The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
- Introduction: The King-Crane Commission Report
- Appendix: The King-Crane Commission Report
- Map for The King-Crane Commission Report
Report of [the] American section of Inter-allied Commission of mandates in Turkey. An official United States government report by the Inter-allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey, American Section
I. The Report Upon Syria
The American Commissioners of the projected International Commission on Mandates in Turkey, herewith submit their final report upon the Syrian portion of their task.
The Commission's conception of its mission was defined in the following statement, which was given to the press wherever the Commission went:
"The American Section of the International Commission on Mandates in Turkey, in order that their mission may be clearly understood are furnishing to the press the following statement, which is intended to define as accurately as possible the nature of their task, as given to them by President Wilson.
"The American people-having no political ambitions in Europe or the Near East; preferring, if that were possible, to keep clear of all European, Asian, or African entanglements but nevertheless sincerely desiring that the most permanent peace and the largest results for humanity shall come out of this war- recognize that they cannot altogether avoid responsibility for just settlements among the nations following the war, and under the League of Nations. In that spirit they approach the problems of the Near East.
"An International Commission was projected by the Council of Four of the Peace Conference to study conditions in the Turkish Empire with reference to possible mandates. The American Section of that Commission is in the Near East simply and solely to get as accurate and definite information as possible concerning the conditions, the relations, and the desires of all the peoples and classes concerned in order that President Wilson and the American people may act with full knowledge of the facts in any policy they may be called upon hereafter to adopt concerning the problems of the Near East-whether in the Peace Conference or in the later League of Nations.
"This statement of the mission of the Commission is in complete harmony with the following paragraph from the Covenant of the League of Nations, particularly referring to portions of the former Turkish Empire:
"'Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.' "
The Commission had in its survey of Syria the assistance of Dr. Albert H. Lybyer, Dr. George R. Montgomery, and Capt. William Yale, U. S. A., as advisors; of Capt. Donald M. Brodie, U. S. A., as secretary and treasurer; of Dr. Sami Haddad, instructor in the School of Medicine of the Syrian Protestant College of Beirut, as physician and interpreter; of Mr. Laurence S. Moore as business manager; and of Sergt.-Major Paul O. Toren as stenographer. The advisors had all been previously connected as experts with the Peace Conference in Paris, and had been students of the special problems of the Near East.
The report naturally falls into three divisions: Data, General, Considerations, and Recommendations .
The Commission had already familiarized itself before leaving Paris with the full and varied reports and material coming into the office of the Western Asia Division of the experts of the American Section of the Peace Conference, and with considerable other literature bearing on the Near East. The survey of Syria was made in the light of all this previous study.
The method of the Commission, in its inquiry in Syria, was to meet in conference individuals and delegations who should represent all the significant groups in the various communities, and so to obtain as far as possible the opinions and desires of the whole people. The process Itself was inevitably a kind of political education for the people, and, besides actually bringing out the desires of the people, had at least further value in the simple consciousness that their wishes were being sought. We were not blind to the fact that there was considerable propaganda; that often much pressure was put upon individuals and groups that sometimes delegations were prevented Tom reaching the Commission, and that the representative authority of many petitions was questionable. But the Commission believes that these anomalous elements in the petitions tend to cancel one another when the whole country is taken into account, and that, as in the composite photograph, certain great, common emphases are unmistakable.
The Commissioners were struck, on the other hand, with the large degree of frankness with which opinions were expressed to them, even where there was evident fear of consequences. In this respect the American Section had an evident advantage, which could not have held for a mixed Commission. Moreover, the nearly universal recognition of the fact that America sought no additional territory was favorable to a frank expressed of opinion.
The direct data, furnished by the inquiry in Syria, are given in a series of tables, prepared by the Secretary of the Commission, and based immediately upon the Conferences of the Commission and the petitions there presented.
The area and towns covered by the Commission's inquiry are shown in the following itinerary for June 10 to July 21, 1919, and in the table of the towns, classified according to the different divisions of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administrations-British, French, and Arab These tables show that the Commission visited 36 of the more important towns of Syria, scattered through all the military areas, and heard delegations from other important centers. It should be noted that the list does not include at all the names of hosts of villages in the vicinity of towns visited, which were also represented by delegations before the Commission. Our records show that there were 1,520 such villages. Cilicia was briefly included in the Syrian inquiry, because it is disputed territory claimed both by Syria and by the Turkish-speaking portion of the former Turkish Empire
|June||10||Commission arrived in Jaffa.|
|11, 12||Interviews at Jaffa.|
|13||By auto to Tel-a-Viv, Richon-le-Sion and Jerusalem.|
|14||Jerusalem. Official calls.|
|17||To Bethlehem, Hebron and Beersheba by auto. Interviews at Bethlehem and Hebron.|
|18||Interviews at Beersheba, including Gaza delegations. To Jerusalem by auto.|
|19, 20||Jerusalem. Interviews.|
|21||By auto to Ramallah and Nablus. Interviews at both places.|
|22||By auto to Jenin and Nazareth. Interviews at Jenin.|
|23||Interviews at Nazareth. To Haifa (Mt. Carmel Monastery) by auto. Interviews.|
|24||To Acre by auto. Interviews. To Nazareth by auto.|
|25||To Damascus by auto via Tiberias Capernaum|
|26||Damascus. Official calls.|
|27, 28||Damascus. Interviews.|
|July||1||To Amman and Dera by train. Interviews at both places.|
|2, 3||Damascus. Interviews|
|4||To Baalbek by auto|
|5||Baalbek. Interviews. To Beirut by auto.|
|7, 8||Beirut. Interviews|
|9||To Jebeil, Batrum, and Bkerke, by auto. Interviews at each place|
|10||To Sidon and Tyre by auto. Interviews at both places.|
|11||To Ainab, Baabda, and Zahle by auto. Interviews at each place.|
|12||To Tripoli by yacht. Interviews.|
|13||To Alexandretta by yacht. Interviews.|
|14||To Ladikiya by yacht. Interviews. To Tripoli by yacht|
|15||To Homs by auto|
|16||Interviews at Homs. To Hama by auto. Interviews. To Aleppo by tram|
|18, 19||Aleppo. Interviews|
|20||To Adana by train|
|21||Adana. Interviews To Mersina by train, via Tarsus. Interviews at Tarsus and Mersina. Commission left Mersina on U. S. Destroyer "Hazelwood" for Constantinople.|
Cities and Villages of Syria at Which Delegations Were Received by the American Commission
I. O. E. T. A. (South)—Under British Military Administration-Comprises Palestine west of Jordan line.
Jaffa (Ludd, Ramleh)
Nazareth (Safed, Tiberias)\.
II. O. E. T. A. (East)—Under Arab Military Administration-Comprises all of Syria east of Jordan line and Lebanon boundary
III. O. E. T. A. (West)—Under French Military Administration-Comprises Lebanon and Coastal Regions north to Alexandretta.
IV. O. E. T. A. (North)—Under French Military Administration-Comprises Cilicia.
* Delegations were received from cities and villages name in parenthesis.
The Secretary's Summarized Statement l of Significant conclusions brought out in the Tables of Petitions, gives added information and discussion, greatly needed for a proper interpretation of the petitions and of our entire survey; and is therefore made the concluding section of the Secretary's presentation of data.
An estimate of the population of the different districts is added at this point, for a better understanding of the tables and discussion which follow. The figures in all cases must be regarded as only approximate, but may be taken as giving a fairly accurate view of the proportions of the population.
|O. E. T. A. South||O. E. T. A. West||O. E. T. A. East||Totals|
Classified List of Delegations Received
The tables showing the classes and number of delegations met by the Commission, should make clear how varied the population is, and also that no vital interest or element of the population has been omitted in the inquiry. At the same time it should be carefully borne in mind that the number of delegations is no proper index of the proportions of the population. The Christian population is divided into so many small groups that it is represented in the tables by a larger number of delegations than the Moslem majority.
|1.||Mayors and Municipal Councils||12||9||13||34|
|3.||Councils of Village Chiefs||22||20||23||65|
|6.||Moslem Christian Committees||3||1||0||4|
|Total Political Groups||47||60||46||153|
|II-Economic and Social Groups:|
|1.||Professions and Trades||1||6||10||17|
|3.||Young Men's Clubs||1||5||1||7|
|4.||Chambers of Commerce||I||O||0||1|
|Total Economic and Social Groups||5||16||20||41|
|1.||General Christian Groups (Composite)||7||3||3||13|
|2.||General Catholic Groups||0||0||5||5|
|9.||Armenians (general groups)||1||0||3||4|
|1.||Muftis and Ulema||7||7||10||24|
|C||-Other Religious Groups|
|Total Religious Groups||88||63||97||248|
* The simple statement that the women of the East left their historic seclusion to appear before a Commission of American men is a revelation of the new role women are playing in the nationalistic movements in the Orient.
Petition Summaries—Syria Complete
The tables of summaries of petitions made to the Commission, written or oral or both, reveal the range of the discussions in the conferences, and the chief positions taken by the people. They are given by Military Districts, as well as for Syria as a whole, because the petitions vary considerably with the Districts.
|*1||For United Syria||1500||80.4|
|2||For Separate Palestine||6||0.32|
|3||For Separate Palestine under British if French have Syrian Mandate||2||0.1|
|4||For Autonomous Palestine within Syrian State||24||1.29|
|5||For Independent Greater Lebanon||203||10.9|
|6||Against Independent Greater Lebanon||1062||57.0|
|7||For Autonomous Lebanon within Syrian State||33||1.76|
|8||For Inclusion of Bokaa with Damascus||4||0.21|
|9||For Inclusion of Bokaa with Lebanon||11||0.59|
|10||For Inclusion of Cilicia within Armenian State||3||0.16|
|11||For Inclusion of Cilicia with Syrian State||2||0.1|
|1||For Absolute Independence of Syria||1370||73.5|
|2||For Independence of Iraq (Mesopotamia)||1278||68.5|
|3||For Independence of ail Arab Countries||97||5.2|
|C||-Form of Government|
|1||For Democratic Kingdom||1107||59.3|
|2||For Emir Feisal as King||1102||59|
|3||For Democratic Representative Government||34||1.82|
|4||For Guarding of Rights of Minorities||1023||54.9|
|5||Arabic to be Official Language||5||.27|
|6||For Abolition of Foreign Capitulations||10||53|
|7||For Autonomy of all Provinces of Syria||19||1.02|
|D||-Choice of Mandate|
|a||For British Mandate||66||3.53|
|b||For British Mandate if Mandate is obligatory||0|
|c||For British "Assistance"||4||0.21|
|Total British First Choice||70||3.75|
|d||For British Mandate as Second Choice||41||2.19|
|**e||For British "Assistance" as Second Choice||1032||55.3|
|For French Mandate||271||14.52|
|For French Mandate if Mandate is obligatory||1||0.05|
|For French "Assistance"||2||0.1|
|Total French First Choice||274||14.68|
|For French Mandate as Second Choice||3||0.15|
|For French "Assistance" as Second Choice||0|
|For American Mandate||57||3.05|
|For American Mandate if Mandate is obligatory||8||0.4|
|For American "Assistance"||1064||57.0|
|Total American First Choice||1129||60.0|
|For American Mandate as Second Choice||8||0.4|
|For American "Assistance" as Second Choice||3||0.15|
|4||Choice of Mandate left to Damascus Conference||23||1.23|
|1.||For Complete Zionist Program (Jewish State and Immigration)||11||0.59|
|2.||For Modified Zionist Program||8||0.4|
|3.||Against Zionist Program||1350||72.3|
|F||-Protests and Criticisms:|
|General Anti-British Statements||3||0.15|
|Specific Criticisms of Administration||0|
|Protests against Interference with free access to Commission||0|
|a||General Anti-French Statements||1129||60.5|
|b||Specific Criticisms of Administrations||24||1.29|
|c||Protests against Interference with free access to Commission||11||0.59|
|a||General Anti-Arab Statements||35||1.87|
|b||Specific Criticisms of Administration||4||0.2|
|c||Protests against Interference with free access to Commission||0|
|4||***||Against 22d Article of League Covenant||1033||55.3|
|5||Against Secret Treaties, especially treaties dividing Syria||988||52.9|
* "United Syria" means a Syria without Palestine treated as a separate country. In effect, it is intended as a declaration against Zionism.
** The high figures given for American and British "assistance," rather than for a mandate, are because the people ask first for complete independence.
*** The reason for opposition to Article XXII is set forth by the secretary later in the report.
Summary of Significant Conclusions
I. The Value of the Petitions as an Estimate of Public Opinion in Syria
The 1863 petitions received by the American Commission in Syria and the summary tables prepared from them cannot of course be regarded as a mathematically accurate analysis of the real desires of the peoples of Syria. There are at least five unavoidable difficulties that have qualified their accuracy.
- The number of the petitions from the different sections of Syria is not proportional to their respective populations, e. g., O. E T. A. [Note: These initials stand for "Occupied Enemy Territory Administration," but are commonly used as a word, "Oeta," as "British Oeta," "French Oeta," or "Arab Oeta."] South, with thirteen cities at which delegations were received is represented by only 260 petitions, while 1,157 petitions were received from O. E T. A. East, in which but eight cities were visited. As the Commission progressed northward the petitions became more numerous, due to the increased time afforded for knowledge of the Commission's coming, for the preparation of petitions, for the activities of propaganda agents, and for the natural crystallization of public opinion.
- The number of petitions from the different religious organizations is not proportional to the numerical strength of the religious faiths. This Is especially true of the verbal requests made by delegations. In O. E. T. A. South, for instance, on account of the number of sects of the Christian faith, 53 delegations of Christians were received, and only eighteen delegations of Moslems, whereas the Moslem population is fully eight times as large as that of the Christian. This disparity does not, however, hold for the total number of petitions, verbal and written, as it was corrected in part by the large number of petitions from Moslem villages presented to the Commission at Aleppo and other northeastern points.
- A number of petitions show clearly the influence of organized propaganda. This is sometimes evidenced in the petitions themselves by numerous similarities of phrasing, by many identical wordings, and by a few instances in which printed forms, obviously intended as models for written documents, have been signed and given to the Commission.
In addition to the internal evidence, there were also many external indications of systematic efforts to influence the character of the petitions. The same Arab agent was observed in four cities of Palestine, assisting in the preparation of petitions. Similar activities on the part of French sympathizers were observed In Beirut.
- In addition to this general propaganda, which was entirely legitimate as well as natural and inevitable, it is certain that a small number of petitions were fraudulently secured. In two cases the signatures were in the same handwriting. Three instances of "repeater" signatures were discovered. In addition, the seals of new organizations, purporting to be Trade Unions of Beirut, were discovered to have been ordered by the same propaganda agent a few days before the arrival of the Commission. All possible precautions were taken to insure authenticity of petitions and signatures, but in view of the character of the Commission's survey and the limited facilities for close checking, the genuineness of all cannot be guaranteed.
- The value of the individual petitions varies also with the number of signatures, although mere numbers cannot be taken as the only criterion. For example, some petitions signed by only a small Municipal Council may represent a larger public opinion than a petition signed by a thousand villagers. The number of signatures is 91,079;* 26,324 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A. South, 26,884 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A West, and 37,871 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A. East. This represents a general average of 49 signatures for each petition. The number of signatures varies widely from this average, but the totals for the different programs are fairly well equalized.
Yet despite these five qualifications, it is believed that the petitions as summarized present a fairly accurate analysis of present political opinion in Syria. The great majority of irregularities offset one another. The preponderance of Christian petitions in Palestine is balanced by the flood of Moslem appeals at Aleppo. The activities of French sympathizers in Tripoli probably did not influence the character of the petitions presented much more than the contrary efforts of the Independent Program representatives in Amman.
The petitions are certainly representative. As the classified list of delegations received by the Commission clearly indicates, the petitions came front a wide range of political, economic, social, and religious classes and organizations. It was generally known throughout Syria that the American Commission would receive in confidence any documents that any individual or group should care to present. In the few cities in which the military authorities sought to exert control, directly or indirectly, over the delegations, without exception the opposition parties found opportunities to present their ideas to the Commission, if not always orally, at least in writing.
II. Definite Programs Revealed in the Petitions
Before considering the special requests contained in the petitions, it is advisable to present the six distinct political programs that were clearly revealed in the petitions, and that in some instances were developed during the investigation of the Commission. Of the 1,863 petitions for Syria, 1,364 are exact copies of some of these programs and many others have close resemblances. They are:
- The Independence Program: The first petitions received by the Commission, those at Jaffa on June 11, except in the case of the Zionist statements, do not give evidence of any agreed and elaborated policy for the future of Syria. The petitions varied greatly in content and wording. There were, however, four of the twenty petitions at Jaffa that contained what may be termed an Independence Program with three "planks" in its platform:
- The Political Unity of Syria, including Cilicia on the north, the Syrian Desert on the east, and Palestine, extending as far as Rafa on the south
- Absolute Independence for Syria;
- Opposition to a Zionist State and Jewish Immigration.
This program became the dominant note in the petitions presented in O. E. T. A. South. At Jerusalem eight of the twenty-three petitions received contained the Independence Program with practically identical wording. At Haifa and Nazareth, two of the last cities visited in the district, it constituted 35 and 10 respectively of the 60 and 18 petitions presented. Of the 260 petitions from O. E. T. A. South, 83, or 32 per cent, were simply the Independence Program, while many others closely resembled it. One printed form of this program was received by the Commission as a petition at Jenin, June 22, and doubtless other printed copies had been models for many of the petitions received in the last cities visited.
- The "Damascus" Program: The original Independence Program was expanded on July 2 by the General Syrian Congress' meeting at Damascus into what came to be known as the Damascus Program. This program contained the three points of the Independence Program modified by asking "assistance" for the Syrian State from America, or, as second choice, from Great Britain, and expanded by adding:
- A rejection of Art. 22 of the League Covenant;
- A rejection of all French claims to Syria
- A protest against secret treaties and private agreements (by inference the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration);
- Opposition to independence for Greater Lebanon;
- Request for a democratic, non-centralized government under Emir Feisal; and
- A request for the independence and economic freedom of Mesopotamia.
Three petitions with the Damascus program in full had been received by the Commission prior to its adoption by the Syrian Congress. After that date 1,047 of the 1,473 petitions received during that period contained this program. Of that number 964 were on printed blanks, of which there were seven distinct "forms" with the program printed in full.
- The Lebanon Programs: There are three distinct types of Lebanese programs that appear in the petitions:
- The French Independent Greater Lebanon. This program asks for complete independence and separation from Syria for the Greater Lebanon, including the Valley of Bekaa and in some instances Tripoli. France is asked for as the mandatory Power. 139 of the 146 petitions received in O. E. T. A. West contain this program, with practically identical wording. Of these twenty are on three varieties of printed forms.
- The Independent Lebanon Program. Another distinct program asks for the same points with the exception of a French Mandate. 33 of the 36 petitions with the wording of this program are on two varieties of printed forms. In eight instances requests for a mandate are added in writing.
- The Autonomous Lebanon Program. This program asks for a greater Lebanon as an autonomous province within a United Syrian State. No mandate is mentioned. 49 petitions are copies of this program, three of them on a printed form.
- The Zionist Program: Eleven petitions with varying wording favor the Zionist Program of a Jewish State and extensive Jewish immigration. These are all from Jewish delegations. Eight other petitions express approval of the Zionist colonies in Palestine without endorsement of the complete program. Four of these latter are statements by Arab peasants that they are on good terms with the Jewish colonies.
F-Protests and Criticisms
Another distinct classification is that of protests and criticisms. Criticisms against nations have been divided into: (a) General statements criticising national claims, character or policies, without making specific references, b) specific criticisms, usually of alleged mismanagement or corruption in the local military administration (c) protests against the interference of the local military authorities with free access to the American commission.
- Three general anti-British statements were presented.
- The general anti-French statements were much more numerous, 1,129 (60.5 per cent) due largely to the fact that such a protest is included in the Damascus program. There were also 24 specific criticisms of French administration in O. E. T. A. West, and 11 protests against deportation, armed guards, threats, and intimidation said to have been used by the French administrative authorities in O. E. T. A, West, to prevent individuals with anti-French views from appearing before the commission.
- General criticism of the Arab government appeared in 35 petitions, always from Christian sources, and expressing fear as to the fate of the Christians under an independent Arab rule. In addition the administration of O. E. T. A. East is criticized in four petitions.
- The Damascus program protest against applying Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations to Syria is included in 1,033 (55.3 per cent) petitions. This article states that "certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a state of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatary, until such time as they are able to stand alone." This protest is in line with the Damascus program plea for complete independence and the fear already referred to that a mandate might impair the full freedom of Syria. It is interesting to note that this protest did not appear until after the 22nd Article had been published in a statement given by the Commissioners to all the newspapers in Damascus.
- One more protest is a part of 988 (52 per cent) petitions, a protest against secret treaties, treaties dividing Syria without the consent of the Syrians, and private agreements. The Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour declaration are not mentioned, but it is usually understood that they are referred to. This protest is included in the Damascus program and also received support from other elements
These statements—chiefly tabular—prepared by the secretary, of the results of the inquiry into Syrian opinion, need to be supplemented by a historical account prepared by the General Adviser Dr. Lybyer. This account will help to put concretely the entire situation, and to give the atmosphere of our inquiry, and so complete the basic data as presented in the field.
The Story of the Tour
The whole area visited by the commission during the 42 days from June 10 to July 21 is Occupied Enemy Territory under the supreme authority of General Allenby. The administration is conducted under the Turkish laws, with small local modifications, in many cases continuing in office part or all of the officials left behind by the Turks. A system of military governors and officers assigned to special duties, such as financial and medical advice, liaison work, etc., parallels the civil administration. The whole area is in four portions, known respectively as O. E. T. A. (Occupied Enemy Territory Administration) South, West, East and North, and administered under the guidance respectively of English, French, Arab, and French officers. The order of description followed below is by these areas, and is nearly coincident with the itinerary of the commission, the only exception being that much of O. E. T. A. East was visited before O. E. T. A West. Fifteen days were spent in the South, ten in the West fifteen in the East, and two in the North.
