World History Connected Home    
Home List journal issues Table of contents
Printer-friendly format Article citation 

Imperial Intrigue: Entrepreneurs and Early Twentieth Century Attempts at United States Economic Expansion in Ottoman Iraq

Jameel Haque

     In response to a February of 1899 inquiry from the American Exporters Association of San Francisco, the United States Vice Consul in Baghdad wrote, "the firm of Rudolph Hürner in this city is ready to entertain business with you in all kinds of goods suitable for our market, as well as for the export of products like: Wool, carpets, dates, casings, grain etc., which articles are exported in large quantities to the United States."1 At the beginning of the 20th century, United States businesses and investors were expanding globally in tandem with the growth of the global economy and an increasingly expansionist United States foreign policy. Many of these corporations corresponded with the United States consular service to search for promising new foreign markets and for advice on how to best enter those markets. Although regulations prevented United States diplomats of the period from favoring any specific local middlemen or potential trade partners, the United States Vice Consulate in Baghdad routinely answered inquiries by businesses such as the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, D.H. Salinger, Esquire (Chicago), the John Cochran Company (New York), and a wide array of others with the same response-"you may correspond with the Rudolph Hürner Co. noted on the enclosed card."2 Rudolph Hürner Co. had been established in Baghdad in 1876 by a Swiss national and operated as an import-export business as well as a small financial enterprise. It should, of course, be noted that Rudolph Hürner , owner and manager of Rudolph Hürner and Co. was also Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul in Baghdad from 1894-1906.

      Besides funneling United States businesses to his corporation, Hürner attempted, on two notable occasions, to use his specialized local knowledge and connections for the benefit of United States investors. Hürner dedicated considerable effort towards procuring United States contracts for building infrastructure in Baghdad. Hürner tried to broker a deal between United States corporations and the Ottoman government to construct a steel bridge over the Tigris River, and a second contract to commission riverine motorboats for the Ottoman Vali (Governor) of Baghdad. Both transactions would have been significant fiscal generators for American businesses and, more importantly, would have presumably created a network of connections that could be expanded upon by other American firms. Hence, although these projects would have been limited in scope, they likely would have led to more such interactions.

     Hürner 's activities and ultimate inability to secure these contracts represented the limits and boundaries of United States economic interests and imperialism in Ottoman Baghdad in the period immediately before World War I. This was the period immediately before the United States State Department professionalized and expanded its foreign service. Secondly, from the inter-imperial rivalry perspective, these contracts reflect on the skill of the local Ottoman government in Baghdad to recognize the usefulness of Hürner as an intermediary with the United States. The Ottoman Vali of Baghdad likely saw Hürner , and by extension, the United States as a means to increase foreign competition to negotiate a better deal with entrenched European investors. I hope to provide new information about American imperial activities in pre-war Iraq and the Ottoman empire, via an exploration of the activities of American Vice-Consul Rudolph Hürner 's role as an entrepreneurial consul/agent of American empire.

Imperial Intrigue

     Rudolph Hürner was a decidedly distinctive diplomat in late Ottoman Iraq. Hürner 's activities and variety of economic roles assumed do not sit neatly within the literature. This study therefore engages historiography on United States imperialism, Ottoman studies, economic history and British imperialism in the Middle East. Hürner , I argue, should be seen, not solely as a diplomat, nor as a self-interested merchant/adventurer, but as an imperial entrepreneur of American imperial intrigue. The term imperial entrepreneur is inspired by James Onley's concept of the "native agent." James Onley, a historian of British imperialism in the Persian Gulf, argued that the cultivation and use of "native agents" was a significant way that the British projected power into the Persian Gulf region. Onley wrote that "native agents" were influential men, employed by the British government that hailed from merchant families, typically Arab, Indian, or Iranian. These individuals were local, yet international and they worked and were well positioned within "the indigenous political systems of the Gulf."3 Onley argues that Britain's informal but firm power in the region of Ottoman Iraq and the Gulf was projected through the use of these agents by the British Indian Foreign Service. Onley acknowledges this concept's inspiration in historian of imperialism Ronald Robinson's theory of indigenous collaboration as the mechanism that enabled European imperialism. Onley argues that "Native agents not only had an extensive knowledge of local cultures, languages and politics," which gave them an advantage and they "could also obtain through their family, social and business network, the intelligence the British needed to operate their informal empire in the Gulf."4

     Clearly, these indigenous agents were perfectly situated to evaluate and exploit political and economic situations for their own gain and by extension, to the benefit of the nations for whom they worked. These agent do not have to come from the dominant culture either of the locality they work in or of the foreign government they work for, however, they must have been resident in the locality for a substantial period. I argue that Hürner played, or rather had the potential to play, a similar role in Iraq for the United States. Hürner was an international merchant who was long resident in the area. Hürner worked both for the State Department and with the indigenous political structure. Hürner had a deep knowledge of local culture, politics, language, and conditions. The only thing that set Hürner apart from Onley's agents, was the lack of a broader familial connection to the region and the specific usage as an imperial agent by the United States political system. Therefore, I highlight Hürner here as an imperial entrepreneur, particularly one that tried to use their business acumen and ambition to expand United States influence. Hürner 's significant local and international connections, his meaningful access to local politics and economics, his influence in Baghdad, and his ambition to expand both American and his own economic interests, make him an imperial entrepreneur. This study will first examine these ramifications, and then turn to a detailed look at his career.

     I am defining imperial intrigue as the accumulation of a variety of economic and political activities meant to promote foreign influence and power, in this particular case, within the Ottoman Empire. I define this intrigue as an earlier stage of developing imperialism, or as occurring during a period where the activities described are not substantial enough to be called imperial. This is not meant to be a celebration of imperialism, but rather a description of the activities undertaken by imperial states, like the United States, in the time period. It also serves slightly as pushback against the prevailing historical idea of the United States not pursuing influence in the Middle East until the 1940's. Imperial intrigue is a blend, in a sense, of Robinson and Gallagher's flag/trade argument. Trade and imperialism advance together, slowly, in fits and starts via imperial intrigue until reaching a tipping point. In this case, the tipping point did not materialize largely due to the interruption of the First World War and the creation of the British Mandate in what was Ottoman Iraq. This de-globalization precluded any American imperial intrigue from developing into imperialism in Iraq.

      While Hürner 's potential for furthering United States imperial intrigue as a local agent went unrecognized and was ultimately not utilized by the State Department, his tenure and activities in the office should still be seen as significant. During his time as Vice Consul, United States imports from Baghdad increased from $299,187.28 in 1897 to $617,847.40 in 1906, with a peak of $1,295,003.54 in 1904.5 While some fluctuation was caused by weather, labor unrest, local competition, and other factors, the trend during Hürner 's tenure was overall upwards. The energy and knowledge that Hürner displayed may well have inspired future American ambitions. While admittedly there is no direct evidence to prove a causal link, the increasing trade connections combined with Hürner 's ambitions, suggest that his tenure contributed to a continually growing institutional memory that American diplomats in the Baghdad periphery of the Ottoman Empire accumulated. Increasingly and especially after the 1906 professionalization of the foreign service, the State Department did help American investors into imagining a greater economic and political investment in the Ottoman Empire. This is exemplified by the official State Department sanctioned large scale railway project known as the Chester Project (1909) and the creation of the American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant (1911). Both projects owe some debt to the activities of American diplomatic agents, likely including local imperial entrepreneurs like Hürner , in the Ottoman periphery.

