Henry McMahon

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon GCMG GCVO KCIE CSI KStJ (28 November 1862 – 29 December 1949) was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat who served as the High Commissioner in Egypt from 1915 to 1917.[1] He was also an administrator in the British Raj and served twice as Chief Commissioner of Balochistan.[2] McMahon is best known for the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence with Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, the McMahon Line between Tibet and India and the Declaration to the Seven in response to a memorandum written by seven notable Syrians. After the Sykes-Picot Agreement was published by the Bolshevik Russian government in November 1917, McMahon resigned.[3] He also features prominently in T.E. Lawrence's account of his role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Sir Henry McMahon

Henry McMahon.jpeg
Painting of Henry McMahon by John Collier
Personal details
Born28 November 1862
Simla, Punjab, British India
Died29 December 1949 (aged 87)
London, UK
OccupationDiplomat, commissioner
Known forMcMahon-Hussein Correspondence, the McMahon Line, Declaration to the Seven


McMahon was the son of Lieutenant-General Charles Alexander McMahon, FRS, FGS (1830–1904), a geologist and Commissioner of both Lahore and Hisar in Punjab, India,[4] and who, like his father Captain Alexander McMahon (born 1791, Kilrea, County Londonderry, Ireland) had been an officer with the East India Company. The McMahons are the Gaelic clan of Mac Mathghamhna who had come originally from the medieval Irish kingdom of Airgíalla or Oriel in South Ulster/North Leinster, where they reigned from around 1250 until about 1600.

Sir Henry McMahon's own family had settled in the Downpatrick area of County Down before his great-grandfather, The Rev. Arthur McMahon, moved to Kilrea, where he was minister to the local Presbyterian congregation between 1789 and 1794: a prominent Irish Republican, The Rev. Mr McMahon was a member of the National Directory of the Society of United Irishmen and one of their colonels in Ulster during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.[5] He apparently fought at the battles of Saintfield and Ballynahinch and after the rebels' overall defeat had been able to flee to France where he served with Napoléon's Irish Legion.

It is said that he was captured by the British during the Walcheren Campaign of 1809, and though sent to England, was later able to return to France where in June 1815 he eventually died fighting, it is believed, at either Ligny or of Waterloo.[6]


McMahon was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Indian Staff Corps in the 1880s and was appointed a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1894. By 1897, he had been promoted to captain and was appointed a Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India (CSI) in that year. He was promoted Major in the army in July 1901.[7] He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1906 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1909. In 1911, on the occasion of the Delhi Durbar, he was foreign secretary of the British government in India. The King made him a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), an award in his own gift. He spoke Persian, Afghan, and Hindoostani, an aptitude for languages that led also to Arabic.

Sir Henry was appointed to the post of High Commissioner in Egypt in 1915. When he arrived by train Sir Ronald Storrs described him as "quiet, friendly, agreeable, considerate and cautious",[8] although later in his career Storrs and others were not so charitable. He was made a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ).

McMahon replaced Sir Milne Cheetham, briefly acting for Kitchener. Although a temporary appointment it became a permanent post, for an experienced political administrator. McMahon was appointed British High Commissioner in Cairo, to replace Lord Kitchener who had become War Secretary in London. With the approval of Kitchener and Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, McMahon began a long correspondence with Sharif Husayn, the Ottoman-appointed ruler of the Hijaz to use the Bedouin tribes under his control to support the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in overthrowing the Ottomans.

Sir Gilbert Clayton, Aubrey Herbert, Storrs and others of the intelligence community approved of McMahon's pro-Arabist policy from 1916 onwards. McMahon sat on the plan to use the Sharif to support British for six months. But it was Sir Reginald Wingate who persuaded McMahon that the Arabs were ready, able and willing for Cairo to support Husayn in an effort to overthrow the Ottomans and establish a pan-Arab state made up of Ottoman Arab lands in the Middle East. Storrs thought the diplomacy was "in every way exaggerated."[9] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (GCMG) in 1916 upon his retirement from the British Indian Army.

