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Title: Armenia and the War

Author: A. P. Hacobian

Author of introduction, etc.: Viscount James Bryce Bryce

Release date: January 4, 2017 [eBook #53887]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Cindy Horton, Martin Pettit,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See






[Pg i]


[Pg iii]








[Pg v]"They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak:
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think:
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three."

[Pg vi]

"To serve Armenia is to serve civilization."


"We have put our money on the wrong horse."[1]


" ... a Government incurably barbarous and corrupt."


" ... the Ottoman Empire ... decidedly foreign to Western civilization."

January 11, 1917.


[1] After the massacres of 1895-1896, Lord Salisbury, who had himself taken a prominent part in the consummation of the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention, frankly admitted the failure of the policy which gave birth to these treaties, and the futility of relying upon Turkish promises.

[Pg vii]


The end of the war will leave Great Britain and her Allies the practical arbiters of the destinies of Europe and the Near East. The predominant part played in the prosecution of the war by Great Britain and the British Empire will entitle them to an equally decisive voice in the councils of the Peace Conference. That proud position carries with it a supreme privilege as well as a heavy moral responsibility. That the voice and weight of Britain and Greater Britain will be cast, on all occasions, on the side of justice and liberty, there cannot be the slightest doubt. But however just and fair-minded a judge may be, it is impossible for him to dispense justice without hearing all sides of the case before him.

That is my plea for placing this statement of the cause of my afflicted country before[Pg viii] the British public, confident that, with its inherent love of fair play, it will give my pleading a fair hearing.

I am anxious to make one point clear. I hold no authority and claim no right whatever to speak for the nation or any national or local organization of any kind. The views set forth in this little volume are the views of an individual Armenian who feels, as do no doubt all his compatriots, that the Armenian blood that has flowed so freely in this war, imposes upon every living Armenian the sacred duty of employing all legitimate means in his power to secure to the survivors the justice and reparation to which their numerous fallen relatives have given them an overwhelming and indisputable title. They are my views, and the responsibility for them rests on myself and myself alone.

I have stated my views frankly. One or two of my friends were kind enough to express the opinion that that might injure our cause. While I appreciate their interest and solicitude, I do not share their fears. I am convinced that the truth can never[Pg ix] be unpopular with the British public or prejudice a good cause.

I have, of necessity, had to quote freely from many sources, and I take this opportunity to express my apologies and indebtedness to the authorities quoted, in particular to Lord Bryce and Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee for very kindly permitting me to quote extracts from the Blue Book.

A. P. Hacobian.

   February, 1917.

[Pg xi]


Of all the peoples upon whom this war has brought calamity and suffering, the Armenian people have had the most to endure. Great as has been the misery inflicted by the invaders upon the non-combatant populations of Belgium and Northern France, upon Poland, upon Serbia, the misery of Armenia, though far less known to the outer world, has been far more terrible.

When the European War broke out, in 1914, the Government of the Turkish Empire had fallen into the hands of a small gang of unscrupulous ruffians calling themselves the Committee of Union and Progress, who were ruling through their command of the army, but in the name of the harmless and imbecile Sultan. By means which have not been fully disclosed, but the nature of which can be easily conjectured, this gang were won[Pg xii] over to serve the interests of Germany; and at Germany's bidding they declared war against the Western Allies, thus dragging all the subjects of Turkey, Muslim and Christian, into a conflict with which they had no concern. The Armenian Christians scattered through the Asiatic part of the Turkish dominions, having had melancholy experience in the Adana massacres some years previously of what cruelties the ruling gang were capable of perpetrating, were careful to remain quiet, and to furnish no pretext to the Turkish authorities for an attack upon them. But the rulers of Turkey showed that they did not need a pretext for the execution of the nefarious purposes they cherished. They had formed a design for the extermination of the non-Mohammedan elements in the population of Asiatic Turkey, in order to make what they called a homogeneous nation, consisting of Mohammedans only. The wickedness of such a design was equalled only by its blind folly, for the Christian Armenians of Asia Minor and the north-eastern provinces constituted the most industrious, the most intelligent, and the best-educated part of the population.[Pg xiii] Most of the traders and merchants, nearly all the skilled artisans, were Armenians, and to destroy them was to destroy the chief industrial asset which these regions possessed. However, this was the plan of the Committee of Union and Progress, and as soon as they began to feel, in the spring of 1915, that the Allied expedition against the Dardanelles was not likely to succeed, they proceeded to execute it. They first disarmed all the Armenians in order to have them at their mercy; and in some cases, in order to make it appear that the Armenians were intending to take up arms, they actually sent weapons into the towns and then had them seized as evidence against the Christians. When such arms as the Christians possessed had been secured, orders for massacre were issued from Constantinople to the local governors. The whole Armenian population was seized. The grown men were slaughtered without mercy. The younger women were sold in the market place to the highest bidder, or appropriated by Turkish military officers and civil officials to become slaves in Turkish harems. The boys were handed over to dervishes to be carried off[Pg xiv] and brought up as Muslims. The rest of the hapless victims, all the older men and women, the mothers and their babes clinging to them, were torn from their homes and driven out along the tracks which led into the desert region of northern Syria and Arabia. Most of them perished on the way from hardships, from disease, from starvation. A few were still surviving some months ago near Aleppo and along the banks of the Euphrates. Many, probably thousands, were drowned in that river and its tributaries, martyrs to their Christian faith, which they had refused to renounce; for it was generally possible for women, and sometimes for men, to save themselves by accepting Mohammedanism. By these various methods hundreds of thousands—the number is variously estimated at from 500,000 to 800,000—have perished. And all this was done with the tacit acquiescence of the German Government, some of whose representatives on the spot are even said to have encouraged the Turks in their work of slaughter, while the Government confined its action to propagating in Germany, so as to deceive its own people, false stories which alleged that[Pg xv] the Armenians had been punished for insurrectionary movements.

All these facts, with many details too horrible to be repeated here, are set forth in the Blue Book recently published in England, containing accounts based upon incontrovertible evidence, and to which no reply has been made, though some denials, palpably false, have emanated from the Turkish gang, and some others from the German Government.

The victims who have thus been put to death, a large part of the whole Armenian people, belong to what is one of the oldest nations in the world, which has been Christian and civilized ever since the third century of our era. If any people ever deserved the sympathy of the civilized world, it is they who have clung to their faith and the traditions of their ancient kingdom ever since that kingdom was overthrown by the Turkish invaders many centuries ago. They now appeal to the Allied Nations who are fighting the battle of Right and Humanity against the German Government and its barbarous Turkish allies, asking that when the end of the war comes their case may be considered and they[Pg xvi] may be for ever delivered from the Turkish yoke. Nowhere is their hard case better known than in the United States, for it is the American missionaries who have, by their admirable schools and colleges planted in many cities of Asiatic Turkey, done more for them than any other country has done, giving them light, consolation and sympathy.

The author of this little book is an Armenian gentleman belonging to a family originally from Ispahan in Persia, but now settled in England. He speaks with intimate knowledge as well as with patriotic feeling, and states the case of his countrymen with a moderation well fitted to inspire confidence. Upon the arguments he puts forward I do not venture to express any opinion in detail. But those who know something of Asiatic Turkey will recognize with him that the Armenians are, by their intelligence and their irrepressible energy, the race best fitted to restore prosperity to regions desolated by Turkish oppression. The educated Armenians, notwithstanding all they have suffered, are abreast of the modern world of civilization. Among them are many men[Pg xvii] of science and learning, as well as artists and poets. They are scattered in many lands. I have visited large Armenian colonies as far west as California, and there are others as far east as Rangoon. Many of the exiles would return to their ancient home if they could but be guaranteed that security and peace which they have never had, and can never have, under the rule of the Turk. May we not confidently hope that the Allied Powers will find means for giving it to them at the end of this war, for extending to them that security which they have long desired and are capable of using well?


May, 1917.

[Pg xix]



[Pg 1]




The first official advance for peace made by Germany and her Allies, although couched in defiant and menacing terms, was nevertheless an unmistakable signal of distress, and has brought the world within measurable distance of that just and durable peace which the Allies have set out to achieve. The prospect of approaching peace has set on foot a general reiteration of the issues at stake, and consideration of the terms and problems of peace. Public attention in this country will naturally be occupied, in the first place, with the momentous issues and interests of the United Kingdom, the[Pg 2] British Empire and her Allies raised by the war and to be settled and secured by the impending peace. It will therefore, I hope, not be considered amiss or premature for a member of one of those small and oppressed peoples engulfed in the vortex of the war who look to Great Britain and her Allies for deliverance, reparation and the security of their future liberty, to put before the British public his views, as well as facts and arguments that may be of some service in enabling it to form a just estimate of the claims and merits of one of the smaller problems which run the risk of not receiving a full hearing at the Peace Conference, in the presence of a multitude of larger and more important questions.

The item in the Allied peace terms stated in their reply to President Wilson's note, "the setting free of the populations subject to the bloody tyranny of the Turks," is the bearer to Armenians of a message of comfort and hope. It heralds the dawn of a new day that will mark the end of the long and hideous nightmare of Turkish tyranny.

If President Wilson, the American people,[Pg 3] or other neutrals were in search of evidence that would prove to them conclusively which of the two groups of belligerents is sincere in its professions of regard for "the rights and privileges of weak peoples and small states"; if Belgium had not been violated and ravaged; if the Lusitania and so many hospital ships, liners and merchantmen had not been sunk without any care as to the fate of the wounded, the children and women, the non-combatant men and crews; if Zeppelins had not spread death and destruction among women and children in their homes in the night; if all these and so many other outrages had not been committed, and there had been, in the whole course of the war, no other act of the Quadruple Alliance in any degree contrary to the laws and usages of civilized warfare and dictates of humanity, the single word Armenia would provide that proof—a crushing, monumental proof—as to who is and who is not sincere in the professions of regard for right, justice and humanity. The spirit of desolated Armenia stands at the head of the phantom spirits of [Pg 4]outraged humanity, which must rise and shatter to atoms every mask of benevolence, righteousness and injured innocence that the protagonists of "frightfulness" may assume for the deception of their own peoples and neutrals.

But in the United States at least there is no need for any fresh proof or explanation of the issue at this stage, and the martyrdom of Armenia has contributed largely to that state of American opinion. I have little doubt that President Wilson's Peace Note and speech to the Senate are the first steps towards America casting her whole weight into the scale, aiming at the realization of a just and lasting peace.

The intense interest evinced by the people and Government of the United States in the fate of Armenia and the Armenians is abundantly shown not only by the generous gifts of money for the relief of the survivors and the noble personal services by devoted missionaries and relief agents, some of whom lost their lives in their work of mercy; but also by diplomatic action on behalf of the Armenians in Constantinople (where Mr.[Pg 5] Morgenthau, to his great honour, struggled valiantly to stay the hand of the ruthless oppressor), and by the prominence given to any and every scrap of news concerning the holocaust in Armenia. It is no exaggeration to say that, military operations apart, no incident of the war, not excepting the violation and martyrdom of Belgium, has been given more space and prominence in the American Press than anything connected with the martyrdom of Armenia and Syria and the relief of the refugees and exiles.

In his reply to the Armenian deputation who on December 14, 1916, presented to him an illuminated parchment from the Catholicos expressing His Holiness's gratitude and thanks to the American nation, President Wilson said, inter alia

"We have tried to do what was possible to save your people from the ravages of war. My great regret is, that we have been able to accomplish so little. There have been many suffering peoples as the result of that terrible struggle, and [Pg 6]the lot of none has touched the American heart more than the suffering of the Armenians."[2]

Nothing in the war has brought home to the people of the United States the moral issues of the war more strongly and vividly than the unprecedented barbarities committed by the Turks in their diabolical attempt to wipe out the Armenian race. No event of the war has been more damaging to the Central Powers in the eyes of the United States. Here they have seen the ruthless spirit of the twin enemies of humanity and liberty—the Turkish yatagan supported by the Prussian jack-boot—in its hideous nakedness, at work in the depths of Asia, unrestrained and unperceived, as they thought, by the light of civilization.

This gospel of the jack-boot and the yatagan will be best illustrated by putting side by side two quotations, one from the Tanine, the official organ of the Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople, and the other from a statement made by[Pg 7] Count Reventlow in October 1915. The Tanine "invited the Government to exterminate or forcibly convert to Islam all Armenian women in Turkey as the only means of saving the Ottoman Empire."[3] Count Reventlow, the high priest of the gospel of Brute Force and Militarism, writing in the Tageszeitung in defence and approval of Turkey's appalling crime, said that it was the Ottoman Government's obvious right and duty to take the strongest repressive measures against "the bloodthirsty Armenians"—the measures advocated by the Tanine, which were carried out by Count Reventlow's worthy allies on the Bosphorus with a completeness and ferocity that must have greatly pleased him.