      Due to these projects that Hürner initiated and the subsequent ones that followed, there should be a reevaluation of the historical literature to reflect a more robust presence for the United States in Ottoman Iraq before World War I. It would be hyperbolic to suggest that the United States was an imperial power in the Ottoman Empire on par with Britain, France or Germany before World War One. It would also be inaccurate to suggest that the United States was not involved in the region in a meaningful way and that the Ottoman state did not recognize the usefulness of an additional competitor for trade, finance and infrastructure projects. Generally, in a global context, the United States is considered an expanding imperialist state in the period of 1894-1914. However, as noted, its role in the Ottoman Empire is underplayed.

     The prevailing literature on United States imperialism in the Middle East in this period focuses on the role of missionaries. The current narrative of United States involvement in the Ottoman Empire, and by extension, the Middle East before World War I, argues that essentially the United States was only interested in the region, and in a very limited fashion, for the purpose of protecting its missionaries. Missionaries did help drive the professionalization of the state department in 1906, as assertion made by Warren Ilchman and Joseph Grabill.6 More recent work by Ussama Makdisi and Selim Deringil push back against the narrative of American missionaries having significant agency in the area. Instead, they highlight the Ottoman Empire's ability to monitor, understand, limit, and control missionary influence.7

     Widening the scope beyond missionaries, I argue for placing the United States imperial intrigue firmly into the historiography on American economic imperialism in the period. It is instructive to compare and contrast American practice in the Ottoman Empire with that of British imperialism in the region. Paul MacDonald notes that this sort of comparison between British and American imperialism is a feature of the debate in the historical literature on imperialism.8 There is little disagreement about the extent of Britain's influence in Ottoman Iraq in the period, although the literature does discuss and debate the mechanisms Britain used to exercise an informal empire in the region of Ottoman Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Persia. Onley states that rather than Britain, it was British India that was the dominant foreign power in Ottoman Iraq. Onley argues that the region should be considered "a British Indian Sphere of Influence . . ."9 Onley goes so far as to argue that Ottoman Iraq in the 19th century should be included in the definition of British India.10 Blyth details how British Indian officials saw Mesopotamia as a possible colony of India that could accommodate "as many as twenty-five million Indian settlers."11 Headrick agrees, noting that in Ottoman Iraq, "Imperialism in the mid-century [19th] was primarily a matter of British tentacles reaching out from India . . ."12

     In her accumulated body of work, Elena Frangakis-Syrett has repeatedly demonstrated the complicated workings of foreign investment in the Ottoman Empire and the benefits that the Ottoman state accrued from it. These benefits result both from the actual projects and from the results of foreign competition. In particular, Frangakis-Syrett writes that rivalry and competition during the 19th century construction of a quay in Izmir was what drove that specific project, even if the competition was sometimes counter-productive, "Inter-imperial rivalry kept antagonism to the quay company alive even when specific issues had been resolved and reignited it every time another point of contention emerged."13 Fawwaz Traboulsi shows that the competition, in the Beirut area, between British and French concession seekers was so intense that displaced British ambitions spread to other locales, especially Haifa and Damascus. This deferred interest would bring investment to areas thought of as less optimal.14 Yet, V. Necla Geyikdagi notes that towards the very end of the empire, British and French interests reached an entente, with the British recognizing a French Sphere of Influence in Syria, and the French recognizing Britian's own in Persian Gulf. This entente would obviously lead to additional competitors, like the United States, to look increasingly attractive to the Ottoman state.15

     Darina Martykánová and Meltem Kocaman demonstrate that the Ottoman Empire was very open to using foreign experts and expertise. This could be through either official intergovernmental channel or individual entrepreneurial ambition similar to that of Hürner .16 Sotirios Dimitriadis details how local Ottoman elites in Jerusalem attempted to collaborate and build an electric tramway. Dimitriadis notes how technical modernization had been a focus of the Ottoman state since the beginning of the Tanzimat era (1839-1876) of modernization, even to the point of formalizing the concession bidding process as a way to help "balance out the influence of the competing European powers while minimizing the cost to the state treasury."17 Leonhard notes that while the Ottoman state was dependent on Europeans for infrastructure improvements such as railways, the Ottoman state also needed to be able to provide the symbols of legitimacy and modernity that these improvements represented.18

     While American activity in the Ottoman Empire began to increase before 1906, it dovetailed well into the evolution and professionalization of the State Department, the foreign policy of the Roosevelt-Taft years, and the expansion of the global economy. The evolution of the state department has been noted extensively in the secondary literature. It was also recorded in the archives, with the announcement of the elevation of Istanbul from a legation to a consulate, the evolution of the position from an unpaid post to the creation of a $2000 annual salary for the (promoted from Vice Consul) Consul in Baghdad, the allotment of $600 per year for contingent expenses, $500 per annum to hire a clerk and $400 to hire guards.19 It should be noted that a request for an expense account by the United States Vice Consul, Hürner , in 1898 was rejected.20 In the same period, United States interests in potential infrastructure projects in the Ottoman Iraq expanded significantly in size. Two early projects were conceived of and promoted by a local partnership in Baghdad between the Ottoman state and an American diplomat.

Rudolph Hürner : Indigenous Agent? Imperial Entrepreneur?

      Rudolph Hürner was born in Switzerland in 1850. Hürner claims a variety of dates for his move to Baghdad. On one occasion, he puts the date of his residence in Baghdad as early as 1870, however, he gives the date for the creation of his import-export business as 1876. Further complicating the situation, Hürner seems to have been living in London for some period of time in the 1880's. In the 1881 census, Hürner is listed as lodger in the house of Juliette Lazius of 76 Lambeth Rd, London.21 His occupation is listed as Bank Clerk.22 It may be during his time in London that he met his future spouse, Helene nee Gerlach, the daughter of a German born Civil Engineer/business owner. Hürner 's time in London actually serves to make him a better indigenous agent, as it demonstrates the development of his international connections. Regardless, Hürner was well established in Baghdad by 1894 when then United States Consul, the Norwegian-born physician John D. Sundberg, attempted to turn over the consulate to local businessman Joseph Asfar, an Ottoman subject. This was rejected by the United States on their understanding that the Ottomans would not permit one of their own citizens to serve officially as a foreign diplomat. Regulations like this would likely be an attempt to prevent the creation and exploitation of precisely the indigenous agents that could advance Western imperialism.23 Sundberg officially retired on March 7 of 1894 and appointed Hürner , who received his official bond on March 13th of 1894.24 While in Baghdad, and despite representing American interests, Hürner seems to have been under French protection. It is unclear if this was an arrangement specific to him, or, more likely, if French diplomats in Baghdad represented the interests of all local Swiss citizens.