The Geography of the Claims
III. Specific Requests as Given in the Tables:
A. Territorial Limits
1. The largest percentage for any one request is that of 1,500 petitions (80.4 per cent) for United Syria, including Cilicia, the Syrian Desert, and Palestine. The boundaries of this area are usually defined as "The Taurus Mountains on the north- the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers, and the line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al Juf on the east; Rafa and the line running from Al Juf to the south of Akaba on the south, and the Mediterranean Sea on the West." In addition to being the first plank of the Damascus program, a United Syria received strong support from many Christians in all the O. E. T. As., as the number of petitions indicates.
2. In opposition to Syrian Unity, six of the nineteen pro-zionist petitions ask for a separate Palestine, and presumably it is implied in the others.
3. In addition, two Christian groups in Palestine asked for a separate Palestine under the British, in preference to a United Syria under the French.
4. Twenty-four petitions, chiefly from Christian sources in O. E. T. A. South, asked for an autonomous Palestine within the Syrian State. For many other delegations this was doubtless implied in the general request for independence and a non-centralized government.
5. In opposition also to a United Syria are the 203 petitions (16.9 per cent) asking for an independent Greater Lebanon. One hundred and ninety-six of these came from Lebanon and 139 are copies of the French-Lebanon program.
6. The request for a United Syria is made even more emphatic by the 1,062 protests against an Independent Greater Lebanon. These include the Damascus program petitions and some from Protestant and other Christian sources in Lebanon.
7. Thirty-three Lebanese delegations representing both Moslems and Christians, fearing the economic future of a separate Lebanon, asked for autonomy within a Syrian State. Others also regarded autonomy as implied in the request for independence and a non-centralized government.
8-9. The Valley of Bekaa is usually regarded as an integral part of Greater Lebanon. Eleven petitions, however make especial reference to its inclusion, while eight ask that the Valley remain in the Damascus area.
10-11. Similarly, while Cilicia is definitely included in the demand for a United Syria made by 1,500 petitions, two petitions asked specifically for it, while three requested that it be given to the Armenian State.
1. The second largest percentage of all, 1,370 (73.5 percent), is for "Absolute Independence," the second cardinal point of the Damascus program, supported generally by all Moslem delegations. It is certain from the oral statements that accompanied the petitions that the term "Absolute Independence" was seldom used in the sense of an entire freedom from any foreign guidance, such as that of a mandatory under the League of Nations, inasmuch as the request was frequently combined with a choice of mandate, and in all but a few cases with either a choice of mandate or a request for foreign "assistance." While a few of the Young Arab clubs certainly desired freedom from all foreign control, the great majority asked for independence and defined a mandate to mean only economic and technical assistance, because of a widespread fear that the mandatory arrangement would be used to cloak colonial annexation.
2-3. Only a slightly smaller number, 1,278 (68.5 per cent), asked for the independence of Iraq, or Mesopotamia. To these should be added 93 of the 97 petitions for the independence of all Arab countries as in only four petitions do both requests appear, and the second includes the first. The phrasing "for all Arab countries" was first used in Palestine, and dropped for the special mention of Iraq in the Damascus program. A total of 1,371 petitions, therefore, asked for the independence and economic freedom of the Iraq regions.
C. Form of Government
1-2. The establishment of a "democratic, non-centralized, constitutional" kingdom is one of the points of the Damascus program, as the number of petitions for it 1,107 (59.3 per cent), indicate. All but five of these petitions, also, ask that Emir Feisal be made the king. These petitions were especially numerous in O. E. T. A. East, where 1,005 of 1,157 request both a kingdom and the Emir as king. This part of the program had apparently not been developed when the commission was in Palestine, as only five of 260 O. E. T. A. South petitions referred to a kingdom, and only two mentioned Emir Feisal.
3. A request for a democratic representative government, presumably of a republican character, came to the commission from 26 Christian groups in O. E. T. A. West, and eight groups in O. E. T. A. East, a total of 34 (1.8 per cent) . This request was usually made in opposition to the Moslem idea of a Syrian kingdom under Feisal.
4. The request for proper safe-guarding of the rights of minorities included in the Damascus program was also made by many of the Christian groups in the Lebanon. The total is 1,023 (54.9 per cent)~ This request received a more united support from both Moslems and Christians than any other, except anti-Zionism.
5-6. Five requests for the retention of Arabic as the official language (rather than Hebrew) and ten requests for the abolition of foreign capitulations (officially annulled by the Turks, but without sanction of the Powers), came from scattered points in O. E. T. A. South.
7. Nineteen (1.02 per cent) petitions were received for the autonomy of all the provinces of Syria. This is in addition to the separate requests for autonomy of Lebanon and Palestine. Once more it should be said that many regarded a large measure of local autonomy as implicit in the general idea of a democratic. non-centralized government, but these nineteen groups made special reference to it.
D. Choice of Mandate
With regard to choice of mandate, five classes of requests had to be distinguished, as shown in the tables. In addition to definite requests for a given nation as the mandatory power, a few groups gave their preference, "if a mandatory is obligatory," i. e., rather under protest, while the great majority asked for "assistance" rather than a mandatory, because of a misunderstanding, and the fear referred to above that a "mandate" is a convenient cloak for colonial aggression. Petitions of these three classes have therefore been grouped in the summary as "Total first choice." In addition preferences for second choice of mandate and "assistance" have been tabulated.
1. The total of the petitions asking for Great Britain as first choice is 66 (3.5 per cent). Forty-eight came from Palestine; 13 are from Greek Orthodox delegations, and four from the Druses. The second choice total is 1,073 (57.5 per cent), due to the 1032 requests for British "assistance" if America declined, in accordance with the Damascus program.
2. The French total for first choice is 274 (14.68 per cent), all but 59 of them from the Lebanon district. The second choice total is three.
3. The 1,064 requests for American "assistance " according to the Damascus program, with 57 selections of America as mandatory power, and eight more if a mandate is obligatory, make up the first choice total of 1,129 (60,5 per cent). The second choice total is 11.
4. Twenty-three petitions received at Jenin, Haifa, and Nazareth just before the Damascus program was adopted, left the choice of mandate to the Syrian Congress. This means, therefore, an additional 23 for American first choice and British second choice total.
1-2-3. The petitions favoring the Zionist program have been analyzed above in the discussion of programs. In opposition to these are the 1,350 (72.3 per cent) petitions protesting against Zionist claims and purposes. This is the third largest number for any one point and represents a more widespread general opinion among both Moslems and Christians than any other. The anti-Zionist note was especially strong in Palestine, where 222 (85.3 per cent) of the 260 petitions declared against the Zionist program. This is the largest percentage in the district for any one point.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I. The Area Under British Occupation
(O. E. T. A. SOUTH)
Owing to changes of plan at a late date, the commission arrived in Jaffa at a time when the British authorities were not expecting it, and the program followed there was arranged mainly without their help. The endeavor was made to ascertain the opinions and desires of every important group, sect, and organization, of a few well-informed representative individuals, and of significant minorities or sub-divisions, especially in cases where there seemed to be disposition, for any reason, to suppress these. Because of the numerous sub-divisions of the Christians and particularly of the Roman Catholics, it was inevitable that from the beginning the commission would give a disproportionate number of interviews and amount of time to them. The commissioners had prepared a statement of their purposes, to be found elsewhere in this report, which was read to important groups, and given to the press in lieu of interviews. Care was taken to make it clear, in response to frequent questioning, that the policy of the United States in regard to accepting a mandate anywhere was unformed and unpredictable, and that the commission had no power of decision. Automobiles were secured from the American Committee for Relief in the Near East, in order to be as little as possible dependent upon others than Americans. Word was given out that the commission would not accept general social invitations or consent to demonstrations.
On leaving Jaffa the commission stopped at two Jewish schools and took luncheon at the Hichon-le-Sion colony, where it met the chief men of several Jewish colonies, as well as the members of the central Zionist Commission.
A week was spent in Jerusalem, with two days out for visiting Bethlehem, Hebron, and Beersheba. A limited amount of hospitality was accepted in a quiet way from the British and French officials. In order that none might be offended the heads of the various religious groups were received, although some of them, as for instance the Copts and Abyssinians had little to say along the line of the inquiry
After leaving Jerusalem, a rapid journey was made through northern Palestine, delegations being received at Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Nazareth, Haifa and Acre. At most of these places groups came in, not only front the surrounding country, but from other administrative centers which it was impossible to visit.
2. The Attitude of the Occupying Government
The British officials, from Major General Sir Arthur Money, who was in command of O. E. T. A. South, down to the youngest officer, were courteous, obliging, and helpful. Most of them had had Indian, Egyptian, or Soudanese experience before the Great War. As a body they gave an impression of ability, efficiency, and a serious effort to administer the country for the good of the people.
It should be noted here that General Allenby detailed to accompany the commission as aid Lt. Col. J. K. Watson, who had served for years in a similar capacity with Lord Kitchener and later with the Khedive of Egypt. His thoughtfulness, kindness, and efficiency though the circumstances of travel were often trying, were unfailing, and the comfort, good health, and success in the investigation of the Commission were largely furthered by him.
3. Wishes of the People
The Moslems constitute about four-fifths of the actual population of Palestine, according to a recent British census. Except for certain official groups they were practically unanimous for the independence of United Syria, and were responsive to the current political influences. The organizations met at Jaffa took the position that Syria is capable of self-government without a mandatory power, but if one should be insisted upon by the Peace Conference, they preferred the United States.
At Jerusalem, however, and in all other places in Palestine, the program of independence was affirmed. For the most part, the question of a mandate was referred, either in writing, or more often in response to questions, to the approaching Syrian Congress at Damascus, at which they would have representation. Some Moslems, especially in the South, maintained emphatically that they could accept no mandate whatever. It is evident that since the Damascus Congress later declared for American assistance, with the British as second choice, and emphatic refusal of the French,: this is the program to which the great majority of the Moslems of Palestine are committed. Probably most of them had it in mind when they declared for reference to Damascus.
The Christians of Palestine, who altogether constitute less than ten per cent of the population, showed more difference of opinion. Some groups in the north, as the Latin Catholics of Tiberias and Haifa and most of the Christians of Nazareth, were with the Moslems for independence and the reference to Damascus. Maronites and Greek Catholics, and usually the Latin Catholics, were for a French mandate. The Greek Orthodox everywhere, according to an agreed program, were for a British mandate, as were several scattering groups. None asked directly for the United States, though the opinion was expressed that if there were assurance that we would come if asked, most Christians would favor this solution. The Christians were in general strongly in favor of a mandatory power, which should exercise a real control. The Jews, who constitute a little more than ten per cent of the population, were all for Zionism, under a British mandate. The Moslem and Christian population was practically unanimous against Zionism, usually expressing themselves with great emphasis. This question was closely connected with that of the unity of all Syria under one Government.
The Jews of Palestine declared themselves unanimously in favor of the Zionistic scheme in general, though they showed difference of opinion in regard to the details and the process of its realization. The elements of agreement may be stated as follows:
- Palestine, with a fairly large area, to be set aside at once as a "national home" for the Jews.
- Sooner or later the political rule of the land will become organized as a "Jewish Commonwealth,"
- At the start authorization will be given for the free immigration of Jews from any part of the world; for the unrestricted purchase of land by the Jews, and for the recognition of Hebrew as an official language.
- Great Britain will be the mandatory power over Palestine, protecting the Jews and furthering the realization of the scheme.
- The Great Powers of the world have declared in favor of the scheme, which merely awaits execution.
Differences exist especially along two lines:
- Whether the Jewish Commonwealth should be set up soon or after a considerable lapse of time.
- Whether the chief emphasis should be upon a restoration of the ancient mode of life, ritual, exclusiveness and particularism of the Jews, or upon economic development in a thoroughly modern fashion, with afforestation, electrification of water-power, and general full utilization of resources.
5. The Custody of the Holy Places
For four centuries the Turk has served as guardian of the peace between Moslems, Christians and Jews, and even between the different sects of each, in the Holy Land. Nor has his function been merely nominal: being really a foreigner and having upon himself the responsibility of government, he has on the whole well maintained the status quo, or policed slow and delicate changes in one direction or another. Now that his authority is gone, a substitute must be provided, whatever be the new regime. This might be the mandatory power. If, however, any Roman Catholic power should receive the mandate, trouble would arise from the fact than at present the Catholics feel unfairly treated and claim increase of privilege at the expense of the Greek Orthodox. A Catholic power would be tempted promptly to disturb the equilibrium, especially during the eclipse of the power of Russia.
There is already a "Custodian of the Holy Places" for the Roman Catholics. Might not this idea be extended to the constitution of a permanent Commission for the Holy Places, on which might be placed this man, and representatives of Greek Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Sunnite Islam, Shiite Islam, and Judaism? The Commission might be given authority and means to guard and care for all the places in Palestine that are sacred to the three religions, and to adjudicate all disputes about their custody. Its composition should ensure conservatism and promote harmony.
II. The Area Under French Occupation
1. The Commission reached Beirut after having visited Palestine and the southern half of the territory occupied by the Arab forces. Two days were spent in interviews in the city, and visits were paid by automobile to points from Tyre to Batrun. General Allenby was kind enough to place his yacht the "Maid of Honor" at the disposal of the Commission, and thus Tripoli, Alexandretta and Ladikiya were seen. Delegations were thus heard from every part of O. E. T A. West. Arrangements as to program, demonstrations, and the like, were in general maintained as in other areas. The French officials were at great pains to arrange suitably for the hearings of the Commission, and to provide for its comfort and well-being.
The women of the Moslem Trades School at Beirut had woven a rug for presentation to the Peace Conference, which is interesting as being a map, patterned so as to show the area claimed by Syrian Nationalists for United Syria.
2. Wishes of the People
In general the situation was in accordance with that in Palestine and the Damascus area. With few exceptions the Moslems were for American or British assistance according to the "Damascus Program"; the Druses were for an English Mandate, the Maronites and all varieties of Catholics were for France. But the Greek Orthodox were divided, instead of standing for a British Mandate as usually in Palestine and Damascus. The Ismailians were mostly for France, and the Nusairiyeh were divided.
Those who stood for a French Mandate were of different opinions as regards the place and relationship of Lebanon in Syria. From Tyre to Tripoli they mostly followed a rigid formula which calls for a Greater Lebanon, absolutely independent of the rest of Syria, and under France; the supporters of this view showed no response to the idea of Syrian national unity, and apparently wish to become French citizens at an early moment.
Others desire the unity of Syria under the French Mandate, preferring ordinarily that the Lebanon District should be enlarged and given a high degree of autonomy.
In the Lebanon proper the majority is probably sincerely for a French, as opposed to a British mandate. The Commission could not inquire whether those who declared for France were well disposed toward an American Mandate, in case this were possible and a French Mandate for any reason undesirable; but there were a number of emphatic assurances that the great majority of the population, including even the Maronites, prefers America to any other; this is said to be based upon America's unselfish part in the war, her generosity before and after the armistice, and the personal relationships established by the large number of Lebanese who have gone to live for shorter or longer periods in the United States and to return home loyal.
The Druses ask emphatically to be left out of the Lebanon in case it be given to France,
But outside the Lebanon proper, in the areas which it is proposed to include in the "Greater Lebanon," such as Tyre, Sidon, "Hollow Syria," and Tripoli, a distinct majority of the people is probably averse to French rule. This includes practically all the Sunnite Moslems, most of the Shiites, a part of the Greek Orthodox Christians, and the small group of Protestants. Most of these ask earnestly for America, with Britain as second choice; the balance for Britain with America as second choice.
In the rest of the O.E.T.A. West, north of the proposed Greater Lebanon, the majority is probably against a French Mandate in any circumstances. A considerable proportion of the remainder are averse to a separation from the interior of the country, and place the unity of Syria above their preference for France.
It is worthy of note that whereas the Syrian nationalists everywhere distinctly and by name rejected the assistance of France, no one who supported France declared for a specific rejection of England or America. In a number of instances, however, the fear was expressed by Christians that England, if made the mandatory power, would show more favor to Moslems than to Christians.
3. The Lebanon
The mountainous area set off in 1861 to be under the nominal protection of six European powers, with a Christian governor, has been a particular interest of France ever since. The population is largely Maronite and Roman Catholic. As in the case of all regions that have been removed from the direct jurisdiction of the Porte, progress has been comparatively rapid; roads have been built, trees planted, and a large number of stone houses erected. Money earned in America has helped greatly in these improvements. The Maronite ecclesiastical and monastic organizations have increased greatly in wealth in these years
The Lebanon has been freed from the burden of military service, and taxes have consequently been light. The area has been predominantly Christian and the Christians have enjoyed rather more than their proportion of the offices. Druses on the other hand have shown a tendency to emigrate to join their brethren in the Hauran, and they resent the inequalities of treatment to which they have been subjected.
The French policy of "colonization" shows its fruits in many inhabitants of this area, as well as of Beirut and other parts of Syria, who feel that they know French better than Arabic, and who are apt to hold themselves as of a distinctly higher order of civilization than the people of the interior. It is among these that the idea of a complete political separation of the Lebanese area from the rest of Syria has taken root.
The propinquity of this area led the Turkish government to be lenient and favorable to Christians and others in adjacent regions, so that no very sharp line of difference of prosperity is visible. Nevertheless the appeal of lighter taxes and military service, greater security and opportunities for office-holding has an effect upon Christians in neighboring areas, so that many of them incline toward a Greater Lebanon under a permanent French mandate. But there is a considerable party, even among the pro-French, who are opposed to becoming a part of France. This is in fact the official Maronite position.
Any revision of the situation should not diminish the security of the inhabitants of the Lebanon, but should raise the rest of Syria to a like security. This can be provided for in a United Syria by a sufficient measure of local autonomy. Care should be taken to avoid leaving this portion of the country in a position of perpetual special privilege, in which the common burdens would rest more heavily on other areas.
III. The Area Under Arab Occupation
1. The Commission spent nine days in Damascus, six of which were filled up with interviews, held with representatives of religious and political groups, councils and boards of the Government, and prominent officials and other notable persons of every grade, including even the Emir Feisal and General Allenby. More time was spent here than anywhere else in Syria, because Damascus will he the capital of United Syria, if such be created, and an Arab government over O. E. T. A. East is already in operation there, showing much activity and endeavoring by accomplishment, display, and intrigue to prepare the way for the larger unity. During the Commission's visit, the "Syrian Congress" met, whose charter and program are described below. The bazars were placarded with the signs "We want absolute independence," and these were removed by government orders. The interview of the Commission with the Mufti, Radi, and Ulema was published with considerable accuracy in the local newspapers (of course by no act or permission of the Commission) and this gave rise to animated discussions on the part of the people and the press. The Commission accepted hospitality from the Emir Feisal on two occasions.
In the midst of the stay in Damascus a trip was taken southward to Amman and Deraa for the purpose of conferring with people from the edge of the desert. The note received from all Moslems was for complete independence without protection or a mandatory power; but recognizing that they need financial and economic advice, they proposed after the recognition of independence to ask advisers from America. Eloquent Arab orators appealed to America, as having freed them, to uphold their independence before the Peace Conference, saying that they hold our country responsible before God for completing the work we have begun. The Christians, who are few in these areas, were in great fear. They desire that a strong mandatory power be appointed over Syria, so that they may have full protection; they prefer that Britain be that power, and that the area be annexed to and governed with Palestine.
After leaving Damascus, a day was spent at Baalbek, where was encountered first the struggle for and against annexing "Hollow Syria" (known as the Bekaa) to the Greater Lebanon. After ten days in O. E. T. A. West, the Arab area was entered again by the road from Tripoli to Homs. Delegations were heard at Homs and Hama, after which three days were spent in Aleppo. Besides hearing delegations of all important Allepine groups and opinions, visits were paid to the centers of relief for refugee Armenians.
The claim for the independence of Mesopotamia was presented very vigorously in the north. Certain groups at Aleppo were much interested, however, in pushing the boundary of Syria well to the east, so as to include the Syrian desert.
2. Attitude of the Occupying Government
The higher Arab officials include a number of men of dignity, ability, intelligence, and apparent honesty and patriotism. Practically all are Syrian born. Some of them, as General Haddad Pasha, chief of police and gendarmerie, and Said Pasha Zoucair, financial adviser, have been trained under British Administration in Egypt, and others, as Col. Yussef Bey, aide-de-camp of the Emir Feisal, General Jaafar Pasha, Military Governor of Aleppo, and Ihsan Allah Djabri, Mayor of Aleppo, have had their education and experience in the Turkish service. Most of the lower officials in this area (as well as in the other O. E. T. A. regions) have simply been continued from the Turkish regime, and in many cases are said to practice extortions and malversations much as under the former Government.
Every effort was made to do honor to the Commission and execute its wishes. Sometimes ostentatious attempts were made to give the impression of absolute non-interference with freedom of access to an expression before the Commission.
3. Wishes of the People
The declarations in O. E. T. A. East were much nearer to unanimity than in the South or the West, as may be seen by a glance at the Tables of "Petition Summaries." The greater part of the declarations both oral and written. conformed to the resolutions of the Syrian Congress at Damascus, which is discussed separately below. This program was reached by the action of conflicting forces, in the presence of a general feeling that it was overwhelmingly important for reasons of national safety to reach unity of expression. The pressure brought to bear by the Government and the different political parties was of undoubted weight in bringing into line opinions of a more extreme sort, such as those in favor of independence in the highest degree and those which called for a perpetual strong mandatory control. But on the whole there can be no doubt that the main elements of this program represent the popular will as nearly as that can be expressed in any country.
The people of the area declared themselves almost unanimously for United Syria, for its complete independence, and against any help from France, and against the Zionist program. The Moslems were in nearly unanimous agreement upon a request for American assistance. The Jews asked for autonomy for themselves, and the Zionist scheme for their brethren in Palestine. The Druses were for the Arab Government under a British mandate. The Christians were divided, partly by sects and partly by geographical location. All of the few Christians in the south, including Latin Catholics were for a British mandate, with America in case for any reason Britain cannot come. So also were the Greek Orthodox of Damascus and a portion of the Greek Orthodox farther north. The small groups of Protestants were for an Anglo-Saxon mandate, some preferring America and some Britain. The Orthodox Syrians were for America. All the Catholics (except at Amman and Deraa) and the Maronites were for France. Nearly all of the Christians were for a strong mandatory control.
4. The Syrian Congress at Damascus
From the time of reaching Jerusalem, the Commission began to be told of a congress that was in preparation, to be held soon at Damascus, which would for a large part of the population determine the question of a mandate. Sessions were held while the Commission was at Damascus, and on the last day there, a deputation presented to the Commission the program that had been prepared.