The German Government and German apologists have made a great parade of the use of Indian and African troops in Europe by the Allies. By all reports, these troops have fought as clean a fight as any troops in the war. I think that in the judgment of future historians no incident of this war,[Pg 8] whose history is so heavily shadowed on one side with outrages and violations of the laws of civilized warfare, will meet with so strong a condemnation as Germany's alliance with the Young Turks, the declaration of a "holy war" at her behest, and its dire consequences for the already sorely tried Christian subjects of the Turks. (It should be remembered that Germany and Austria are signatories to the Treaty of Berlin, Art. 61 of which was to have brought about "the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians," and to have "guaranteed their security against the Kurds and Circassians." This point cannot be too strongly emphasized.) She could have foreseen these consequences; and if she did not foresee them, she could have stopped them when they made themselves apparent. Turkey's entry into the war placed her Christian subjects in a position of great peril, as it has been her custom to wreak upon them her vengeance for defeats; while a state of war freed her from the moral restraint of Europe. It[Pg 9] was hoped that German and Austrian influence would check this tendency. How cruelly events have shattered that hope! They have proved that it was too much to expect humanity and the ordinary feelings of chivalry and compassion for the honour and suffering of women and children from the State policies of these great Christian Governments and the majority of their agents in Turkey. I do not believe that this ungodly and inhuman policy has received general approbation either in Germany or Austria-Hungary. This is evident from the quotations from German missionary journals in the Blue-book on the "Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire."[4] It is also proved by the protests addressed to the Imperial Chancellor by several Catholic and Protestant organizations.


[2] Quoted in The New Armenia of New York, January 1, 1917. The italics are mine.

[3] Quoted in Guerre Sociale (Paris), September 16, 1915.

[4] The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Documents presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with a preface by Viscount Bryce (Hodder & Stoughton).

[Pg 10]



The Governments of the Allies have unanimously declared that peace is only possible on the principles of adequate reparation for the past, adequate security for the future, and recognition of the principle of nationalities and of the free existence of small states.

"Reparation" means no doubt in the first place reparation for the wanton and ruthless destruction of unoffending and defenceless civilian lives and property.

It is characteristic of the British sense of justice and fair play that Belgium, France and Serbia should be given the first place in their demand for reparation, for, of course, there are the British victims of "frightfulness," Zeppelin and submarine [Pg 11]victims and the victims of judicial murders to be atoned for and recompensed.

This unanimous demand for reparation to the smaller nations for all they have suffered as a result of the brutal and unscrupulous aggression of their more powerful neighbours, and their security and free development, augurs well for the future. It is an earnest given by the Entente Powers to the world, of the sincerity of their declarations regarding the unselfish, just and worthy objects which they entered the war to attain.

I must be excused, however, if I confess to feeling not a little perplexity at the fact that, in discussing the peace terms, the great organs of British public opinion, with some notable exceptions,[5] have made little[Pg 12] or no reference to Armenia in the demand for penalties, reparation and redemption. This fact must have impressed Mr. Arthur Henderson, who, in his reference to Armenia quoted more fully elsewhere, remarked that " ... Armenian atrocities were not much talked about here ... etc." My anxiety will be understood when I point out that for us it is not a question of a little more or less territory, a little larger or smaller indemnity. For us more than for any other race involved in the war it is a question of "to be or not to be" in a real and fateful sense: the rebirth of Armenian nationality from the profusion of its lost blood and heaps of smouldering ashes, or the end of that long-cherished and bled-for aspiration, and the consummation of the "policy" of Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks.

The first general discussion of the terms of peace has coincided with the publication, as a Blue-book, of Lord Bryce's comprehensive documentary evidence on the attempt of the Turks to murder the Armenian nation in cold blood. I gratefully acknowledge the fact that many newspapers wrote [Pg 13]sympathetic editorial articles or reviews on the Blue-book, emphasizing, with incontestable force, that this conclusive evidence of the abominable crimes committed by the Turks in Armenia without any protest from official Germany, is a crushing reply to the German Chancellor's protestations of solicitude for humanity.

But, opportune as has been the immediate effect of this fresh evidence of Lord Bryce's noble and untiring labours in the cause of humanity, as a tragic and terrible exposure of the irony of the Central Powers' professions of pity for suffering humanity, that is surely not the only or the principal moral to be drawn from these haunting pages. They constitute a terrible and lasting reproach to the European diplomacy of our time. They unfold to the horrified gaze of mankind a vast column of human smoke and human anguish rising to the heavens as the incense of the most fearful yet most glorious mass-martyrdom the world has ever seen, but casting a shadow of lasting shame upon Christendom and civilization. The unparalleled outburst of barbarity they reveal did[Pg 14] not come as a surprise. Europe had heard its premonitory rumblings these last forty years. As far back as 1880 the representatives of the Great Powers in their famous and futile Identic Note to the Sublime Porte, said: "So desperate was the misgovernment of the country that it would lead in all probability to the destruction of the Christian population of vast districts." The massacres of 1895-1896 and 1909 cost the lives of 250,000 to 300,000 Armenians. But most of the European statesmen of the day persistently refused to believe that "the gentle Turk" was capable of such bursts of unspeakable barbarism; while Bismarck declared openly that the whole Eastern Question was not worth "the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier." His successors have followed and improved upon his ruthless, unchristian policy, and Europe sees the result.

With due respect to the small minority of humane Turks, who, I dare say, are themselves shocked at what their rulers, their soldiery and populace have proved themselves capable of, the Turk as a race[Pg 15] has added yet another and vaster monument than ever before to the long series of similar monuments that fill the pages of his blood-stained history, in proof of the unchangeable brutality of his nature. You cannot reason or argue with him. Nor can you expect justice or ordinary human feelings from such a nature. The only sane and honest way to deal with him is to make him innocuous. It is official Europe that is to blame for leaving him so long at large and his prey at his mercy. It is European diplomacy of the past forty years that is responsible for looking on while the relentless mutilation was going on limb by limb, until Moloch saw his chance in the war and all but devoured his hapless victim, with the tacit acquiescence of the Governments of two great Christian empires, and the applause of Count Reventlow and his disciples.

How is it to be explained that this deliberately planned destruction of more than half a million human beings by all the tortures of the Dark Ages, and the deportation and enslavement worse than death of more than half a million, have not aroused[Pg 16] the righteous wrath of the great British writers and thinkers of the day to nearly the same extent as the martyrdom of Belgium? How is it that great writers and poets have not felt the call of expressing to the world in the language of genius the stupefying horror as well as the moral grandeur of this vast, unparalleled tragedy?[6] Great Britain has always been, and is to-day more than ever, the champion and "the hope of the oppressed and the despair of the oppressor." That sympathy, horror and indignation exist in this country in the fullest measure there is not the slightest doubt. One sees proofs and indications of their existence at every turn. But why, in Heaven's name, is it not proclaimed to[Pg 17] the world that the culprits may know and tremble and stay their hand? Bishops have been burnt to death, hundreds of churches desecrated, and ministers of Christ tortured and murdered; hundreds of thousands of Christian women and children done to death in circumstances of unspeakable barbarity and bestiality. Why are the Churches of Great Britain and all Christendom not raising a cry of indignation that will reverberate throughout the world and strike the fear of God into the hearts of these assassins and all powers of darkness? Why is not a word said as a tribute, so richly deserved, to the heroic and indomitable spirit of the men and women and even children who chose torture and death rather than deny their Christ, sacrifice their honour or renounce their nationality?[7] Here is assuredly[Pg 18] the most inspiring example of all times of the triumph of the spirit of Christ and the fidelity in death to conscience, personal[Pg 19] honour and independence, over savage fury and brutal lust at the highest pitch ever attained in them by fiends in human form; a triumph and an example more inspiring, and with a deeper and more lasting significance for humanity and Christianity, perhaps, than this great and terrible war itself; and the Churches and spokesmen and writers of great Christian countries, belligerent and neutral, pass over that aspect of the Great Tragedy almost in complete silence!

I do not ask tributes for the martyrs; let their praise be sung by the hosts of heaven. Nor is this a complaint; and it would be a presumption on my part to assume the rôle of critic or mentor to leaders of religion, thought and learning in great Christian countries. It is far indeed from my intention to assume such a rôle. But these are facts which I contemplate with inexpressible sorrow, almost despair—facts which perplex and puzzle me and which surpass my understanding. Perhaps[Pg 20] my judgment is dimmed and embittered by my nation's sufferings. If that is so, is any one surprised that the Armenian soul should be bitter to-day, bitter with a bitterness, anguish and indignation such as the soul of man has never tasted before, or any people can possibly imagine?

Some papers speak of the sufferings of the Armenians being equal to those of the Belgians.

Armenians know, if any one does, what bondage and suffering under the tyrant's heel mean, and they yield to none in their profound sympathy and admiration for heroic Belgium, Serbia and the occupied parts of France. The martyrdom of 5000 unoffending Belgian civilians is a horrible enough episode, but surely there is some difference between 5000 and 600,000 victims, to say nothing of the 600,000 who were enslaved, forcibly converted to Islam, and driven in caravans of torture and death to the Mesopotamian deserts.[8] What is the[Pg 21] condition of these unfortunates, and how many have survived, must remain a dread secret of the desert until the end of the war.

Is it because the victims are Armenians, mere Armenians so used to massacre, so long abandoned by Europe to the lust and pleasure of "the Gentle Turk"? That may be so in the eyes of men. But there is God, and in His eyes the life and pain and torture and death of an Armenian child, woman, or man are the same, exactly the same, as those of any other child, woman, or man without exception.


[5] Armenians are especially indebted to the Manchester Guardian and The Times for their valuable services to their cause, humanity and truth in exposing the reign of terror in Armenia and the Turk's affectation of "clean-fighting." Part 101 of The Times History and Encyclopædia of the War was the first detailed account of what had happened in Armenia since the outbreak of war, and I may add that, considering the difficulties of obtaining information, it is a remarkably well-informed account.

[6] Mr. Israel Zangwill concludes a moving and eloquent tribute to the agony of Armenia in The New Armenia (New York) of March 1, 1917, entitled "The Majesty of Armenia," in the following words—"I bow before this higher majesty of sorrow. I take the crown of thorns from Israel's head and I place it upon Armenia's."

Is it not a strange fact that of all contemporary authors and publicists of note, it should have fallen to a famous and gifted Jew to pay the first tribute to "the majesty" of Armenia's martyrdom for the Christian faith?

[7] Mr. P. W. Wilson's sympathetic and appreciative articles in The Westminster Gazette and The Daily News and Leader of February 3, 1917, appeared after the above was written. While I am most grateful to Mr. Wilson and the two great organs of British public opinion, I avail myself of this opportunity to make one or two observations on some of the points Mr. Wilson has raised—

"The first impulse of the refugee" has not only been "to start a shop" but also to start a school and improvise the means of continuing the publication of the newspaper he was publishing in Van before the exile, as the Belgians have done here under more favourable circumstances. The toleration practised by Armenians and their Church is not due to adversity, but the true understanding of Christianity. The spirit of toleration breathes through the pages of the history of the Armenian Church from the earliest times.

Mr. Wilson says: "It is doubtless regrettable that the Armenians should have failed to recommend their progressive conception of life to the Moslems around them." This is a striking example of the misconception that so often exists in the minds of even the most sympathetic observers of Armenian affairs. Mr. Wilson knows no doubt for how much prestige counts in the East. If the European missions with all the prestige of their great nations, governments, embassies, consulates, etc., behind them (to say nothing of the unlimited funds at their disposal) have had such little success in Moslem countries, is it reasonable to blame the Armenians, oppressed, harried, tortured, massacred, plunged into the depths of misery, for not having fared better? What respect could the Armenian's religion inspire among his Moslem neighbours who murdered his bishops and priests, desecrated his churches and inflicted the most revolting insults upon the outward symbols of his faith, while his powerful co-religionists stood by and did nothing? Under these circumstances what better service could the Armenian render his religion than die for it? In happier days, the early Armenian Christians were largely instrumental in converting the Georgians.

[8] It is some consolation to know, as some reports say, that the Arabs have treated these unfortunates kindly. It is an indication of—and a credit to—their superior civilization.

[Pg 22]



The Allies have declared in their reply to President Wilson that one of their aims is "the turning out of Europe of the Ottoman[Pg 23] Empire, as decidedly foreign to Western civilization."

This fact of the Turk being "decidedly foreign to Western civilization," affirmed on the authority and conviction of the Governments of four of the greatest and most advanced nations of Europe, needs no further proof. Nevertheless it seems desirable, in the interests of truth, to endeavour to dissipate the misconception that has been created by the extraordinary myth of "the clean-fighting Turk."

There has been a disposition in this country, natural and intelligible under the circumstances, to attribute the recent (let us hope the last) and most terrible of the Armenian massacres wholly or largely to German influence. That the German Government had it in its power to stop this gigantic crime if it had so wished, there is no doubt. It seems likely also that the Turk applied[Pg 24] to his brutal scheme the method and thoroughness he had learned from his German ally. But seriously to assert, as some writers and speakers have done, that German influence instigated the massacres, is to shut one's eyes to the Turk's record ever since he became known to history. One need only turn the pages of his history—a veritable chamber of horrors—to convince oneself that massacre, outrage, and devastation have always been congenial to the Turk.