By May 1916, Turkish troops had arrived in Mecca, McMahon received a telegram from Abdullah ibn Husayn, Sharif Husayn's son, that the Movement was ready. McMahon despatched the oriental secretary, Storrs to London with a team of intelligence experts. The British decision to land at the Dardanelles, instead of Alexandretta, and to allow French Syria founded by the Sykes-Picot Agreement to exist at all, irritated McMahon. In 1920, he was awarded the Order of El Nahda, 1st Class, from the King of the Hejaz. In 1925, he was promoted to a Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ).


  • 1862-1882: Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon
  • 1882-1894: Lieutenant Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon
  • 1894-1895: Lieutenant Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, CIE
  • 1895-1897: Captain Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, CIE
  • 1897-1901: Captain Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, CSI, CIE
  • 1901-1906: Major Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, CSI, CIE
  • 1906-1909: Major Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, KCIE, CSI
  • 1909-1911: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, KCIE, CSI
  • 1911-1916: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, GCVO, KCIE, CSI
  • 1916-1949: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon, GCMG, GCVO, KCIE, CSI


A species of Asian viper, Eristicophis macmahoni, is named in honor of Henry McMahon. Another species of snake, Eirenis mcmahoni, also named in his honor, is considered a synonym of Eirenis persicus.[10]


  1. ^ Rulers.org: Egypt, Countries E, High commissioners.
  2. ^ Rulers.org: Provinces of British India, Baluchistan, Chief commissioners.
  3. ^ See CAB 24/271, Cabinet Paper 203(37)
  4. ^ Obituary of Lieut. General Charles Alexander McMahon, accessed April 2011 at http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FGEO%2FGEO5_1_05%2FS0016756800119685a.pdf&code=9eadff6364f30138215d621ee092fd38
  5. ^ Samuel McSkimin, The Annals of Ulster from 1790 to 1798 (1906), p 87, accessed April 2011 at https://archive.org/stream/annalsulsterfro00mccrgoog/annalsulsterfro00mccrgoog_djvu.txt
  6. ^ J.W. Kernohan, The Parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O‘Crilly (1912), p 37, accessed April 2011 at http://www.torrens.org.uk/Genealogy/BannValley/books/Kilrea/Kilrea03.html
  7. ^ "No. 27362". The London Gazette. 4 October 1901. p. 6480.
  8. ^ J Schneers, "The Balfour Declaration", p. 56
  9. ^ J Schneers, pp. 54-60
  10. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 2967 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("McMahon", p. 173).



  • McSkimin, Samuel (1906). The Annals of Ulster from 1790 to 1798.
  • Beolens, B.; Watkins, M.; Grayson, M. (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. vol. xiii. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 2967 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5.
  • Kernohan, W. (1912). The Parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O‘Crilly.
  • Schneers, Jonathon (2010). The Balfour Declaration. London.


  • Friedman, Isaiah (1970). 'The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence and the Question of Palestine'. 5. Journal of Contemporary History.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Milne Cheetham
British High Commissioner in Egypt
9 January 1915 – 1 January 1917
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Wingate
Preceded by
Alexander Lauzun Pendock Tucker
Chief Commissioner of Balochistan
2 April 1907 – 3 June 1909
Succeeded by
Charles Archer
Preceded by
Charles Archer
Chief Commissioner of Balochistan
6 September 1909 – 25 April 1911
Succeeded by
John Ramsay
1894 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1894 were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by members of the British Empire. They were published in The Times on 1 January 1984 and in The London Gazette on 2 January 1894.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1903 in Afghanistan

The following lists events that happened during 1903 in Afghanistan.

The year passes quietly, without any internal disturbances, and nothing more is heard, or at least made public, about the attempt of Russia to establish direct intercourse between its own and the Afghan frontier officials for commercial purposes. The amir appoints his brother, Sardar Nasrullah Khan, commander-in-chief, and he orders the construction of a line of fortified serais from Dacca to Kabul, from Kabul to Kotal Manjan, in Badakhshan, from Kabul to the Oxus, and from Balkh to Bala Murghab, on the Russian frontier.

Arthur McMahon

Arthur McMahon may refer to:

Arthur Henry McMahon (1862–1949), British Indian Army officer and diplomat

Arthur McMahon (sport shooter) (born 1921), Irish sports shooter

Big Tom and The Mainliners

Big Tom and The Mainliners were a Country and Irish showband from the Castleblayney area of County Monaghan, Ireland.

