Majid Khadduri, founder of the SAIS Middle Eastern Studies program at John Hopkins, writes on the politics surrounding the formation of the League of Arab States. The article was written in 1946 while he was serving in the Foreign Office of Iraq.
"The Arab World," said Mr. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in his speech at the Mansion House, May 29, 1941, "has made great strides since the settlement reached at the end of the last war, and many Arab thinkers desire for the Arab peoples a greater degree of unity than they now enjoy. In reaching out towards this unity, they hope for our support. No such appeal from our friends should go unanswered. It seems to me both natural and right that the cultural and economic ties, too, should be strengthened. His Majesty's Government for their part will give their full support to any scheme that commands general approval."
The Arab nationalists long ago aspired to achieve the ideal of an Arab union, or federation. But, they maintained, European imperialism had deliberately prevented the realization of that ideal. The Arabs had fought on the side of the Allies in the first World War in order to achieve their freedom from Ottoman rule; but, following that war, the Arab World was detached from Turkish sovereignty only to be dominated by European Powers who, by applying the principle of mandatory tutelage,
sought to satisfy their imperialistic interests. Moreover, the nationalists contended, the Arab World was deliberately divided into separate countries in order to make easy their domination by creating small and hopelessly weak states.