Without for a moment wishing to absolve the German Government of its responsibility, before God and humanity, for not exerting its influence to save more than a million absolutely innocent human beings from death, slow torture, and slavery: the fact, nevertheless, remains that Hulagu, Sultan Selim, Bayazid and Abdul Hamid were not under German influence, that there were no Germans at the sack of Constantinople or the massacres of Bagdad and Sivas, or, in more recent times, at the butcheries of Chios, Greece, Crete, Batak, Macedonia, Sassoon, Urfa, or Adana. The Turk, in fact, has nothing to learn from his Teutonic ally in[Pg 25] "frightfulness"; he has a great deal to teach him. I readily admit that there are some Turks who are gentle and good men. Some of these have risked good positions and even their lives to protect Armenian women and children. But most unfortunately for us, for humanity and for the Turks themselves, such good Turks are few and far between.

It is true that orders for the extirpation of the Armenians were issued from Constantinople, but can any one imagine such revolting orders being carried out by "gentle and clean-fighting" troops and people? I shall be much surprised if any unprejudiced man or woman in any civilized country believes that any but the Turkish populace and soldiery would be capable of carrying out such orders. History at any rate has given us no such evidence.

I believe that, under a just and honest government and better influences, the Turkish peasant will, in course of time, lose his proneness to cruelty, for he has good qualities. But if this war is intended to see the end of tyranny, oppression, brutal religious and political persecution and the[Pg 26] discontent and unrest that such conditions always produce; if it is to prevent the possibility of a repetition of the hell that the Turks have let loose in Armenia since they entered the war and so often before the war; then it is clear that never again must the Turk be allowed to possess the power over other races, which he has so abominably abused ever since he "hacked his way through" to the fair, fertile and once highly prosperous country which he has devastated and converted into a charnel-house.

The Armenians of Turkey had no separatist aspirations. They knew that was impracticable. Nothing would have suited them better than a reformed government in Turkey, that would give them security of life, honour and property, the free development of their national and religious institutions and an approach to equality with Moslems before the law. On the promulgation of the Constitution, all the Armenian revolutionary societies were transformed into peaceable and orderly political parties as by magic. They had great hopes of [Pg 27]achieving these aims and the regeneration of the Ottoman Empire from within in co-operation with the Young Turks before the war, and they gave the Committee of Union and Progress (was there ever a more incongruous misnomer?) all the support they could, which was by no means negligible; but they had not long to wait to be completely and bitterly disillusioned. The Adana massacres gave their hopes the first blow. The Armenian leaders proved too earnest and sincere democrats for the Committee leaders who, with few exceptions, were actuated, as events proved, more by inordinate personal ambition than the "liberty" and "equality" which they so loudly proclaimed and which have proved such a hideous mockery. The chauvinistic wing soon gained complete ascendancy over the party, which resolved on the covert or forcible "Ottomanization" of all non-Turk races of the Empire (as is proved by the recent exposures of the Grand Sheriff of Mecca), and ended by joining the Germans in the war in the hope of conquering Egypt and the Caucasus.

It is a mistake to think that Germany[Pg 28] forced Turkey into the war against her will by the presence of the Goeben and Breslau. Those who had any knowledge of Turkish affairs had no doubt of the existence of a military understanding between Germany and Turkey for some years before the war. The arrival of a military mission at Constantinople under Liman von Sanders left no doubt on that point.

On the outbreak of the European war, the Armenian Dashnakist Party met in congress at Erzerum to determine the attitude to be observed by the Party in relation to the war. Hearing of this, the Young Turks forthwith sent representatives to ascertain the attitude of the Party in the event of Turkey going to war against Russia. (See Blue-book, p. 80.) This took place some weeks before the arrival of the Goeben and Breslau at Constantinople. Nor was the war as unpopular with the Turkish masses at the outset as is thought by many. If that were so there would have been a revolt against the Young Turks, and Turkey would have been detached from the Central Powers long ago. It may be less popular now,[Pg 29] because their dreams of conquest have been shattered and the whole country is suffering. No Turk, Young or Old, had any particular objection to the prospects of the conquest either of Egypt or the Caucasus, and many of them aimed at a Moslem Triple Alliance between Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan under German auspices, and even dreamt dreams of an empire that would ultimately embrace India and the whole of Northern Africa![10]

The Young Turks have tried their hand at the government of the Ottoman Empire, and have failed more completely and proved infinitely more cruel and brutal than the old Turks. Besides this, their betrayal of the Entente Powers and the vast and unprecedented crime which they have committed against humanity have left only one solution possible that holds out any promise of peace, justice and normal progress in the future. That one solution is, to draw up a new map of the Ottoman Empire on the basis of nationality and historical rights, reparation in proportion to services and sacrifices during the war, and the proved[Pg 30] aptitude of the races concerned for progress and development on the lines of Western civilization.

There has long existed in Europe a school of politicians who have always asked: "If you eliminate Turkish rule over the Turks' subject races, what will you put in its place?" After what has happened in Armenia and Syria, he would be a bold man or a prejudiced man who would deny that any change will be an improvement.

The unfitness of the Turk to govern alien, and especially Christian peoples has been proved by such an overwhelming accumulation of historical evidence and rivers of innocent Christian blood, that to urge the contrary must appear like an attempt to obscure the sun by the palm of the hand.

If this war is to bring peace and progress to Asia Minor instead of chronic anarchy, bloodshed and devastation as in the past, there must be an end of Turkish domination over alien races in any shape or form. By all means give the Turk the chance of governing himself in the provinces inhabited purely by Turks.

[Pg 31]

During the Turkish retreat from Thrace in 1913, the evidence of newspaper correspondents was that the Turk was leaving Europe in the same state—moral, material and intellectual—as he entered it four centuries ago. The fact is, that centuries of contact with civilization has made no difference to the nature of the Turk. War brings to the surface the true nature of a people as nothing else can. The Turk has proved by his conduct in this war that he is as cruel and brutal as he was when he first swooped down as the scourge of God in Asia Minor one thousand years ago. By centuries of conquest and domination he has acquired an attractive free and easy outward manner which has stamped him a "gentleman" in the eyes of European travellers. But the same "gentleman" who will charm you with his manner will murder or enslave any number of women and children without the slightest twinge of conscience. Such is the Turkish "gentleman." The Turks are to-day proving their gratitude for a hundred years of British and French support by throwing the whole of[Pg 32] their man-power and resources—largely built up by British and French capital—into the scale on the side of Germany. They have put at the disposal of Germany and held for Germany the land routes by which alone she can hope to threaten the British and French colonial empires. They have done their best to do England and her Allies all the injury they can, and have given the enemies of England all the help they can. And still the Turk and even the Young Turk have friends and protectors in this country.[11] This, to my mind, is the most astonishing phenomenon of the whole war. It must appear strange to thinking Moslems that there should be found, in great and mighty Christian countries, respected and prominent men who defend the Young Turks at the very moment when their protégés are persecuting and massacring their weak and defenceless co-religionists in countless thousands. I gravely doubt whether such an[Pg 33] act is calculated to enhance the prestige of Christianity in the eyes of the Moslem world.

Have the apologists of the Turks ever put themselves this question: "If under German influence the Turks have been capable of attempting the cold-blooded murder of a whole nation, how is the fact to be explained, that under the same influence they were able to gain the reputation of 'clean fighters'?"

The irony of it all is, that in a war in which more than twenty different nations are engaged, the Turk and the Turk alone among the belligerents should have gained the epithet of "clean-fighter," though, note well, from one of his adversaries only. How is this fact to be explained? Is it seriously claimed that the Turk has proved himself, under the test of war, superior in morals and chivalry to all the nations of Europe?

Turkish mentality is not understood in Western Europe. The Turk has a fanatical bravery which, however, easily degenerates into brutality. The Russians, Rumanians and Serbs have fought the Turks for [Pg 34]centuries. It would be interesting to have their opinion of his "clean-fighting" qualities. The fact is, the Turk knows he may need English help again some day. He knows that there has long existed in England a school of politicians which has believed that British interests in the Near East will be best served by supporting the Turk. He knows that England has millions of Mohammedan subjects who have still some sympathy for him on religious grounds, and whose susceptibilities Englishmen are naturally anxious to avoid hurting. He also knows that the British soldier is a chivalrous warrior who gives full credit to his adversary for any good qualities he may seem to possess. He understands the power of public opinion in England. He sees, in short, that there is in England a fertile and responsive psychological soil ready to nurture and fructify a hundred-fold the smallest show of "clean-fighting" he may make. Accordingly, the order goes forth to the Turkish soldier to be on his best behaviour whenever and wherever he is fighting British troops, and the Turkish soldier obeys[Pg 35] with the blind obedience which is his chief characteristic.

That is the true explanation of the amazing fact that so many—though not all—British officers and soldiers have written or spoken of the Turk as a clean-fighter. It is well-known that some wounded Australians who had the misfortune of falling into the hands of the Turks were most brutally mutilated in the early part of the Dardanelles campaign. A wounded and gallant young New Zealander told me at a Hampstead hospital that the Turks "put three bullets into him," while he was being carried to the rear of the fighting line on a stretcher. (In case my remarks concerning the clean-fighting qualities of the Turk should be misconstrued or misrepresented as in any way implying a doubt as to the evidence of British officers and soldiers, I wish to say emphatically, what hardly needs affirmation, that I regard such evidence as absolutely above doubt or question.)

The Russians said in one of their official communiqués that a number of their wounded had been mutilated by the Turks.

[Pg 36]

Two Russian hospital ships have been deliberately torpedoed by submarines manned by Turks and flying the Turkish flag.

I do not of course suggest that there are no really clean-fighting men among the Turks. There must be many such. It should be borne in mind in this connection that, in the early stages of the war, the Turkish army contained a considerable sprinkling of Christians—Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, etc. But to label the Turks as such and as a whole as clean fighters and gentle folk is to admit the success of the most subtle propagandist make-believe of the war and the biggest hoax ever played off by Oriental cunning upon a chivalrous and unsuspecting adversary.

Armenians have known the Turk for centuries. They have known him as he is, not as he affects to be in the presence of a European, and they can claim credit for some knowledge of the subject. I venture to predict that there is severe disillusionment in store for those who still believe in the genuineness of Turkish "clean-fighting" and "chivalry," when the British prisoners in Turkey return. Strange indeed must[Pg 37] be this Turkish conception of chivalry to sanction the enslavement and slaughter of women and children in hundreds of thousands, instead of protecting them and their honour as the ordinary code of chivalry demands.

A Reuter telegram from Cairo published in The Daily Chronicle of February 13, 1917, contained the following—

"It is learnt on reliable authority that the British, French, and Russian prisoners who are employed on the construction of the new line are treated most roughly by the Germans and Turks, and that a large number are falling ill from dysentery and filling the military hospitals at Aleppo. Those who have not been attacked by dysentery have fallen victims to other diseases, resulting from bad food, rough treatment, and overwork.

"One of the tricks adopted by the Germans and Turks, in order to throw dust in the eyes of the British regarding the treatment of prisoners, was the honour paid to General Townshend, who was returned his[Pg 38] sword and accorded the best treatment possible. They brought him to Constantinople, and made him write a letter of thanks for the good treatment he and his men had received at the hands of the Turks.

"General Townshend did not know at the time he wrote this letter what misery and hardship were awaiting his unhappy troops."

I may here quote in support of my contention one of the foremost living European authorities on Near Eastern affairs, and one who certainly will not be suspected of anti-Turkish prejudices—I mean Colonel Sir Mark Sykes, M.P. Addressing a meeting at Kew on January 17, 1917 (I quote from The Near East of January 19, 1917), Sir Mark said—

"The Turk, who in the last ten years had thrown back to the primitive Turanian Conqueror, was not content with dominating, but was now engaged in exterminating the Armenian, the Syrian Christian, and the Arabs, and was even now beginning to bully the Jews. The Turk had overthrown Islam as Prussia had overthrown Christianity. Prussia had replaced God by Thor and the[Pg 39] Cross by his hammer. The Turk had replaced Mohammed by Oghuz and Allah by the "White Wolf" of the primitive Turks. No belief was to be placed in that cloak of chivalry under which in exceptional cases the Turk tried to hide his abominable acts.[12] He might treat General Townshend well; but how was he treating the thousands of Indians and Englishmen in his hands? If it were possible that the Teuton-Turanian federation of violence could win this war it would be twenty generations before mankind regained its liberty."


[9] Since this chapter was written, the following authoritative and important piece of evidence on this much-debated subject has appeared in The Weekly Dispatch of March 4, 1917, from the pen of General Sir O'Moore Creagh, V.C.—

" ... I have experience of the Turk. He is a merciless oppressor, whose real character is often hidden behind a pleasant manner, and who is ready to cut your throat with a sort of savage courtesy. Appeal to his fanaticism, and in the trenches he has no fear of death; but he is very subject, in case of reverse, to cowardly panic, which to a considerable extent detracts from his worth as a soldier....