     Hürner 's business interests extended beyond the import and export of goods. Hürner was also a small scale informal financial institution, i.e. a moneylender. This led to some official consternation after Hürner floated a loan to Edgar James Banks, an American archaeologist that briefly was Consul (and therefore Hürner 's boss) in Baghdad in 1898.25 Banks, upon arriving at his post, realized he would not be able to carry out archaeological expeditions as an official United States diplomat. In a short time frame, Banks resigned and then required funds in order to return to the United States. It should be noted that while there were international financial institutions in Baghdad in the period, there were no American ones. Hürner , therefore, was, in a sense, the sole and largest American financial intuition in Baghdad. Besides floating loans to stranded Americans, Hürner believed himself to be an invaluable employee of the United States government. In a letter to the United States Consul-General, whether warranted or not, Hürner claimed substantial credit for helping the University of Chicago (and Edgar James Banks) open their excavation at Bismaya in 1903 (Adab) and for the ongoing expansion of American trade in the Baghdad and Basra area.26 Hürner also helped visiting Americans by acting as a travel agent of sort. For example, Hürner aided Episcopal Minister/Assyrianologist James Nies in acquiring transport, housing and servants during his stay in Iraq.27 Hürner had further deep social ties to Baghdad - his two sons, Rudolph (1892) and Alfred (1893) were born in Baghdad. Hürner was a consummate local agent- he was an internationally connected merchant with deep ties to and knowledge about the Ottoman city of Baghdad.

     Hürner was also able to demonstrate, on multiple occasions, the ability to liaison with the Ottoman state in order to provide recompense for harmed Americans in his consular area. In one telling episode, Hürner was efficient at providing restitution for an American that had been a victim of brigandage. In 1905, Jason Paige, an engineer working with the American dig at Bismaya, was robbed while travelling by caravan in the interior of Iraq. Despite the valiant effort of two Ottoman gendarme (zaptiye) who were accompanying him in an official capacity, Paige was robbed of all his possession and literally had the pants stolen off of him. Hürner was able to get a settlement of ninety-seven Turkish Lira (about $426, modern equivalent of approximately $11,500) on behalf of Jason Paige. Of the ninety-seven Turkish Lira that was received in compensation, only twenty were remitted to Paige. Five Turkish Lira went to Paige's servant, Ali (he had been travelling with the caravan) for undisclosed reasons and seventy-two went to Hürner , for the purported loss of a carpet that Paige had been carrying.28 While there are multiple similar anecdotes that show Hürner to be less than saintly, perhaps even downright devilish, he was effective at engaging with the Ottoman state. Hürner used this influence on multiple occasions to bring positive outcomes by lawsuits and protests brought by American businesses, particularly MacAndrews and Forbes (licorice importers), and Hills Brothers of New York (date importers).

     Hürner was perfectly positioned to liaison with the State Department to promote trade and economic penetration from the United States into Ottoman Baghdad. Indeed, Hürner tried to do so, albeit in a manner to advance his own interests as well. Hürner would have been inspired by the constant correspondence and requests coming directly to him from American businesses. Between 1897 and 1907, American firms sent at least 223 requests to the Vice Consulate in Baghdad, optimistic about the possibility of exporting to, or importing from, Iraq.29 These requests both demonstrate the growing interest in Baghdad by American companies and augment the existing American business investment in the area. American firms, such as MacAndrews and Forbes (licorice) had considerable sums of money invested in their own physical plant in Baghdad, Smyrna (Izmir), Alexandretta and Batum. These included offices, hydraulic presses and warehouses.30 The Singer Sewing Company had nearly 200 agencies and offices in the Ottoman Empire by 1918, including in Baghdad, and their machines were said to be even in "the remote interior."31 Hills Brothers of New York, the principal date importing firm of the time, had significant economic interests and investments in Basra and Baghdad. Even the American steel industry managed to penetrate the Ottoman market, albeit through the actions of British hydrological engineer William Willcocks. Willcocks, ordered $30,000 (approximately $878,550 today) worth of American made steel (from Lackawanna Steel) for construction purposes in Iraq. Frederick Simpich, the United States consul in Baghdad at the time wrote, "for which he [Willcocks] has been criticized by local British importers."32 Newspapers at the time noted that the massive irrigation works that Willcocks was overseeing in Iraq used "throbbing engines, growling stone crushers, thumping pile drivers (that use Lackawanna piles) . . ."33

     Successful concessions for infrastructure projects reveal that the Ottoman state, when awarding these deals, preferred to award the initial contract to a indigenous agent and/or Ottoman subject, who would then subcontract the actual work. In this instance, Hürner , as a local agent, would have acquired the concession and then have a set period of time to subcontract the project to an American business. The Ottoman state, represented in the bridge and boat buildings projects by the Vali of Baghdad, could therefore leave the vetting of American businesses to the local agent with which they had contracted. Hürner would be cut in for a share of the profits for acting as a middleman and the Ottoman state could expect a relatively advantageous deal. Examples of this process include the manner in which the Vali of Baghdad pursued for the construction of an electric tramway, beginning in 1911. The tramway, after a bidding process that featured local based Ottoman and French subjects, was awarded to Mahmud Chalabi Shahbander. Shahbander, described as a "leading man of business in Baghdad,"34 personally travelled abroad, where he sold the contract to a British engineering firm.35 The British Consul in Baghdad, well aware of how this process worked, actively and successfully steered Shahbander towards British firms.36 While the tramway project was a relatively modest one, this was precisely the procedure followed by the Ottoman state when negotiating the concession for Iraqi oil. At the risk of simplifying a complicated and multi-year negotiation, ultimately the Ottoman state relied on Calouste Gulbenkian as an indigenous intermediary in order to facilitate the multi-national deal that created Turkish Petroleum in 1914.

Rivers and Roads

     As American corporations became more involved in the Ottoman export trade, American financial interests began to take notice of the possibilities of investment into the Ottoman concession acquiring process. Hürner proposed two medium scale infrastructure projects to American business. Hürner was acting both on his own initiative and as an intermediary at the behest of Ottoman officials in Baghdad. The first project was a bridge building contract that would have involved a substantial amount of American made steel. The second project examined here was a concession to build boats to be operated on the Tigris River by the local Ottoman government owned steam transportation corporation. The American boat manufacturers would have been in direct competition with a British firm that was also trying to sell to the Ottoman state; the concession ultimately went to the British Thorneycroft Company. The American competition may well have helped the Ottoman state acquire the boats at better terms, as they could use the two offers to drive a more competitive bargain.

     On May 7th, 1900, in response to a correspondence that Hürner initiated in November of 1899, Thomas Cridler, United States Third Assistant Secretary of State, forwarded a letter to Hürner from Mr. J. V. W. Reynders, Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Steel Company. John Van Wicheren Reynders, a civil engineer, managed the Pennsylvania Steel Company and was the Superintendent of its Bridge Building and Construction Department from 1892 to 1906. Reynders also served as Vice President of the Pennsylvania Steel Company from 1906 to 1916. Under Reynders' management, a major foreign project was coordinated for the Pennsylvania Steel Company in Burma, then British India, known as the Gókteik Viaduct, thus demonstrating the international expansion of the company's business.37 Ironically, the United States would later bomb and destroy the Gókteik Viaduct whilst fighting against Japan during World War II.38 Reynders also worked extensively on the building of the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge in New York City.39 The Pennsylvania Steel Company, centered in Steelton, Pennsylvania, was one of the major steel producers of the period.