The Congress was not elected directly by the people, or by a fresh appeal to the people, the reason given being that time was lacking to revise the voting lists and carry through a new scheme. At the last Turkish election, before the war, electors were chosen to select deputies for the Turkish parliament. The survivors of these electors chose the members of the Damascus Congress. Criticisms were made against the plan of choice to the effect that it was unconstitutional and extra-constitutional, that the electors had mostly belonged to the Party of Union and Progress, and that the members of the Congress were not distributed in proportion to population. Sixty-nine members attended, and about 20 others from the west and north had been elected, but bad not arrived. There were a number of Christians in the Conference, but no Jews, though some Jews among the electors were said to have given their approval. Much evidence goes to show that the program prepared represents well the wishes of the people of Syria. The program is as follows:
"We, the undersigned, members of the General Syrian Congress, meeting in Damascus on Wednesday, July 2, 1919, made up of representatives from the three Zones, viz., the Southern, Eastern, and Western, provided with credentials and authorizations by the inhabitants of our various districts, Moslems, Christians, and Jews, have agreed upon the following statement of the desires of the people of the country who have elected us to present them to the American Section of the International Commission; the fifth article was passed by a very large majority; all the other articles were accepted unanimously.
"1. We ask absolutely complete political independence for Syria within these boundaries. The Taurus System on the North; Rafeh and a line running from Al-Juf to the south of the Syrian and the Mejazian line to Akaba on the south; the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers and a line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al-Juf on the east; and the Mediterranean on the west
"2. We ask that the Government of this Syrian country should be a democratic civil constitutional Monarchy on broad decentralization principles, safeguarding the rights of minorities, and that the King be the Emir Feisal who carried on a glorious struggle in the cause of our liberation and merited our full confidence and entire reliance.
"3 Considering the fact that the Arabs inhabiting the Syrian area are not naturally less gifted than other more advanced races and that; they are by no means less developed than the Bulgarians, Serbians, Greeks, and Roumanians at the beginning of their independence, we protest against Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, placing us among the nations in their middle stage of development which stand in need of a mandatory power.
"4. In the event of the rejection by the Peace Conference of this just protest for certain considerations that we may not understand, we, relying on the declarations of President Wilson that his object in waging war was to put an end to the ambition of conquest and colonization, can only regard the mandate mentioned in the Covenant of the League of Nations as equivalent to the rendering of economical and technical assistance that does not prejudice our complete independence. And desiring that our country should not fall a prey to colonization and believing that the American Nation is farthest from any thought of colonization and has no political ambition in our country, we will seek the technical and economic assistance from the United States of America, provided that such assistance does not exceed twenty years.
"5. In the event of America not finding herself in a position to accept our desire for assistance we will seek this assistance from Great Britain, also provided that such assistance does not infringe the complete independence and unity of our country, and that the duration of such assistance does not exceed that mentioned in the previous article.
"6. We do not acknowledge any right claimed by the French Government in any part whatever of our Syrian country and refuse that she should assist us or have a hand in our country under any circumstances and in any place.
"7. We oppose the pretentions of the Zionists to create a Jewish commonwealth in the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, and oppose Zionist migration to any part of our country; for we do not acknowledge their title, but consider them a grave peril to our people from the national, economical, and political points of view. Our Jewish compatriots shall enjoy our common rights and assume the common responsibilities.
"8. We ask that there should be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country. We desire that the unity of the country should be guaranteed against partition under whatever circumstances.
"9. We ask complete independence for emancipated Mesopotamia and that there should be no economical barriers between the two countries.
"10. The fundamental principles laid down by President Wilson in condemnation of secret treaties impel us to protest most emphatically against any treaty that stipulates the partition of our Syrian country and against any private engagement aiming at the establishment of Zionism in the southern part of Syria, therefore we ask the complete annulment of these conventions and agreements.
"The noble principles enunciated by President Wilson strengthen our confidence that our desires emanating from the depths of our hearts, shall be the decisive factor in determining our future; and that President Wilson and the free American people will be supporters for the realization of our hopes, thereby proving their sincerity and noble sympathy with the aspiration of the weaker nations in general and our Arab people in particular.
"We also have the fullest confidence that the Peace Conference will realize that we would not have risen against the Turks, with whom we had participated in all civil, political, and representative privileges, but for their violation of our national rights, and so will grant us our desires in full in order that our political rights may not be less after the war than they were before, since we have shed so much blood in the cause of our liberty and independence.
"We request to he allowed to send a delegation to represent us at the Peace Conference to defend our rights and secure the realization of our aspirations."
The program mostly speaks sufficiently for itself. Various points in it are commented upon elsewhere in this report. It is the most substantial document presented to the Commission, and deserves to be treated with great respect. The result of an extensive and arduous political process, it affords a basis on which the Syrians can get together, and as firm a foundation for a Syrian national organization as can be obtained. The mandatory power will possess in this program a commitment to liberal government which will be found to be very valuable in starting the new state in the right direction.
- The Commission did not endeavor to give thorough hearings in this region, feeling that it is not seriously to be considered a part of Syria, and desiring not to open up as yet the question of the Turkish-speaking portion of the former Turkish Empire.
- The population statistics vary considerably, but there can be no doubt of a marked Moslem majority in Cilicia before the war, now probably somewhat increased.
2. Wishes of the People
- The Turks here, like most of those heard previously, wish to retain Turkish unity under the house of Osman, and leave the question of what shall be the Mandatory Power, if any, to the Turkish Government at Constantinople.
- The Arabs (who are mainly Turkish-speaking, but are chiefly Nusairiyeh or Alouites) ask for union with Syria under a French mandate.
- The Armenians (who are also chiefly Turkish-speaking) ask for the union of Cilicia with Armenia under an American mandate.
- The other Christians, a small minority, are mostly for France, particularly the Greeks who are working in close relation with the French in the northern regions of Turkey.
It was impossible for the Commission to visit Mesopotamia at this time. Earnest requests to make such a visit were presented at Damascus and Aleppo, accompanied by complaints that the British occupying forces are restricting freedom of speech, movement, and political action, and that they show signs of an intention to allow extensive immigration from India, to the great detriment of the rights and interests of the inhabitants of the region.
A committee at Aleppo presented a program for Mesopotamia which parallels closely the "Damascus Program" for Syria. An abstract of their claims follows:
- Mesopotamia should be completely independent, including Diarbekir, Deir-ez-Zor, Mosul, Bagdad, and Muhammerah.
- The Government should be a constitutional civil kingdom.
- The king should be a son of the King of the Hejaz, either Abdullah or Zeid.
- Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations is protested against.
- No outside government should interfere in the country.
- After the recognition of independence technical and economical assistance is to be asked for from America
- Objection is raised to all immigration and especially to that of Hindus and Jews.
- The complete independence of Syria is asked for.
- It is asked that there be no interference of France in Syria.
It will be noticed that conformably to the custom of all nascent nations, wide boundaries are claimed, which would involve difficulties with adjacent areas, such as Deir-ez-Zor with Syria, Diarbekir with Armenia, and Muhammerah with Persia.
The Orthodox [Nestorian?-Ed.] Syrian Patriarch, from Der Zafran, near Mardin, met the Commission at Homs. He stated that 90,000 of his people were slain in 1915; when the British came in 1918, all were willing to submit to their rule; but emissaries came from Constantinople to stir up the Kurds and Arabs in favor of independence, and now the situation is much worse, the area occupied by his people should go with Mesopotamia, under the mandate of either America or Britain.
The entire data have been given, thus so fully as to make it possible to test at every point the legitimacy of the inference drawn from the data, and of the final recommendations for action by the Peace Conference.
Further data from our final inference and recommendations were afforded by comprehensive reports of the entire survey, made by all three advisers. The recommendations of the Commissioners have thus been shaped in the light of surveys made from different points of view, and taking into account a wide range of considerations-local, national racial, and religious considerations both of principle and of practical policy; and of the world's dire need of a peace everywhere justly and so permanently based.
II. General Considerations
1. The Commissioners have sought to make their survey of Syria, and the report upon Syria now submitted, in the spirit of the instructions given them by the Council of Four, and especially in harmony with the resolutions adopted on January 30, 1919, by the Representatives of the United States, Great Britain France, Italy and Japan, and with the Anglo-French Declaration of November 9, 1918, both quoted at length in the Commission's instructions. The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth of the resolutions adopted on January 30th are particularly pertinent to this report, and should be here recorded. The general purpose of the Peace Conference Concerning these areas in the former Turkish Empire is here clearly disclosed.
2. For similar reasons, and more particularly because of the historical mis-government by the Turks of subject peoples and the terrible massacres of Armenians and others in recent years, the Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that Armenia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Arabia must be completely severed from the Turkish Empire. This is without prejudice to the settlement of other parts of the Turkish Empire.
3. The Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that advantage should be taken of the opportunity afforded by the necessity of disposing of these colonies and territories formerly belonging to Germany and Turkey which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, to apply to these territories the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in the constitution of the League of Nations.
4. After careful study they are satisfied that the best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should he entrusted to advanced nations who, by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical positions, can best undertake this responsibility, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as mandatories on behalf of the League of Nations.
5. The Allied and Associated Powers are of opinion that the character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions, and other similar circumstances.
6. They consider that certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatory power until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the mandatory power....
In every case of mandate, the mandatory state shall render to the League of Nations an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.
The Anglo-French Declaration [Note: This Charter of Freedom, issued a few days prior to the Armistice, is the standard by which the Near East judges the post-Armistice conduct of Europe.] was spread broadcast throughout Syria and Mesopotamia, and, as bearing directly upon our problem, may also well be called to mind at this point:
The aim which France and Great Britain have in view in prosecuting in the East the war let loose by German ambition is the complete and final liberation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the native population.
In order to give effect to these intentions, France and Great Britain have agreed to encourage and assist the establishment of native governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia already liberated by the Allies, and in the territories which they are proceeding to liberate, and they have agreed to recognize such governments as soon as they are effectively established. So far from desiring to impose specific institutions upon the populations of these regions, their sole object is to ensure, by their support and effective assistance, that the governments and administrations adopted by these regions of their own free will shall be exercised in the normal way. The function which the two Allied Governments claim for themselves in the liberated territories is to insure impartial and equal justice for all; to facilitate the economic development of the country by encouraging local initiative; to promote the diffusion of education; and to put an end to the division too long exploited by Turkish policy.
Of this Declaration, M. Pichon very properly said in the French Chamber December 29, 1918: "Of course we admit the complete freedom of the Conference, and its right to give these agreements their proper conclusions, but these agreements are binding both upon England and upon us." This statement is the more significant because it is exactly these two peoples of the Allies who are immediately related to the problems in the Arabic-speaking portions of the Turkish Empire. Our survey made it clear that this Anglo-French Declaration and similar utterances of the Peace Conference, and President Wilson's Fourteen Points, had made a deep impression upon the Syrian people and lay in the background of all their demands. The promises involved not only cannot justly be ignored by the Peace Conference, but should be faithfully fulfilled. This is particularly true of the British-French Declaration; for it is completely in accord with the repeated statements of the aims of the Allies, and was expressly directed to the Arabic-speaking portions of the Turkish Empire especially Syria and Mesopotamia.
It is noted that these resolutions of January 30, 1919, and this Declaration of November 9, 1918, clearly look to complete separation of the Arabic-speaking areas from Turkey propose that Syria and Mesopotamia shall not be colonies in the old sense at all; shall not be exploited for the benefit of the occupying power; but shall rather be directly encouraged and assisted in developing national independence as quickly as possible. And the Declaration makes the promises equally binding for Syria and Mesopotamia.
The resolutions and declaration invoked in the instructions given to our Commission thus form the basis of the whole policy of sending a Commission, and of ascertaining the desires of the people.
The sincerity of the professed aims of the Allies in the war, therefore, is peculiarly to be tested in the application of these aims in the treatment of the Arabic-speaking portions of the former Turkish Empire. For the promises here made were specific and unmistakable. It is worth consideration, too, that the whole policy of mandatories under the League of Nations might here be worked out with special success, and success here would encourage the steady extension of the policy elsewhere, and do something so significant for world progress as to help to justify the immeasurable sacrifices of the war. There is also probably no region where the Allies are freer to decide their course in accordance with the principles they have professed.
The gravity of the Syrian problem is further to be seen in certain well-known facts. The fact that the Arabic-speaking portion of the Turkish Empire has been the birthplace of the three great religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and that Palestine contains places sacred to all three, makes inevitably a center of interest and concern for the whole civilized world. No solution which is merely local or has only a single people in mind can avail.
As a portion of the bridge-land uniting Europe, Asia, and Africa, too-where in a peculiar degree the East and the West meet-Syria has a place of such strategic importance, politically and commercially, and from the point of view of world civilization, as also to make it imperative that the settlement here brought about should be so just as to give promise of permanently good results for the whole cause of the development of a righteous civilization in the world. Every part of the former Turkish Empire must be given a new life and opportunity under thoroughly changed political conditions.
The war and the consequent breaking up of the Turkish Empire, moreover, give a great opportunity—not likely to return—to build now in Syria a Near East State on the modern basis of full religious liberty, deliberately including various religious faiths, and especially guarding rights of minorities. It is a matter of justice to the Arabs, in the recognition of the Arab people and their desire for national expression, and of deep and lasting concern to the world, that an Arab state along modern political lines should be formed. While the elements are very various, the interests often divisive, and much of the population not yet fitted for self-government, the conditions are nevertheless as favorable as could be reasonably expected under the circumstances to make the trial now. The mixed and varied populations have lived together with a fair degree of unity under Turkish domination, and in spite of the divisive Turkish policy. They ought to do far better under a state on modern lines and with an enlightened mandatary.
In any case, the oversight of a mandatory power, and of the League of Nations, would prevent this attempt from taking such a course as that taken by the Young Turk Movement. The Arabs, too, will know that this is their best opportunity for the formation of an Arab State, and will be put on their mettle to achieve a distinct success. The insight and breadth of sympathy revealed by Emir Feisal make him peculiarly well fitted, also, for the headship of a State involving both Oriental and Occidental elements. The trial at least could safely be made under a sympathetic mandatary Power, and made with good promise of success. If the experiment finally failed division of territory could still follow. But to begin with division of territory along religious lines is to invite increasing exclusiveness, misunderstanding, and friction. As Dr. W. M. Ramsay has said concerning certain other portions of the Turkish Empire:
"The attempt to sort our religions and settle them in different localities is wrong and will prove fatal. The progress of history depends upon diversity of population in each district."
And there is real danger in breaking Syria up into meaningless fragments.
Any policy adopted, therefore, for Syria should look to "the establishment of a national government and administration deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the native populations," and should treat it as far as possible in harmony with its natural geographic and economic unity. This is the natural course to be taken, if at all feasible. It is directly in line with the expressed purpose of the Peace Conference.
And it is the plain object of the desires and ambitions of a large majority of the population concerned.
It is interesting, also, to find that both British and French officers in Syria seemed agreed in the belief that the unity of all Syria under one mandatary was desirable; and that there were certain to be constant friction and dangers to peace among British, French, and Arabs, if both British and French remained in the country.
On the other hand, the practical obstacles to the unity of Syria are: The apparent unwillingness of either the British or the French to withdraw from Syria-the British from Palestine, or the French from Beirut and the Lebanon; the intense opposition of the Arabs and the Christians to the Zionist Program; the common Lebanese demand for complete separate independence; the strong feeling of the Arabs of the East against any French control; the fear on the part of many Christians of Moslem domination; and the lack of as vigorous a Syrian national feeling as could be desired. These obstacles will be discussed in the recommendations of the Commissioners.
In the light, now, of these practical obstacles to the unity of Syria, of the general considerations favoring that unity, and of the wide range of data secured by our survey, we turn to our recommendations.
The commissioners make to the Peace Conference the following recommendations for the treatment of Syria:
- We recommend, as most important of all, and in strict harmony with our Instructions, that whatever foreign administration (whether of one or more powers) is brought into Syria, should come in not at all as a colonizing Power in the old sense of that term, but as a Mandatary under the League of Nations with the clear consciousness that "the well-being and development" of the Syrian people form for it a "sacred trust."
- To this end the mandate should have limited term, the time of expiration to be determined by the League of Nations, in the light of all the facts as brought out from year to year, in the annual reports of the Mandatary to the League or in other ways.
- The Mandatary Administration should have, however, a period and power sufficient to ensure the success of the new state, and especially to make possible carrying through important educational and economic undertakings, essential to secure founding of the State.
- The Mandatary Administration should be characterized from the beginning by a strong and vital educational emphasis, in clear recognition of the imperative necessity of education for the citizens of a democratic state, and for the development of a sound national spirit. This systematic cultivation of national spirit is particularly required in a country like Syria, which has only recently come to self-consciousness.
- The Mandatary should definitely seek, from the beginning of its trusteeship, to train the Syrian people to independent self-government as rapidly as conditions allow, by setting up all the institutions of a democratic state, and by sharing with them increasingly the work of administration, and so forming gradually an intelligent citizenship, interested unselfishly in the progress of the country, and forming at the same time a large group of disciplined civil servants.
- The period of "tutelage" should not be unduly prolonged, but independent self-government should be granted as soon as it can safely be done, remembering that the primary business of governments is not the accomplishment of certain things, but the development of citizens.
- It is peculiarly the duty of the Mandatary in a country like Syria, and in this modern age, to see that complete religious liberty is ensured. both in the constitution and in the practice of the state, and that a jealous care is exercised for the rights of all minorities. Nothing is more vital than this for the enduring success of the new Arab State.
- In the economic development of Syria, a dangerous amount of indebtedness on the part of the new state should be avoided, as well as any entanglements financially with the affairs of the Mandatary Power. On the other hand the legitimate established privileges of foreigners such as rights to maintain schools, commercial concessions, etc., should be preserved, but subject to review and modification under the authority of the League of Nations in the interest of Syria. The Mandatary Power should not take advantage of its position to force a monopolistic control at any point to the detriment either of Syria or of other nations; but it should seek to bring the new State as rapidly as possible to economic independence as well as to political independence.
Whatever is done concerning the further recommendations of the Commission, the fulfillment of at least the conditions now named should be assured, if the Peace Conference and the League of Nations are true to the policy of mandataries already embodied in "The Covenant of the League of Nations." This should effectively guard the most essential interests of Syria, however the machinery of administration is finally organized. The Damascus Congress betrayed in many ways their intense fear that their country would become, though under some other name, simply a colonial possession of some other Power. That fear must be completely allayed.
- We recommend, in the second place that the unity of Syria be preserved, in accordance with the earnest petition of the great majority of the people of-Syria:
- The territory concerned is too limited, the population too small and the economic, geographic, racial and language unity too manifest, to make the setting up of independent states within its boundaries desirable, if such division can possibly be avoided. The country is very largely Arab in language, culture, traditions, and customs.
- This recommendation is in line with important "general considerations" already urged, and with the principles of the League of Nations, as well as in answer to the desires of the majority of the population concerned.
- The precise boundaries of Syria should be determined by a special commission on boundaries, after the Syrian territory has been in general allotted. The Commissioners believe, however, that the claim of the Damascus Conference to include Cilicia in Syria is not justified, either historically or by commercial or language relations. The line between the Arabic-speaking and the Turkish-speaking populations would quite certainly class Cilicia with Asia Minor, rather than with Syria. Syria, too, has no such need of further seacoast as the large interior sections of Asia Minor.
- In standing thus for the recognition of the unity of Syria, the natural desires of regions like the Lebanon which have already had a measure of independence, should not be forgotten. It will make for real unity, undoubtedly, to give a large measure of local autonomy, and especially in the case of strongly unified groups. Even the "Damascus Program" which presses so earnestly the unity of Syria, itself urges a government "on broad decentralization principles."
Lebanon has achieved a considerable degree of prosperity and autonomy within the Turkish Empire. She certainly should not find her legitimate aspirations less possible within a Syrian national State. On the contrary, it may be confidently expected that both her economic and political relations with the rest of Syria would be better if she were a constituent member of the State, rather than entirely independent of it.
As a predominantly Christian country too, Lebanon naturally fears Moslem domination in a unified Syria. But against such domination she would have a fourfold safeguard; her own large autonomy: the presence of a strong mandatary for the considerable period in which the constitution and practice of the new State would be forming, the oversight of the League of Nations, with its insistence upon religious liberty and the rights of minorities; and the certainty that the Arab Government would feel the necessity of such a state, if it were to commend itself to the League of Nations. Moreover, there would be less danger of a reactionary Moslem attitude, if Christians were present in the state in considerable numbers, rather than largely segregated outside the state, as experience of the relations of different religious faiths in India suggests.
As to predominantly Christian country, it is also to be noted that Lebanon would be in a position to exert a stronger and more helpful influence if she were within the Syrian state, feeling its problems and needs and sharing all its life, instead of outside it absorbed simply in her own narrow concerns. For the sake of the larger interests, both of Lebanon and of Syria, then, the unity of Syria is to be urged. It is certain that many of the more thoughtful Lebanese themselves hold this view. A similar statement might be made for Palestine; though, as "the Holy Land" for Jews and Christians and Moslems alike, its situation is unique, and might more readily justify unique treatment, if such treatment were justified anywhere. This will be discussed more particularly in connection with the recommendation concerning Zionism.
- We recommend, in the third place that Syria be placed under one Mandatary Power, as the natural way to secure real and efficient unity\.
- To divide the administration of the provinces of Syria among several mandataries, even if existing national unity were recognized- or to attempt a joint mandatary of the whole on the commission plan: -neither of these courses would be naturally suggested as the best way to secure and promote the unity of the new State, or even the general unity of the whole people. It is conceivable that circumstances might drive the Peace Conference to some such form of divided mandate, but it is not a solution to be voluntarily chosen, from the point of view of the larger interests of the people, as considerations already urged indicate.
- It is not to be forgotten either, that, however they are handled politically the people of Syria are there, forced to get on together in some fashion. They are obliged to live with one another-the Arabs of the East and the people of the coast, the Moslems and the Christians. Will they be helped or hindered, in establishing tolerable and finally cordial relations, by a single mandatary ? No doubt the quick mechanical solution of the problem of difficult relations is to split the people up into little independent fragments. And sometimes, undoubtedly, as in the case of the Turks and Armenians, the relations are so intolerable as to make some division imperative and inevitable. But in general, to attempt complete separation only accentuates the differences and increases the antagonism. The whole lesson of the modern social consciousness points to the necessity of understanding "the other half," as it can be understood only by close and living relations. Granting reasonable local autonomy to reduce friction among groups, a single mandatary ought to form a constant and increasingly effective help to unity of feeling throughout the state, and ought to steadily improve group relations.