"I know some of our men who have met the Turk both on the Tigris and in Gallipoli speak of him as a clean fighter. Certainly when he meets his match he fights fairly enough, but when he is an easy victor he is remorseless and merciless; and robs, murders, and ravishes with the unrestrained savagery which lies at the base of his character. The British prisoners taken by the Turk in the present war have been disgracefully treated, and, as we know, denied clothing, medicine, and the ordinary necessaries of life, starved, and even refused shelter in extremes of heat and cold. The people who are always ready to praise the Turk as a clean fighter should remember that he has a lot to answer for in the present war."

[10] See Appendix, p. 188.

[11] See Sir Edwin Pears's article in The Contemporary Review, October 1916. (I note this with the deepest regret, for Armenians are under a heavy debt of gratitude to Sir Edwin Pears for his generous and authoritative defence of their cause in the past.)

[12] In reply to a question by Colonel Yate in the House of Commons on February 12, 1917: "Mr. Hope said repeated representation had been made to the Turkish Government to allow U.S. representatives to visit the camps, but up to now without success. Efforts, however, would be continued. Information had reached the Government that the conditions under which officers were interned were fairly satisfactory, but the condition of other prisoners was deplorable."—Evening Standard.

Truth says, in its issue of February 21, 1917: "I have in my possession a letter written last autumn by a British Army officer, one of the defenders of Kut, who was then at a place called Vozga, 160 miles from Tigris Valley railhead. The unfortunate prisoner complains bitterly of the privations which he and others have to endure at the hands of the Turks."

[Pg 40]



The exaggerated panegyrics on the virtues of the Turk, while the Turk is at war with England and her Allies and Turkish emissaries are busy making all the mischief they can among loyal subjects of the British Empire, exploiting religion as a weapon of squalid intrigue, point to the existence of influences which have been at work ever since Turkey joined the war, to screen from public view and to palliate the enormity of Turkish perfidy in making common cause with England's enemies in the hour of England's difficulty. These same influences seem to regard with disfavour the growth of Anglo-Russian friendship and would apparently not be sorry to see some hitch or other occur that would weaken or endanger the permanence of that friendship.

This may be an unfounded assumption,[Pg 41] and I hope it is. But if these pro-Turkish and anti-Russian influences exist in fact, and gain enough strength to exercise any influence on the course of events after the war, it will be a calamity for the smaller nations of the Near and Middle East, and in fact for all Asia. It will be a hindrance and a deterrent to the tranquillity and development that has been so long denied to these regions. Close and cordial friendship between England and Russia are almost as indispensable a condition of life and growth and progress to these backward countries as light and heat. It is scarcely for me to say that it is also necessary for the future peace of Asia and the world. The unnatural and unfounded mutual distrust that shadowed Anglo-Russian relations throughout almost the whole of the past century has been chiefly responsible for the woes and miseries of the peoples of the Near East, Moslems as well as Christians. It has kept back the clock of progress and civilization for at least fifty years. We have felt its effect in our daily lives and regard any prospect of its return with the utmost apprehension and regret. Pan-Turanian intrigues under the[Pg 42] cloak of Pan-Islamism will not end with the war. They will be continued after the war by their protagonists, whose chief concern is, not the interests of the Mohammedan religion, but the unscrupulous exploitation of religious sentiment for personal ends, and the disturbance of the tranquillity and ordered government which in the present chaotic state of these countries are only possible under the strong and just arm of British, Russian, or French protection. Any weakening in Anglo-Russian friendship would give these intriguers their chance, of which they would not be slow to take the fullest advantage, with injurious consequences to the countries concerned and to the general interests of peace. The best elements of Islam, and specially the peasant populations which form the vast majority of the Moslem world, know and have proved by their loyalty that they have nothing to fear from Britain, Russia and France, who have always not only respected, but fostered their religious interests and given them, in addition, the inestimable blessings of freedom, justice, security and prosperity such as they could never expect to enjoy under any other régime.

[Pg 43]

It is idle to pretend that any subject race loves any form of domination for its own sake. But many races and countries in Asia and Africa are so situated that independence is beyond the bounds of practicability. Any change would result in an exchange of one domination for another. Some forms of domination are sincerely welcomed because, as against the evil of domination, they have not only conferred upon the peoples under their rule benefits and blessings which they themselves could not possibly have achieved, but have allowed them freedom of development on their national lines. Such in varying degrees is the nature of British, French, Russian, and I may add, Dutch dominion over the alien races under their rule. What has Turkish domination been to its subject races? An unmitigated curse to Christian, Moslem and Jew alike, with this difference, that while the Moslem and Jew have been reduced by merciless taxation and robbery to extreme poverty, the Christian races have been bled almost to death. The Turks have deliberately fostered the criminal propensities of large sections of their people and encouraged[Pg 44] their free indulgence to check the growth and progress of the moral and civilizing elements in their dominions. If some of the Moslems of India, Egypt or Tunis, whose sympathy with the Turks on religious grounds every one will understand and respect, would live under Turkish rule for a few months, I have no doubt they would be completely cured of their love for the Turk as such, hasten back to their homes and beg the British and the French to remain in their countries for ever. Similarly, if it were possible for the most rabid pro-Turks in this or any European country to live some time under the Turk, disguised as Armenians or Syrians, they would also be cured and more than cured of their admiration for the Turk; then only would they come to understand his real nature.

The following account of the experiences of some Indian pilgrims at Kerbela at the outbreak of war, which appeared in The Times of June 6, 1916, bears out my contention—

"The Bombay Government have published the story of an Indian Moslem pilgrim, Zakir Husain, who recently escaped from Kerbela (Baghdad Vilayet), whither he went[Pg 45] on pilgrimage with his mother and sister in the summer of 1914.

"Zakir Husain states that after the outbreak of war all routes homewards were blocked, and the many Indian pilgrims at Kerbela were subjected to the utmost discomfort and cruelty. The Turkish authorities issued orders that the goods and women of Indians were the legal property of those who plundered them. Their houses were searched, their goods taken, and dozens of Indians were arrested and deported to the Aleppo side, while their families and children were left in Kerbela.

"Throughout these fourteen months," he continued, "we never got meals more than once a day. We could not get any work, and consequently we had to beg from door to door in order to get a few scraps of bread to eat, and the state of the women and children was worse even than that of the men. For a man to be an Indian was considered a sufficient reason by Turks to torture and imprison him. We protested that we were Moslems, but they never paid heed. They themselves are no Moslems, and do not act according to the precepts of Islam. According to what I[Pg 46] heard, the Indians in Nejef, Kazimain, and Baghdad have also been treated in the same cruel way as we were; hundreds have been deported and their houses pillaged."

The following from The Times of December 26, 1916, is another illustration of the way Turks treat Moslems of another race who refuse to become the blind slaves of their political madness—

"Emir Faisal, commander of the Arabian forces in the vicinity of Medina, has telegraphed to Mecca stating that the Turks have hanged and crucified and employed every species of barbarity against the population of Medina."

Turn now from that picture to the following appeal made to Armenians by one of their principal Tiflis daily papers, Mschak (Labourer), of May 16, 1915—

"To-day the Moslem Benevolent Society is organizing a collection for building and maintaining a shelter for the children of the (Moslem) refugees. War causes suffering to the population of the country without distinction of race or creed. Moslems as well as Christians have to face the effects of[Pg 47] the war, therefore the scheme of the Moslem Benevolent Society to establish a shelter for the children of Moslem refugees is deserving of all sympathy and support. We are convinced that the Armenian community also, having in mind the universal idea of humanity, will take part in the collection and do their duty as a humane people and good neighbours."

These incidents, small in themselves, bring into strong relief the difference between the mentality and degree of civilization of the two races. The Armenian appeal on behalf of refugee Moslem children at a time when one half of their own race was in the throes of the most ferocious of the numerous attacks made upon its existence, is also incidentally a reply, more trenchant than the most eloquent argument in words, to those pro-Turks who have from time to time expressed fears for the rights of the Turks, Kurds, Tcherkesses, Kizilbashis, etc., in an autonomous Armenia. Such a fear is either due to ignorance of the characteristics of the races concerned, or to prejudice. It is inconceivable that any Armenian Government would tolerate, much less impose upon[Pg 48] orderly and good citizens, an injustice which Armenians have themselves endured and struggled against for generations, and which is, for that reason, abhorrent to their very nature. A study of the Armenian Church organization will prove to the most sceptical that the Armenian temperament is essentially democratic. In the smallest village the candidate for priesthood must be elected by a vote of the inhabitants before he can be ordained by the bishop of the diocese. The Armenian deputies in the Russian State Duma as well as the late members of the Ottoman Parliament are and were supporters of the Progressives. Armenians who have risen to positions of influence in the service of foreign countries have invariably used their influence in the cause of progress. General Loris Melikoff as Minister of the Interior had actually prepared a scheme for the reform of the Government of Russia when his Imperial Master, the Czar Alexander II, died, and the scheme was shelved. Nubar Pasha, the famous Egyptian-Armenian statesman, for many years Prime Minister, was largely responsible for the abolition of the corvée in Egypt, and the[Pg 49] introduction of many other reforms. The writer of Nubar Pasha's biography in the Encyclopædia Britannica, referring to his substitution of Mixed Courts in place of the "Capitulations," says (Eleventh Ed., Vol. 19, p. 843), "That in spite of the jealousies of all the Powers, in spite of the opposition of the Porte, he should have succeeded, places him at once in the first rank of statesmen of his period." Prince Malcolm Khan, for some years Persian Minister in London, sowed the first seeds of constitutional government in Persia, for the defence of which another Armenian, Yeprem Khan, laid down his life while leading the constitutional struggle against Mohamed Ali Shah. The first constitution of the Ottoman Empire, known as the Midhat Constitution, was largely the work of Midhat Pasha's Armenian Under-Secretary, Odian Effendi. These are but a few outstanding instances. It must appear inconceivable to right-minded men that a race with such a past record, achieved under all sorts of handicaps, will either establish a régime of tyranny over other races or prove incapable of self-government after a transition period under European advisers, as is alleged by some.

[Pg 50]



Although the Allies have declared in their reply to President Wilson that one of their aims is "the liberation of the peoples who now lie beneath the murderous tyranny of the Turks," no official or authoritative statement has yet been made by the Allied Governments as regards the precise future status of Armenia. Mr. Asquith in his Guildhall speech spoke of "reparation and redemption." M. Briand in a letter to M. Louis Martin, Senator of the Var, published in the Courier du Parlement (Paris) of November 12, 1916, says: "When the hour for legitimate reparation shall have struck, France will not forget the terrible[Pg 51] trials of the Armenians, and, in accord with her Allies, she will take the necessary measures to ensure for Armenia a life of peace and progress." M. Anatole France, in his speech at the great "Homage à l'Arménie" meeting in the Sorbonne in April 1916, used these words: "L'Arménie expire, mais elle renaitra. Le peu de sang qui lui reste est un sang précieux dont sortira une postérité héroïque. Un peuple qui ne veut pas mourir ne meurt pas. Après la victoire de nos armées, qui combattent pour la liberté, les Alliés auront de grands devoirs a remplir. Et le plus sacré de ces devoirs sera de rendre la vie aux peuples martyrs, a la Belgique, a la Serbie. Alors ils assureront la sureté et l'independance de l'Arménie. Penchés sur elle, ils lui diront: 'Ma sœur, lève toi! ne souffre plus. Tu es désormais libre de vivre selon ton genie et foi!'"[13]

[Pg 52]

M. Paul Deschanel, the President of the French Senate, and M. Painlevé, Minister of Public Instruction, spoke in more or less similar terms.

The most recent authoritative reference to Armenia—and one which is of special importance, coming as it does from a member of the Inner Cabinet or War Council—is Mr. Arthur Henderson's statement in his conversation with the correspondent of the New York Tribune, reported in The Times of January 8, 1916, as follows: "Speaking of the part of Turkey in the war, Mr. Henderson said that though Armenian atrocities were not much talked about here, they had undoubtedly made a deep impression on the minds of the working population, who, he thought, were determined that never again should a Christian nation be under the yoke of the Turk." These are comforting words indeed to Armenians, as[Pg 53] were those of Mr. Asquith at the Guildhall. Nothing could give the Armenian people more comfort and hope for the future than this assurance of the British working man's sympathy—of which they never had any doubt—and his determination to see them freed from the Turkish yoke once and for all.

But here again Mr. Henderson—no doubt for very good reasons—gave no intimation of the intentions of the British or Allied Governments concerning the new status of Armenia after its liberation from the Turkish yoke.