     In 1900, the Pennsylvania Steel Company bid $104,600 (approximately $3.2 million today) to build a bridge in Baghdad over the Tigris River. Reynders demanded half of the payment when the contract was signed.40 A subsequent letter from Joseph K. McKammon, a lawyer for the Pennsylvania Steel Company insisted that the $104,600 bid price did not include "local custom charges, port charges, or any similar items that may be imposed by the government of Arabia41 or the authorities at Baghdad; all such charges should be defrayed and guaranteed by the purchaser."42 In April of 1900, during the Hürner -Pennsylvania Steel correspondence, Hürner received a letter concerning the idea of a United States built iron-bridge in Iraq from the American Consul-General in Istanbul, Charles Dickinson. Charles Monroe Dickinson of Binghamton, New York, had been a practicing lawyer, a newspaper editor/owner, and was one of the founders of the Associated Press.43 Dickinson's letter, concerning attempts to increase American investment in the Ottoman Empire, was of an overall discouraging tone. Dickinson wrote that, with tinges of racial prejudices, "There is serious mistrust among our exporters in extending credit to parties in the East."44 Yet Dickinson seemed to like Hürner 's proposal to have an American company invest in a bridge building project. Charles Dickinson urged Hürner to contact the Berlin Bridge Company of New Berlin, Connecticut, perhaps unaware of the seriousness of the correspondence Hürner had with the Pennsylvania Steel Company or trying to steer him to a business in which he may have had some personal investment. By September of 1901, the plans for the bridge were ongoing; an actual proposal had been crafted and sent to the Ottoman Minister of Public Works. Consul-General Dickinson remarked to Hürner , "I trust the order for the American firm will result."45

     It seems unclear at times who was driving the project, Hürner , the State Department, the Ottoman Vali, or Pennsylvania Steel. However, as the negotiations proceeded, Hürner was increasingly and intentionally left out by the State Department. In December of 1902, Spencer Eddy, Chargé d'affaires46 of the American Embassy in Istanbul wrote a letter to Rudolph Hürner concerning the Tigris Bridge, wherein he assured Hürner that the plans had been presented to the Minister of Public Works. But he cautioned Hürner to follow the State Department's proper procedure. Eddy informed Hürner , with a hint of impatience, that the next step in the process involved a special agent from the Pennsylvania Steel Company coming to Istanbul to provide any information that might be asked of them by the Ottoman Government. Eddy then noted "It is needless to say that this is the procedure usually adopted by Companies seeking orders from this Government."47 This may well have been the protocol of the State Department, however, as noted previously, it was not modus operandi in Ottoman Iraq.

     Instead of being advised, helped or applauded, ultimately Hürner was reprimanded for his efforts in this bridge building contract. In January of 1903, Dickinson cautioned Hürner , warning that his actions in promoting and moving this deal along were not appropriate as a consular agent. Dickinson cited paragraph 102 of the Consular Regulations, the full text of which states "In countries where there is a consul general with supervisory powers the several consuls subordinate to them, respectively, will not correspond officially with the diplomatic representatives of the United States in those countries, unless in reply to communications or inquiries from them, but will make all their representations through their respective consulates general."48 Mr. Eddy, had been surprised to hear directly from Hürner in violation of regulations, and had taken it upon himself to tell the Consul-General, Mr. Dickinson, about the Paragraph 102 violation. Dickinson was upset as well that Hürner 's letter to Mr. Eddy implied that the bridge project was being ignored or impeded at the consulate. Dickinson wrote that Hürner 's letter and breach of protocol were "so unprecedented in my experience here that it calls for some explanation on your part."49

      This response to a breach of protocol was harsh. Hürner 's proposed project would have been beneficial to both United States business and local Ottoman infrastructure. As Hala Fattah noted, land transport in Iraq was significantly more expensive and dangerous than riverine which led to a lack of adequate roads and bridges.50 It was therefore a project that the Ottoman Vali would have been eager to pursue. Doubtlessly, Hürner also meant to enrich himself in the process, but the reaction from Eddy and Dickinson seems excessive. It should be noted as well that some higher official dislike for Hürner may have been caused by his imperfect English and that he was a Swiss national and perhaps not of the same social class. Indeed, it may be that far from recognizing the value of Hürner as an imperial entrepreneur, the State Department saw Hürner as playing a negative, maverick role. In a letter from Hürner to Eddy, Hürner wrote, "I never had any informations [sic] that the plans were presented to the Minister of Public Works, but now as such has been done, according to your above letter [From Dec 31st], permit me also to ask: what has been the reply of the Minister." Hürner continued his letter by stating that if the proposal was approved, Hürner would communicate directly with the Pennsylvania Steel Company and inform them to send the special agent that Eddy had mentioned previously. Hürner also noted that there should be no obstacles to the bridge project, as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had already issued an irade (decree) stating that one should be built.51

     Hürner continued his apologia after receiving another rebuke on January 30th, 1903, this time from Dickinson. Hürner explained that the regrettable misunderstanding that had prejudiced Dickinson against him, was simply a miscommunication. According to Hürner , the whole squabble was over what capacity Hürner occupied when he wrote to Eddy. Hürner understood his importance to the United States wasn't solely or even primarily in his ability to stamp documents or collect passport fees, it was as an indigenous agent. During this process, he was not Hürner the Vice Consul while writing to Mr. Eddy, he was Hürner the business owner. Hürner averred that, "the dispatch is written and signed in the name of my commercial firm and I was corresponding in the same manner with the Pennsylvania Steel Co. since years." Hürner added a further explanation, writing that Dickinson was, at the time, "absent from Constantinople and then I was advised by Mr. Banks to write to Mr. Eddy." Perhaps injudiciously, Hürner added an aggressive remark of his own, inquiring as to why he had not heard whether the plans were ever presented to the Sublime Porte by the Istanbul legation, wondering "why during 17 months I have not been favored with any respective communication from the Consulate General?"52 In a follow-up dispatch, Hürner reiterated the same points and expressed frustration with the situation and the lack of communication, noting, "Why then did you not inform me that the matter was in the Legation's hands?"53

      The lack of communication does, in hindsight, seem strange after such an intense correspondence, especially when the potential for reward seemed high. Hürner seems to have been, in his mind and in actual practice, a business owner first and a Vice Consul second. Hürner was not paid to be the Vice Consul and was expected to do the work of the post and find remuneration from consular fees and whatever else he could. He took the job and held it for so long because he recognized the ways in which he could profit from it. In the case of this contract, Hürner was trying to get hired by an American company and/or employed by the Ottoman Vali to act as an official go-between, an indigenous agent. The final mention of the project was in correspondence from January 4th, 1904; over four years after the correspondence about the bridge began and nearly four years since the Pennsylvania Steel Company had placed a bid on the project. As previously noted, in the same period (1899), the Pennsylvania Steel Company had signed a contract to build a viaduct in Burma for the Burma Railway Company. The project required 9.7 million pounds of material to be shipped from the United States and over a total distance of about 10,000 miles. The viaduct ran over 2,200 feet and was finished in June of 1901. The Gókteik Viaduct was completed during the period that negotiations for the Tigris bridge project were occurring, demonstrating the serious commitment on behalf of the American corporation to acquiring these international projects.54

     The final correspondence from Reynders in 1904 declared the project moribund and gave Hürner a lukewarm suggestion to liaison with the dragoman (translator) of the United States legation in Istanbul, Arshag Effendi Shmavonian.55 Shmavonian, besides serving as dragoman to the United States Consulate, had a keen interest in bringing industrial development to the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. Further inquiry in the historical record, may indicate that Shmavonian was a more altruistic version of an imperial entrepreneur. Upon meeting the American missionary Reverend E.F. Carey, Shmavonian, himself a graduate of the American missionary high school, Robert College and a future pastor,56 told Carey, "But the Armenians are Christians already and have been since the time of Gregory in the fourth century. What my people really need is industrial education, shops, factories and improved farming methods."57 There is no record of Hürner ever contacting Shmavonian and the overall impression from the final correspondence is that the suggestion itself was a brush off.