The people of Syria, in our hearings, have themselves often insisted that, so far as unpleasant relations have hitherto prevailed among various groups, it has been very largely due to the direct instigation of the Turkish Government. When justice is done impartially to all; when it becomes plain that the aim of the common government is the service of all classes alike, not their exploitation, decent human relations to be secured-a foundation which could not be obtained by dividing men off from one another in antagonistic groups.
The Commissioners urge, therefore, for the largest future good of all groups and regions alike, the placing of the whole of Syria under-a single mandate.
- We recommend, in the fourth place, that Emir Feisal be made head of the new united Syrian State\.
- This is expressly and unanimously asked for by the representative Damascus Congress in the name of the Syrian people, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that the great majority of the population of Syria sincerely desire to have Emir Feisal as ruler.
- A constitutional monarchy along democratic lines, seems naturally adapted to the Arabs, with their, long training under tribal conditions, and with their traditional respect for their chiefs. They seem to need; more than most people, a king as the personal symbol of the power of the State.
- Emir Feisal has come, too, naturally into his present place of power, and there is no one else who could well replace him. He had the great advantage of being the son of the Sherif of Mecca, and as such honored throughout the Moslem world. He was one of the prominent Arab leaders who assumed responsibility for the Arab uprising against the Turks, and so shared in the complete deliverance of the Arab-speaking portions of the Turkish Empire. He was consequently hailed by the "Damascus Congress" as having "merited their full confidence and entire reliance." He was taken up and supported by the British as the most promising candidate for the headship of the new Arab State-an Arab of the Arabs, but with a position of wide appeal through his Shefifian connection, and through his broad sympathies with the best in the Occident. His relations with the Arabs to the east of Syria are friendly, and his kingdom would not be threatened from that side. He undoubtedly does not make so strong an appeal to the Christians of the West Coast, as to the Arabs of the East, but no man can be named who would have a stronger general appeal. He is tolerant and wise, skillful in dealing with men, winning in manner, a man of sincerity, insight, and power. Whether he has the full strength needed for his difficult task it is too early to say, but certainly no other Arab leader combines so many elements of power as he, and he will have invaluable help throughout the mandatary period.
The Peace Conference may take genuine satisfaction in the fact that an Arab of such qualities is available for the headship of this new state in the Near East.
- We recommend, in the fifth place, serious modification of the extreme Zionist program for Palestine of unlimited immigration of Jews, looking finally to making Palestine distinctly a Jewish State\.
- The Commissioners began their study of Zionism with minds predisposed in its favor, but the actual facts in Palestine, coupled with the force of the general principles proclaimed by the Allies and accepted by the Syrians have driven them to the recommendation here made.
- The commission was abundantly supplied with literature on the Zionist program by the Zionist Commission to Palestine; heard in conferences much concerning the Zionist colonies and their claims; and personally saw something of what had been accomplished. They found much to approve in the aspirations and plans of the Zionists, and had warm appreciation for the devotion of many of the colonists and for their success, by modern methods, in overcoming natural obstacles.
- The Commission recognized also that definite encouragement had been given to the Zionists by the Allies in Mr. Balfour's often quoted statement in its approval by other representatives of the Allies. If, however, the strict terms of the Balfour Statement are adhered to -favoring "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights existing in non-Jewish communities in Palestine"-it can hardly be doubted that the extreme Zionist Program must be greatly modified\.
For "a national home for the Jewish people" is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the "civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission's conference with Jewish representatives, that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase.
In his address of July 4, 1918, President Wilson laid down the following principle as one of the four great "ends for which the associated peoples of the world were fighting":
"The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery."
If that principle is to rule, and so the wishes of Palestine's population are to be decisive as to what is to be done with Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non-Jewish population of Palestine-nearly nine tenths of the whole-are emphatically against the entire Zionist program. The tables show that there was no one thing upon which the population of Palestine were more agreed than upon this. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted, and of the people's rights, though it kept within the forms of law
It is to be noted also that the feeling against the Zionist program is not confined to Palestine, but shared very generally by the people throughout Syria as our conferences clearly showed. More than 72 per cent-1,350 in all-of all the petitions in the whole of Syria were directed against the Zionist program. Only two requests-those for a united Syria and for independence-had a larger support This genera] feeling was only voiced by the "General Syrian Congress," in the seventh, eighth and tenth resolutions of the statement. (Already quoted in the report.)
The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms. The officers generally thought that a force of not less than 50,000 soldiers would be required even to initiate the program. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist program, on the part of the non-Jewish populations of Palestine and Syria. Decisions, requiring armies to carry out, are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not gratuitously to be taken in the interests of a serious injustice. For the initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a "right" to Palestine, based on an occupation of 2,000 years ago, can hardly be seriously considered.
There is a further consideration that cannot justly be ignored, if the world is to look forward to Palestine becoming a definitely Jewish state, however gradually that may take place. That consideration grows out of the fact that Palestine is "the Holy Land" for Jews, Christians, and Moslems alike. Millions of Christians and Moslems all over the world are quite as much concerned as the Jews with conditions in Palestine especially with those conditions which touch upon religious feeling and rights. The relations in these matters in Palestine are most delicate and difficult. With the best possible intentions, it may be doubted whether the Jews could possibly seem to either Christians or Moslems proper guardians of the holy places, or custodians of the Holy Land as a whole.
The reason is this: The places which are most sacred to Christians-those having to do with Jesus-and which are also sacred to Moslems, are not only not sacred to Jews, but abhorrent to them. It is simply impossible, under those circumstances, for Moslems and Christians to feel satisfied to have these places in Jewish hands, or under the custody of Jews. There are still other places about which Moslems must have the same feeling. In fact, from this point of view, the Moslems, just because the sacred places of all three religions are sacred to them have made very naturally much more satisfactory custodians of the holy places than the Jews could be. It must be believed that the precise meaning, in this respect, of the complete Jewish occupation of Palestine has not been fully sensed by those who urge the extreme Zionist program. For it would intensify, with a certainty like fate, the anti-Jewish feeling both in Palestine and in all other portions of the world which look to Palestine as "the Holy Land."
In view of all these considerations, and with a deep sense of sympathy for the Jewish cause, the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference, and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.
There would then be no reason why Palestine could not be included in a united Syrian State, just as other portions of the country, the holy places being cared for by an International and Inter-religious Commission, somewhat as at present under the oversight and approval of the Mandatary and of the League of Nations. The Jews, of course, would have representation upon this Commission.
The recommendations now made lead naturally to the necessity of recommending what power shall undertake the single Mandate for all Syria.
- The considerations already dealt with suggest the qualifications, ideally to be desired in this Mandatary Power: First of all it should be freely desired by the people. It should be willing to enter heartily into the spirit of the mandatary system, and its possible gift to the world, and so be willing to withdraw after a reasonable period, and not seek selfishly to exploit the country. It should have a passion for democracy, for the education of the common people and for the development of national spirit. It needs unlimited sympathy and patience in what is practically certain to be a rather thankless task, for no Power can go in honestly to face actual conditions (like land-ownership, for example) and seek to correct these conditions, without making many enemies. It should have experience in dealing with less developed peoples, and abundant resources in men and money.
- Probably no Power combines all these qualifications, certainly not in equal degree. But there is hardly one of these qualifications that has not been more or less definitely indicated in our conferences with the Syrian people and they certainly suggest a new stage in the development of the self-sacrificing spirit in the relations of peoples to one another. The Power that undertakes the single mandate for all Syria, in the spirit of these qualifications will have the possibility of greatly serving not only Syria but the world, and of exalting at the same time its own national life. For it would be working in direct line with the high aims of the Allies in the war, and give proof that those high aims had not been abandoned. And that would mean very much just now, in enabling the nations to keep their faith in one another and in their own highest ideals.
- The Resolutions of the Peace Conference of January 30, 1919, quoted in our instructions, expressly state for regions to be "completely severed from the Turkish Empire," that "the wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory Power." Our survey left no room for doubt of the choice of the majority of the Syrian people. Although it was not known whether America would take a mandate at all; and although the Commission could not only give no assurances upon that point, but had rather to discourage expectation; nevertheless, upon the face of the returns, America was the first choice of 1,152 of the petitions presented-more than 60 per cent-while no other Power had as much as 15 per cent for first choice\.
And the conferences showed that the people knew the grounds upon which they registered their choice for America. They declared that their choice was due to knowledge of America's record, the unselfish aims with which she had come into the war, the faith in her felt by multitudes of Syrians who had been in America; the spirit revealed in American educational institutions in Syria, especially the College in Beirut, with its well known and constant encouragement of Syrian national sentiment, their belief that America had no territorial or colonial ambitions, and would willingly withdraw when the Syrian state was well established as her treatment both of Cuba and the Philippines seemed to them to illustrate; her genuinely democratic spirit, and her ample resources.
From the point of view of the desires of the "people concerned," the Mandate should clearly go to America.
- From the point of view of qualifications, too, already stated as needed in the Mandatary for Syria, America as first choice of the people, probably need not fear careful testing, point by point, by the standard involved in our discussion of qualifications, though she has much less experience in such work than Great Britain, and is likely to show less patience and though her definite connections with Syria have been less numerous and close than those of France. She would have at least the great qualification of fervent belief in the new mandatary system of the League of Nations, as indicating the proper relations which a strong nation should take toward a weaker one. And though she would undertake the mandate with reluctance, she could probably be brought to see, how logically the taking of such responsibility follows from the purposes with which she entered the war and from her advocacy of the League of Nations.
- There is the further consideration that America could probably come into the Syrian situation, in the beginning at least, with less friction than any other Power. The great majority of Syrian people, as has been seen, favor her coming, rather than that of any other power. Both the British and the French would find it easier to yield their respective claims to America than to each other. She would have no rival imperial interests to press. She would have abundant resources for the development of the sound prosperity of Syria, and this would inevitably benefit in a secondary way the nations which have had closest connection with Syria, and so help to keep relations among the Allies cordial. No other Power probably would be more welcome, as a neighbor, to the British, with their large interests in Egypt, Arabia and Mesopotamia; or to the Arabs and Syrians in these regions; or to the French with their long-established and many-sided interests in Beirut and the Lebanon.
- The objections to recommending at once a single American Mandate for all Syria are: first of all, that it is not certain that the American people would be willing to take the Mandate- that it is not certain that the British or French would be willing to withdraw, and would cordially welcome America's coming, a situation which might prove steadily harassing to an American administration; that the vague but large encouragement given to the Zionist aims might prove particularly embarrassing to America, on account of her large influential Jewish population- and that if America were to take any mandate at all, and were to take but one mandate, it is probable that an Asia Minor Mandate would be more natural and important. For there is a task there of such peculiar and worldwide significance as to appeal to the best in America, and demand the utmost from her, and as certainly to justify her in breaking with her established policy concerning mixing in the affairs of the Eastern hemisphere. The Commissioners believe, moreover, that no other Power could come into Asia Minor, with hands so free to give impartial justice to all the peoples concerned.
To these objections as a whole, it is to be said, that they are all of such a kind that they may resolve themselves; and that they only form the sort of obstacles that must be expected, in so large and significant an undertaking. In any case they do not relieve the Commissioners from the duty of recommending the course which, in their honest judgment, is the best courses and the one for which the whole situation calls.
The Commissioners, therefore, recommend, as involved in the logic of the facts, that the United States of America be asked to undertake the single Mandate for all Syria.
If for any reason the mandate for Syria is not given to America, then the Commissioners recommend, in harmony with the express request of the majority of the Syrian people, that the mandate be given to Great Britain. The tables show that there were 1,073 petitions in all Syria for Great Britain as Mandatary, if America did not take the mandate. This is very greatly in excess of any similar expression for the French.
On the contrary-for whatever reason -more than 60 per cent of all the petitions, presented to the Commission, directly and strongly protested against any French Mandate. Without going into a discussion of the reasons for this situation, the Commissioners are reluctantly compelled to believe that this situation itself makes it impossible to recommend a single French mandate for all Syria.
The feeling of the Arabs of the East is particularly strong against the French. And there is grave reason to believe that the attempt to enforce a French Mandate would precipitate war between the Arabs and the French, and force upon Great Britain a dangerous alternative. The Commissioners may perhaps be allowed to say that this conclusion is contrary to their own earlier hope, that-because of France's long and intimate relations with Syria, because of her unprecedented sacrifices in the war, and because the British Empire seemed certain to receive far greater accessions of territory from the war-it might seem possible to recommend that France be given the entire mandate for Syria. But the longer the Commission remained in Syria, the more clear it became that that course could not be taken.
The Commissioners recommend, therefore that if America cannot take the mandate for all Syria, that it be given to Great Britain; because of the choice of the people concerned; because she is already on the ground and with much of the necessary work in hand; because of her trained administrators; because of her long and generally successful experience in dealing with less developed peoples; and because she has so many of the qualifications needed in a Mandatary Power, as we have already considered them.
We should hardly be doing justice however, to our sense of responsibility to the Syrian people, if we did not frankly add some at least of the reasons and misgivings, variously expressed and implied in our conferences, which led to the preference for an American mandate over a British mandate. The people repeatedly showed honest fear that in British hands the mandatary power would become simply a colonizing power of the old kind; that Great Britain would find it difficult to give up the colonial theory, especially in case of a people thought inferior; that she would favor a civil service and pension budget too expensive for a poor people; that the interests of Syria would be subordinated to the supposed needs of the Empire; that there would be, after all, too much exploitation of the country for Britain's benefit; that she would never be ready to withdraw and give the country real independence; that she did not really believe in universal education, and would not provide adequately for it, and that she already had more territory in her possession-in spite of her fine colonial record-than was good either for herself or for the world.
These misgivings of the Syrian people unquestionably largely explain their demand for "absolute independence," for a period of "assistance" of only twenty years, their protest against Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations etc. They all mean that whatever Power the Peace Conference shall send into Syria, should go in as a true mandatary under the League of Nations, and for a limited term. Anything else would be a betrayal of the Syrian people.
It needs to be emphasized, too, that under a true mandatary for Syria, all the legitimate interests of all the nations in Syria would be safeguarded. In particular, there is no reason why any tie that France has had with Syria in the past should be severed or even weakened under the control of another mandatary power, or in an independent Syria.
There remains only to be added, that if France feels so intensely concerning her present claims in Syria, as to threaten all cordial relations among the Allies, it is of course possible to give her a mandate over the Lebanon (not enlarged) separated from the rest of Syria, as is desired by considerable groups in that region. For reasons already given, the Commissioners cannot recommend this course, but it is a possible arrangement.
CHARLES R. CRANE,
HENRY C. KING.
II. The Report Upon Mesopotamia
In view of the Resolutions, passed by the Peace Conference on January 30, 1919, and of the Anglo-French Declaration of November 9, 1918-on the eve of the Armistice-both of which documents class Syria and Mesopotamia together to be treated in the same way, and make to them the same promises and assurances, the Commissioners recommend that the Peace Conference, adopt for Mesopotamia a policy in general parallel to that recommended for Syria, in order that the Anglo-French Declaration may not become another "scrap of paper."
- We accordingly recommend, as most important of all, and in strict harmony with our instructions, that whatever foreign administration is brought into Mesopotamia should come into Mesopotamia not at ail as a colonizing power in the old sense of that term, but as a mandatary under the League of Nations, with clear consciousness that "the well-being and development" of the Mesopotamian people form for it a sacred trust. To this end the Mandate should have a limited term, the time of expiration to be determined by the League of Nations, in the light of all the facts as brought out from year to year, whether in the annual reports of the Mandatary to the League or in other ways\.
The entire text of the first recommendation for Syria, with its subordinate recommendations, applies point by point to Mesopotamia as truly as to Syria.
If the Peace Conference. the League of Nations, and the appointed Mandatary Power loyally carry out the policy of mandataries embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations, the most essential interests of Mesopotamia would be fully safeguarded-but only so.
- We recommend, in the second place that the unity of Mesopotamia be preserved: the precise boundaries to be determined by a special commission on boundaries, after the mandate. has been assigned. It should probably include at least the Vilayets of Basra, Bagdad, and Mosul. And the Southern Kurds and Assyrians might well be linked up with Mesopotamia. The wisdom of a united country needs no argument in the case of Mesopotamia.
- We recommend, in the third place, that Mesopotamia be placed under one Mandatary Power, as the natural way to secure real and efficient unity. The economic, political, social and educational development of the people all call for such a unified mandate. Only waste confusion, friction, and injury to the people's interests could come from attempting a division and "spheres of influence" on the part of several nations. But this implies that the Mandatary Power shall not itself be an exploiting power, but shall sacredly guard the people's rights.
- Since it is plainly desirable that there be general harmony in the political and economic institutions and arrangements of Mesopotamia and Syria, and since the people themselves should have chief voice in determining the form of government under which they shall live we recommend that the Government of Mesopotamia, in harmony with the apparent desires of its people, be a Constitutional Monarchy, such as is proposed for Syria; and that the people of Mesopotamia be given opportunity to indicate their choice of Monarch, the choice to be reviewed and confirmed by the League of Nations. It may be fairly assumed that the 1,278 petitions from Syrians for the independence of Mesopotamia-68.5 per cent of the total number received-reflects the feeling in Mesopotamia itself; and such contact as we have been able to secure with Mesopotamians confirms the assumption, and leads to the belief that the program, presented at Aleppo by representative Mesopotamians, headed by Jaafar Pasha, Military Governor of the Aleppo District, and practically parallel to the Damascus Program, would be generally supported by the Mesopotamian people. Whether this support extends to each item in the program alike, and so to the naming of a King from the sons of the King of the Hedjaz, we have not sufficient data to determine, and so have recommended that a plebiscite be taken upon that point; although there is British evidence that many Mesopotamians have expressed themselves in favor of one of the sons of the King of the Hedjaz as Emir.
- The Mesopotamian Program expresses its choice of America as Mandatary, and with no second choice. Undoubtedly there has been a good deal of feeling in Mesopotamia against Great Britain, and the petitions specifically charge the British authorities in Mesopotamia with considerable interference with freedom of opinion, of expression, and of travel, much of which might be justified in time of military occupation. But feeling so stirred might naturally breed unwillingness to express desire for Great Britain as Mandatary\.
On the other hand, the material in the pamphlet called "Copies and Translations of Declarations and other Documents relating to Self-Determination in Iraq" (Mesopotamia) was called out by an attempt on the part of the British Government in Mesopotamia to secure the opinions of leading men of all groups concerning "self-determination." This material just because reported directly to British officials, is doubtless somewhat more favorable to the British than it would otherwise be; hut it gives unquestionably good evidence of much opinion likely to choose a British mandate. And after all the range of choice of a mandatary, of sufficient power and experience and of essential justice, is decidedly limited, and it is by no means improbable that if the Mesopotamians were confronted by a refusal of America to take a mandate for Mesopotamia, they would make Great Britain at least second choice, as the majority of the Syrians did. There is supplementary evidence also upon this point.
Now it seems so unlikely that America could or would take a mandate for Mesopotamia, in addition to the possible consideration of Syria and Asia Minor, that the Commissioners recommend that the Peace Conference assign the mandate for Mesopotamia to Great Britain: because of the general reasons already given for recommending her as mandatary in Syria if America does not go in there, because she is probably best of all fitted for the particular task involved, in view of her long relations with the Arabs; in recognition of the sacrifices made by her in delivering Mesopotamia from the Turks, though with no acknowledgment of right of conquest, as her own statements expressly disclaim; because of the special interests she naturally has in Mesopotamia on account of its nearness to India and its close connections with Arabia; and because of work already done in the territory.
These reasons make it probable that the largest interests of the people of Mesopotamia as a whole will be best served by a British Mandate, in spite of the fact that from the point of view of world-interests, in the prevention of jealousy, suspicion, and fear of domination by a single Power, it were better for both Britain and the world that no further territory anywhere be added to the British Empire. A British mandate however, will have the decided advantage of tending to promote economic and educational unity throughout Mesopotamia and Syria whether Syria be under Great Britain or America-and so will reflect more fully than ever before, the close relations in language, customs, and trade between these parts of the former Turkish Empire.
In a country so rich as Mesopotamia in agricultural possibilities, in oil, and in other resources, with the best intentions there will inevitably be danger of exploitation and monopolistic control by the Mandatary Power, through making British interests supreme, and especially through large Indian immigration. This danger will need increasingly and most honestly to be guarded against. The Mesopotamians feel very strongly the menace particularly of Indian immigration, even though that immigration should be confined to Moslems. They dread the admixture of another people of entirely different race and customs, as threatening their Arabic civilization.
HENRY C KING,
CHARLES R. CRANE
III. Report Upon Non-Arabic Speaking Portions of Former Ottoman Empire
The method of inquiry, in making our survey of the Asia Minor portion of our task has necessarily differed from that followed in the study of Syria. For our ultimate duty, according to our instructions, is ''to form an opinion of the divisions of territory and assignment of mandates which will be most likely to promote the order, peace, and development" of the peoples concerned.
Now we faced in Turkey a unique situation as to mandates. In Syria we were in a region already virtually separated from the Turkish Empire, a region whose boundaries were in general clear, and a region recognized as under a temporary government In such a territory, it was entirely feasible to go from community to community to seek the desires of the peoples concerning a mandate. -None of these conditions held for Asia Minor.
For in the case of the proposed State of Armenia, for example, the territory was not yet set off, nor its boundaries even approximately known; the Armenians were not largely present in any of the territory to be assigned; the wishes of the Armenians themselves as to mandates were already known, and the wishes of the rest of the population could not be taken primarily into account, since the establishment of the Armenian State would be in a sense penal for the Turkish people, and naturally to be accepted only as a necessity.
If a Constantinopolitan State were to be set off similar difficulties, in getting the wishes of the people upon a mandate, would be encountered. For the primary interest in such a State is a world interest, rather than a local one; the population would be likely to shift considerably with so new a policy, and so the choice of the present population, especially in such troublous times, would not be particularly significant; and the fact that a large element of the population belongs to the official class would make an unbiased opinion hardly possible.
