses through British ofitserov28. In 1900 the tsarist government directly expressed to London the intention to establish with Afganis-

the thane the direct intercourses on boundary affairs of non-political property. The refusal of St. Petersburg of more detailed discussion, definition of conditions and a way of practical implementation of the Russian-Afghan boundary relations owing to unwillingness to connect itself by any obligations to Great Britain left the matter opened till 1907 29 At a special meeting on "the Afghan question" Izvolsky reported that Russia actually already has the right of the boundary intercourses with Afghanistan, but "official recognition of this right by British is significantly important for us" 30. Between members of a meeting there were disagreements about whether it is necessary to define precisely the boundary authorities for the Russian-Afghan intercourses. Exact definition, Polivanov and Protopopov noted, would allow to avoid misunderstanding in the future. Poklevsky-Kozell, on the contrary, specified that accurate information can only "connect us and constrain freedom of action" 31. The British side allowed disagreements, nevertheless having suggested to define the Russian and Afghan authorities for the boundary intercourses, leaving beyond Russia the right them naznacheniya32. St. Petersburg used it and specified that these authorities can be appointed both on border, and in border territories. Thus, the tsarist government had an opportunity to appoint for the intercourses with Afghanistan not only the border authorities, but also more authoritative governing bodies of border areas.

Not less important the question

was represented

about trade in Afghanistan. Great Britain needed "gendarme" of the northern regions of Afghanistan to which there could be Russia, being interested in this strane33. As the tsarist government refused political interests in Afghanistan, it was represented necessary to create in it interest colonial. Interest of Russia is formed Dec -

a larirovaniye of trade equality of the An-glo-Indian and Russian trade in Afganistane34. Existence of trade interests of Russia in the future could open a way to recognition of interests political. St. Petersburg did not fail to raise a question of sales agents. At discussion of this Izvolsky point pointed out the boundary nature of trade relations of Afghanistan and Great Britain, believing that it "will never agree to give us more, than it has itself" 35. Moreover, the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted: "Our sales agents undoubtedly will be along with that both political and military, and will always cause suspicions of British" 36. Really, Great Britain excluded a parcel of any Russian agents to Afghanistan at this stage, agreeing to start a question on condition of development of trade in budushchem37.

The English-Russian rapprochement and the convention of 1907 caused various estimates of contemporaries in Russia and Great Britain. In Russia the supporters of rapprochement with Great Britain supporting the conclusion of the agreement with it attached to the convention in general great value. They believed that in a new international situation there was a need to renounce political and strategic interests in Afghanistan. The important role in the conclusion of the convention was played by A.P. Izvolsky who managed to win round members of a meeting, P.A. Stolypin and Nicholas II who was long hesitating between the union with Ger - a mania and Great Britain. In many respects the agreement took place also thanks to coming to power in Great Britain in 1906 of the liberal office standing on positions of rapprochement with Russia by permission of controversial issues in Central Asia. Both in Russia, and in Great Britain there were people who were critically treating the concluded agreement. Such position, S.D. Sazonov specified, at some was based on "deep-rooted prejudices and prin-

tsipialny reasons", others considered the agreement unprofitable for strany38. Supporters of "an offensive course" of the British east policy, generally office structure of the Anglo-Indian government, led by D.N. Kerzon condemned in general the agreement giving everything what they fought for years for. Concerning Afghanistan, Kerzon was convinced, Great Britain did not receive anything novogo39. Some state and military figures of Russia considered recognition of the British control over foreign policy of the Afghan state and absence of agents in this country unprofitable and "quite dangerous" as Afghanistan could be directed against nas40. It should be noted what such fears divided also the MFA of Russia which in 1909 in the confidential telegram instructed the Russian consul general in India "constantly to watch exact performance of articles by the Anglo-Indian government... agreements" 41. Specified the MFA: "Though in point the first our agreement in Afghanistan we also confirmed that we consider this state being out of the sphere of our influence, nevertheless, our immediate vicinity with it imposes on us a duty to watch still sharp-sightedly everything that there occurs" 42.