     However, there was one final last gasp of this project. The Tigris bridge project pops again up in the Baghdad consulate records in October of 1914. In this instance, U.S. Steel contacted the Baghdad consulate via a subsidiary in Bombay, India. They were inquiring about a proposal that would involve building two steel bridges over the Tigris in Baghdad.58 Interestingly, instead of a direct correspondence between an American diplomat, such as Hürner , to an American company, this bridge correspondence, which leads to no further correspondence, has a convoluted transmission. The manager of the Bombay office of U.S. Steel Products Company, F.C. Foard heard about the project from the Bombay Chamber of Commerce, who in turn learned of it from Director-General of Commerce in Calcutta.59 Charles Brissel, the American Consul in Baghdad, in his response to Foard, asked him which Ottoman official he thought might be the person to contact in reference to such a project. While Brissel was a dedicated and salaried employee of the State Department, his lack of knowledge in this field was a marked departure from that of Hürner .60

     Rudolph Hürner 's second attempt to act as an imperial entrepreneur with an American business was directly in response to a local request from the Ottoman Vali. It is unclear why Hürner chose the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company (of Racine, Wisconsin), but is it certainly possible that he had received correspondence from them previously. Although an inquiry from Racine Boat Company was not recorded in the archives, it does not mean that Hürner did not receive and file it in his personal files as Hürner and Company's property. Hürner recorded in the official United States archives at least 14 inquiries (6.25% of inquiries received in his tenure) regarding vehicles and transportation, including boats, cars and rail cars. Regardless, Hürner began the correspondence by forwarding the Racine Boat Company a letter from Monsieur Mougel, a French engineer in the employ of the Ottoman Vali. Monsieur Mougel had worked for the Ottoman state for several years. Mougel was the son of a famous French engineer that had done considerable work in Egypt, Mougel Bey. Mougel Bey (senior) was a French hydraulic engineer who had first arrived in Egypt in the late 1830s and had also been a part of the French team that constructed the Suez Canal.61 There was a mention of the younger M. Mougel by Hormudz Rassam, the well-known Assyrianologist, who noted that the engineer had done him a favor in Baghdad related to an archeological dig at Sippara in the early 1880s.62 Major Talbot, British Consul-General wrote in 1889, in a report on the trade of Baghdad wrote that "A Frenchman (M. Mougel) is permanently in its service to advise and administer in irrigation and engineering works. In the event of any European machinist ever having a scheme or an apparatus bearing on irrigation, or land reclamation, which he desired to have considered here, M. Mougel would be the proper person to communicate with."63

     Hürner wrote to the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company and addressed them with this inquiry, "The engineer of this vilayet [province], Monsieur Mougel, having informed me, that the local government is in want of steamers for the river Tigris, I permit to hand you hereby enclosed Mr. Mougel's letter, addressed to you, with the request to kindly let him have, through this consulate, your reply." Hürner continued, "Should you be in position to contract the steamers, then my commercial firm “ established here over 36 years “ shall continue to remit you other commands."64 Further correspondence indicated that the State Department was made aware of the attempt. Three more letters were sent to the Racine Boat Company.65 The final correspondence indicated that the company responded to the State Department and that as far as they were concerned, Hürner 's role in the process was complete.66 The boat concession proceeded and collapsed in a similar manner to the bridge concession, although Hürner seems to have been cut out of the boat project much earlier and the project fell apart quicker. In both cases Hürner contacted a business on his own initiative with the cooperation or urging of an Ottoman official. The project was proposed outside of regular State department diplomatic channels. Nominally, the bridge concession was initiated at the behest of the Ottoman Vali, and the boat one on behalf of Monsieur Mougel, who worked for the Vali.67 This correspondence drew the attention of the State Department. The State Department assumed control of the negotiations and the negotiations ground to a halt. Ultimately, neither project was realized. A vice consul, representing United States economic interests initiated a conversation concerning a significant capital outlay, which the State Department effectively silenced by taking over the proceedings. The Baghdad government did order boats, but from Thornycroft and Company, a British firm. The United States boat correspondence, if not initiated for that purpose, was used by the Ottoman Vali in order to secure better terms from the British, or, at the very least to compare pricing in an era without the ready availability of such fiscal information. This specific example reinforces the historiographical assertion that the Ottomans were sophisticated negotiators, skilled at using different Western interest against one another.

Life After Hürner

     After the professionalization of the Foreign Service in 1906, the vice consuls and later consuls in Baghdad continued to promote American economic interests, albeit in a more detached, impersonal manner. For example, the next United States diplomat in Baghdad was William Magelssen, an American born in Minnesota. Magelssen was the first salaried State Department employee in Baghdad. Magelssen replied quite thoroughly, yet without trying to initiate or steer a project, to an inquiry about tramways and streetcars in Baghdad, to the Street Railway Journal of New York. He wrote that only a single tramway existed in Baghdad. The five mile tramway connected Baghdad to the suburb of Kazimiyah (and its famous shrine) and was owned by the Kazimiyah Tramway Company, an Ottoman venture. The president of the company was Khaderi Bada Yasin Chalabi. Horses pulled fourteen passenger cars along the route. Magelssen requested copies of the railway journal, stating streetcar manufacturers should "watch old Mesopotamia!"68 Like Hürner , Magelssen and following local United States officials in Baghdad demonstrated an awareness of local needs and of American businesses who could satisfy those needs. The efforts of these peripheral American agents would not go indefinitely unnoticed and in fact, likely helped spark and/or contribute to the two major developments in the expansion of United States economic interest in Ottoman Iraq; the founding the American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant and the pursuit of the Chester Project.

      Following Hürner , vice consuls and consuls Magelssen, Simpich, Levack, Sauer, and Brissel also promoted American business in Ottoman Iraq. While there is no definite official statement of their direct influence, it is certainly possible that Hürner 's early infrastructure attempts and the professionalization (after 1906) of the State Department translated into serious support for increasing American investment opportunities. Additionally, growing trade links between the United States and the Ottoman Empire and a growing interest in the region for travelers, archeologists, and other Americans was exemplified by the Istanbul consulate being raised to an Embassy in 1906.69 In terms of infrastructure and investment the Chester Project and the founding of the American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant demonstrate this new energy in Istanbul.