Even in the portions of Asia Minor sure to be left with the Empire, an inquiry for choice of mandate, like that conducted in Syria, was not practicable. For the Peace Conference had not declared-at least up to the present-that Turkey must have a mandatory power over her, and consequently it was largely within her own choice whether she should have any mandatory at all. She had also long been an independent country, so that the mandate would be inevitably somewhat modified and adjusted through agreement with the mandatary.
Moreover, even if an inquiry for choice of mandatary were feasible, It would be most difficult to get trustworthy results. For it is perfectly clear that opinion in Constantinople is not free to express itself. The Government pressure in various forms upon individuals and groups, and the partisan censorship of the press, are both manifest. In the case of an American mandate, too, it was not known whether America would take it at all, so that there was fear of punishment from some other power, if declarations were made for America and she did not actually accept the mandate. Like conditions held in the interior, and there is even less understanding there of the political situation, so that it was felt that there would not be much gain from further inquiry in other parts of the Empire, in addition to the frequent reports by various investigators to which we already had access.
The plainly imperative need of the whole country for as prompt a settlement as possible of its fate also led the Commission to give up visits to various parts of the Empire, in order not to defer its report and so possibly delay action by the Peace Conference. The Commissioners have had the less hesitancy hastening their report, because it was believed that the essential facts upon which recommendations must be based were already in hand.
In this situation, the method for our inquiry in Asia Minor has been: To build, first of all, on our two months' study in Paris of the Turkish problems in the course of which we used the reports and other material of the Western Asia division of the American experts, and had many conferences with experts there, and with able authorities coming direct from Turkey- to take full advantage of all the general work done in the survey of Syria, as part of the former Turkish Empire, with its fundamentally similar problems and its incidental side-lights; especially to see as many representative groups and individuals as possible in Constantinople, and so to get reports on all phases of our inquiry, and from all parts of Asia Minor; to supplement the information so received with reports, for recent months, of the American Embassy and Consular Offices (through the kind co-operation of Admiral Bristol and Commissioner Ravndal ) and to supplement still further with reports of personal investigations by American Missionaries knowing the country thoroughly, and by representatives of the American Commission on Relief in the Near East, and of American business corporations.
In this way a large mass of valuable material has been brought together and studied by all three advisers-Dr. Albert H. Lybyer, Dr. George R. Montgomery and Capt. William Yale, U. S. A.-who summarized their inferences from it, and reported on special phases of the common problem. To test our conclusions, expert advice at all possible points was also sought from American and other leaders -many of them personally known by members of the Commission. The report of the Commissioners is based on the whole of the resulting evidence.
Our report falls naturally into five divisions; Pertinent action already taken by the Peace Conference dangers from a selfish division and exploitation of the Turkish Empire; considerations looking to a proper division of Turkey; resulting problems; and the Commission's recommendations.
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I. Pertinent Action Already Taken by the Peace Conference
To begin with, the action creating the Commission, of which the Commissioners now reporting make the American Section, was taken by the Council of Four. Our instructions were called: "Instructions for Commissioners from the Peace Conference to make inquiry in certain portions of the Turkish Empire which are to be permanently separated from Turkey and put under the guidance of governments acting as mandatories under the League of Nations." The Instructions then go on to say: "It is the purpose of the Conference to separate from the Turkish Empire certain areas comprising, for example, Palestine, Syria, the Arab countries to the cast of Palestine and Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Cilicia and perhaps additional areas in Asia Minor, and to put their development under the guidance of governments which are to act as mandatories of the League of Nations."
So far as concerns Asia Minor, this commits the Conference to two courses of action: Permanent separation from the Turkish Empire of "Armenia, Cilicia, and perhaps additional areas in Asia Minor"; and dealing with these territories under the mandatory, not colonial system.
That this is the deliberate purpose of the Council is further shown by the added statement: "It is expected that this will be done in accordance with the following resolutions, adopted by the representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan at a conference held at the Quai d'Orsay on January 30, 1919."
- Having regard to the record if the German administration in the colonies formerly part of the German Empire, and to the menace which the possession by Germany of submarine bases in many parts of the world would necessarily constitute to the freedom and security of all nations, the Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that in no circumstances should any of the German Colonies be restored to Germany.
- For similar reasons, and more particularly because of the historical mis-government by the Turks of subject peoples and the terrible massacres of Armenians and others in recent years, the Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that Armenia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Arabia must be completely severed from the Turkish Empire. This is without prejudice to the settlement of other parts of the Turkish Empire.
- The Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that advantage should be taken of the opportunity afforded by the necessity of disposing of these colonies and territories formerly belonging to Germany and Turkey which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, to apply to these territories the principles that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in the constitution of the League of Nations.
- After careful study they are satisfied that the best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who, by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical positions, can best undertake this responsibility, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as mandatories on behalf of the League of Nations.
- The Allied and Associated Powers are of opinion that the character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions, and other similar circumstances.
- They consider that certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatory power until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the mandatory power…
In every case of mandate, the mandatory state shall render to the League of Nations an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.
The resolutions clearly assert several things:
- That in settling the issues of the Turkish Empire, account may rightfully be taken of any "menace" to "the freedom and security of all nations";
- That "the historical misgovernment by the Turks of subject peoples and the terrible massacres of Armenians and others in recent years" constitute a special reason for separation of territory, but "without prejudice to the settlement of other parts of the Turkish Empire";
- That this separation of territory should be taken as a special opportunity to apply "the principle that the well-being and development of subject peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in the constitution of the League of Nations";
- That this principle should be carried out through the mandatory system which the remaining resolutions carefully define.
The instructions of the Commission then continue:
"And it is agreed that the administration of these mandates shall be in the spirit of the following document which was formally presented to the President of the United States on behalf of the Governments of Great Britain and France":
The aim which France and Great Britain have in view in prosecuting in the East the war let loose by German ambition is the complete and final liberation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the native populations.
In order to give effect to these intentions France and Great Britain have agreed to encourage and assist the establishment of native governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia already liberated by the Allies and in the territories which they are proceeding to liberate, and they have agreed to recognize such governments as soon as they are effectively established. So far from desiring to impose specific institutions upon the populations of these regions, their sole object is to ensure, by their support and effective assistance, that the governments and administrations adopted by these regions of their own free will shall be exercised in the normal way. The function which the two Allied Governments claim for themselves in the liberated territories is to ensure impartial and equal justice for all, to facilitate the economic development of the country by encouraging local initiative, to promote the diffusion of education, and to put an end to the divisions too long exploited by Turkish policy.
This is as admirable a statement of the spirit in which mandates should be administered as could be asked, and reflects honor on the two great Allies from whom it originally came.
Taken as a whole, the action of the Peace Conference, in which all the Allies have shared, reflected in the forming of the Commission on Mandates and embodied in the Instructions to the Commission, form a solid basis for the policy to be adopted in Asia Minor. It is no sentimental program, but it is just on the one hand, and considerate on the other. If the Conference proceeds, in its further dealings with Turkey, honestly and strongly and consistently to build on the foundations so prepared, essential justice will be done to all the peoples concerned, rankling wrongs will be set right, and the purposes of the Allies will be just so far vindicated.
And the Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that vindication is greatly needed just now. For there are set directly over against such a procedure as that now outlined and to which the Peace Conference is in principle and in all honesty committed, the still active policies of the old diplomacy of secret treaties and understandings and of division of spoils among victors. The direct consequences of such selfish and ultimately self-destructive policies are to be seen in all the world today. It is to be feared that some of the highest aims of the Allies in the war have already been well nigh lost because of these policies creeping in, in all manner of "settlements." It concerns the Peace Conference to decide whether the same fateful method is to be followed in Turkey.
II. The Dangers of a Selfish Division and Exploitation of the Turkish Empire
In considering recommendations concerning the future administration of large parts of the former Turkish Empire, involving millions of people, it is imperative that the Peace Conference should make clear to itself from the beginning the serious dangers involved in the selfish and divisive national and corporate policies into which the Allies have been drifting in their treatment of the Turkish Empire and should squarely challenge that drift at once.
No doubt this policy of selfish exploitation in Turkey is in its entirety not the deliberate aim of any Power. Much confusion has unavoidably prevailed. The demands upon the Allies and upon the Peace Conference have been beyond human power wholly to meet. Under the pressure of immediate necessity for some kind of action, many steps have been taken in good faith, which have later proved temptations to selfish advantage, and provocations to jealousy and suspicion. The situation, too, has been most complex, by reason of previous engagements, and of countless inter-relations of interest-private, party, national and international. This complexity has often made it honestly difficult to disentangle exactly the right course.
But, however the drift toward selfish exploitation of the Turkish Empire has come about, there should be no mistake about the fact or its dangers. It needs to be said and heeded that Constantinople is once again a nest of selfish, suspicious hateful intrigue, reaching out over the whole Empire, if not the world. What will it mean if this policy is allowed to prevail? In definitely raising this question, the Commissioners are not for an instant supposing that there is any easy and inexpensive solution of the Turkish problem. The justest solution at best will not be wholly welcome to Turkey, and will encounter her opposition. But in such a solution the Allies could at least know that their sacrifices were being; made for the establishment of progressively righteous relations among men, not for sowing the seeds of endless and bitter discord. In seeking, then, a practical plan for the righteous treatment of the Turkish Empire, the Allies should bear clearly in mind that their fidelity to their announced aims in the war is here peculiarly to be tested; and that, in the proportion in which the division of the Turkish Empire by the Allies is made a division of spoils by victors, and is primarily determined by the selfish national and corporate interests of the Allies, in just that proportion will grave dangers arise.
- Such a division, in the first place, would have to be forced upon the peoples concerned-not chosen by them. Every separate occupation of territory would be resented, and felt to be a constant injustice. The feeling of the Turkish people concerning the occupation of the Smyrna region by the Greeks is illustrative. They cannot be convinced that such seizure of territory can be harmonized with the professed principles of the Allies in the war. In such a case there is no possibility of laying the foundations of truly cordial relations with the Turkish people.
- In the second place, just because these occupations of territory have to be forced upon the Turks, a large number of troops would be required to establish and maintain each occupation. With the intolerable burdens which the war has brought upon all the nations, and with the insistent demands for the demobilization of troops, this would be certain to prove an increasingly serious situation. The number of troops required for an occupation looked upon as temporary and for police purposes, is no measure of the forces required to maintain an aggressive and permanent seizure of territory, as the Turks themselves proved to their sorrow both in Macedonia in 1903-06 and in Yemen through a series of years. The selfishly divisive policy will go far toward turning Turkey into an armed camp, and breeding a constant state of brigandage.
- It should not be forgotten, either in the third place, that this selfishly divisive policy would naturally provoke violent retaliation, as in the whole region of Smyrna. Such retaliation, too, is likely to be visited not only upon the immediate aggressors, but also upon the Christian populations generally. For a selfish division and exploitation of territory may easily induce in the Turks the attitude, that, since the worst from outside is probably to come upon them in any case, they may as well take the occasion to rid themselves entirely of those whom they look upon as internal enemies. In that case, the Allies would have to share the guilt of the Turks.
- Such selfish exploitation of Turkey, also, would not only certainly call out the resentment of the most solid portion of the American people, as emphatically not illustrating the ends for which America came into the war, but would also tend to alienate the best sentiment among all the Allies. To eliminate from the cause of the Allies this weight of moral judgment would involve a loss of influence in the world-already greatly diminished-not lightly to be faced.
- Such exploitation would mean, too, the deliberate sowing of dissension of the gravest kind among the Allies themselves, threatening the moral unity of their cause and entailing serious world consequences. This situation has already come to pass in no small degree. Only moral blindness can deny it. Suspicion and distrust are rife, and the meanest kind of intrigue against one another has been seen in not a few situations\.
It may be doubted if the moral unity of the Allies is more than a fraction of what it was in the war or in the early days of the Armistice. Now that is a calamity well nigh immeasurable and it can be cured by no mechanics. Are the Allies to go on increasing this moral dissension among the world's leaders, and deliberately inviting the moral shipwreck of the world by their policies in Turkey?
- Coupled with similar decisions already reached, selfish division and exploitation in Turkey would also go far to convince men of independent moral judgment all over the world-including many previously ardent upholders of the cause of the Allies-that the aims of the Allies had become as selfish and ruthless as those of the Germans had been. That would carry with it its own fateful consequences\.
For example, no thoughtful man who had the opportunity of watching in France the stream of American officers and soldiers and of able men enlisted for various forms of service to the soldiers, as they came and went, could fail to see among those men, as the Armistice went on, the spread, like a contagion, of depression and disillusionment as to the significance of the war aims, because of the selfish wrangling of the nations.
The fact should be squarely faced that thousands of Americans who served in the war have gone home disillusioned, greatly fearing, if not convinced, that the Allies had not been true to their asserted war aims, and have been consequently driven to an almost cynical view of the entire conflict-cynicism that made them feel like withdrawing all further American help, and henceforth washing their hands of the whole European imbroglio. This attitude has been reflected in many other American citizens who had been devoted supporters of the Allied cause. Now that is not a good result for America, for the Allied Powers or for the world.
But that situation, and similar situations among the best in all the Allies, can be changed only by some clear demonstration that somewhere and on a large and impressive scale, the often asserted high and unselfish aims of the Allies have been honestly carried out. That would come like an invigorating breeze out of the North, bringing new faith in men and in the genuineness of human ideals and endeavor. That opportunity is offered, in a peculiar degree, in the righteous settlement of the problems of the Turkish Empire.
No namby-pamby, sickly sentimental treatment is called for here. There are great and lasting wrongs in Turkey which must be set right. And there are world relations and interests honestly to be recognized and permanently to be satisfied. For the sake of justice to Turkey herself and to all her subject peoples; for the sake of the honor of the Allies and the renewed confidence of men in them, for the stemming of the tide of cynicism and selfish strife; for a fresh and powerful demonstration of moral soundness in the race; the Allies should recognize the grave danger of all selfish exploitation of Turkey, and turn their backs on every last vestige of it.
III. Consideration Looking to a Proper Division of the Turkish Empire
But if a selfishly exploiting division of the Turkish Empire is not justified it may be asked: Why is it necessary to divide Asia Minor, at least, at all? For: such a division there are at least two, great reasons: First, the hideous misgovernment and massacres of the Turkish rule- and second, Turkey's utter inadequacy to the strategic world position in which she is placed.
- In the first place, there cannot be left out of account the hideous mis-government of Turkey for centuries, even for citizens of the Turkish race\.
- One may recognize fully the agreeable and attractive personal qualities of the Turks that commonly make them the best liked, probably, of all the peoples of the Empire, and that almost unconsciously turn most foreigners who stay long in the country into pro-Turks. One may recognize, too, that there has long been in the Turkish Government a kind of negative, indolent tolerance of other peoples, that allowed them much of the time to go on in their own ways, though constantly despised, robbed, oppressed. It may be granted, also, that the Turks have been successful in keeping, through long periods, widely scattered areas together and giving them a sort of unity, by the method of "divide and rule," of leaving regional governments pretty largely to themselves so long as the Turkish revenues were obtained, and of using other races very largely as officials. It is only fair, also, to remember the very considerable amount of demoralization caused by the perpetual intriguing of European powers in Turkish affairs.
- But while all this may be freely admitted, it must still be clearly seen that the Government of the Turkish Empire has been for the most part a wretched failure, in spite of generally good laws. For that Government has been characterized by incessant corruption, plunder and bribery. It might almost be called a government of simple exploitation. So that Ramsay, who judges the Turk leniently, feels obliged to say: "The Turk is not naturally a good officer or a good official.... Bribery is the universal rule." And he speaks of the deep-seated mingled hatred and fear on the part even of the Turkish peasantry for government officials. In fact it is hardly too much to say that Turkish history shows gross neglect of the most ordinary and essential duties of a government in the Empire as a whole.
- And the treatment of the other subject races has been still worse than that of the Turks. For them nothing has been secure-whether property, lives, wives, or children. To all this have been added the horrible massacres of the Armenians, especially since Ab-dul-Hamil's time, and somewhat similar deportations of the Greeks. Both races have proved themselves abler, more industrious, enterprising, and prosperous than the Turks, and so have made themselves feared and hated doubtless not altogether without some provocation on their part in certain cases. And these massacres have been due to deliberate and direct government action, in which the Turkish people themselves have been too willing to share. They have not been crimes of the passion of the moment. And they have involved cruelties horrible beyond description\.
For it must not be forgotten that this thing was not done in a corner. The evidence for few events in history has been more carefully gathered, sifted and ordered. The Bryce report upon "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16," leaves no room for doubt of the essential facts. It is idle to attempt to deny it, or appreciably to mitigate its force.
Lord Bryce, himself a trained historian, says of the report: "Nothing has been admitted the substantial truth of which seems open to reasonable doubt." And in estimating the value of the evidence, he calls attention to these Facts:
- "Nearly all of it comes from eye witnesses",
- "the main facts rest upon evidence coming from different and independent sources";
- "facts of the same, or of a very similar nature, occurring in different places, are deposed to by different and independent witnesses,"—including Danish and German witnesses;
- "the volume of this concurrent evidence from different quarters is so large as to establish the main facts beyond all question";
- "in particular it is to be noted that many of the most, shocking and horrible accounts are those for which there is the most abundant testimony from the most trustworthy neutral witnesses. None of these cruelties rest on native evidence alone." And, he adds:
"A recollection of previous massacres will show that such crimes are a part of a long settled and often repeated policy of Turkish rulers… The attempts made to find excuses for wholesale slaughter and for the removal of a whole people from its homes leaves no room for doubt as to the slaughter and the removal. The main facts are established by the confession of the criminals themselves… The disapproval of palliations which the Turks have put forward is as complete as the proof for the atrocities themselves."
Mr. Moorfield Storey, ex-president of the American Bar Association, records the natural verdict of one skilled in the weighing of evidence, when he writes to Lord Bryce: "In my opinion, the evidence which you print is as reliable as that upon which rests our belief in many of the universally admitted facts of history, and I thins it establishes beyond all reasonable doubt the deliberate purpose of the Turkish authorities practically to exterminate the Armenians, and their responsibility for the hideous atrocities which have been perpetrated upon that unhappy people."
It is not pleasant to call these dark facts to mind, but unfortunately there is only the slightest evidence that the Turkish Government of people as a whole have recognized or repudiated the crime of the Armenian massacres, or done anything appreciable to set them right. Some small groups of Turks have characterized these crimes aright, but there is almost nothing to show repentance or the fruits of repentance on the part of the great majority of the people or of their leaders, or to give reasonable hope that the massacres might not be repeated; though there is doubtless some excuse for the comparative indifference with which these massacres have been regarded by the Turks, because of a certain amount of revolutionary activity on the part of Armenians in some cases, and because of the widespread wretchedness and want and sufferings of the whole Turkish population in ten years of war and disorder.
Now these crimes-black as anything in human history-cannot be simply forgotten and left out of account in seeking a righteous solution of the Turkish problem. If the rankest conceivable wrongs are not to be passed over in silence, it is inevitable that any just solution of the Turkish problem must contain that small measure of justice which it is now possible to render in this case.
It is strange that Lord Bryce in reviewing all the evidence concerning the Armenian massacres of 1915-16 should feel compelled to say: "The record of the rulers of Turkey for the last two of three centuries, from the Sultan on his throne to the district Mutessarif, is, taken as a whole, an almost unbroken record of corruption, of justice, of an oppression which often rises into hideous cruelty.... Can anyone still continue to hope that the evils of such a government are curable? Or does the evidence contained in this volume furnish most terrible and convincing proof that it cannot longer be permitted to rule over subjects of a different faith?"
Is it strange that he should be unable to shake off the conviction that these facts are inevitably knit up with a proper solution of the problem of Turkey?
"It is evidently desirable," he writes, "that the public opinion of the belligerent nations-and, I may add, of neutral peoples also should be enabled by knowledge of what has happened in Asia Minor and Armenia, to exercise its judgment on the course proper to be followed when, at the end of the present war, a political re-settlement of the Nearer East has to be undertaken."
Surely the Peace Conference was justified in its resolution:
"more particularly because of the historical mis-government by the Turks of subject peoples and the terrible massacres of Armenians and others in recent years, the Allied and Associated Powers are agreed that Armenia must be completely severed from the Turkish Empire."
That the formation of a separate Armenian State is the deliberate intention of the Peace Conference seems further indicated in the later actions of the Conference concerning Armenia, like the appointment of Colonel Haskell as High Commissioner in Armenia on behalf of the four Great Powers, and the appointment of Major General Harbord by President Wilson to investigate conditions in Armenia. Many incidental things also indicate the general expectation on the part of the Allies that an Armenian State will be formed.
- The great and primary reason for this decision by the Peace Conference, is undoubtedly to be found in the Armenian massacres which have just been reviewed. But it might still be asked whether the situation created by the massacres could be met only by the formation of a separate Armenia. For such a separation it must be admitted, involves very difficult problems. Why, then, is it necessary to set off an Armenian State? What are the reasons?
The only possible substitute for a separated Armenia is a general mandate by one of the Great Powers over all Asia Minor, which should ensure equal rights to all elements of the population-to all races, and to all religions. If such a mandate were honestly carried out, we should certainly hope for a far better government on modern lines. But under the proposed mandatory system of the League of Nations, it is intended that the mandate shall be for a limited period. Even if that period were considerably prolonged, what would happen when the Mandatary withdrew ? It is impossible to be sure, if the Turks still constituted the majority, that the state would not slump back into many of its old evils including oppression of other races. The history of the Turks, unfortunately, gives all too small reason to hope for more.