Charles Archer

Charles Archer CIE (1861–1941) was an administrator in British India, he served as the Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan province four times. He collaborated with his brother William in translating three of Ibsen's plays: Rosmersholm, Lady Inger of Ostrat, and Peer Gynt. He was appointed CIE in the 1906 New Year Honours.

Churchill White Paper

The Churchill White Paper of 3 June 1922, officially Correspondence with the Palestine Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organisation was drafted at request of Sir Winston Churchill in response to the 1921 Jaffa Riots which began with intra-Jewish violence escalated into Arab attacks against Jews. Although the attacks were primarily perpetrated by the Arabs, the British White Paper concluded that the violence was sparked by resentment towards Jewish Zionists and the perceived favoritism towards them by the British, as well as Arab fears of subjugation. While maintaining Britain's commitment to the Balfour declaration and its promise of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, "internationally guaranteed" and "recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection," the paper emphasized that the establishment of a Jewish National Home would not impose a Jewish nationality on the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and "the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian". To

reduce tensions between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine the paper called for a limitation of Jewish immigration to "the economic capacity of the country to absorb new arrivals". This limitation was considered a great setback to many in the Zionist movement, though unlike the later White Paper of 1939, it acknowledged the necessity that "the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration", "as of right not of sufferance".

Damascus Protocol

The Damascus Protocol was a document given to Faisal bin Hussein on 23 May 1915 by the Arab secret societies al-Fatat and Al-'Ahd on his second visit to Damascus during a mission to consult Turkish officials in Constantinople.

The secret societies declared they would support Faisal's father Hussein bin Ali's revolt against the Ottoman Empire, if the demands in the protocol were submitted to the British. These demands, defining the territory of an independent Arab state to be established in the Middle East that would encompass all of the lands of Ottoman Western Asia south of the 37th parallel north, became the basis of the Arab understanding of the Hussein–McMahon Correspondence.

Declaration to the Seven

The Declaration to the Seven was a document written by the British diplomat Sir Henry McMahon and released on June 16, 1918 in response to a memorandum issued anonymously by seven Syrian notables in Cairo who were members of the newly formed Party of Syrian Unity, established in the wake of the Balfour Declaration and the November 23, 1917 publication by the Bolsheviks of the secret May 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France. The memorandum requested a "guarantee of the ultimate independence of Arabia". The Declaration stated the British policy that the future government of the regions of the Ottoman Empire occupied by Allies of World War I "should be based upon the principle of the consent of the governed".

Henry McMahon (disambiguation)

Henry McMahon may refer to:

Henry McMahon (diplomat) (1862–1949), diplomat known for the McMahon Line and the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence

Henry McMahon, member of the band Big Tom and The Mainliners

A fictional character in the 1997 book Term Limits by Vince Flynn

Jack McMahon (baseball)

John Henry McMahon (October 15, 1869 – December 30, 1894) was a Major League Baseball first baseman and catcher. He played in 51 games, with a .243 batting average, for the New York Giants of the National League in 1892 and 1893.


McMahon or MacMahon (UK: , US: ; older Irish orthography: Mac Mathghamhna; reformed Irish orthography: Mac Mathúna) is an Irish surname. The surname arose separately in two areas: in west County Clare and in County Monaghan. The County Monaghan (Airgíalla) MacMahons are not related to the County Clare (Thomond) MacMahons.