      Admiral Colby Chester, a retired United States naval officer with over forty years of military service conceived of a rail and mining project during the Taft administration.70 The Chester Plan was a series of branch lines, including a line that ran east from Sivas through Mosul and Kirkuk; its lines ran over 2,000kms. Many of these kilometers were in close geographic proximity to oil resources and the plan would have involved mineral extraction rights as well. Therefore, the United States was a competitor in Iraqi oil negotiations before World War One. The Chester Plan was in direct competition with another American rail and mineral plan by the firm of J.G. White and Company. In the competition over the two, the Chester Project was able to prevail over its American rival by promising better terms to the Ottoman state, another indication of the negotiation skills of Ottoman officials.71 Marian Kent notes that while the J.G White concessionary plan failed, it eventually reformed under British capital, and then failed again.72 Competition between concessionaires allowed the Ottoman state to favor one project over another and, by removing support from the less favorable, to work the concession game to their advantage. Even without the agility of Ottoman negotiators, competition between United States investors worked in favor of the Ottomans, who likely would have seen the new American focus as a beneficent development.

      In November of 1909, the Chester syndicate formally organized as the Ottoman-American Development Company, chartered in New Jersey. Hakki Pasha, then Ottoman Grand Vizir (Prime Minister), delayed the concession's progress through the Ottoman bureaucracy, which would have included submission to and approval by the Council of Ministers and then Parliament.73 The State Department tried to intervene at this stage by offering better deals on custom rates, loans, a reconsideration of extraterritoriality and access to purchasing American warships...however, when pressed for confirmation, the United States later withdrew the offer of reconsidering extraterritoriality and the warships.74 Despite the American concession seekers depositing over 20,000 Turkish Lira75 in an Istanbul Bank, the Ottoman Parliament never discussed the concession, even when it seemed likely to be approved in 1910.76 It was largely European intervention that crushed the American concession. German negotiators argued that the entire plan was a subterfuge by Standard Oil, wherein they would co-opt land and mineral rights that should be German by the previously arranged Berlin-Baghdad Railway (BBR) agreement.77 The European states made separate deals with the Ottoman Empire in order to shut out the Chester Project, improve their own positions and to bolster each other's support for the BBR. The British acquired parts of the transport and mining aspects of the BBR. The Russians, in order to overcome their objections, reached the Potsdam Agreement in 1910, which swapped recognition of their claims in Iran for German claims in Iraq. French consent was negotiated via the German recognition of their right to build a rail line in Syria and Anatolia in early 1914. The Anglo-German convention that removed all British objections to the plan was negotiated in June of 1914 and the British agreed to a rise in Ottoman custom duties.78 These extensions of influence precluded American projects and the lack of an infrastructure of indigenous agents gave the United States little local traction. As the historiography acknowledges in regards to other infrastructure projects, the Ottoman state used the Chester Project as a bargaining chip to bring the Europeans to the table and secure better terms on existing and pending deals. De Novo writes "A naïve notion of Dollar Diplomacy as a commercial concept had not taken into account the realities of international politics."79 Despite additional attempts to restart negotiations and secure the concession, eventually the Ottoman-American Development Company disbanded.80 However, it is conceivable that if the American company had an indigenous intermediator or agent working for them, the end result may well have been different.

      By the beginning of World War One, the United States legation in Istanbul itself became involved in United States investment in the Ottoman Empire. In 1911, the United States embassy helped organize the American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant. The founding group contained many diplomats, including then Consul-General G. Bie Ravndal, Oscar Heizer (a future Consul of Baghdad), James Levack the current (1911) vice consul of Baghdad and A.T. Chester of the Chester plan.81 The same organization that had squashed Hürner 's attempts at investment in Iraq, now published resources for the United States business community, in particular the publication Levant Trade Review. The Levant Trade Review listed importers and exporters from each Ottoman city, organized by commodity. In Baghdad, there were several importers ready and willing to trade with United States merchants for items including wines and liquors, carriages, cotton goods, leather, sewing machines, silk and sundry other items.82 American businesses no longer had to solicit individual consular outposts for market information, they could just consult the publication. Additionally, the American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant published lengthy discussions of topics ranging from sericulture in Baghdad, to local agricultural methods and the slowly growing local use of American farm machinery.83 American economic interest in Ottoman Iraq was now being backed with the actions of the State Department, which was trying to disseminate the accumulated knowledge of its lower level peripheral employees.

     In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Chester Project was a serious American led attempt at securing a large infrastructure project in the Ottoman Empire that would have included mineral rights and therefore oil rights. Due to the Chester Project negotiations, the United States was a player in the contentious struggle for the oil concession in Ottoman Iraq.84 Despite the interruption of war and the extension of British colonial control over Iraq, in the 1920s the United States would continue to protest the manner in which the British acquired the oil concession; the concession was signed on June 28, 1914 and British actions during the war focused on creating the transport infrastructure necessary to exploit the concession quickly after the war.


     The State Department did not recognize Hürner as an imperial entrepreneur. Instead, the legation in Istanbul seemed to relish in rejecting overtures that Hürner made to draw closer with the American diplomatic service. Hürner sought to become more integrated into the consular service by seeking promotion and an allowance for a clerk- both of which were denied by the State department.85 Hürner applied for and was denied a request for money to hire additional consular employees.86 In 1896, Hürner , who, it should be recalled, was officially under French protection in the Ottoman Empire, applied to become an American protégé and was rejected.87 Further scorn was heaped upon Hürner when, on March 26, 1898, Edgar James Banks was appointed Consul in Baghdad, a post that Hürner himself had applied for in 1897 and been rejected.88 Hürner was denied a request for an expense account, and denied a United States passport in 1899.89 Hürner employed both a clerk and a guard (cavass) at the Vice Consulate and paid them from him own funds; his request for official money to subsidize them was denied.90 While Hürner 's tenure as an American diplomat would have probably ended in 1906 due to the professionalization of the state department brought about by the Lowden Act, which contained citizenship requirements, it ended that year in disgrace. Hürner was reprimanded by the Consulate in Istanbul after a complaint was filed concerning a rude note he sent to the German Consulate in Baghdad. While the exact contents of that note have been lost, it may have been the most insulting note an American diplomat ever sent about wool exports.91 More importantly and even stranger than textile taunts, Hürner was complicit in stealing and attempting to smuggle antiquities out of the Ottoman Empire.92 In 1904, Edgar James Banks the archaeologist and former diplomat, and Hürner , got into considerable trouble for stealing, and attempting to smuggle, a statue from the Adab/Bismaya dig of the University of Chicago. Hürner 's servants staged a fake robbery, snatched the statues and then hide the statue .. . in Hürner 's bedroom! Hürner was eventually ordered to turn the statue over to the Ottoman authorities, particularly to Osman Hamdi Bey, Director of the Imperial Ottoman Museum.93 Leishman, the American Ambassador, upbraided Hürner for his actions in stealing and hiding the statue, writing, "while it is the duty of every officer of the Government to protect American interests in every way possible, this should not be carried to the point of protecting American citizens in the commission of a dishonorable act."94 Hürner left Baghdad in the summer of 1906 and turned over his business to his former clerk and business partner Ezra Abraham Soufer.95 Major Ramsey, the British Consul in Baghdad took interim control of the United States Vice Consulate on August 21, 1906.96 Hürner ultimately ended up in London, living at 3 Highbury Quadrant with his in-laws, his wife Helene, and their two children. Hürner is listed as an employee (bookkeeper of a cardboard manufacturer) of his father in-law, Alfred Gerlach, in the 1911 census and his death is registered in British records in 1912.