The reasons for a separate Armenia then, may be said to be because of the demonstrated unfitness of the Turks to rule over others, or even over themselves; because of the adoption of repeated massacres as a deliberate policy of State; because of almost complete lack of penitence for the massacres, or repudiation of the crime-they rather seek to excuse them- because practically nothing has been done by the Turks in the way of repatriation of Armenians or of reparations to them-a condition not naturally suggesting a repetition of the experiment of Turkish rule, because, on the contrary, there is evidence of intense feeling still existing against the Armenians, and implicit threatening of massacre, because there has been sufficient proof that the two races cannot live peaceably and decently together, so that it is better for both that they have separate states, because of complete failure of the strong clauses of the Treaty of 1878 to protect the Armenians; because the most elementary justice suggests that there must be at least some region in Turkey where Armenians can go and not have to live under Turkish rule, because nothing less than that could give to the Armenians any adequate guarantee of safety, consequently, nothing less will satisfy the conscience of the world upon this point; because in this day of opportunity for small nations under the League of Nations, the Armenians have surely earned the right, by their sufferings, their endurance, their loyalty to principles, their unbroken spirit and ambition, and their demonstrated industry, ability and self-reliance, to look forward to a national life of their own; because such a separate state would probably make more certain decent treatment of Armenians in other parts of Turkey; and because there is no adequate substitute for such a state. In the interests of the Armenians, of the Turks, and of the peace of the world alike, the formation of a separate Armenian State is to be urged.
- But the reasons for some righteous division of Turkey do not lie simply in that "historical mis-government." which justly challenges her rule over any other people; but also in her utter unfitness for the strategic world position in which she is placed. The very fact of her age-long misrule, coupled with her occupation of territory of critical significance to the world, constitutes her a "menace to the freedom and security of all nations," and makes unusual restriction in her case necessary, for the greater good of the world and of her own subject peoples:
- For Turkey is held, as Dominian has said, by "a people whose incompetence to convert nature's gifts into use or profit is historically patent."[ Dominian, "Frontiers of Language and Nationality In Europe," p. 236.)] But striking as has been their economic failure, the failure of the Turks has been far more than merely external or material. She has acted rather as a kind of blight upon all the peoples she has conquered. As Ramsey-possibly too strongly-puts it: "The action of the Turks in every department of life has simply been to ruin, never to rebuild.... They destroyed the intellectual and moral institutions of a nation, they broke up and dissolved almost the entire social fabric; they undermined every educating and civilizing influence in the land, and they brought back a great part of the country to the primitive simplicity of nomadic life.... There is hardly a social institution in Asia Minor, showing any degree of social constructiveness, that is not an older Anatolian creation, Moslemized in outward form, and usually desecrated in the process."[ Ramsey, "Impressions of Turkey " pp. 264.]
- Now the evil of this blighting influence of Turkish rule is vastly increased because of the critical significance of the territory which she occupies. First of all, in the words of another, "Turkey is before everything else a roadway-a bridge-land.... No solution of the political problem involved can be attained without full consideration of its geographic aspects.... Turkey has been a highway of commerce and civilization between Europe on the one hand and Asia and Africa on the other.... The through roads converging into the Turkish territory are probably the oldest commercial routes of the world. At any rate they connote the sites on which the most ancient civilization rose."
By position, then, Turkey lies "at the junction of three continents, and therefore on the main field of history," and is "the site of convergence of the main avenues of continental travel"; and becomes, thus, in a peculiar degree, "the meeting place of races which are generally associated with the three continents which the country unites. Aryan, Tatar, and Semitic peoples therefore are strongly represented in the land."
With this advantage of position her remarkable topography combined to "create Turkey's relation with the world beyond its borders." "This relation was facilitated by the admirable set of natural routes which lead in and out of the country", by the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, Turkish Straits, and the Black Sea, "the shores of which are closely dotted with the terminals of great avenues from northeastern Europe as well as all of northern and central Asia . . . and by 'the rift Valley of Syria."' Hence "the Eastern question is as old as the history of civilization on this particular spot of the inhabited world"-always "this momentous international problem of determining which people or nation shall control the Straits between Europe and Asia, who shall get toll from the enormous transit trade of the region." [See Dominian, pp. 248, 222, 228 230, 231]
Now under the new conception of a League of Nations, and of mandatory powers who are to think of the "well-being and development" of peoples temporarily placed under their care as a "sacred trust of civilization," it is proposed to change this age-old Eastern question from one of a selfish scramble among the nations to one of recognizing here a great and distinctly international or world interest; to make definite provision for this world interest, and yet not only with full justice to the Turkish people more immediately concerned, but to their greater advantage. For, except for a practically all-powerful nation, a position like that of Turkey, makes the land inevitably a perpetual prey of warring powers, so that Dominian could say quite truthfully of Turkey: "The land staggers under the load of misfortune which its central position in the Eastern Hemisphere has heaped upon it" The situation has been inevitably one of exceeding difficulty for Turkey.
Is it not high time, then, in this crisis of the world's history, and after the immeasurable sacrifices of the Great War, that intelligent men should recognize the stupid futility of the old method of incessant political and commercial national strife, and face this age-long Eastern question in a totally new spirit?
- But because Turkey has been so markedly a "bridge-land," it became also "the debatable land"; so that Ramsey can say that at the present day the central movement in Asia is, what it always has been, a conflict between the Eastern and Western spirit. "About 1070, most of Asia Minor became Oriental in language and in Government." "For near]y eight centuries the Oriental element reigned supreme, in Asia Minor and swept far into Europe.... But step by step Asia has been driven back, and in Asia Minor the old struggle has recommenced." "On the west coast of Asia Minor the Greek element has increased enormously in strength while the Turkish element has grown weaker." The Oriental element "dies out in these parts by a slow but sure decay." "A revival of Orientalism" was planned and directed by Abd-ul-Hamid and by the later Young Turk movement." "But even in the Eastern part of Asia Minor, the Oriental spirit is doomed." "Orientalism is ebbing and dying in the country."[Ramsey, "Impressions of Turkey," pp. 127, 129, 131, 157, 158.]
Ramsey's analysis is probably correct and important. But is there not something far greater to be looked for, than that gradual driving out of the "Oriental spirit" in Turkey? In one sense, doubtless, that spirit is doomed and must go. We are to be done with Oriental domination in Turkey, it may be hoped, when we get states which know in their citizens no privileged and unprivileged classes, but only equals before the law. But are we not also to he freed from Occidental domination? Was it not one of the greatest of the convictions of the Allies in the war, that no nation, no "Kultur," however great and fine it might be, was good enough to blot out all others ?
Are there not priceless Oriental values, gratefully to be recognized and sedulously to be preserved? And may not Turkey, just because she has been, through the ages, "bridge-land" and "debatable land," become in some rich and high sense mediating-land as well between the Occident and the Orient, teaching the nations how to combine the quietism of the East, and the pragmatism of the West; the religious dependence of the East, and the scientific mastery of natural forces of the West- the mental and spiritual fellowship of tie East, and the mental and spiritual independence of the West?
As illustrative of the spiritual values still resident in Islam, for example, may be mentioned the remarkable and inspiring achievements of the Senussi sect, in establishing a vast state in a most barren, unpromising land, and in up-lifting, organizing, and harmonizing a most backward and degenerated population in the heart of Africa within a comparatively few years, and under influences purely Moslem. Such a state should not be needlessly encroached upon. It rather affords ample warrant for expecting that under new democratic processes and in due time the Moslems will prove themselves able to build up and manage their own states in the Arabian and Anatolian peninsulas. If the Entente powers are sincere in their declarations not further to harass the Moslem world and so give excuse for a pan-Islamic movement, they should also at once definitely and publicly renounce all further political encroachments on that world, and outline a clear policy of uplifting the Moslems, already subject to their control, by enlarged opportunities both in education and in public service.
- With the vision of such larger possible goals for this "bridge-land" and "debatable land" of the Eastern Hemisphere, one approaches the problem of the control of Constantinople and the Straits in a different spirit. The situation is so unique, the relations so complex and far-reaching, the responsibilities so heavy, and the possibilities so enthralling, that no one nation can be equal to the task,-least of all a nation with Turkey's superlatively bad record of misrule. No situation in the world demands so compellingly international rule-not only to put an end here to the selfish scramble and perpetual intrigue of the nations, but also, above all, to rise to the possibilities of this strategic opportunity, for the benefit of all the race\.
This calls for a Constantinopolitan State, directly and permanently vested in the League of Nations, but best managed probably through a single mandatary as trustee, steadily responsible to the League and removable by the League.
Such a solution, at first sight, will undoubtedly be unwelcome to most Turks. But Turkey is simply not conceivably equal to a great world responsibility- and the larger world interests must prevail. Moreover it is certainly better for Turkey herself to be delivered from this intolerable responsibility, and to have her own government taken out of the midst of what has been through the centuries a center of boundless intrigue. The common people of Turkey would lead a much happier life in a state freed from outreaching imperialism, and at liberty to devote itself to the welfare of its own citizens.
- If one turns aside now for a moment from the immediate problem of Asia Minor to that of the former Turkish Empire as a whole, other reasons for division of the Turkish Empire may be suggested\.
- For one thing, there would be real danger, even under a mandate, in keeping intact the Turkish Empire as a whole-the danger of a later revival of the Turkish Empire and a repetition of its past history, on account of the often revived jealousies of the Powers. That danger is not to be lightly regarded.
- The Turkish Empire, too, as it has existed, is not truly a unit from any point of view,-certainly not the Arabic and the non-Arabic-speaking portions. Its interests-except those of good government-are not one. It is hardly too much to say that however much the land has been a single unit with reference to intercontinental travel and trade, the fact remains that it has been clearly subdivided within itself. There would probably be distinct gain. consequently, in similarly dividing its problems, and seeking separate solutions for them. Syria, Mesopotamia, and Arabia, for example each has a kind of unity of its own.
It was natural, therefore, that the Peace Conference should have resolved that Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Arabia should be completely severed from the Turkish Empire. The first three have already been dealt with in the preceding reports of this Commission. It may be briefly pointed out here, however, that these areas are naturally cut off from Turkey, because of their different language, customs, and civilization that the people do not wish further connection with Turkey, but were rather greatly rejoiced to be freed forever from the Turkish yoke; and that there is opportunity in the Arabic-speaking portions of the former Turkish Empire for at least two strong national states- Syria, including Palestine, and Mesopotamia, in accordance with the hopes of the Peace Conference and the desires of the people themselves. Both Syria and Mesopotamia should be, of course, under mandatories for a time.
- The considerations now dealt with looking to a righteous division of the Turkish portion of the former Ottoman Empire, clearly involve the setting off of an Arabian State, and of a Constantinopolitan State; but as clearly imply the continuance of a distinctly Turkish State, with guarantees of justice to all its constituent peoples. The resulting problems, now to be considered. therefore, naturally become: The problem of a separate Armenia; the problem of an international Constantinopolitan State; the problem of a continued Turkish State, the problem of the Greeks and of other minority races.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I. The Problem of a Separate Armenia
- The reasons why it is necessary that a separate Armenian State should be set up, have already been fully given. They need not be restated.
- The conception of such a State. It is well to have in mind the exact nature of the State proposed in this report in order to prevent misunderstandings on any side\.
It is not proposed in such a state to establish the rule of a minority of Armenians over a majority of other peoples. That would inevitably seem to the Turks to be very unjust, and would at once excite resentment and unremitting opposition. Moreover, such an arrangement would be unfair to the Armenians as well. For it would place them from the start in a false and untenable position. It would put them, too, under great temptation to abuse of power. And it would be no fair trial of a truly Armenian State. It would of course, also make any mandate mean little or nothing, if not make it entirely impossible.
But such a separated State should furnish a definite area into which Armenians could go with the complete assurance that there they would never be put under the rule of the Turks. It should be also a region in which Armenians could gradually concentrate, and from which the Turkish population might tend increasingly to withdraw; though no compulsion should be put on any people.
All this necessitates a strong Mandatory Power. The State could not even start without such help. This separated State should be therefore a state definitely under the rule of a Mandatory Government, organized on modern lines to do justice to all elements of the population: and a state from which the Mandatory should not withdraw, until the Armenians constituted an actual majority of the entire population, or at least until the Turks were fewer than the Armenians. This would necessarily mean that full Armenian self-government would be long delayed. And that fact should be definitely faced as inevitable. The conditions are such that there is no defensible alternative.
- The term of the Mandate is practically involved in the conception of the State, which is forced upon us. It cannot be a short-term mandate, not because of any reluctance to withdraw on the part of the Mandatory, but because under the peculiar circumstances, a true Armenian State cannot be established in a brief period of time, however ardent the desires of both the Armenians and the, Mandatory Power. For the Armenians cannot safely undertake the government independently, until they constitute an actual majority. There is also the added consideration of the natural need of considerable time for the amalgamation and consolidation of the Armenian people, as against some tendency to split up into fragments. The mandate must be long enough, too, to make the people thoroughly ready for both self-government and self-protection, through an increasing use of Armenians in the government even from the beginning.
- An American Mandate Desired. It seems universally recognized that the Armenians themselves desire an American Mandate. And this choice is apparently generally approved by America's Allies. The Turks, too, though not wishing any separate Armenian State, would probably favor an American Mandate for Armenia, if there must be an Armenia at all.
- The conditions upon which America would be justified in taking the mandate for Armenia may be said to be: The genuine desire of the Armenians; the cordial moral support of the Allies in carrying out the mandate; willingness on the part of the Armenians to bear with a pretty long mandatory term, for the reasons already stated, and to give up all revolutionary committees that Armenia should have territory enough to ensure a successful development; and that the peculiarly difficult mandate for Armenia should not be the only mandate given America in Turkey. None of these conditions, perhaps, call for comment, except the last, which will come up for later consideration.
- The Extent and Boundaries of the Armenian State. The General Adviser, Dr. Lybyer, has expressed so exactly the conditions of the Commissioners concerning the extent and boundaries of the Armenian State. that his statement may well replace any other discussion of this question:
- The Armenians should be provided with a definite territory, and organized as soon as practicable into a self-governing independent state. Otherwise the questions of their safety and of their ceasing to be a center of world disturbance cannot be answered.
- This area should be taken from both Turkish and Russian territory. The wars of the Nineteenth century divided the proper Armenian land between these two empires.
- The Armenians are entitled to an amount of Turkish territory which takes into account their losses by the massacres of 1894-6, 1908-9, and 1915-16. These losses may be estimated at one million. [This estimate of Armenian losses by mandate in the past thirty years is especially valuable in the light of conflicting statements]
- They should not be given an excessive amount of Turkish territory, if their state is to be practicable\.
- The Turks, Kurds, and other races should not be left with a just grievance, since that would solidify their traditional hostility, and embitter them against the League of Nations.
- It has been questioned, even by many of themselves, whether the Armenians are ready for self-government at present; certainly an imperial rule by them over other people should not be thought of for the present or the future.
- It is too much to ask of the League of Nations or a mandatory power that they undertake to hold down and perhaps squeeze out a large majority, in order that a small minority may have time to multiply and fill the land.
- There is a limit beyond which the project of ever producing an Armenian majority is actually not feasible; that is to say, if the Armenians are assigned too large an area, they will never be able to occupy and hold it.
- The idea has been suggested that Armenia should be developed as a wall of separation or a buffer state between the two Moslem areas occupied by Turks and Arabs. This might be done by a compact, homogeneous state with considerable population and resources, but it is a burden which the Armenian state cannot be expected to bear within a conceivable time.
- The proposed large Armenia, to extend from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, is probably impossible of realization, and therefore should not be planned for. It encounters all the objections previously mentioned\.
- In 1914 and before 1894 the Armenians were in a small minority in such an area, probably never exceeding twenty-five per cent. If they should he given the control, the majority populations would be injured, in violation of all "Wilsonian principles" and war aims. With allowance for the estimated million who perished, and assuming that all these could have been gathered into the territory, the Armenians would still now number only about one-third of the total population.
- There never was an Armenia which ruled all this territory. The real Armenia, as maps and records show, was a highland country which at one time reached the Caspian Sea, which came near to the Black Sea without reaching it, and which never came to the Mediterranean Sea. The Lesser Armenia of the Middle Ages in the Cilician region was the result of the expulsion and flight of Armenians from further east,-a process which scattered them over a large area, in which they have ever since been in a minority almost everywhere. The demand for both areas is therefore an imperialistic claim, based historically upon an overstrained interpretation of facts.
- The Armenians are reduced, allowing for the return of survivors, to about ten per cent of the population in the large area proposed. Assuming an optimistic amount of migration of other Armenians into, and of Turks and Kurds out of the land, the Armenians still would constitute only about one-fourth of the population (See appended table of estimates of population.) The situation of mandatory power would be extremely difficult in defending this minority, which would as future owners and rulers of the land, be much more obnoxious to the majority than at present.
- No European power will undertake so difficult a task, and it must therefore be left to the United States. If the American people should be induced to begin the process, and this should turn out to be fundamentally unjust, they would modify their intention. The chances are considerable that the large Armenia would never become an Armenian state at all, but a mixed state, composed of minorities of Armenians, Turks, Kurds, etc., which would not maintain internal order or security against external aggression without the support of a strong mandatory power. This would disappoint both the Armenians, who could never control the government, and the mandatory power, which could never leave the country.
- On the contrary, an Armenia reduced to the Armenian highlands in both Turkey and Russia, with an outlet on the Black Sea, would have a good chance of establishment and continuance. The Turkish area which the Russians held in 1917 may be taken approximately as the Turkish portion of this "small Armenia," and the present territory of Russian Armenia as the remainder. Engineers could overcome the physical obstacles to internal and external communication\.
- The Turks and Kurds could not rightfully complain of such an area, because it is the historical Armenia, and because if the million dead Armenians could be restored and brought into the land, the Armenians would have about one-half the population (see table). Migration of Turks and Kurds from this area can be more easily accomplished than from the larger land, inasmuch as a considerable proportion of them fled before the Russians, and thus are in a dislocated condition.
- The Armenians might become the majority of the actual population within a few years, and with that in view, and with the smaller area, they could be given a larger share in the administration from the start, and trained more rapidly to self-government,
- The duration of the mandate would be materially shortened, with a solider ethnical foundation and a more compact area. The mandatory would need far fewer troops, and would be put to much less expense.
- The doubts as to the possibility of erecting an Armenian state in the larger area are reduced for the smaller land. The mandatory power could with a prospect of success, keep in mind the giving of control to the Armenians, since they would after a time not be a minority, causing trouble by incessant pushing for special privileges of an economic and political nature, but a majority with a just right to a larger place.
- This land having secure frontiers, as was tried out thoroughly during the great war, gives promise of self-defensibility. A state reaching to the Mediterranean is a far more difficult matter, with its long frontiers, containing each a number of vulnerable spots, and its permanent difficulties of internal communication, due to the broken configuration of the land. Its very existence might moreover be regarded by the Turks and Arabs as a provocation.
- The economic opportunity of an Armenia on this basis would be ample; all essentials for food, fuel, and shelter can be obtained locally, and surpluses are easily to be produced which can be exchanged for other wares\.
- In Turkish Armenia the Armenians were able to live and often to prosper, and yet they paid considerable taxes and were subject to frequent robbery.
- In Russian Armenia the Armenians have thriven greatly, under only moderately favorable conditions.
- This area is crossed by commercial routes of immemorial importance, notably through Erzingan and Erzerum between Anatolia and Persia and Trans-Caucasia, and through Trebizond toward the Persian Gulf. This guarantees the importance of several towns at nodal points, such as Sars, Erivan, Erzerum, Mush, and Van, and suggests valuable possibilities in the direction of transportation, trade, and manufacture for export.
- All this is argued with the best interests of the Armenians in mind, on the basis of genuine friendliness toward them, and of concern to give them a real and not an illusory opportunity. They are in genuine danger of grasping at too much and losing all.
If they establish themselves securely in the more restricted area, and if Anatolia fails to develop as a well knit and successful states there is no reason why the question should not be resumed later of connecting Cilicia with Armenia.
Estimates of the Population of an Armenian State
The appended tables are the result of an effort to compare the population of Armenian areas to two plans. That which includes a "Larger Turkish Armenia" was worked out by the American Division of Western Asia at the Peace Conference, and can be examined more fully in the records of the Conference. It represents probably subject to minor alterations, the best possible arrangement on the basis of giving an outlet on both the Black and Mediterranean Seas; the frontiers follow natural features, and the connection with Cilicia is made as narrow as practicable. The "Smaller Turkish Armenia" suggested in the text cuts off for Armenia in Turkey substantially that portion of the Armenian plateau which was held by Russia in her period of advance during the great war. The phrase "Differential Area" was chosen to represent what is left after subtracting "Smaller Turkish Armenia" from "Larger Turkish Armenia," and extends from Mersina to Kharput and north to the Black Sea.
- Before 1914. This table is estimated from the statistics prepared by Drs. Magie and Westermann. Percentages are attached. The Moslems are not separated into groups, they include about 400,000 Lazes on the Black Sea coast between Trebizond and Batum; about one half are Turks: most of the remainder are Kurds, some of whom are Shiite or Kizilbash, and the remainder Sunnite. Dr. Magie's figures may under-estimate the Armenians in some areas. Certainty will never be attained as to the numbers of the different elements in Turkey until a scientific ethnological survey has been made under disinterested control\.
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Larger Turkish Armenia 71 3,073,000 21.5 933,000 6.5 289,000 1 34,000 4,329,000 Differential area 73 1,697.000 20 461,000 6 136,000 1 18,000 2,312 000 Smaller Turkish Armenia 68 1,376,000 2354 472,000 7.5 153,000 1 16,000 2,017,000
- In 1920. It may be assumed that in 1920 order will be restored so that all survivors can return, of the Armenians who were deported or who fled into Russia, and of the Turks and Kurds who fled from the territory occupied Dr. threatened by Russia. An estimate follows, in which it is guessed that in the "Smaller Turkish Armenia" 50 per cent of the Armenians and Syrian Christians have perished, and 20 per cent of the Greeks and Moslems. The Armenians of the "Differential Area" had not the same opportunity to escape into Russia, and it is guessed that 75 per cent of these have perished\.
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Larger Turkish Armenia 80 2,459,000 11 351,000 8 232 000 1 17,000 3,059,000 Differential area 85 1,358,000 7 115,000 7 110,000 1 9,000 1,592,000 Smaller Turkish Armenia 75 1,101,000 16 236,000 8 122,000 1 8,000 1,467,000 Estimated losses in whole area 615,000 582,000 57,000 17,000 12,270,000
- In order to give the Armenians the benefit of their entire losses in Turkey during the war, one million may be added to the numbers of Armenians according to each plan. This of course has no relation to the practicability of established an Armenian State, but it displays the justice, on the basis of majority, of assigning them the "Smaller Turkish Armenia."