It has been suggested that American opinion would favour annexation by Russia as a means of putting an end to Turkish atrocities and misgovernment of Armenia. This reading of American opinion is not supported by President Wilson's statement in his historic speech to the Senate that "no right anywhere exists to hand peoples from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property." All the Allied countries, and probably all neutrals, are determined to see the end of the Turkish reign of terror in Armenia. But annexation by Russia or[Pg 54] any other Great Power, before the blood is dry of hundreds of thousands of Armenians sacrificed for their faith and passionate adherence to their ideal of nationality, must seem particularly unjust to all fair-minded men in all countries, especially the great American democracy, who themselves put an end to misgovernment of a much milder kind in Cuba, but did not annex it. Indeed, having herself, jointly with her Allies, solemnly laid down the "recognition of the principle of nationalities" as one of the terms of peace stated in the Allied Note to President Wilson, it seems unthinkable that Russia, on her part, would entertain the intention of annexing, and especially of annexing a country and people who have paid a terrible price largely on account of their sympathy with and support of the Allied cause, and rendered services the value of which Russia herself has generously recognized.

It is argued in some quarters that the Armenian highlands are a strategic necessity to Russia. There is a "scrap of paper" ring in such an argument, and I for one cannot believe that the justice-loving Russian[Pg 55] people would allow such considerations to override a solemn pledge and the principle of common justice. An Allied protectorate with Russia acting as their mandatory would place these strategically important regions under practically as effective a Russian control as outright annexation, while it would have the additional advantages of giving real effect to the "recognition of the principle of nationalities," and avoiding injustice, injury and affront to the national sentiment of a people which has endured such grievous sufferings and sacrifices to uphold that sentiment.

As I write, two important references to the future of Armenia have appeared in the Press. One in the Manchester Guardian—that old and constant champion of wronged and suffering humanity—quoted by The Times of December 30, 1916, as follows: "Another word remains—Armenia—a word of ghastly horror, carrying the memory of deeds not done in the world since Christ was born—a country swept clear by the wholesale murder of its people. To Turkey that country must never and under no circumstances go back...."

The other reference is made by the[Pg 56] Spectator in its issue of December 30, in a leading article entitled "The Allied Terms." It says—

"The process of freeing nationalities from oppression must be applied organically to the Turkish Empire. The Armenians, or what remains of the race, whose agonized calls for help and mercy have been heard even through the din of the present war, will probably have to be placed under the tutelage of Russia. They could not stand alone among the Kurds."

If by "Russian tutelage" the Spectator means the setting up of a self-governing Armenia under Russian suzerainty, that would amount, in my opinion, to the approximate realization of the hopes and aspirations of the Armenian people, provided that by "Armenia" is understood the six vilayets and Cilicia; provided also that Great Britain and France retained the rights of Protecting Powers as in the case of Greece. Anything short of this, any parcelling out of Armenia, either by annexation or "tutelage" of different parts under different Powers, would not[Pg 57] only be irreconcilable with the "recognition of the principle of nationalities" which the Allies have solemnly declared to be one of their principal aims and terms of peace; it would imply an outrage upon the ideal of nationality which is the ruling passion of Armenians everywhere. Lynch, the great Armenian authority, has called the Armenians "the strongest nationalists in the world." This ideal of nationality has grown stronger, more alive and resolute than ever by their services and unimaginable sufferings and sacrifices in the war. "The little blood that is left them" has become doubly and trebly precious to the survivors. They rightly feel that they have established, and more than established, their title to autonomy and a strong claim upon the whole-hearted support of the Allied Powers to enable them to stand on their feet again and make a fair start on the road to nationhood. If Armenia is cut up and parcelled out without regard for this fervent living sentiment of Armenian nationalism, and their high hopes and expectations are dashed to the ground, it will conceivably engender in all Armenians a deep sense of wrong and[Pg 58] injustice, an intense discontent with the new order of things, that are not likely to conduce to that contentment and that smoothness of relations between the governors and the governed that are the essentials and the fundamental preliminary steps towards setting these much-troubled regions on the road towards good government, progress and civilization.

The "principle of nationalities" and of "government by the consent of the governed" will be applied all along the line: Belgium, Alsace-Lorraine, Serbia, Poland, Bohemia, Transylvania, Arabia, Syria, Palestine, will have restored to them or will be granted the forms of government most acceptable to the peoples concerned. These true and righteous principles, which will herald the dawn of universal justice and morality in the treatment of their weaker brethren by the Great Powers of Europe, will cease to operate only when Armenia comes to be dealt with. Armenia alone, who has suffered the most tragic, the most grievous and heartrending Calvary, shall be denied an Easter. Why? Because the Armenian people have lost too[Pg 59] much blood; because they have paid too high a price for their fidelity to their faith, the preservation of their distinctive national life and their strong support of the Allied cause. That would be an unspeakably cruel and bitter climax to the unending nightmare of Turkish tyranny, the Great Tragedy and martyrdom of the Armenian people. It will be nothing less than a confirmation of the death sentence passed by Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks on the ideal of Armenian nationality.

Let those who speak lightly of annexation by Russia put themselves in the place of the tens of thousands of Armenians who have lost wife and children, sons, brothers, fathers, near or distant relatives, both in massacre as well as in what they understood to be a sacred struggle for liberty, to say nothing of their complete economic ruin. They would be much more or much less than human if they did not feel a deep and smarting sense of wrong at seeing all their appalling sacrifices and important services result in a mere exchange of the Kaimakam for the Chinovnik. It is far indeed from my purpose to put the two[Pg 60] types of official and the respective systems of government they represent on the same level. They differ as day from night. In my opinion and to my knowledge the vast majority of Armenians will welcome Russian suzerainty with sincere satisfaction. But, after the ordeal of blood and fire through which they have passed, they must feel, as I believe they do feel with ample justification, that they have a right to a voice and a liberal measure of participation in the government of their own country.

I cannot do better than quote here a passage from Mr. Gladstone's great speech on the Treaty of Berlin, which is applicable to Armenia, and than which there could be no wiser, more just or authoritative guidance for the formation of a sound and just view on the Armenian and kindred problems—

"My meaning, Sir, was that, for one, I utterly repelled the doctrine that the power of Turkey is to be dragged to the ground for the purpose of handing over the Dominion that Turkey now exercises to some other great State, be that State either Russia or Austria or even England. In my opinion[Pg 61] such a view is utterly false, and even ruinous, and has been the source of the main difficulties in which the Government have been involved, and in which they have involved the country. I hold that those provinces of the Turkish Empire, which have been so cruelly and unjustly ruled, ought to be regarded as existing, not for the sake of any other Power whatever, but for the sake of the populations by whom they are inhabited. The object of our desire ought to be the development of those populations on their own soil, as its proper masters, and as the persons with a view to whose welfare its destination ought to be determined."

It may be argued that things have changed since 1878. The answer to that is that principles are immutable. The only change is the cruel reduction of the Armenian population. I ask, first of all: "Is it fair and right and just that we should suffer massacre and persecution for generations, and when the time for reparation comes, should be penalized because so many of us have been massacred?" Secondly, it should not be forgotten that although the Armenian[Pg 62] element of the population has been reduced, the Turks and Kurds have also suffered very considerable losses. Thirdly, the Armenians are much more advanced intellectually to-day than they were forty years ago, while their neighbours—Turks, Kurds, and others—are stagnating in the same primitive state as they were forty—or, for that matter, four hundred—years ago. Another circumstance which adds materially to the chances of success of an autonomous Armenia is the existence of a number of nourishing Armenian communities of various sizes in other countries—in the Russian Caucasus and the Russian Empire, Persia, the United States, Egypt, the Balkans, France, Great Britain, India, Java, etc.—which are at the present time looking forward with enthusiasm and readiness for sacrifice, to "do their bit" in the sacred work of the reconstruction of their stricken and beloved Motherland.

Coming to the Spectator's contention that "they (the Armenians) could not stand alone against the Kurds," I can assure the Spectator that there is no cause whatever for apprehension on that score, if only the Russian Government and Army authorities[Pg 63] will agree to allow the Armenians to organize under their guidance and supervision, immediately after the war, a number of flying columns from among discharged Armenian volunteers and soldiers in the regular army, for the specific purpose of carrying out a "drive" from one end of the country to the other and disarming the Kurds. The Armenian volunteers, of whom I speak in another chapter, have had a good deal of fighting to do with the Kurds during the war and have proved more than their match, in many cases against superior numbers.

The prevailing erroneous belief that the Armenians "could not stand alone among the Kurds" has its origin in the fact that for centuries (up to 1908) Armenians have been an easy prey to the Kurds by reason of their being prohibited to possess or carry arms on pain of death, while the Kurds were supplied with arms from the government arsenals, and encouraged and supported in every way by the central government to harass the Armenians. What chance would the bravest people in the world have under such circumstances? Since 1908, when the prohibition of carrying arms by[Pg 64] Christians was relaxed, it is a well-known fact, attested by European travellers, that Kurds never attacked Armenian villages which they knew to be armed. Zeytoon and Sassoon have demonstrated beyond question that when Armenians have met Turks on anything like equal terms, they have proved their match. These isolated, compact communities of fearless mountaineers were never entirely subjugated by the Turks until the outbreak of the present war, when the Zeytoonlis were overwhelmed by Turkish treachery and the Sassoonlis died fighting to the last man and woman (see Blue-book, pp. 84 and 87).

In 1905 the Tartars, who are nearly twice as numerous as the Armenians in the Caucasus, made a sudden attack upon the latter in the Hamidian style. But thanks to the equity of Russian government, Armenians in the Caucasus were as free to carry arms as Tartars, so the Tartars soon regained their "humane sentiments" and offered peace to stop further bloodshed. I would recommend those who entertain any fears of Armenians being able to defend themselves against Kurds or Tartars to read[Pg 65] Villari's Fire and Sword in the Caucasus and Moore's The Orient Express.

At all events Europe will not be taking any risk in giving the Armenians the opportunity of proving that they can "make good" in spite of the Kurds, and also, as we hope, can gradually civilize the Kurds and other neighbouring backward races.[14]

As far as I know (in fact I have no doubt about it), Armenians are prepared to take the risk of "standing alone among the Kurds", provided that the Entente Powers afford them the necessary assistance during the first few years of reconstruction and initiation, and above all, provided that they enjoy the whole-hearted and benevolent good-will of Russia, for which, it is as certain as anything human can be, their great protector and neighbour will reap a rich harvest in the future—as rich a harvest as that which Britain is reaping to-day for her act of justice and statesmanship in South Africa.


[13] "Armenia is dying, but she will be born again—the little blood that is left to her is the precious blood from which will arise a heroic posterity. A people that refuses to die will not die. After the victory of our armies, which are fighting for justice and liberty, the Allies will have great duties to fulfil. And the most sacred of these duties will be to bring back to life the martyred peoples, Belgium and Serbia. Then they will assure the security and independence of Armenia. Bending over her they will say to her: 'Rise, sister! suffer no more. Henceforth you are free to live according to your genius and your faith!'"

[14] Armenians have from time to time opened schools for Kurdish children, but their efforts were not successful, mainly owing to the unfriendly attitude of the Turkish authorities.

[Pg 66]



I have spoken earlier in these pages of the services of the Armenians to the Allied cause in the war. What are these services?

The Armenian name has been so long and so often associated with massacre that it has given rise to the general but utterly unfounded belief by those who have not gone deeper into the matter, that Armenians are devoid of physical courage and allow themselves to be butchered like sheep.[15] Where[Pg 67] this belief is not based upon ignorance of the facts and circumstances, it is, I am bound to say, a particularly dastardly piece of calumny upon a people who have groaned for centuries under a brutal tyrant's heel, with an indomitable spirit that has ever been[Pg 68] and is even to-day the Turk's despair. The struggle that has gone on for five or six centuries between Armenian and Turk symbolizes, perhaps better than any event in history, the invincibility of the spirit of Christianity and liberty and the ideal of nationality against overwhelming odds of ruthless tyranny, the savagery of the Dark Ages and the unscrupulous and mendacious exploitation of religious passion. That struggle has been as unequal as can well be imagined, but we have not permitted the forces of darkness to triumph over the spirit of Light and Liberty, though the price paid has come very near that of our annihilation. Nevertheless, we have been able, in this world-wide struggle, not dissimilar to our own long struggle in the moral issues involved, to render services to the cause of the Allies, which is the cause of Right and Justice, and therefore our cause also, quite out of proportion, in their effect, to our numbers as a race or our contribution of fighting men as compared with the vast armies engaged, although that contribution has been by no means negligible.