McMahon Line

The McMahon Line is a border line between Tibetan region of China and North-east region of India, proposed by British colonial administrator Henry McMahon at the 1914 Simla Convention which was signed between the British and the Tibetan representatives. It is currently the effective boundary between China and India, although its legal status is disputed by the Chinese government. The line is named after Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of British India and the chief negotiator of the convention at Simla. It was signed by McMahon and Lonchen Satra on behalf of the Tibetan Government. It extends for 550 miles (890 km) from Bhutan in the west to 160 miles (260 km) east of the great bend of the Brahmaputra River in the east, largely along the crest of the Himalayas. Simla (along with the McMahon Line) was initially rejected by the Government of India as incompatible with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. This convention was denounced in 1921. After Simla, the McMahon Line was forgotten until 1935, when British civil service officer Olaf Caroe convinced the government to publish the Simla Convention and use the McMahon Line on official maps.The McMahon Line is regarded by India as the legal national border, but China rejects the Simla Accord and the McMahon Line, contending that Tibet was not a sovereign state and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties. Chinese maps show some 65,000 square kilometres (25,000 sq mi) of the territory south of the line as part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, known as South Tibet in China. Chinese forces briefly occupied this area during the Sino-Indian War of 1962. China does recognise a Line of Actual Control which closely approximates most of the "so called McMahon line" in the eastern part of its border with India, according to a 1959 diplomatic note by Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.The 14th Dalai Lama did not originally recognise India's sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet. As late as 2003, he said that "Arunachal Pradesh was actually part of Tibet". In January 2007, however, he said that both the Tibetan government and Britain recognized the McMahon Line in 1914. In June 2008, he explicitly recognized for the first time that "Arunachal Pradesh was a part of India under the agreement signed by Tibetan and British representatives".

McMahon family

The McMahon family are a prominent Irish-American family, known for their involvement in the fields of professional wrestling, business, and politics. They are best known as the founders, owners, and promoters of the world's most prominent professional wrestling company, WWE and the sports entertainment company, Alpha Entertainment. The company's primary business is professional wrestling, but it has expanded into a subscription based network, home video production, movie production company, and an E-commerce company as well as a spring professional football league with two incarnations of the same name.

McMahon–Hussein Correspondence

The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence was a series of letters exchanged during World War I in which the British government agreed to recognize Arab independence after the war in exchange for the Sharif of Mecca launching the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. The correspondence had a significant impact on Middle Eastern history during and after the war, and a dispute over Palestine continued thereafter.The correspondence comprised ten letters exchanged from July 1915 to March 1916,, between Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, and Lieutenant Colonel Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner to Egypt. The area of Arab independence was defined to be "in the limits and boundaries proposed by the Sherif of Mecca", with the exception of "portions of Syria" lying to the west of "the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo"; conflicting interpretations of this description was to cause great controversy in subsequent years. Of particular dispute, which continues to the present, was the extent of the coastal exclusion.Following the publication of the November 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised a national home for the Jews in Palestine, and the subsequent leaking of the secret 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement in which Britain and France proposed to split and occupy parts of the territory, the Sharif and other Arab leaders considered the agreements made in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence had been violated. Hussein refused to ratify the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, and in response to a 1921 British proposal to sign a treaty accepting the Mandate system stated that he could not be expected to "affix his name to a document assigning Palestine to the Zionists and Syria to foreigners." A further British attempt to reach a treaty failed in 1923-24, and negotiations were suspended in March 1924; within six months the British withdrew their support in favor of their central Arabian ally Ibn Saud, who proceeded to conquer Hussein's kingdom.The correspondence "haunted Anglo-Arab relations" for many decades thereafter. In January 1923 unofficial excerpts were published by Joseph N. M. Jeffries in The Daily Mail and copies of the various letters circulated in the Arab press. Excerpts were published in the 1937 Peel Commission Report, and the correspondence was first published in full in George Antonius's 1938 The Arab Awakening, then officially in 1939 as Cmd. 5957. In 1964, further documents were declassified.

Michael English (Irish singer)

Not to be confused with American Christian singer Michael English (American singer). For other people named Michael English, see Michael English (disambiguation).Michael English (born in Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland on 23 April 1979) is an Irish country singer. He was born in a musical family as his father played button accordion with a traditional Irish band, his mother was an Irish dancer, and his two sisters played fiddle and piano.

At the age of nine, English started studying the piano formally at the Hennessy School of Music in Carlow. In 1990, he appeared on Gay Byrne's The Late Late Show television programme at age 11. He continued his musical studies the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and launched an Irish country music career. Henry McMahon of The Mainliners offered him one of his own compositions, "The Nearest to Perfect" that became a hit for English in 1999. Signing a contract with Ritz Records, English won Best International Entertainer at the Irish National Entertainers Awards ceremony in both 2004 and 2005. He went on to record a number of albums, and a number of single hits with Dolphin / Roscas Recordings.