      This study discusses several different infrastructure opportunities ranging from bridge building to railway lines that would have provided an economic benefit to both the Ottoman population and foreign investors. These infrastructure opportunities were generally in transportation and communications upgrades, but could also include the establishment and improvement of municipal water, gas, and electrical utilities. While Hürner clearly used his diplomatic office to promote his own entrepreneurial ambitions, those ambitions did not necessarily interfere with Hürner 's function of promoting and protecting American political, social and economic interests. These interests frequently overlapped and despite the limitations created by his own self-interest, Hürner was uniquely cognizant of the economic realities of local markets and aware of investment opportunities within Ottoman Baghdad. More importantly for American trade and business investment, Hürner knew how to acquire contracts for infrastructure opportunities and, due to his lengthy tenure in the area, Hürner knew how best to operate within an Ottoman framework.

      Hürner was precisely the kind of imperial entrepreneur that could push forward American imperial intrigue--he had valuable linguistic skills, he was well connected locally and had been resident in the region, doing business, for an extended period of time. The Ottoman state likewise used him to initiate negotiations with American businesses and used those negotiation to secure a better deal for themselves on the boat concession. After 1906, the United States joined the British, French and Germans in having a salaried employee with an expense account in Baghdad. While dwarfed by the estimated $20,840 yearly cost of maintaining the British Consulate in Baghdad, the American Consulate, at an annual cost of a little over $4,000 was roughly comparable to the German ($6033.54) and the French Consulates ($4568).97 These trends culminated in both the creation and pursuit of the Chester Project and in the foundation of and promotional energies displayed by the American Chamber of Commerce for the Orient. This demonstrates the growth of American interest in Ottoman Iraq and that American investors could plan to put significant sums of money into the Ottoman economy.

Jameel Haque is an Assistant Professor of History at Minnesota State University -Mankato. Jameel's research interests are the Middle East during the First World War and anti-Muslim bias in textbooks. He teaches courses on Islam, the Middle East, and World History. Jameel is currently the Director of the Kessel Peace Institute, an MSU, Mankato-based institute that promotes peace and social justice. His most recent publication is, " 'The Frame' at Adab: American Archaeological Misbehavior in Late Ottoman Iraq (1899-1905)," Anthropology of the Middle East, Volume 15, No. 1 (March 2020), 20-33 available at He can be reached at 


1 United States National Archives, Archives II in College Park (NA), Record Group (RG) 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume v. Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, Match 30, 1899 to American Exports Association, San Francisco.

2 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix. Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, February 11, 1904, to D.H. Salinger, Esquire, Chicago.

3 James Onley, "Britain's Native Agents in Arabia and Persia," Nineteenth Century Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 24, no. 1 (2004), 129.

4 Onley, "Britain's Native Agents," 130.

5 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume iii, Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, July 24, 1905, to Charles Dickinson, United States Consul-General, Istanbul and NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume iii, Frederick Simpich, United States Consul, Baghdad, April 21, 1910, to Edward Ozmun, United States Consul-General, Istanbul.

6 Warren Frederick Ilchman, Professional Diplomacy in the United States 1779-1930: A Study in Administrative History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961) and Joseph Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East : Missionary Influence on American Policy, 1810-1927. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971).

7 Ussama Makdisi, Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008) and Selim Deringil, "An Ottoman View of Missionary Activity in Hawaii," The Hawaiian Journal of History, 27, (1993): 119-125.

8 Paul MacDonald, "Those Who Forget Historiography Are Doomed to Republish It: Empire, Imperialism and Contemporary Debates about American Power," Review of International Studies, Volume 35, No. 1(January, 2009) 57.

9 James Onley, The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants, Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 20.

10 Onley, The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj, 216.

11 Robert Blyth, The Empire of the Raj: India, Eastern Africa and the Middle East, 1858-1947 (New York: Palgrave, 2003), 134.

12 Daniel Headrick, The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (New York, Oxford University Press, 1981), 205.

13 Elena Frangakis-Syrett. "The Making of an Ottoman Port: The Quay of Izmir in the Nineteenth Century" The Journal of Transport History, 22, no. 1 (2001), 23-30.

14 Fawwaz Traboulsi, A History of Modern Lebanon (London: Pluto Press, 2012), 55.

15 V. Necla Geyikdagi, "French Direct Investments in the Ottoman Empire Before World War I," Enterprise & Society, 12, no. 3 (2011), 529.

16 Darina Martykánová and Meltem Kocaman. "A Land of Opportunities: Foreign Engineers in the Ottoman Empire," in Concha Roldán, Daniel Brauer, and Johannes Rohbeck, eds, Philosophy of Globalization (Boston: De Gruyter, 2018), 237-252.

17 Sotirios Dimitriadis, "The Tramway Concession of Jerusalem, 1908 “1914: Elite Citizenship, Urban Infrastructure, and the Abortive Modernization of a Late Ottoman City," in Angelos Dalachanis and Vincent Lemire, eds., Ordinary Jerusalem, 1840-1940: Opening New Archives, Revisiting a Global City, (Boston: Brill, 2018), 480.

18 Jorn Leonhard, "Imperial Projections and Piecemeal Realities: Mulitethnic Empires and the Experience of Failure in the Nineteenth Century," in Maurus Reinkowski, Gregor Thum, eds, Helpless Imperialsts: Imperial Failure, Fear and Radicalization (Goettingen: Vanderhoek &Ruprecht, 2013), 27.

19 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume iii. Frederick Simpich, Consul, Baghdad, December 2, 1909, to Edward Ozmun, United States Consul General, Istanbul.

20 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas Cridler, Third Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., November 30, 1898, to Rudolf Hürner , Vice Consul, Baghdad.

21 Coincidentally, this is remarkably close to where the current US embassy is in London.

22 1881 census of England, St. George, Southwark, 76 Lambeth Road.

23 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi. Edward Strobel, Third Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C., November 15, 1893 to John C. Sundberg, Vice Consul, Baghdad.

24 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi. Edward Strobel, Third Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C., March 13, 1894 to John C. Sundberg, Vice Consul, Baghdad.

25 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi. Edgar James Banks, Cambridge, Massachusetts April 26, 1899 to Thomas Cridler, Third Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

26 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix. Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, December 26, 1902 to Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General, Istanbul.

27 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad Volume x, James Nies, November 12, 1904 to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

28 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xi. Jason Paige, Washington, D.C., May 31, 1905 to Leishman, Istanbul.

29 These figures were drawn from NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volumes i-xiii.

30 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 39.

31 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 40.

32 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume iii. Frederick Simpich, United States Consul, Baghdad, March 10, 1910, to Oscar Strauss, US Ambassador, Istanbul.

33 William T. Ellis, "The Awaking of the Older Nations," The Valley Breeze (Van Ettenville, New York) November 24, 1911, 2.

34 "Gertrude Bell "Letter to her father, Feb 20, 1924" Gertrude Bell Archives, accessed March 20, 2014, Mahmud Shahbander was a guest at an "Arab dinner party" she had.

