(d.) Pending a reply from the French Government, the Admiralty should examine into the question of water supply at Rabegh.
- 2, Whitehall Gardens, S.W.
- December 9, 1916.
The Chief of the Imperial General Staff asks that it may be recorded here that, having stated his objections to embarking on still another expedition, the developments of which cannot be foreseen, he does not in any way wish further to call into question the policy of the War Cabinet to detail a force with the mission of denying Rabegh to the enemy, but he desires to repeat his opinion that if any force is sent its strength and composition should be that already proposed by him as being necessary to carry out the policy. Whether this, or, indeed, any other force, can be so employed depends mainly upon the water supply, regarding which the information in the Sirdar's possession is very imperfect. Further, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff wishes it to be understood that the success of the El Arish operations will be impaired to an extent corresponding to the reduction made by the despatch of the Rabegh force. He also points out that if only an infantry brigade is sent, it is likely, in such a climate as that of Rabegh, to have within a short time not more than 3,000 effective rifles at the most, and, perhaps, considerably fewer; and, irrespective of the inadequacy of such a force as compared with his proposals, he stated that the despatch of one infantry brigade, without a due proportion of the usual auxiliary arms, is a measure opposed to the elementary principles of military organisation and efficiency, and may lead to serious consequences.