[Pg 69]

On the eve of Turkey's entry into the war the Young Turks employed every conceivable means—persuasion, cajolery, intimidation, the promise of a large autonomous Armenia, etc.—to induce the Armenian party leaders to prevail upon the Russian Armenians to join themselves in a mass rally to the Turkish flag against Russia. They sent a number of emissaries to Russian Armenia with the same object. The Turk must have a peculiar understanding of human nature, and not much sense of humour, to have the naïveté to make such overtures to Armenians after having persecuted and harried and massacred them for centuries. All the Armenian leaders promised was a correct attitude as Ottoman subjects. They would do neither more nor less than what they were bound to do by the laws of the country. They could not interfere with the freedom of action of their compatriots in the Caucasus who owed allegiance to Russia. They kept their promise scrupulously in the first months of the war. Armenian conscripts went to the dépôts without enthusiasm. How could it be otherwise? What claim had the Turks[Pg 70] upon the sympathy and support of their Armenian subjects? Is sympathy won by tyranny, or loyalty bred by massacre? They (the Armenians) were placed in a most difficult position. They were naturally reluctant to fight against the Russians, and the position was aggravated by the fact that the Russian Caucasian army was largely composed of Russian Armenians. But in spite of these sentimental difficulties, mobilization was completed without any serious trouble.

Soon, however, Armenians began to desert in large numbers; the Young Turks had joined the war against their wish and advice; they had not their heart in the business, and, last, but not least, they were harried, ill-treated and insulted by their Turkish officers and comrades at every turn: there were exceptions, of course, but that was the position generally in the closing months of 1914. Let me add that there were large numbers of Turkish deserters also, and that the Armenian leaders did all they could to send the deserters of their own nationality back to the ranks, doing so forcibly in some cases. Then came the defeat of the[Pg 71] Turks at Sarikamysh and the ejection of Djevdet Bey and his force from Azerbaijan. On his return to Van, Djevdet Bey told his friends: "It is the Armenians much more than the Russians who are fighting us."

The massacres and deportations began soon after the collapse of the Turkish invasion of the Caucasus and Northern Persia, and it is only after it was seen clearly that the Turks were determined to deport or destroy them all that the Armenians in many places took up arms in self-defence. There was no armed resistance before that, and the Turkish and German allegations of an Armenian revolt are a barefaced invention to justify a crime, a tithe of which not one but a hundred revolts cannot justify or palliate. This is proved beyond all question by Mr. Toynbee's concise and illuminating historical summary at the end of the Blue-book on the Treatment of Armenians by the Turks during the war. There was no revolt. But when the Armenians were driven to self-defence under the menace of extermination, they fought with what arms they could scrape together, with the courage[Pg 72] of desperation. In Shahin-Karahissar they held out for three months and were only reduced by artillery brought from Erzerum. In Van and Jebel-Mousa they defended themselves against heavy odds until relieved by the Russians and the Armenian volunteers in the first case, and rescued by French and British cruisers in the second. The Turkish force sent against the insurgents of Jebel-Mousa was detached from the army intended for the attack on the Suez Canal.

Of course ill-armed, poorly equipped bands without artillery, wanting in almost all necessaries of modern warfare, brave as they may be, cannot possibly maintain a prolonged resistance against superior forces of regulars well supplied with artillery, machine-guns and all that is needed in war. Nevertheless, some of these bands seem to have succeeded in holding out for many months, and it is believed in the Caucasus that there are groups of armed Armenians still holding out in some parts of the higher mountains behind the Turkish lines.[16] It will be [Pg 73]remembered that some weeks ago—I do not recall the date—a Constantinople telegram reprinted in The Times from German papers stated that there were 30,000 armed Armenian rebels in the vilayet of Sivas. This is an obvious exaggeration, and it may simply mean that a considerable number of Armenians were still defending themselves against the menace of massacre. When the Russian army entered Trebizond a band of some 400 armed Armenians came down from the mountains and surrendered themselves to the Russians. Quite recently a band of seventy men cut through the Turkish lines and gained the Russian lines in the neighbourhood of Erzinjian.

The Turks have repeatedly declared that the "Armenian revolt" threatened to place their army between two fires. The particle of truth that there is in this assertion is, as may be judged by the facts so far known as cited above, that the Armenian resistance[Pg 74] to massacre and deportation proved to be more serious than they had anticipated, and that they had to detach large numbers of troops and in some cases artillery and machine-guns to keep these "rebels" in check. It is consequently undeniable that Armenian armed resistance to deportation and massacre has been a considerable hindrance to the full development of Turkish military power during the war and has, in that way, been of material, though, indirect assistance to the Allied forces operating against the Turks. To this may be added the demoralizing effect that the deplorable state of affairs created by the Turks in their dominions must have exercised on the morale of their people.

Such in general outline have been the services of the Turkish Armenians to the Allied cause. It is not my purpose here to endeavour to appraise the possibly ill-concealed, but not by any means ostentatious or provocative, sympathy of the Armenians for the Allies, upon the sinister designs of the Young Turks. I will content myself with the description of a significant cartoon that appeared early in the war in the Turkish[Pg 75] comic paper Karagöz in Constantinople. The cartoon depicted two Turks discussing the war. "Where do you get your war news from?" asked Turk number one. "I do not need war news," replied Turk number two; "I can follow the course of the war by the expression on the faces of the Armenians I meet. When they are happy I know the Allies are winning, when depressed I know the Germans have had a victory."

The following extract from a dead Turkish officer's notebook, reproduced in the Russkaia Viedomosti (No. 205), throws some light on the Turkish estimate of the value of Armenian support in the war. "If our Armenians had been with us," wrote this Turkish officer, "we would have defeated the Russians long ago."[17]

The services of the Russian Armenians to the Allied cause, but principally, of course to the Russian cause during the war, have been of a more direct and positive character and of far-reaching importance. They may be divided into two distinct parts, namely,[Pg 76] military and political; and in order the better to explain the full meaning of the Armenian "strong support of the Russian cause" (in the words of The Times), I will deal with each of the two parts separately.

The Armenian population of Russian Armenia and the Caucasus numbers, roughly, 1,750,000 souls, and there are probably another 100,000 to 200,000 Armenians scattered over the other parts of the empire. They are liable to military service as Russian subjects, and it is estimated that they have given to the Russian army some 160,000 men. Apart from this not negligible number of men called to the colours in the ordinary course of mobilization, the Armenians, as a result of an understanding with the authorities, organized and equipped at their own expense a separate auxiliary volunteer force under tried and experienced guerilla leaders, such as Andranik, Kéri and others, to co-operate with the Caucasian army. This force contained a number of Turkish Armenians, mostly refugees from previous massacres. Some twenty thousand men responded to the call for volunteers, though I believe not more than about ten thousand could be armed[Pg 77] and sent to the front. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed. Armenian students at the Universities of Moscow and Petrograd and educational institutions in the Caucasus vied with each other in their eagerness to take part in the fight for the liberation of their kinsmen from bondage. Several young lady students offered to enlist, but I believe all but two or three were dissuaded from taking part in actual fighting. Boys of fourteen and fifteen years ran away from home and tramped long distances to join the volunteer battalions. It is recorded that an Armenian widow at Kars, on hearing that her only son had been killed in battle, exclaimed, "Curse me that I did not give birth to ten more sons to fight and die for the freedom of our country."

The volunteer force was not large, but it was a mobile force well adapted to the semi-guerilla kind of warfare carried on in Armenia, and the men knew the country. They seem to have done good work as scouts in particular, though they took part in many severe engagements and were mentioned once or twice in Russian communiqués as "our Armenian detachments." Generous [Pg 78]appreciation of the services and gallantry of the volunteers as well as of Armenians in the army has been expressed by Russian military commanders, the Press, and public men. High military honours were conferred upon the volunteer leaders, and His Imperial Majesty the Czar honoured the Armenian nation by his visit to the Armenian Cathedral in Tiflis, demonstrating his satisfaction with the part played by Armenians in the war.[18]

There are, of course, many Armenian high officers in the Russian army, including several generals, but so far they have not had the opportunity of producing in this war outstanding military leaders of the calibre of Loris Melikoff and Terkhougasoff. General Samsonoff, "the Russian Kitchener," was killed early in the war in East Prussia in his gallant and successful attempt to relieve the pressure on Paris.

[Pg 79]

The political effect of the strong and enthusiastic support of the Russian cause by Armenians has been to keep in check the discontented and fanatical section of the Tartars and other Moslems of the Caucasus, who would have been disposed to make common cause with the Turks whenever a favourable opportunity should present itself to do so without much risk to themselves. The Tartars and other Moslem elements of the Caucasus are as a whole genuinely loyal to Russia, but the existence of a minority who would welcome the success of the Turkish invasion cannot be denied. Some of the Ajars did, in fact, join the Turks during their invasion of Ardahan.

All things considered, therefore, those who have any knowledge of the racial and political conditions in the Caucasus will not, I think, regard it as in any sense an exaggeration to assert that the whole-hearted support of the Armenians—and I may also add, though in a lesser degree, the Georgians—has contributed very materially to the success of Russian arms in the Caucasian theatre of the war. The absence of that[Pg 80] support, or even mere formal or lukewarm support, would not only most probably have had serious consequences for the Caucasus, it would have left the whole of Persia at the mercy of the Turks; and who can say what the consequences of such a catastrophe would have been on Arabia, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan and even the northern frontiers of India itself?

Nearly all the able-bodied Armenians in France, between 1000 and 1500 strong, joined the French Foreign Legion quite early in the war. Some Armenians came from the United States to fight for France. Only some 250 have survived, I understand, most of whom are proud possessors of the Military Cross.

Propaganda in neutral countries has played an important part during the war. The just cause of the Allies has had no stauncher supporters or better propagandists than the hundred and twenty-five thousand or more Armenians in the United States, while the Great Tragedy of Armenia has incidentally added to the armoury of the Allies a melancholy but formidable moral weapon.


[15] Pierre Loti, the well-known French writer, who was an ardent Turkophile before the war, after adding his quota to the current, and, one is constrained to say, cheap, comments on the lack of courage and numberless other failings of the Armenians, adds the following P.S. in his Turquie Agonisante (pp. 94-95) after a longer sojourn in the country and closer contact with realities. (I give the translation from the French.)—

"Before concluding I desire to make honourable, sincere and spontaneous amends to the Armenians, at least as regards their attitude in the ranks of the Ottoman Army. This is certainly not due to the protestations which they have inserted in the Constantinople Press by the power of gold." [This is a curious admission by Pierre Loti; one of the stock cries of the Turkophiles is that the Turk is above "bakshish."] "No, I have many friends among Turkish officers; I have learned from them, and there can be no doubt, that my earlier information was exaggerated, and that, notwithstanding a good number of previous desertions, the Armenians placed under their orders conducted themselves with courage. Therefore, I am happy to be able to withdraw without arrière pensée what I have said on this subject, and I apologize."

Of all British games and sports Armenians in different parts of the British Empire, the Dutch Colonies and Persia have manifested a natural predilection for Rugby Football, in which physical courage comes into play more than in most other games. In recent years the Armenian College of Calcutta won the Calcutta Schools' Cup three years in succession, which gave it the right to retain the trophy. I am glad to see in the March issue of Ararat that the Boy Scouts of the same college, under Scoutmaster Dr. G. D. Hope, have won the King's Flag, presented by His Majesty to the troop having the largest number of King's Scouts in India and Burmah.

[16] I may here point out that—though it is stated in the admirable historical summary in the Blue-book (p. 649) that "the number of those who have emerged from hiding since the Russian occupation is extraordinarily small"—this number has been growing very considerably of late, as may be seen from Mr. Backhouse's telegram to the chairman of the Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor's) Fund, dated Tiflis, November 27, 1916, published in the newspapers.

[17] Compare an Armenian officer's evidence, Blue-book, p. 231, " ... they laid the blame for this defeat upon the Armenians, though he could not tell why."

[18] In an article on "The Armenian Massacres" in the April Contemporary Review, Mr. Lewis Einstein, ex-member of the staff of the United States Embassy in Constantinople, says: "Talaat attributed the disasters that befell the Turks at Sarikamish, in Azerbaijan and at Van, to the Armenian volunteers."

[Pg 81]



No country and people have suffered so severely from the clash of rival empires, both in war and diplomacy, as have Armenia and the Armenians, so far as is known to the recorded history of the world. Her geographical position has made Armenia the cockpit of ambitious empires and conquerors, and the highway of their armies in Western Asia, much as Belgium and Poland have been the battle-grounds of Europe. But whereas in these European battle-grounds the invading armies have generally moved east and west only, Armenia has endured the horrors of invasion, time after time, from north, south, east and west. Then, again, Armenia being a much older country, the record of her suffering from the invading armies of her stronger neighbours, "hacking their way"[Pg 82] through her territory, extends over a proportionately longer period than that of Belgium and Poland. Armenia has been invaded and ravaged in turn by Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Parthians, Macedonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Tartars and Turks. Only during the first century B.C. did she succeed in subduing all her neighbours, and establishing a short-lived empire of her own, extending from the Mediterranean to the Caspian.