On the one hand, "the Afghan question" did not receive the new decision in the convention of 1907 as Russia recognized Afghanistan out of the sphere of the influence in 1872-1873 and tried not to allow in it the Agin - t, to limit or stop the intercourses with the emir. However only in 1907 Russia officially refused any political interests in Afghanistan. Peter - burg acquired the right of the boundary intercourses concerning non-political character what he tried to achieve long time, and got, thus, an opportunity to be is aware of events in the Afghan state. The trade equality with Great Britain in Afghanistan which

go St. Petersburg did not have before provided the Russian presence at a camp. Despite criticism in the British government and military circles, "the Afghan issue" in the agreement of 1907 was resolved in favor of Great Britain. London achieved one of the main goals concerning Afghanistan - achievement of complete control over its foreign policy, moreover, of that recognition by St. Petersburg.

For Russia the main result were the guarantees of Great Britain obtained by A.P. Izvolsky instead of the made concessions not to interfere in the future with the solution of a question of the Turkish passages. It is necessary to agree that the convention of 1907 in general resolved controversial issues in the English-Russian relations in Central Asia and was an important step in a new international situation.

1 A.E. Snesarev. English-Russian agreement of 1907. SPb., 1908.
2 I.M. Reysner. English-Russian convention of 1907 and partition of Afghanistan//Red archive. 1925. No. 10. Page 54-66.
3 A.F. Ostaltsev. English-Russian agreement of 1907 Saratov, 1977.
4bestuzhev I.V. Fight in Russia concerning foreign policy. 1906-1910. M, 1961.
5 L.E. Kertman. About political differences in England on the issue of rapprochement with tsarist Russia during the period after the revolution of 1905-1907//the Historical magazine. 1961. No. 1. Page 113-151.
6 A.V. Ignatyev. Foreign policy of Russia in 1905-1907. M, 1986.
7 The Vsepoddanneyshy note of the Minister of Foreign Affairs A.P. Izvolsky of May 27, 1906//A.Yu.A. Guseva. P. Izvolsky (Russian foreign minister (1906-1910)//Diplomatic messenger. 2001. No. 10. [Electronic resource]. - Access mode:
8 AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 6; AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 15.
9 Collection of contracts of Russia with other states. 1856-1917. M, 1952. Page 111-123.
10 Aitchison C. U. A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, Relating to India and Neigbouring Countries. Vol. XIII. Calcutta, 1933. P. 240, 282-283; Autobiography Abdurrahman khan, emir of Afghanistan. SPb., 1901. T. 1. Page 266.
11 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 25.
12 Tsit. on: I.M. Reysner. Decree. soch. Page 56.
13 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 26.
14 See in detail: AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 10-11, 15.
15 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 22-23.
16 L. - Col. Napier to Sir A. Nicolson, 27 April 1907//British documents on the origins of the war. 1898-1914. London, 1929. Vol. IV. P. 530.
17 AVPRI. T. 147. On. 485. 839. L. 164; Collection of contracts of Russia with other states.

S. 389.

18 AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 25.
19 In the same place. L. 43.
20 Collection of contracts of Russia with other states. Page 389-390.
21 AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 61.
22 In the same place. L. 60.
23 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 23.
24 AVPRI. T. 184. Op. 520. 492. L. 163-168.
25 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 24.
26 Cm are detailed: AVPRI. T. 184. Op. 520. 492. L. 11-16.
27 AVPRI. T. 137. Op. 475. 128. L. 94.
28 AVPRI. T. 147 "B". Op. 486. 232. L. 24.
29 In the same place. L. 25.
30 AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 16.
31 In the same place.
32 In the same place. L. 17.
33 I.M. Reysner. Decree. soch. Page 60.
34 Collection of contracts of Russia with other states. Page 390.
35 AVPRI. T. 147. Op. 485. 839. L. 17.
36 In the same place.
37 Collection of contracts of Russia with other states. Page 390.
38 S.D. Sazonov. Memoirs. Mn., 2002. Page 23-24.
39 P. Hopkirk. A big game against Russia. Central Asian syndrome. M, 2004. Page 605.
40 S.Yu. Witte. Memoirs. T. 2. M, 1923. [Electronic resource]. - Access mode: I1rr://; see Grodekov's position in prince: N.A. Halfin. A failure of the British aggression in Afghanistan (XIX - the beginning of the 20th century). M, 1959. Page 161-162.
41 Blue book. SPb., 1918. Page 2.
42 In the same place.
Dustin Thomas Pierce
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