National Geographic : 1900 May
A GERMAN ROUTE TO INDIA enable him to concentrate his troops where they could most advan tageously resist a Russian advance-it will enhance his power ih another direction. Today the Sultan is a negative factor in the con test for influence on the Persian Gulf; but with a road through Asia Minor he will become a considerable, if not prominent, force in any partition or settlement of the possession of the Gulf. The road would enable him in a few days to mobilize his army of a quarter of a mill ion men either at Constantinople or Busra. To England also the German route ought to be an advantage. To be sure, it makes Germany her competitor in the Indian markets; but this competition is more than balanced by the new demands that will constantly be arising. The markets should be large enough for both English and German merchants. Politically, however, it will be more important for Great Britain to maintain her friendship with Germany, and possibly render it advisable for her to endeavor to regain the alliance of Turkey. That Russia is intensely interested in a German railway to the Persian Gulf has been repeatedly emphasized by the actions of the Russian Government since the concession was granted in 1899. First, she demanded of Turkey prior railway concessions on all lines through Asia Minor to the north of the German concession. Recent reliable reports from Constantinople state that the Sultan has been compelled to yield to the demand. This concession includes a line from Batum to Constantinople, skirting the shores of the Black Sea. Second, she has renewed her plans for the continuation of the Trans Caucasian Railway from Kars in a line almost directly southward to some point on the Gulf near Busra. There is a probability that this railway may be completed before the German road. Third, she is pushing across Persia several lines that are also to end at the Persian Gulf. The general direction of these roads is indicated on the map (page 202), and they also will probably be completed before the Ger man road becomes a fact. The recent rapid increase of Russian influence in Persia, a striking instance of which is the loan to the Shah, has been in large measure occasioned by the present inability of England to interfere. But the prospect of a railway controlled by another power and terminating on the Persian Gulf has quickened Russia's ambition to reach the Indian Ocean. GILBERT H. GROSVENOR.