The analogy between Armenia and her European co-sufferers from the ills of aggressive Imperialism ceases altogether, however, when we come to the period of Turkish domination. The blood-stained history of that régime is well enough known. Periodic explosions have reminded Europe of the existence of the inferno of unbridled lust, corruption and predatory barbarism which this unhappy people have been fated to endure for centuries. What has not been brought into sufficient relief is the fact that this "bloody tyranny" could have long since been brought to an end, or, at all events,[Pg 83] effectively curbed, if it had not been for the jealousies and rivalries of the great modern Christian empires. The history of the acts of European diplomacy in regard to Armenia and the Near East during the last sixty or seventy years is not one of which the diplomats and statesmen concerned can be particularly proud. Who can claim for them to-day to have served, in the sum total of their results, either the interests of the Christian subjects of the Porte, the progress of civilization, the material interests of the Great Powers themselves, or the supreme interests of peace?

Mr. Balfour says in his famous Dispatch to the British Ambassador to the United States that "Turkey has ceased to be a bulwark of peace," thereby implying, obviously, that Turkey had played that part before. Mr. Balfour is a great authority on political history, and when he avers that Turkey has been a "bulwark of peace" she must have filled such a rôle at some period of her history. But to his Christian subjects, at any rate, the Turk has never brought peace. He has brought them fire and sword[Pg 84] and a riot of unbridled lust, rapacity, corruption and cruelty unparalleled even in the Dark Ages. The only peace he has brought them has been the peace of death and devastation. He has not even left trees to break the awful silence of desolation which he has spread over this fair and fertile land once throbbing with human life and activity. That is the price paid for whatever part Turkey may have played in the past as a bulwark of international peace. Professor Valran of the University of Aix-en-Provence estimates the Armenian population of Turkey in the beginning of the nineteenth century at 5,000,000.[19] The population of the not too healthy island of Java was the same at the same period. Under the excellent rule of the Dutch, the population of that island has grown up to over 35,000,000 during the century. What has become of the Armenians, one of the most virile and prolific races of the world living in a healthy country? Let the friends and protectors of the Turk and his system of government give the answer. In particular let those answer who, with the Turks' black and[Pg 85] bloodstained record of centuries before them, have, nevertheless, the effrontery to maintain, at this hour of day, that the Turk has not been given a fair chance. The blood of the myriads of innocents who have fallen victims to the Turks' incurable barbarism throughout these centuries, cries aloud against such a brazen and deliberate travesty of the truth.

One of the principal enactments of the Treaty of Paris was to admit Turkey into the comity of the Great Powers of Europe. To-day, after a probation of sixty years, at a fearful cost to her Christian subjects, it is at last admitted that Turkey has proved herself "decidedly foreign to Western civilization." Could there be a more crushing condemnation of the judgment of the statesmen responsible for that treaty in regard to the Turk? The more one studies the record of the Turk, the more one marvels at the unbounded confidence placed in his promises of reform by some of the greatest statesmen of modern times. In vain have I ransacked the history books in search of an instance where the Turk carried out, or honestly attempted to carry out, a single one of his numerous promises of reform. Every one[Pg 86] of them was a snare and a pretence designed merely to oil the wheels of a cunning diplomacy or tide over a momentary embarrassment. Whether it was the Sultan or Grand Vizier or Ambassador, whenever the Turk made a promise to improve the lot of his Christian subjects, he had made up his mind beforehand that that promise would never be performed.[20]

[Pg 87]

Since the beginning of last century Russia has been, by reason of her geographical [Pg 88]contiguity, practically the only Power which the Turk has really feared. In contrast with the near Eastern policies of the Western Powers, Russian policy has been almost invariably hostile to the Turk since the days of Peter the Great. Of course, this was not always pure altruism on the part of the rulers of Russia. But, whatever the motive, Russian policy certainly coincided absolutely with the interests of humanity and civilization. And while in the West the policy of "buttressing the Turk" (in the words of the Bishop of Oxford) often met with strong opposition among the democracies of England and France, Russian policy in regard to the Turk has always enjoyed the unanimous support of the Russian people, who being the Turk's neighbour and having had several wars with him, knew his true nature from prolonged personal contact. The one departure from Russia's traditional policy was Count Lobanoff's regrettable—and I may say inexplicable—refusal to take joint action with Britain and France to put a term upon the butcheries of 1895-96, and adopt such effective measures as would perhaps have put it beyond the power of the Turk to[Pg 89] indulge again in his diabolical orgies of cold-blooded barbarism.

His fear of Russia, which acted as a wholesome restraint upon the predatory tendencies of the Turk, was weakened by the Treaty of Paris taking away from Russia her effective protectorate over the Christian subjects of the Porte, and was removed altogether by the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention. The Turk was quick to understand that the Western Powers would not permit Russia to intervene on behalf of his persecuted Christian subjects. He saw that conditions were favourable for putting into execution his "policy" of getting rid of his Christian subjects, and he forthwith set to work to carry out his foul project.

Events have proved the Treaty of Berlin to have been the masterpiece of Bismarck's policy of "divide et impera." It created, as it was designed to create, a deep and bitter feeling of mistrust and antagonism between Great Britain and Russia, which gave Germany her chance of gaining a strong foothold in the Ottoman Empire.

The appearance of Germany upon the scene created new dangers, which have[Pg 90] proved all but fatal to the Armenian people.

The Emperor William II, on his return from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, paid a visit to, and fraternized with, the murderer of 250,000 Armenians who had died for the sake of the very Christ from the scene of whose life the Christian emperor had just returned. This, by the way, was in characteristic contrast with King Edward's refusal of the Sultan's offer of his portrait about the same time. This act of the great and humane English king has touched the hearts of Armenians, who cherish a deep and reverent affection for his memory.

The result of the Emperor William's visit to Abdul Hamid was the Baghdad Railway and many other concessions, and no doubt a great scheme of a future Germano-Turkish Empire in the East.

I believe it was Dr. Paul Rohrbach, the well-known German writer on Near Eastern affairs, who suggested some years ago that the deportation of the Armenians from their homes and their settlement in agricultural colonies along the Baghdad Railway would[Pg 91] be the best way to make that line pay quick and handsome dividends.

Some time ago I read in The Near East the account of a conversation between an American missionary and a German officer travelling together in Anatolia. The German officer confessed that what he had seen was horrible, more horrible than anything he had ever seen before; "but," he added, "what could we do? The Armenians were in the way of our military aims." Supposing that resistance to massacre by Armenian men was interpreted by the German agents in Turkey as being "in the way of their military aims," what possible excuse could there be for the abominable treatment, the torture, the slaughter, and the driving to misery and death of hundreds of thousands of women and children? Were they also in the way of their military aims?

While the Turks were butchering Christians in their hundreds of thousands, the German Emperor was presenting a sword of honour to the Sultan of Turkey and showering honours upon Enver Pasha at his headquarters. While thousands of Christian[Pg 92] children and women were being mercilessly slaughtered and driven to death by Germany's ally, and their bodies thrown to the wolves and vultures in the Mesopotamian deserts, the German Government was making provision for the housing and tuition of thousands of Turkish youths in the technical schools of Germany to fill the places of the "eliminated" Armenians. What have Christian Germans to say to all this? Do the Johanniter Knights, of whom the Kaiser is himself Grand Master, approve of these proceedings? Do they think that He who said "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these little ones, ye have done it unto Me" knows of any distinction of race? How can German Christians, from their rulers downwards, face God and the Son of God in the intimacy of their prayers after sanctioning these black deeds which are the very negation of God and the teaching of Christ? Do the rulers of Germany and Turkey and the protagonists of the Reventlow doctrine believe that empires, railways, or any other schemes of expansion, built upon foundations of the blood and tears of hundreds of thousands of human beings, will endure and prosper and[Pg 93] bring forth harvests of plenty and peace and happiness to their promoters, their children, and their children's children? They are mistaken. My word may count for naught to the rulers and leaders of mighty states; but it is true. We are an ancient people. "We have seen empires come and empires go." We have been ground for centuries in the mill of the ruthless clash of contending empires; but in spite of our long and bitter sufferings our belief to-day is as strong as ever in the existence of another mill, the mill of Divine Justice, which grinds in its own good time, and may grind slow, but "it grinds exceeding small." Who will doubt or deny that violence to women and children and unoffending, defenceless men, "every hair of whose head is numbered," will not be forgiven by their just and Almighty Creator; that the sacrifice of them for ulterior selfish objects will not be overlooked? Political and military acts of the mightiest empires, entailing injustice, violence and suffering to weaker peoples will bring Nemesis in their train in due course. The idol with feet of clay, sunk in the blood of innocents, cannot endure. Sooner or later it must fall.


[19] Le Sémaphore de Marseille, November 20, 1915.

[20] I am indebted to my friend Mr. H. N. Mosditchian for the following account of an incident which throws some light on the ways of the Turk—

"The massacres of Sassoon in 1893-1894, first described at the time by Dr. Dillon in The Daily Telegraph, and the first of the series that drenched Armenia with the blood of over 200,000 of her sons and daughters, raised such a cry of horror and indignation throughout the civilised world that Great Britain, France and Russia, through their Embassies at Constantinople, prepared a Scheme of Reforms, known as the Scheme of the 11th of May 1895, and after much difficulty and long negotiations obtained thereto the approval of Abd-ul-Hamid, 'the Red Sultan.'

"I was with the Patriarch when the Hon. M. H. Herbert, Secretary to the British Embassy, brought to the Patriarchate the good tidings of the Sultan's acceptance of the Scheme. Upon his special advice, the Patriarch sent there and then telegraphic instructions to all the Armenian Bishoprics in the provinces to chant Te Deums in the churches and to offer up prayers for the benign and magnanimous Padishah!

"I was again with the Patriarch a day or two after when telegrams began to pour in from the provinces announcing a fresh outbreak of massacres throughout the country. I hastened to the Embassies of the Six Great Powers to give them the appalling news and to ask for their immediate assistance. As is well known, they did or could do nothing, and the massacres went on, unchecked and unbridled, assuming every day larger dimensions and a better organised thoroughness...."

I called on Judge Terrell, the American Ambassador, also. "I am not at all surprised," said he, "at these fresh massacres. I knew they would be coming, so much so that the moment I heard that the Sultan was about to affix his signature to the Scheme of Reforms, I hastened to the Grand Vezir and insisted upon his sending telegraphic orders to all the Valis to take good care that no American subject was hurt. The Grand Vezir protested of course that there was no necessity for such orders inasmuch as peace and security reigned supreme in all the Vilayets, but I told him that I knew what was going to happen shortly as well as he did, and refused to leave until he had despatched the telegrams in my presence." Judge Terrell then told me that it had long been known to him that the Valis of all the Vilayets had received standing orders from the Sultan to massacre the Armenians (a) whenever they should discover any revolutionary movement among them, (b) whenever they should hear of a British, French or Russian invasion of Turkish territory, and (c) whenever they should hear that the Sultan had agreed to and signed a Scheme of Reforms.

[Pg 94]



To realize, even approximately, the unimaginable barbarities that have been committed by the Turks during the Great Armenian Tragedy of 1915, it is necessary to read the Blue-book itself. But the Blue-book is a bulky volume, and the average man or woman has so many calls on his or her attention in these stirring and momentous times, that I fear it will not be read as widely as it deserves to be read in the interests of humanity, Christianity, and civilization. I have, therefore, thought it desirable to quote a number of extracts which will give the reader some idea of the nature and magnitude of the horrors chronicled in that fearful epic of a nation's[Pg 95] martyrdom, in the hope that they may thereby reach a wider circle of the public.

Apart from giving the reader a general idea of the atrocities themselves, I have selected and grouped the extracts with the object of calling attention to the incidental or subsidiary morals and lessons they convey, which have received little or no notice in the Press reviews. The Blue-book reveals the spirit, the character and the ideals which lay hidden under the unattractive outside appearance of the Armenians, upon which has been based their mostly superficial judgment of them by European travellers. Often under the influence of a sense of indebtedness for an escort of Zaptiehs "graciously placed at their disposal by a kindly vali" (in whose harem were probably languishing a dozen or more enslaved women), they have seldom paused to understand the tragedy of the dour, subdued, anxious mien of the Armenian peasant seen trudging wearily along in the highways and byways of Asia Minor. They little realized that the Armenian lived under the strain of constant terrorism; that he[Pg 96] never knew when the honour of his wife or sister might be violently assaulted; when he might be stabbed in the back; when his cattle might be driven away or his crops burned or stolen. He was afraid even of a too attractive personal appearance, lest he should excite the cupidity and jealousy of his Turkish neighbour. If he fell upon his persecutor and slew him in defence of the honour of his womenfolk, it meant the wiping out not only of his family but of his whole village. His own government was his deadly enemy, bent upon his destruction. This has been the tragedy of the Armenian's life for generations. It has been little known in the West because Armenia is a long way off, and few European travellers have stopped to look below the surface. He has lived with the yatagan hanging over his head, like the sword of Damocles, from birth to death. Virile, industrious, patient, long-suffering, but never despondent, he has clung to his faith, his soil, his ancient culture, his nationality and ideals of civilization with a tenacity that centuries of "bloody tyranny" have tended only to steel more[Pg 97] and more. That he has succeeded in preserving the ideals which have cost his nation such heartbreaking sacrifices is abundantly proved by the Blue-book. Here is one evidence: "Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, said, 'I am amazed at the self-control of the Armenians, for though the Turks did not spare a single wounded Armenian, the Armenians are helping us to save the Turks'" (p. 70).