35 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad. Box XVI, Emil Sauer, United States Consul, Baghdad, May 12, 1913 to Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

36 FO 371-1492. No. 2947. Concessions of the Electrical Supply at Baghdad. January 25, 1911. P. 3, TNA, UK.

37 John Van Wicheren Reynders (1866-1944). Internet Archives and Special Collections of Rennsalar Polytechnic Institute. Accessed June 20, 2013 at 2:45pm.

38 "U.S Fliers In Burma Hit Foe's Supply Line: Gokteik Viaduct and Myitgne Bridge Suffer New Blows," New York Times, 25 March 1943, 6.

39 "John V. Reynders, Builder of Bridges: Headed Construction of Many Famous Spans Adviser to U. S. on Steel, Is Dead," New York Times, 11 July 1944, 15.

40 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas W. Cridler, Third Secretary, United States State Department Washington, D.C. May 7, 1900 to Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

41 I have seen Americans refer to Baghdad as part of Persia, Syria and Arabia during my research.

42 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas W. Cridler, Third Secretary, United States State Department Washington, D.C. May 12, 1900 to Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

43 Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, Editor. The Poets' Lincoln: Tributes in Verse to the Martyred President, (Washington: Published by the Editor, 1915), 136.

44 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume viii, Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General in Istanbul, April 26, 1900 to Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

45 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume viii, Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General in Istanbul, September 9, 1901 to Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

46 A person in charge of a diplomatic mission in an interim fashion when there is no Ambassador or the Ambassador is absent.

47 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad. Volume viii, Spencer Eddy, United States Charges d'Affaires in Istanbul, Dec 31, 1902 to Rudolph Hurner, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

48 United States Department of State. Regulations Prescribed for the Use of the Consular Service of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896), 39.

49 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume viii, Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General in Istanbul, Jan 30, 1903 to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

50 Hala Fatah, The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq, Arabia, and the Gulf, 1745-1900 (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1997), 111.

51 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Box xvi, Emil Sauer, US Consul, Baghdad May 12, 1913 to Philander C. Knox, Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

52 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix, Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad March 5, 1903 to Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General in Istanbul.

53 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix, Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad March 26, 1903 to Charles Dickinson, United States Consul General in Istanbul.

54 Pennsylvania Steel Company. From Steelton to Mandalay. (Steelton, PA: Pennsylvania Steel Company, 1902) This book has no page numbers.

55 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix, J. V. W. Reynders, Superintendent, Pennsylvania Steel Company, Steelton PA, Jan 4, 1904 to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

56 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missionaries. The Missionary Herald, Volume 102. (Beacon Press: Boston, 1906), 545.

57 Christian Work and the Evangelist. Volume 81 (New York: Bible House, 1905), 202.

58 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Box xix, F.C. Foard, Manager, Bombay, United States Steel Products Company, August 6, 1914 to Charles Brissel, United States Consul, Baghdad.

59 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Box xix, F.C. Foard, Manager, Bombay, United States Steel Products Company, October 7, 1914 to Charles Brissel, United States Consul, Baghdad.

60 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Box xix, Charles Brissel, United States Consul, Baghdad, August 29, 1914 to F.C. Foard, Manager, Bombay, United States Steel Products Company.

61 Zachary Karabell, Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), See Chapter Seven.

62 Hormuzd Rassam and Robert William Roger, Asshur and the Land of Nimrod (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1897), 405.

63 Foreign Office, Diplomatic and Consular Reports on Trade and Finance: Turkey Report for the Year 1890 on the Trade of Baghdad (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1890), 3.

64 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xi, Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, December 14, 1905 to the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company, Wisconsin.

65 NA RG 84 Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xi. Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, January 15, 1906 to the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company, Wisconsin.

66 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xi, Herbert H.D. Peirce, Third Assistant Secretary of State, US Department of State, Washington February 16, 1906 Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

67 The Bridge concession would have been at the behest of either Vali Atteallah Pasha Kawakeby or Vali Namik Pasha, both in office in 1899. The boat concession would have been initiated under Vali Mecid Bey.

68 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xiv, William Magelssen, United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, September 30, 1907 to Street Railway Journal of New York.

69 Thomas A. Bryson, American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East, 1784-1975 (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1977), 46.

70 John De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East 1900-1939 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press),59.

71 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 61-63.

72 Marian Kent, Oil and Empire: British Policy and Mesopotamian Oil 1900-1920 (London School of Economics: London, 1976), 26.

73 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 64-7.

74 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 5.

75 Roughly $90,000 at the time or approximately $2.2 million today.

76 Kent, Oil and Empire, 27.

77 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 68 also Kent, Oil and Empire, 28.

78 Ghassan Attiyah, Iraq: 1908-1920, A Socio-Political Study (Beirut: The Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, 1973), 73-4

79 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 70.

80 De Novo, American Interests and Politics in the Middle East, 80-1.

81 American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant, Levant Trade Review Volumes 1, no. 2 (1911), 1.

82 American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant, Levant Trade Review Volumes 1 no, 2 (1911), I-XXII.

83 American Chamber of Commerce for the Levant, Levant Trade Review Volumes 1 no. 1, 282 and 383.

84 Kent, Oil and Empire, 28.

85 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume i, Rudolph Hürner , US Vice Consul, Baghdad October 5, 1905 to Francis Loomis, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C. and NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix, Rudolph Hürner , US Vice Consul, Baghdad December 24, 1904 to Francis Loomis, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

86 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Edwin Uhl, United States Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., December 16, 1895, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

87 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, J.W. Riddle, Istanbul May 2, 1896, to Richard Onley, United States Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

88 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Alvey A. Adee Second Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., March 26, 1898, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad and NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas Cridler, Third United States Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., May 28, 1898, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

89 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas Cridler, Third United States Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., November 30, 1898, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad and NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume vi, Thomas Cridler, Third United States Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., October 18, 1899, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

90 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume ix, Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad, December 24, 1904, to Francis Loomis, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C.

91 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xii, Peter Augustus Jay, Istanbul, June 19, 1906, to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

92 Jameel Haque, "The 'Frame' at Adab: American Archaeological Misbehavior in Late Ottoman Iraq (1899-1905)," Anthropology of the Middle East, Volume 15, No. 1 (March 2020), 20-33.

93 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xii, Peter Augustus Jay, United States Charge d'Affairs, Istanbul, April 17, 1905 to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

94 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xii, J.G. Leishman, United States Minister Extraordinaire, Istanbul, June 12, 1905 to Rudolph Hürner , United States Vice Consul, Baghdad.

95 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xiii, Major Ramsey, British Consul in charge of American Affairs in Baghdad, December 12, 1906 to American Consulate, Baghdad.

96 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume xii, Huntington Wilson, Third Assistant Secretary of State, Washington D.C., October 12, 1906 to Major Ramsey, British Consul in charge of American Affairs in Baghdad,

97 NA, RG 84, Consular Posts, Baghdad, Volume iii. Frederick Simpich, Consul, Baghdad, December 2, 1909, to Edward Ozmun, United States Consul General, Istanbul.


Home | List Journal Issues | Table of Contents
2020 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Content in World History Connected is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the World History Connected database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Terms and Conditions of Use