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Larger Turkish Armenia. 60 2,459,000 33.5 1,351,000 6 232,000 2 17 000 4,059,000 Smaller Turkish Armenia 45 1,101,000 50 1,236,000 5 122,000 8 000 2 467 000
- In 1925. It may be assumed that on either plan, changes will take place between 1920 and 1925 in the following manner: 20 per cent of the Moslems will leave, and 300.000 Armenians will come from other parts of Turkey and the world. No account is taken of natural increase, but this would act against the percentage of the Armenians, because they lost men in far greater proportion than women, and because they are less numerous than the Moslems, particularly when the larger area is considered. It appears that in normal times before the war Armenians increased more rapidly than Moslems, because of differences in social systems and military service; conditions will probably reduce these differences in the future\.
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Larger Armenia 60.5 1,967,000 23 651,000 8 232.000 0.5 17,000 2,867,000 Differential area 1,086,000 115,000 110,000 9,000 Smaller Armenia 57 881,000 35 536,000 8 122,000 0.5 8,000 1,547,000
- It remains to add Russian Armenia to the Turkish areas considered. The assumption has been made that Russian Armenia will contain in 1920, after the Turkish Armenians have gone home, a population of about one and one half times as great as that estimated by Mr. Lynch, in his "Armenia," Vol. I, p. 451. His actual figures, as of about 1890, for the Russian part of the Armenian plateau, are: Armenians 519,238, Moslems 459,580, Greeks, 47,76S, others 69,129, total 1,095,710\.
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Russian Armenia 40 600,000 50 750,000 3 50,000 7 100 000 1 500 000 Larger Turkish Armenia with Russian Armenia 67 3,059,000 24 1,101,000 6 282,000 3 117,000 4,559,000 Smaller Turkish Armenia with Russian Armenia 57 1,701,000 33 986,000 6 172,000 4 108,000 2,967,000
- Finally it may be assumed between 1920 and 1925, 250,000 Armenians from the remainder of Russia and from other parts of the world, and that a like number of Moslems will emigrate. Again no account is taken of natural increase, which might make a small addition to the Armenian percentage\.
Area % Moslems % Armenians % Greeks % Others Total Russian Armenia 23 350,000 67 1,000,000 3 50,000 7 100,000 1,500,000 Larger Turkish Armenia with Russian Armenia 53 2,317,000 38 1,651,000 6.5 282,000 2.5 17,000 4,367,000 Smaller Turkish Armenia with Russian Armenia 40 1,231,000 50 1,536,000 6 172,000 4 108,000 3,047,000
The whole calculation then shows a possibility under favorable conditions that by 1925 the Armenians can be in a small majority in an Armenia erected on the smaller basis. They would constitute about two-thirds of the population in the Russian portion, and a little over one-third in the Turkish portion.
In an Armenia on the larger basis they would not exceed 40 per cent for the whole area in 1925, and would then constitute about two-thirds of the population in the Russian portion, and not over one-fourth in the Turkish portion.
II. The Problem of a Separate Constantinopolitan State
- The Conception of such a State. In facing the problem of a separate Constantinopolitan State, there should be, first of all, a clear understanding of the nature of the state proposed\.
The definite plan for a League of Nations with its mandatory system, it should be noted gives new help in the solution of this difficult question. It is proposed that the Constantinopolitan State, as a great international interest, should be directly in charge of the League of Nations for the good of all the nations; in the sure conviction that even "national interests are often promoted better by international cooperation than by international competition."
The State would be administered through a mandatory for the League-a Mandatory appointed by the League, responsible to the League, and removable at the will of the League, but held permanent except for cause; for it is plain that there should not be any unnecessary shifting in the administrative power.
The Mandatory, moreover, should be a real mandatory for the League, a trustee for international interests, not a power using its position to advance its own national interests. To this end, the Mandatory should be territorially and strategically disinterested.
The Constantinopolitan State could be administered by an International Commission, [NOTE: This plan bas proved a war-breeding failure] like the notably successful Commission on the Danube; but the problem here is more complex, and the single Mandatory would seem to have some decided advantages over the Commission plan. In the case of the Constantinopolitan State, for example, there would be actual governmental functions to be exercised, as there are not in the same sense in the control of traffic on the Danube. These could be better handled by a regularly organized government. The Mandatory, too, as directly controlled by the League of Nations, would be even more truly international than an international commission of the old kind. And, practically, a single mandatory would naturally be better able to avoid friction, wrangling, and divided counsels, and so to prevent exasperating and dangerous delays. It would also have more immediate power behind it.
Such a State should include Constantinople, and have charge of its administration. This is the more demanded, for Constantinople is a markedly cosmopolitan city, where the Turks are probably not even in the majority. This state should also have a reasonable territory on; either side of the Straits. All fortifications should be abolished. This international territory would of course be open to all people for any legitimate purposes. Like the District of Columbia in America, it would be a natural place for great educational and religious foundations, so that such Moslem institutions could remain and be further built up. The Turkish population, equally of course, would be free to stay. But Constantinople would not longer be the capital of Turkey. In the administration of the State, however, all possible consideration should be given to Moslem sentiment, and reasonable practical adjustments arranged. The Sultan might even conceivably continue to reside at Constantinople if that were desired under the conditions named.
- The Reasons for such a State. What are the reasons which make the establishment of an international Constantinopolitan State, as now conceived, imperative, in the final settlement of this war?
- President Wilson himself, in the twelfth of his Fourteen Points, made much of by the Turks, points at least in this direction, when he writes: "The Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees." It would seem that that end could be accomplished in no way so surely and so permanently, as by an International State under the League of Nations. The need at least, of some such internationalization is manifest, when it is remembered that the Straits hare been closed almost continuously since 1911.
- Woolf hardly overstates the need of drastic action in this matter, when he says: "Constantinople and the narrow straits upon which it stands have occasioned the world more trouble, have cost humanity more in blood and suffering during the last five hundred years, than any other single spot upon the earth. Certainly during the last hundred years it has been the chief European center of international unrest. From it, and about it, have radiated continually international rivalries and hatreds and suspicions. It was the direct origin and cause of a large number of the wars fought in the nineteenth century. It is not improbable that when Europe in her last ditch has fought the last battle of the Great War, we shall find that what we have again been fighting about is really Constantinople." Now, this perpetual centre of intrigue and endless cause of trouble must be done away with.
- The close of this greatest of wars, with its many new adjustments and particularly with the break-up of the old Turkish Empire, gives an unrivaled opportunity to clear up, in a permanent way, once and for all this great plaguespot of the world. If this opportunity is now neglected, or grasped only in nerveless vacillating and selfish fashion we shall have again the old intolerable situation. We are confronted by a great challenge. Timid counsels should not prevail. As Woolf puts it: "Constantinople is the test of the Great War's result. If it can be, and is, given to any one State, it means the rule of the world by war- if . . . it be administered by all for all, Constantinople means the rule of the world by peace."
- The responsibility for so fateful and strategic a world-center is also too heavy for any single power, however great, to carry; least of all Turkey with her terrible record of mis-government and massacre. It would be hard to choose out of any list of leading nations a nation less fitted for this world task than she. She has completely forfeited any claim to such a responsibility.
- Moreover, as we have already seen, it would be to the distinct advantage of Turkey's own new democratic government to be definitely withdrawn from this center of intrigue. Thoughtful Turkish leaders already realize the evils which have come from this intrigue, and might well welcome-even though with natural reluctance-the kind of surgery which should sever their State from such a seat of infection. At the same time, the Turks remaining within the bound tries of the International State, under a competent mandatory, would certainly have the best government they have ever had.
- The situation, furthermore, cannot be dealt with adequately or with any final satisfaction, except internationally and through an international state. And the League of Nations and the Mandatory System, as planned by the Peace Conference, would seem to suggest both a new and stable method for establishing and administering such a state, and a method growing directly out of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Until such an International State is definitely established, there will be endless intrigues on the part of various Powers to possess or control the Straits. So long as a state as weak as Turkey has any kind of hold upon this critically significant territory, intrigues will be encouraged. The Greeks, for example, have already declared their ambition to have Constantinople in their hands, and are conducting a campaign of propaganda to that end. That is typical of what may be expected to go on, until a thorough-going and permanent solution of the problem of the Straits is adopted, in an International State.
- It deserves to be especially emphasized that the reason for the establishment of an International Constantinopolitan State, is not to humiliate Turkey or any Moslem interest, but simply to face squarely and honestly a situation which is a constant menace both to the peace of Turkey and to the peace of the world; and, deceiving ourselves no longer with vain makeshifts, to determine upon the only fundamental solution. No such fundamental readjustment can be made, doubtless, without some disturbance and sacrifices, but it can be counted certain that all related interests-economic, political, social and religious-will in the end gain from a permanent solution of this vexing world-question.
- Extent and Boundaries: The discussion of the extent and boundaries of the Constantinopolitan State is by the General Adviser, Dr. Lybyer, and puts clearly the elements of that problem, anticipating a complete study on the ground by the special Boundaries Commission later recommended\.
- The primary reason for the setting off of a separate area at Constantinople, to be forever under a special regime controlled by the League of Nations, is that the straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, being a concern of many nations, who cannot remain satisfied with the ownership of any one power, should be permanently and freely open.
- Inasmuch as the Sea of Marmora is small, and in a sense may be regarded as simply an enlargement of the Straits, a minimum boundary must include not only the whole of both sides of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, but also the entire shore of the Sea of Marmora. The American experts in International Law at Paris pronounced that serious complications might arise if an independent state should reach these waters at any point.
- Constantinople is also the place where railways make the crossing between Europe and Western Asia, arrangements for the stations and yards of these need to be taken into account.
- On account of the ready access by water and rail the economic support of the city does not need to be provided for completely within the boundaries of the state, except as regards the water supply. It would be convenient, of course, to have room for dairy and vegetable farming, in view of the trouble of crossing frontiers.
- Inasmuch as the population has always been greatly mixed,-a condition which will undoubtedly continue, and since it may be assumed that the League of Nations will provide for the security of all elements without privilege or favor, there is no need to adjust the boundary to racial groups.
- On the European side, it is better, all things considered, to leave with Constantinople the present remnant of Turkey in Europe, accepting the Turco-Bulgarian frontier of 1915 subject to minor modifications. The Constantinople area needs no more land than is included in an adjustment of the Enos-Midia line, as shown on the accompanying map; but the question of disposing of the remainder of "Turkish Thrace" is so acute, that the best solution is to leave this also with Constantinople\.
- This area was ceded to the Balkan Allies early in 1913, and assigned to Bulgaria, but it was recovered by Turkey after the second Balkan war If Bulgaria continues to be kept out of her rightful lands in Macedonia, she has some ground for claiming Turkish Thrace as a region for the settlement of refugees. As regards Turkish and Bulgarian Thrace, there has been a considerable exchange of population since 1915, so that few Bulgarians remain in the area, while the number of Turks has been increased .
- Greece has claimed the territory, but statistics submitted by the Greeks do not estimate that before 1912 the Greek population of the territory between the Enos-Midia line and the present Bulgarian frontier was more than 147,000, or 42 per cent of the whole. Their own statements show that a large proportion of this number migrated between 1912 and the Great War. They do not state the reciprocal fact that an approximately equal number of Turks migrated from territory acquired by Greece in 1913 and settled here, so that there was not a mere expulsion of Greeks, but a fair exchange of population. The Greek population was then probably not over 25 per cent of the whole in 1914. It is less at present, but changes during the Great War should hardly be taken into account. The claims of Greece to this area cannot be justified.
- On the basis of population, Turkish Thrace was really Turkish in 1914, the proportion reaching at least 60 per cent.
- There is no prospect that, without violent changes, any other element than the Turkish will become a majority of the population within a considerable time. In case this should ultimately happen, in such a way as to make alterations of boundaries desirable, the League of |Nations could transfer a portion of Thrace out of the Constantinople area.
- On the Asiatic side, the frontier beginning on the Black Sea coast a short distance east of the mouth of the Sakaria River might run east of the river to Ak Sofu Dagh, cross to Geuk Dagh, pass southwestward to the ridge between Isnik and Yeni Shehir, and proceed westward along the heights south of Mudania, and Pandernwa as far as the boundary of the Sanjak of Bigha, which it might follow to the sea south of Mt. Ida\.
- The line between the Black Sea and Ismid is located east of the Sakaria, including the marshy area near the river's mouth, in order to facilitate engineering problems of drainage, and provide an area suitable for dairy farming within the reach and control of Constantinople.
- Brusa would better be left to the Turks, because it has no relation to the defense of the Straits; because the local population is predominantly Turkish; and because the Turks are sentimentally attached to this as the first Ottoman capital. To take from them all three capitals, Constantinople, Adrianople, and Brusa, would be very severe.
- The Troad Peninsula, while predominantly Turkish, constitutes such a separate physical area that it cannot well be divided. Therefore, for the defense of the Dardanelles, it must all go with the Straits.
- The total population of this area would be at the outset about two millions, of whom about 60 per cent would be Turks, 25 per cent Greeks, and 10 per cent Armenians. The proportion of Turks would be likely in time to decrease, and that of Greeks and Western Europeans to increase, especially in Constantinople and the smaller cities of the area.
III. The Problem of a Turkish State
We have now frankly recognized the necessity, in bare justice to the Armenians, for an Armenia separated from Turkey, and the equal necessity for a separated Constantinopolitan State, in response to a just and imperative world interest
Turkey is thus called upon to surrender her sovereignty over certain modest portions of Asia Minor, but in no way treated as her own conquerors treated territories won in war.
- General Extent. But in pursuance of this different spirit shown in conquest, if the principles of national unity and of self-determination are to be truly applied to the Turkish people, Anatolia, the bulk of Asia Minor remaining, with ample outlets to the sea, should be left for a Turkish State, but under such conditions as may sacredly guard the rights of all minorities, whether racial or religious. This would give to Turkey a comparatively very large area-larger than France,-having a population one-fourth that of France-of approximately ten millions, of whom some eight millions are Moslems (about seven millions Turks) and one and one-half millions Greeks. This should assure to the new Turkey an ample opportunity of development. In the interests of a reasonable self-determination for some of the smaller racial groups, it may be also necessary to allow their transfer, if they so choose, to Syria or Mesopotamia, or to grant them at least local autonomy.
- Reasons for a Mandate for the Turkish State. It seems to be generally recognized by the Turkish people themselves, that the surest and speediest road out of their present evil conditions is way of a mandate under the League Nations, and so shifting from an imperialistic state to a democratic one. And from every point of view that appears desirable. Indeed, it seems impossible to expect any satisfactory change in the government of Turkey by any other method. And if the Turks had not themselves suggested a mandatory, the Peace Conference might well have felt obliged to require one\.
This general statement, indeed, may be said to include the specific reasons why Turkey should have a mandate; to secure genuinely good government, without oppression, bribery, or corruption, for the Turks themselves; to guarantee the rights of all minorities, racial or religious; to deliver Turkey from the demoralization of incessant intrigue from outside; to secure, without selfish exploitation by the Mandatory or any other outside Power, Turkey's economic development and economic independence, for there is not the slightest doubt that she has been living far below her material possibilities; in line with the Allied settlement with Germany, to disband the most of the Turkish Army and do away with all military conscription, depending upon a well organized gendarmerie for the larger police duties of the State,-all this for the better good of the common people and to break the power of intriguing imperialists over them, to put beneath all Turkish life a national system of universal education that should lift her entire people, to train the various peoples of the State steadily into self-government; in a word, to make of Turkey a state of a high order on a modern basis of equal rights to all before the law, and of full religious liberty. This would inevitably result in a state not purely (though predominantly) Turkish in race and in control, a cosmopolitan state in which various racial stocks were contained and in whose government all representatively shared.
- Turkey's Desire for An American Mandate. For the reasons given in an earlier section of the report-especially since the Peace Conference had not declared that Turkey must herself have a mandate, and because a free expression was not allowed-it has been very difficult to get clearly decisive evidence of the desires of the people of Turkey upon the choice of mandate. But many indications tend to confirm the opinion that the great majority of thoughtful Turkish leaders sincerely desire an American mandate\.
That a nation so long independent should seek a mandate, in any sense of the term, is sufficiently remarkable, and it tends to confirm the opinion of a trustworthy and university-trained Turkish journalist, who wrote: "The Turks have been so hardly tried by the events in the past, that most of them are ready to submit themselves to some regular schooling, instead of making any hazardous experiments with new, ignorant leaders." And he thus sums up Turkish public opinion concerning a mandate for Turkey:
The following divisions can be noticed: (1) the large majority which realizes that the country has only the choice between an American mandate and an eternal chaos, coupled with foreign occupation and the loss of national unity; (2) a minority which does not like to discuss any settlement which implies a theoretical restriction of sovereignty; (3) a minority of supporters of an English solution.
As giving an idea of the strength of the American majority, he calls attention to "The elements which make it up":
The National Congress, a body formed in Constantinople several months ago by the delegates of fifty-three different Turkish societies and organizations, is one of the chief supporters of the American mandate. As all the Turkish intellectual organizations are represented in the Congress, it may almost be considered as representative of the educated classes in general. The National League, containing about forty of the most respected citizens and Senators is also for the American mandate. This means at the same time, the majority of the Senatu The "Nationalist" Party in Anatolia in general are in favor of the American mandate. The professors of different faculties of the university favor the American mandate. So do most of the lawyers, teachers technicians, and merchants. At present, most of the papers with large circulations are taking the same view of things. This state of things is very surprising, because there is, on the one hand, a very active propaganda for the English mandate; on the other hand the Americans do not make any propaganda.
Another journalist gave detailed corroborative evidence looking in the same direction. For example, he said that he had been carrying on a campaign in his Constantinople paper for three months for an American Mandate, and that this campaign had called out only two letters protests while, on the contrary, many words of approval had come from men of all parties.
The delegations who have met the Commission, when the question of mandate was taken up, have generally favored an American Mandate. A delegation representing the intellectual leaders among the women, including presidents of educational institutions and of national and provincial educational associations, were especially emphatic in declaring for an American Mandate. The general judgment of the most trustworthy observers whom the Commission were able to consult confirmed these results. The delegates of a Congress held a few months ago at Smyrna, and representing 1,800,000 people, have declared for an American Mandate. The Congress at Sivas held on the 20th of August, probably the most representative recent gathering of the Turkish people, is expected by those in closest touch with the movement for which it stands, to declare for an American Mandate.
On the whole, it is highly probable that a large majority of the Turkish people, wishing a mandate at all, would favor the American Mandate.
- Territorial Conditions in Anatolia. To complete the survey of the problems involved in a reconstitution of the Turkish State in Anatolia, a general discussion, in brief summary, of territorial conditions in Anatolia-touching also upon various subject races-seems called for. This is also furnished by the General Adviser\.
- After setting off definitely from the Turkish Empire as it was in 1914 all the Arabic-speaking areas, Armenia, and the Constantinopolitan State, there remains a large mass of territory, in which the greatest single element of population is Turkish (this word being limited to those persons whose mother tongue is Turkish and who profess the Mohammedan religion). Claims have been advanced toward setting off portions of this remaining area, by Kurds for "Kurdistan ;" by Greeks for "Pontus,"-an area along the Black Sea coast from Sinope to Batum; by Syrians for Cilicia; by Italians for Adalia and the whole southwest, and by Greeks for Smyrna and the west. The only one of these portions that is advisable, in the opinion of the Commission, actually to handle separately at present, is "Kurdistan." All will be discussed briefly in the order named.
- Kurdistan. The Kurds claim a very large area, on the basis of their distribution, but since they are greatly mixed with Armenians, Turks, and others, and divided among themselves into Kizilbash, Shiite and Sunnites it seems best to limit them to the natural geographical area which lies between the proposed Armenia on the north and Mesopotamia on the south, with the divide between the Euphrates and the Tigris as the western boundary, and the Persian frontier as the eastern boundary. A measure of autonomy can be allowed them under close mandatory rule, with the object of preparing them for ultimate independence or for federation with neighboring areas in a larger self-governing union. It is possible to shift most of the comparatively small numbers of both Turks and Armenians out of this area by voluntary exchange of population and thus obtain a province containing about a million and a half people, nearly all Kurds. Full security must needs be provided for the Syrian, Chaldean and Nestorian Christians who dwell in the area. This plan would probably provide for all of the Sunnite Kurds in Turkey, and the Kizilbash group lies almost wholly to the west. The area contemplated looks more to the south than the west and lies wholly about the upper waters of the Tigris and its tributaries. It would seem better, therefore, unless the population itself strongly prefers the other plan. to place it under the control of the power which cares for Mesopotamia, than to connect it with Armenia across the mountains at the north, or with Anatolia with which it would have only narrow contact at the west.
- "Pontus." About one-half of the area asked for by the Greeks of "Pontus" should be included in the Armenian State, in order to give it access to the sea. The remainder is needed by Anatolia for the same reason. There were approximately 200,000 Greeks in each of these portions in 1914. This would seem to he too small a minority in both Armenia and Anatolia to be erected into an autonomous province. The rights of these Greeks can in each state he provided for fully by general laws, enforced in each case by the mandatory power until such time as the states are ready for self-government with adequate protection of minorities.
- Cilicia. Cilicia is claimed by both Armenians and Syrians, in each case by a minority which did not exceed 25 per cent in 1914. Reasons are stated above for not giving it to the former. It is unimportant to Syria as an outlet, since that area has many ports. But it is very valuable to the areas both at the northeast and the north. It should not be separated economically from Anatolia at present. and if at any future time the Armenians should receive it, provisions would have to be made for the use of its ports by the interior regions of Anatolia from Kaisariyeh to Konia\.
The region between Cilicia and Armenia, containing Albistan, Malatia and Kharput is claimed by the Armenians, but should also be left with Anatolia. It contained in 1914 a mixture of Turks, Kizlbash, Armenians, Sunnite Kurds and others, proportioned apparently in the order named. Strong mandatory control would be difficult because of the distance from the coast across rough mountainous country but it would be very necessary, lest the region become a hunting ground for Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian bands, each anxious to acquire the territory for its people.
- Adalia and the Southwest. Italy's claim to the southwest of Asia Minor rests upon nothing that is compatible with the principles of the Commission's instructions. There are no Italians native to the country, and no evidence exists that the population desires Italy as a mandatory over them. In this region the Moslems are to the Greek Orthodox Christians as ten to one. None of this area should be separated from Anatolia.