Michael McDonnell

Sir Michael Francis Joseph McDonnell (1882–1956) was Chief Justice of Palestine between 1927 and 1936. McDonnell attended the public St. Paul's School, London (he later wrote a history of the school and its illustrious alumni). He went on to read medicine and then law at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he also served as president of the Cambridge Union Society. At the Union, Michael and his older brother T.F.R. McDonnell championed the Irish Home Rule cause. Both were also adamant supporters of women's suffrage and admission to Cambridge.

After graduating from Cambridge McDonnell was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple. At that time he authored the book Ireland and the Home Rule Movement (1908), an attack on British policy in Ireland and a critique of Empire more broadly. McDonnell nevertheless went on to join the Colonial Service in 1911, serving in British West Africa for sixteen years. During his time in West Africa McDonnell served as Assistant District Commissioner in the Gold Coast, magistrate in Gambia, and Attorney General and Acting Chief Justice in Sierra Leone. He was appointed Chief Justice of Palestine in 1927.

McDonnell was forced into early retirement in October 1936, towards the end of the first wave of the Arab Revolt, and replaced by Harry Herbert Trusted in January 1937. McDonnell's retirement was induced by a series of clashes with Palestine's High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Wauchope, over the role of Palestine's judiciary in suppressing the "disturbances." This clash culminated in McDonnell's ruling in the Qasir case. The decision pertained to house demolitions scheduled to take place in the old city of Jaffa. Although McDonnell ruled that the government had the authority to demolish the houses, he deemed the government's reliance on town planning justifications, rather than military necessity, an act of moral cowardice and accused it of "throwing dust" in the public's eyes.After retiring from the bench and returning to London, McDonnell took up advocacy on behalf of the Arab cause in Palestine: he published a number of articles in which he attacked Britain's pro-Zionist policy in Palestine and in 1939, he was an adviser to the Arab delegation concerning the 1915-1916 correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and the Sharif Hussayn of Mecca.

Milne Cheetham

Sir Joshua Milne Crompton Cheetham, KCMG (9 July 1869 – 6 January 1938) was a British diplomat.

Born in Preston, the son of Joshua Milne Cheetham, MP, he was educated at Rossall School, from which he won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. He studied classics at Oxford, after which he entered the diplomatic service. He served in Madrid, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Rome and Rio de Janeiro before being sent to Cairo in January 1910. When the United Kingdom declared its protectorate over Egypt in December 1914, he became acting High Commissioner, pending the arrival of Sir Henry McMahon. He took charge of the British Residency during the spring and fall of 1919, and thus had to confront the 1919 Revolution.He later served in the British embassy in Paris, and was appointed minister to Switzerland in 1922. In 1924, he was appointed minister to Greece, after a two-year break in diplomatic relations. He was sent to Denmark in 1926, and retired in 1928.

Muhammed Sharif al-Faruqi

Lieutenant Muhammed Sharif al-Faruqi (1891 - 1920) was an Arab Ottoman staff officer from Mosul. He was stationed in Damascus and played a pivotal role in the events leading up to the Arab Revolt.

He was a member of Arab secret societies in Damascus. After the first visit of Faisal bin Hussein to Damascus in early 1915, the societies were suspected by Djemal Pasha of conspiracy and treason against the Ottoman Empire. As a consequence the societies were disbanded and their members dispersed. Al-Faruqi was sent to the Gallipoli front where he deserted in late 1915.

He crossed over to the Allied side and claimed to have important information for the British. The British eagerly jumped on the source of information. Al-Faruqi's poor English made accidental or intentional misunderstandings likely. The information he fed the British was partly true and partly fabricated. Al-Faruqi claimed to be a member of the secret society al-'Ahd and said he represented the Arab army officers in Damascus. He urged the British to support an independent Arab state as outlined in the Damascus Protocol during the correspondence with Hussein. He claimed any delay would make Hussein fully support Germany and the Ottomans.

Al-Faruqi's claims solidified British Egypt's conceptions that the Arab world was ready for a revolt. Kitchener's followers in Egypt and elsewhere used this information to persuade Henry McMahon to meet Hussein's demands. An Arab revolt would relieve in part the British forces fighting the Ottomans. In the following negotiations concerning this issue al-Faruqi managed to be the centrepiece by claiming to each party to represent an opportune other party.

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