- Smyrna and the West. The problem of the west coast is a difficult one, not because of the intrinsic situation, but because of the persistency of the Greek Government in demanding an area there, and of the fact that a Greek army is in occupation\.
Nowhere except perhaps in the Sanjak of Smyrna and certain coastal Kazas is the Greek Orthodox population in a majority, and the complete proof that it is in majority there awaits an impartial census. If any question existed previously as to the unwillingness of the majority of the population in the area now occupied by the Greeks to be annexed to Greece, or to have Greece as a mandatory, the question has been answered by the circumstances of the occupation.[NOTE: This is an allusion to the massacres of Moslems by Greeks, and subsequent atrocities upon the occasion of the landing at Smyrna May 15, 1915. An official Inter-Allied inquiry has confirmed the fact of the atrocities.] The question has also been answered as to whether the Balkan State of modern Greece has reached such a degree of civilization that it can be entrusted with mandatory rule over a people of different faith and hostile feeling.
The Greek army and all authority of the Greek Government ought to be withdrawn from an area where better order was kept by twelve British officers than can be maintained by one hundred thousand Greek troops. There can be no settled peace until either a Greek conquest has swept far to the interior, with great destruction of property and life, or until the Greek power is wholly removed. In the latter case the question would still remain: Should an area in Western Asia Minor be set off as a special Greek region and placed under a separate mandate? The answer is in the negative for the following reasons:
- The character of the country is such that no good natural boundary can be found except high up in the hills If such a boundary be traced, the population within it would be so markedly Moslem (about three to one) that the area could have no special Greek character.
- If, on the other hand, a more or less arbitrary line be drawn farther west, it would not constitute a good barrier for defense against smugglers or brigand bands.
- Any line drawn now would be regarded, more or less, as an economic barrier, cutting off Smyrna and other coast cities from some of the trade with the interior, to mutual disadvantage.
- Neither Greeks nor Turks in Western Asia Minor would believe anything except that it is the intention of the League of Nations to permit Greece later to annex the territory set off, and perhaps to extend her holdings further. The elements would therefore be present for a Macedonian system of sustained brigand warfare, which could be kept down only by more military effort and expenditure than any mandatory power cares to assume.
Shall any measures be taken then to develop a special Greek area in Asia Minor? The maximum that would seem to be advisable at the present would be that a strong mandatory power should be entrusted with a single mandate for all Anatolia, and should take special pains to protect Greeks and Turks alike and preserve order in the west, with the possibility of a limited locally autonomous Greek area. The question of a future separated Greek area could then be left in abeyance, to be brought up again if circumstances justify.
- A Mandate for Anatolia. While the instructions of this Commission do not directly mention the assignment by the League of Nations of a mandatory nation to assist the Turks, many of the Turks themselves have suggested such a plan, and some have presented urgent requests for America as the mandatory power. The need of supervision over finance, public works, education, internal order, and all the processes of government is hardly less for the Turks, despite their centuries of political experience, than for the Armenians, Syrians, and Mesopotamians. It is in fact impossible to discern any other method of setting Western Asia in order. The Turks if left to themselves in a condition of poverty, ignorances and general exhaustion, with a feeling that they had been unjustly treated and then abandoned by all the world, could not fail to be a source of trouble and disturbance until another crisis, with perhaps another great war, would necessitate some such solution as is now suggested but under conditions less favorable to success.
- The Desirability of a Single Mandatory for Armenia, Anatolia, and Constantinople. While it is desirable that Armenia, Anatolia, and Constantinople should be placed under separate mandates, and governed by separated administrations, it is also desirable that the three mandates should be held by one great power\.
- Those areas have been held together for several centuries, and have a great number of close ties of all sorts, the delicate adjustment of which can be best accomplished under one power.
- Unity of economic control, with similar commercial laws, coinage, weights, and measures, and language of business is advantageous to all concerned.
- Problems of repatriation and exchange of populations, can be arranged more justly and promptly under one mandatory.
- The adjustment of the public debt will be easier.
- The building of railroads and the improvement of routes of travel can be better arranged.
- Police control and repression of brigandage will be far simpler. On the contrary the holding of the three areas by separate powers permits the taking of refuge by bandits and criminals across the borders.
- Unity is urged by many well-informed foreigners, looking from various points of view. Many of these favor not merely a single mandatory power, but a single mandate. Practically all the benefits can be obtained by the first plan that could be obtained by the second, and many serious difficulties can be avoided, such as arise from persecution of Armenians, interference with navigation, and complications of intrigue.
- Friction which might arise between three mandatories, and which might conceivably lead to a great war, could be eliminated.
- The transition would be more easily acceptable by the Turkish people, than if two or three powers should take control of the three areas. The fact that the mandatory would probably establish a central control in Constantinople would aid the transition still further.
In the foregoing discussion of Territorial Conditions in Anatolia, various minority people have been briefly studied. It seems necessary to consider further, at this point, only the rather pressing problems of the Greeks.
IV. The Problem of the Greeks
- The situation of the Greeks is not that of the Armenians. The Greeks have suffered much in deportations by the Turks, but there have been no such extensive massacres of the Greeks as of the Armenians. The Greeks, too, in the adjacent Greek Islands, have a possible congenial refuge within former Turkish territory, such as the Armenians do not have. The Greeks also have, in territories recently acquired by Greece, opportunities for settlement on Greek soil, for which there is no parallel for the Armenians. The general situation of the Greeks, too, in diminished numbers, is much less desperate than that of the Armenians. Moreover, the Greeks are more widely scattered in small groups through Turkey than the Armenians. The drastic remedy of establishing a state for the Greeks completely separated from Turkey, seems, therefore, both less possible and very much less desirable.
- The Results of the Greek Occupation of Smyrna do not seem to indicate that the Greeks of Turkey should now be given rule over others or be granted their own full independence. Local autonomy in a territory strictly confined to a district in which they were in a decided majority would seem the most that could be recommended at present.
- The ability of the Greeks is not in question, nor their enthusiasm for education. On the contrary, both factors make it the more probable that they could continue to hold their own within the Turkish State. Indeed, the special gifts of the Greeks generally make them particularly successful as colonists. The probability is that they would lose on the whole rather than gain, in being completely set off from Turkey. In spite of the violent antagonisms of recent years, Ramsey may well be right in saying: "The Turks and the Greeks will united make a happier country than either race could by itself." The two races supplement each other.
- There is to be added, that the apparent purpose of the Turks to ask for a mandate, and of the Peace Conference to appoint such a mandate, gives promise of a new Turkey, in which the rights of the Greeks would be fully guarded at least for the terms of the mandate.
A trial certainly should be made by the Greeks of life in the Turkish State under the new conditions, before further independence should be sought. The constitution of a new Turkey on modern lines, the steady watchers and influence of the Mandatory, and the supervision of the League of Nations and the right of appeal to it-all combine to give the Greeks every assurance of fair treatment and equality of opportunity, at least during the term of the mandate. It will be the business, too, of the Mandatory to do all possible to develop the whole people into capacity for self-government. The help of a national system of education, too, would do much to assure that the abuses of the old time would not return, and the term of the mandate would naturally continue until there was good promise of Turkey's success as a modem state. Even after the mandate had expired, the League of Nations could still act, upon necessity to prevent all gross invasions of the rights of minorities.
In the light of all these considerations it could seem best not to set off any independent Greek territory for the present, in the belief that in the long run the better good both of the Greeks and of the Turks is to be found in their union in one cosmopolitan state.
The recommendations, dealing with mandates in the Asia Minor portion of the former Ottoman Empire, follow naturally upon the preceding discussions of pertinent action already taken by the Peace Conference; of dangers arising from a selfish division and exploitation of Turkey; of considerations looking to a proper division of Turkey; and of problems naturally resulting. For the recommendations built directly on foundations already laid by the Peace Conference. They aim to prevent a selfish exploitation and division of Turkey. They intend not less surely to ground such division of Turkey as is recommended solely upon considerations of justice and the good of all men. And in this spirit they endeavor honestly to face the grave problem arising, and to seek their solution in the light of the full discussion which precedes. That discussion has been so full, that the Recommendations of the Commissioners need do little more than summarize conclusions, except upon two points-the reasons for a general American Mandate, and the conditions upon which such a mandate might be taken by America.
The Commissioners Recommend
- The formation, under a Mandatory of an Armenian State, completely separated from Turkey, as defined in the preceding section of the report, for reasons already fully given\.
It is consequently recommended that Cilicia should not be separated from Anatolia at present.
- The similar formation. under a Mandatory, of an International Constantinopolitan State, completely separated from Turkey, as defined in the preceding section, also for reasons already fully given.
- The appointment of a Mandatory for the continued Turkish State, in line with the apparent wishes of the majority of the Turkish people; the major terms of the Mandate to be defined by the Peace Conference or the League of Nations, and further adjustments to be arranged between the Mandatory and Turkey. The reasons for the Mandate and its necessary scope have been already fully given.
- That. for the reasons already stated, no independent territory be set off for the Greeks; though local autonomy be granted to that portion of the Sanjak of Smyrna which has a decided majority of Greeks, but under the general mandate for Turkey.
- That a commission or commissions on boundaries in Asia Minor be appointed to study on the ground and to exactly define the boundaries of the states named in the first three recommendations, and the precise limits of any locally autonomous area in Smyrna. The definition of the boundaries of the Turkish State would require the study and definition of the northern boundaries of Syria and Mesopotamia as well, with special reference to allowing to the Kurds a measure of autonomy under close mandatory rule, possibly in connection with Mesopotamia, and with the clear understanding that the rights of the Syrian, Chaldean, and Nestorian Christian minorities in this whole region shall be carefully guarded.
- A general single mandate for the whole of Asia Minor (not assigned to Mesopotamia or Syria) to include under it the mandate for Armenia, the mandate for the Constantinopolitan State, and the mandate for the continued Turkish State, each with a governor of its own to insure full attention to its particular interests besides a governor-general over the whole. The various interrelations and common concerns of the constituent states would thus be studied and cared for, as well as their individual needs. The reasons for such a general mandate have been fully given and need not be repeated here.
- That the United States of America be asked to take this general single mandate, together with its inclusive mandates for the Armenian State, the Constantinopolitan State, and the continued Turkish State. This recommendation is made for the following reasons which need to be developed in full:
- As already pointed out, it seems to be generally desired that America should take the mandate for Armenia. In this, both the Armenians and the Allies seem agreed-and even the Turks, if there must be an Armenian State at all. Nevertheless, America cannot wisely take this mandate without at the same time taking a mandate for the rest of Asia Minor as well\.
For, in the first place, this Armenian mandate would be in many respects the most difficult of all: because it would begin in relations of bitter hostility; because the State would have to built from the bottom under most peculiar circumstances; and because the mandate would have to be prolonged against the impatience of the Armenians. And these difficulties would all be accentuated, if the surrounding conditions could not be determined. It concerns the world that this Armenian State should clearly succeed. its mandatory should not be needlessly handicapped.
In the second place, the problems of the different States in Asia Minor are too closely related to be wisely entrusted to entirely different Powers, with different ideals and methods. That situation would inevitably tend to produce friction, waste, and bad feeling, and unsatisfactory conditions in one state would naturally spread to other states also.
In the third place, if the rest of Turkey, outside of a modest Armenian State, were divided into spheres of influence and exploitation areas, the direct hindrance to the working out of a truly conceived mandate in Armenia would be well nigh insuperable.
The American mandate for Armenia, thus, calls for a general mandate over all of Asia Minor.
- America is also the most natural Power to take the mandate for the International Constantinopolitan State as well as for Armenia, for the simple reason that she is the only Great Power territorially and strategically disinterested. The mandatory for this international state should be herself strong, to discourage any further intrigue for control of the Straits, disinterested, to command the confidence of all the nations concerned, and in unmistakably earnest sympathy with the aim of such a state, and with those international means by which this aim is to be achieved,-the League of Nations and its mandatory system. These needed qualifications are best met by America. Now the full fruits of such an international state cannot be secured unless the rest of Asia Minor is made a fit environment for such a state, practically embodying the same great principles\.
The mandate for the Constantinopolitan State also calls for a general mandate over all Asia Minor.
- It is to be added that America is also the most natural Power for the mandate over the New Turkish State, because the Turkish people want her, and generally trust her, as the evidence previously given indicates, and because America is peculiarly prepared to meet the needs of the Turkish people in this crisis in their history, as the reasons to be given for a general American mandate will later bring out\.
The desired American mandate for the new Turkish State, then, calls also for a general mandate over all Asia Minor.
- The best solution for mandates in Asia Minor would seem then to be, to combine all three mandates in a composite mandate, which would be put in the hands of America as the single mandatory
The general reasons for a single mandatory for all Asia Minor, already given are not to be lightly regarded. They give solid grounds for a composite supervisory mandate.
The further direct reasons for making America that single mandatory should now be considered. To begin with, there is the recognized fact that all the other Great Allies are already heavily loaded with colonial responsibilities, which of itself suggests a special obligation here for America. But the positive reasons-if there are any-lie necessarily in some special fitness of America for the particular task in hand-a fitness growing naturally out of her experience as a great growing democracy, largely freed hitherto from European entanglements. Those reasons, that is, lie inevitably in certain dominant national convictions of America, in a certain idealistic international faith; in her record in these international relations, and in the indications of her duty at this critical point in human history. All of these considerations concern the Turkish situation.
In the first place, we have found both the Syrian and Turkish peoples recognizing that at the foundation of the common life of America were to be found certain great dominant convictions. They saw that she had a passion for peace and for the possibility of its attainment, in spite of all sordid manifestations to the contrary, and that to bring such a righteous peace nearer, she entered this war. They saw that she had a passion for democracy, for the common man everywhere, in spite of inconsistencies at home and abroad, and could treat men of all races with a genuine respect born of some insight into their own individual gifts. They felt sure that she would not go into any situation simply to dominate, and to stamp American customs on a people. They knew that, because she really believed in democracy, she had also a passion for universal education, as possible for the rank and file of every nation, and as absolutely essential to a democracy. They believed, therefore, that as a mandatary she would gird herself to help a people fulfill its own highest possibilities. They believed, indeed, that she had a passion for the development of a national spirit in every people, not as narrow conceit, but as faith in a divine individuality, to which the people must be true, if they were to be significant members of that larger fellowship of nations for which the world longs. They instinctively felt, thus, that she combined in a way fairly unique, educational emphasis with respect for the values of another people. They knew, too, that with a high religious idealism, America somehow combined belief in the principle of the separation of Church and State in governmental administration, for the highest good both of religion and of the state, and was thus especially fitted to render help to a state like Turkey at so peculiarly critical a point in her transition from an imperialistic to a democratic state on modern lines and with complete religious liberty.
In the second place, with these mastering convictions, the Syrians and Turkish people believed that America combined a certain idealistic international faith, in her stubborn belief in the League of Nations and in the possibilities of its mandatory system, when honestly carried out. She was naturally prepared, therefore, they believed, to throw herself into the responsibilities of a mandate; steadfastly to seek to train the people entrusted to her care into self-government and into economic independence; and promptly to withdraw when that task was complete; for she would measure the success of her stewardship by both the completeness and the promptness with which her task was accomplished.
In the third place, both the Syrian and the Turkish people, in expressing their desire for an American mandate, have laid steady emphasis upon the assurance which came from America's record in dealing with other peoples. They believed in her unselfish aims in the war and that she was now seeking for no share in the spoils of the war. They believed that she had no territorial or imperialistic ambitions. They believed in her high and unselfish aims in dealing with Cuba and the Philippines. They believed that she was not involved in any joint plan for an exploiting division of either Syria or Turkey. They believed in the high quality of her relief service and especially of her educational service in both countries-a service so fine, that so competent and impartial an observer as Ramsey can say: "I firmly believe that Robert College has done more to render possible a safe solution of the 'Eastern Question' in Turkey than all the ambassadors of all the European Powers have succeeded in doing to render that solution difficult." They believed that, so far was America from scheming to obtain a mandate in Asia, she was honestly reluctant to undertake such a mandate of any kind.
In the fourth place, America is peculiarly fitted to be the single Mandatory Power for all Asia Minor, not only because of her national convictions, her international faith, and her record, but also because the course of duty for her would seem to lie in this direction.
It is no part of the task of the commissioners to determine whether America is now willing to accept the general single mandate for Turkey, with its three involved subordinate mandates. It is their business to point out where, in their honest judgment, that mandate belongs (if proper conditions can be fulfilled) and so given an opportunity to the Peace Conference to put the resulting obligation squarely up to the American people.
Can America deny all obligation in this matter of a mandate for Turkey? She has believed perhaps more than any other people, in the high possibilities of the League of Nations: but, if the League of Nations is not to be a sham and a delusion, all nations must be willing to bear their share in the resulting responsibilities. America, certainly, cannot be an exception. She came into the war, too with the ardent faith and hope that a more democratic world might result. Is she willing to carry those war purposes through to the end? Here in Turkey is an unrivaled opportunity to try these purposes out, for the good not only of a single people, but of the entire world; for here in Turkey has been through centuries a center of intrigue and strife that has engulfed all nations in its consequences. Moreover, America's intervention in the war went far to determine the war's issue. Was that intervention justified? America must still do her utmost to complete the proof.
But America's obligation goes still deeper, in this desperate hour of human need. Men still need peace-long deferred. They need far better provision for bodily wants. They need simple, homely happiness. But beneath all this, they need renewed faith in one another and in one another's honest purposes of good.
The war destroyed that faith between the hostile forces, the settlements of the war, it is to be feared, have gone far to destroy that faith among the Allies themselves. It is not roseate dreaming, but practical politics of the most imperative sort, to do something to bring back men's faith in men. If we can see the radical necessity of such faith, to prevent or break a financial panic are we to see less clearly in times like these, of a moral world panic? Cynicism and disillusionment, as we have seen, are rife. Can they be conquered? Only by indisputable examples to the contrary. It may be doubtful, then: if America could do anything so significant for the human race today, as to prove that she had not forgotten her own ideals and purposes in the war, but was willing to give a new and even greater proof of them in undertaking unselfishly a difficult and distasteful, but highly important and far-reaching task-by taking on the general mandate for Turkey (as well as for Syria, if the Peace Conference thought best). In fidelity to herself does not America owe that demonstration to the world ? It is hard to estimate the immense effect of so important a mandate under the League of Nations being carried through with absolutely honest unselfishness. It would make a reality of the League of Nations; it would make a reality of the mandatory system. It would set a new standard in international relations. It would renew men's faith in one another. It would help to save America herself from a disastrous reaction from her genuinely high aims in the war.
Nothing has been said of America's ment of Turkey's large resources, though it is not suggested that the financial relations of Turkey to America should be finally other than those of self-respecting independence. Turkey's present condition, however, is so necessitous in a thousand ways, that very large amounts of capital would be initially required, and returns at first would be small and slow. But before the mandate ended a fair return on capital, put into direly needed public improvements and the development of natural resources, might properly be expected at the same time that Turkey's own interests were guarded against selfish and monopolistic exploitation. Ample means for the economic develop America should not come into the Turkish Mandate with the expectation of large financial profits. But if even so favorable a result as that indicated proved quite impossible, America might well spend millions to insure relations of peace and good will among nations, rather than the billions required for another war, sure to come if the present cynical national selfishness and lack of good will are not checked.
As against the considerations now presented, it might be urged that the very suggestion of so large and significant a mandate for America is itself proof that America too is grasping imperialistic power. The answer is, that America's idea of a mandate is emphatically that a mandate is for limited term (so that even if a mandate for Syria were added to the mandate for Turkey the whole would mean no long retention of power by America, except as the League of Nations should continue her as mandatory over the Constantinopolitan State, that she literally does not want this mandate, except to meet her fair share of responsibility in the world today; that she would have to be persuaded by a campaign of education to take it on; and that she ought not to take it at all, if certain important conditions cannot be fulfilled.
- Considerations on which America would be justified in taking a composite general mandate for Asia Minor. Those conditions are: That she is really wanted by the Turkish people, that Turkey should give evidence that she is ready to do justice to the Armenians, not only by the allotment of the territory within her borders, recommended for the Armenian State, but also by encouraging the repatriation of Armenians, and by seeing that all possible just reparation is made to them as they return to their homes; that Turkey should also give evidence that she is ready to become a modern constitutional state, and to abolish military conscription; that Russia should be ready to renounce all claims upon Russian Armenia; that the Allies should cordially welcome America's help in the difficult situation in Turkey, and especially that all plans for cutting up Turkey, for the benefit of outside peoples, into spheres of influence and exploitation areas should be abandoned.
- As already pointed out, it seems to be generally desired that America should take the mandate for Armenia. In this, both the Armenians and the Allies seem agreed-and even the Turks, if there must be an Armenian State at all. Nevertheless, America cannot wisely take this mandate without at the same time taking a mandate for the rest of Asia Minor as well\.
These conditions are necessary to a successful solution of the Turkish problem. Unless they are fulfilled, America ought not to take the mandate for Asia Minor. And the Commissioners do not recommend that the mandate be given to America if these conditions cannot be essentially met.
- Dr. Henry Churchill King was born at Hillsdale, Mich., in 1858. He is president of Oberlin College and one of America's best known educators as well as the author of numerous volumes on theology, education and philosophy. During 1918-1919 he was director of religious work for the YMCA in France. In September, 1919, he was appointed to serve on the American Section of the Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey.
- Charles R. Crane was born at Chicago, Ill., in 1858. He was engaged in the manufacturing business in that city for more than a quarter of a century. He was a member of President Wilson's Special Diplomatic Commission to Russia in 1917; was a member of the American Section of the Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey in 1919; American Ambassador to China from May 1920, to June 1921.
Originally printed in Editor & Publisher, V.55, No. 27, 2nd Section, December 2, 1922
Note: The URLs below were the addresses of the historical archives which contained these articles that we have been mirroring on the CODOH site since 5/28/98
The Commission Report: http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/~kansite/ww_one/docs/kncr.htm
Appendix of the Commission Report: http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/~kansite/ww_one/docs/postkc.htm
Post-1918 Documents: http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1918p.html
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Henry Churchill King , Charles R. Crane|
|Title:||The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919, The American Commissioners of the projected International Commission on Mandates in Turkey, herewith submit their final report upon the Syrian portion of their task (1919)|
|Sources:||"Editor & Publisher", V.55, No. 27, 2nd Section, December 2, 1922|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 1996, 7 p.m.|