But of all the tales of calm, dignified heroism in face of death recorded in the Blue-book, W. Effendi's letter (p. 133, and 504 of the Blue-book) written on the eve of his, his young wife's and infant child's deportation to what he knew to be certain death, will ever stand out as an impressive example of the noblest heroism, the highest conception of the teaching of Christ and a complete triumph of the spirit, unsurpassed in the annals of Christian martyrdom. "May God forgive this nation all their sin which they do without knowing," wrote this true follower of Christ, while he was making ready for his and his loved ones' journey to sorrow and death. It recalls[Pg 98] the story of St. Stephen's martyrdom. W. Effendi's letter and Nurse Cavell's immortal words, "patriotism is not enough," strike me as the two most remarkable utterances delivered spontaneously by heroic spirits in proof of the bankruptcy of the "frightfulness" to which they were on the point of falling victims.

There was a short notice in Truth of January 31, 1917, in connection with Armenia Day which contained the following remark: "Some people despise these 'eleventh Allies' as a mercenary race, but others, like Mr. Noel Buxton, depict them in a much more attractive light."

With the reader's indulgence I will digress for a moment to deal briefly with this totally unjustified stigma cast wantonly upon the character of a sorely tried nation.

In the unoffensive sense of the word the whole human family may be called "mercenary." I have not met or heard of a race of men in any of the explored parts of the earth, whatever their colour, creed, or degree of civilization, who had any conscientious objection to the acquiring of as much money[Pg 99] as they could acquire by legitimate and honourable means. I do not suppose Truth itself is dispensing its very helpful "Rubber tips" week by week solely for the good of humanity. But if it is asserted that the Armenian race puts the love of gold before everything else in life, such an assertion at this juncture is a particularly ill-timed, offensive and unworthy aspersion. A mercenary race, forsooth! If the Armenian race had valued gold above its loyalty to its faith and nationality; if it had attached greater value to material prosperity than to spiritual ideals and principles, it would have accepted Islam centuries ago—Heaven knows the temptation was great—and won a predominant position for itself in Asia Minor. It would be counted to-day not by two or three, but by twenty or thirty millions. But under the longest and bloodiest pressure endured by any people in history, culminating almost in its extermination, it refused to sell its soul.

Thousands of Armenians could have saved their lives by feigning to accept Islam, but, with few exceptions, they refused to commit[Pg 100] even that measure of spiritual dishonesty, which would perhaps not have been considered unpardonable under the circumstances. There is scarcely any instance of an Armenian woman trafficking her honour for money; which is, perhaps, the most eloquent refutation of the calumny.

What good object has Truth served by giving currency in its columns to this libel against an oppressed people, almost wiped out because of its Christian faith and its sympathy for and support of the Allied cause? Even if there were the remotest justification for it one would have thought that Truth would have shrunk, at this dark and bitter hour, from adding insult to the agony of a people plunged into sorrow and mourning for the loss of half its number. But the assertion that the Armenians are a mercenary race is not true. It is part of the propaganda carried on by a very few people who are either blinded by unreasoning prejudice, or have some special purpose to serve, or believe that they are discharging some kind of duty by whitewashing the Turk and blackening the Armenian. I[Pg 101] believe that these admirers of the votaries of "bloody tyranny" on the Bosphorus are very few indeed in this country. Whoever they are and whatever their motives, conscious of my obligations to the generous hospitality of this country—for which I cannot be too grateful—but taking my stand on the broader ground of Humanity, I wish to say to them, "Though you are in Great Britain, you are not of it; though this great, humane and Christian country may be your physical home by accident of birth, you will find your congenial 'spiritual home' in the offices of Count Reventlow and the Tanine. Charity, after all, is a matter between a man and his conscience and his God. If you cannot give your money to a starving woman or child without massacring them morally, while the Turk is taking their life, pray spare your money and let the Armenian die; it will please the Turk and his allies. Perhaps it would be more in harmony with your sentiments and political faith to lend your money to your friend the Turk. When the war is over he may need a fresh supply of arms, for even the tender limbs of the[Pg 102] countless women and children on whom he has practised his 'chivalry' may well have blunted and worn his old stock."

There are mercenary Armenian individuals as there are mercenary persons in every nation. It may be that, debarred from government posts except when he was indispensable, the town Armenian in Turkey, like the Greek and Syrian, has been compelled to direct his energies into commercial channels in a larger proportion than free and independent nations. Naturally, also, through generations of ruthless persecution, the Armenian nation has thrown up a flotsam and jetsam of indigents wandering far and wide in search of security and the means of earning a living. But to brand the whole Armenian race as "mercenary" is malevolent nonsense, or credulity due to a total ignorance of the facts. Seventy or eighty per cent. of the Armenians in Turkish as well as Russian Armenia are peasants, farmers and artisans. That is approximately true also of the Persian Armenians. Even in the United States the majority of the immigrants have taken to fruit-growing in California. Armenians who have the[Pg 103] means to give their sons a good education almost invariably make them follow a profession in preference to commerce, as witness the number of Armenian university professors, doctors, lawyers and some artists and painters of considerable merit in the United States.[21] Probably no people have made the sacrifices made by Armenians, in proportion to their means, for the relief of distress during the war. There have been a few exceptions among the very rich whose moral sense has been blunted by luxury and self-indulgence. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They belong to that class of cosmopolitan financiers and traders who are no more thrilled by the music of their country's or any country's name; who are unmoved by the cry of starving women and children of their own or any race; whose home is the world and[Pg 104] whose god is gold; who are no more the masters but the slaves of money. But this, again, is not peculiar to Armenians; very far from it. It is a fraternity that embraces members of every, or almost every, race; and Armenians are barely represented upon it. It is palpably misleading as it is inaccurate to assert that these represent the Armenian nation. In fact, as far as my knowledge goes, the masses of the Armenian people are ashamed of them, because their worship of gold and vanity are alien to the national spirit, and bring discredit upon the nation. For generations Armenian educational and religious institutions have been maintained by voluntary grants; and I do not know that any European citizen bears a heavier burden for the needs of his nation than does the individual Armenian.

It must not be supposed from what I have said that all, or the majority, of rich Armenians have been deaf or indifferent to their country's need. That would be a mistake and an injustice. On the whole their response to the call of their afflicted country has been satisfactory, considering[Pg 105] that they had obligations to the belligerent countries to which they owed allegiance. I know of one contribution of £30,000,[22] while ten Moscow merchants raised a million roubles between them for their nation's needs. A prominent Armenian physician has relinquished a large and remunerative practice at Petrograd to superintend personally the administration of an orphanage at Erzerum, which he has opened on his own private account. The Catholicos's palace at Etchmiadzin was converted into a hospital for refugees in the early months of 1915. Almost every Armenian peasant family in the Caucasus have housed and cared for one or more refugees in their humble cottages ever since the influx of their distressed kinsmen from the other side of the frontier in the spring and summer of 1915. I have not marshalled these facts in a spirit of flaunting the virtues of my race—we certainly hold no monopoly of all[Pg 106] the virtues, or indeed of all the vices, to which human nature is heir—but I know of no better way to disprove the baseless aspersions assiduously disseminated by some interested people for purposes of pro-Turkish propaganda and accepted by the credulous as true.

Lord Bryce has known the Armenian people longer and more intimately than any eminent European statesman, historian and diplomatist has ever done before, and his dictum will no doubt be generally accepted as that of a great and final authority. I therefore make no apology for quoting his lordship's most recent utterance on the subject reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, February 2, 1917—

"Having known a very large number of Armenians, he had been greatly struck, not only with their high level of intelligence and industry, but also by their intense patriotism. He did not know of any people who had shown greater constancy, patience and patriotism under difficulties and sufferings than the Armenians. He personally had always found them perfectly loyal.[Pg 107] He had frequently had occasion to give them confidential advice and to trust them with secrets, and never on any occasion had he found that confidence misplaced.... As a proof of their loyalty and devotion to their country he might mention that the Armenians living in America had contributed sums enormous in proportion to their number and resources, for they were nearly all persons of small means, for the relief of the refugees who had been driven out by the Turkish massacres. No people during the war had done more in proportion to their capacities than the Armenians had done for the relief of their suffering fellow-countrymen. A large number of them were also fighting as volunteers in the armies of France, where they had displayed the utmost courage and valour in the combats before Verdun."

To return to the extracts from the Blue-book. Group "A" affords a melancholy abundance of indisputable evidence that it was not Kurds and brigands alone who did Satan's work in Armenia, but that the chief culprits were Turkish officials, high and low, officers, soldiers, gendarmes[Pg 108] and rabble; even a member of parliament took a turn! They not only played the principal part in the vast and revolting carnival of blood, lust and savagery, but they took a delight and pride in the part they played, and laughed at the sufferings and tortures of their victims.[23]

Group "B" bears evidence of a heroism and fidelity in torture and death, to faith, honour and the ideal of nationality, unsurpassed in the history of mankind, which must redound to the eternal glory of Christianity and to the honour of the Armenian name. I respectfully suggest for consideration by the Heads of the Christian Churches that a day should be fixed to[Pg 109] commemorate annually the martyrdom of this vast number of Armenian Christians.

Group "C" contains proofs of the conduct of insurgent Armenians in the unequal struggles for self-defence, and it should be remembered that these are but a few instances, mainly of what was seen or heard of by foreigners. The ruined towns and villages, the silent fields and highways of this land of blood and tears, what secrets of desperate heroism in defence of wife and child, mother and sister, these guard will probably never be known. Group "C" also contains evidence of the fact that the Turks had to employ considerable bodies of troops to overcome the desperate resistance of Armenians in many places, such as Moush, Sassoon, Van, etc. A third feature in this group is, that the Turks attributed their defeats in the Caucasus to the Armenians.[24]

Taken together, these extracts, and the Blue-book from which they are taken, form a better mirror of the characteristics of the two races than all that has been written[Pg 110] on the subject for a century. They show the radical dissimilarity of their natures, and the vast difference between the respective stages of civilization in which the two races find themselves.

Was it Buddha or Confucius who said that the principal difference between man and the rest of the animal world is, that man possesses the feeling of pity for the pain and suffering of his fellow-men or animals? What would they think of this strange race of human beings who delight in torture and murder, sparing neither sex nor age, nor even unborn babes and their mothers; who inflict pain and jeer at their victims?

I remember reading in one of Mr. Lloyd George's speeches not long ago: "It is not the trials one has to go through in life, but the way one faces them that matters," or words to that effect. This is as true of nations as it is of individuals. "In the reproof of chance lies the true proof of men," and of nations. How has the Armenian nation conducted itself in this great upheaval and borne the terrible ordeal revealed by the Blue-book: an ordeal the horror and magnitude of which it is absolutely beyond[Pg 111] the power of the human mind to imagine? The Blue-book itself furnishes the answer. From the first day of the war, Armenians in all countries understood the nature of the issues involved. They had no doubt on which side lay their sympathies, which were never influenced by the varying fortunes of the war. They were exposed to grave risks and paid a terrible price. Could there be a better proof of intellectual rectitude and the sincerity of sentiment? This, I trust, will silence for ever the dastardly reflections often cast upon the honesty of the Armenian people. There are some dishonest Armenians as there are some dishonest men in all nations. But, whether through prejudice, malice, or ignorance of the facts, to brand as dishonest a whole people who have been on the Cross for half a millennium for their religion and patriotism, is unworthy of civilized and right-minded men.

There are two other important facts which the Blue-book establishes beyond dispute. There was no revolt. Indeed, it would have been sheer madness on the part of the Armenians to attempt a rising when their able-bodied manhood was with the colours. The[Pg 112] second fact the Blue-book reveals is, that the Armenian party leaders did their utmost to dissuade the Young Turks from joining the war. When the veil of war has lifted, and Europe comes to know more of what took place behind the scenes in Constantinople prior to Turkey's entry into the war, it will be seen how near the personal influence and eloquence of the Armenian deputy Zohrab came to turning the scale against the fateful and suicidal decision. This brilliant young jurist, an intimate personal friend of Enver and Talaat who sought his advice almost daily, was murdered by their orders on the way to Diyarbekir. Armenians have been charged with a lack of political aptitude as well as with treachery to the Ottoman Empire. I would specially call the attention of those who hold these views—Europeans, Moslems, and thinking Turks themselves—to the fact that, at a time of crisis, it was the Armenians who saw clearly the path of safety for the empire, and showed their loyalty to it, in spite of all they had suffered in the past, by their councils of prudence to which the Young Turks lent a deaf ear.

[Pg 113]

While on the subject of the Blue-book, I cannot refrain from saying that I noted with profound regret the distinction that was evidently made, in many cases, between Catholic and Protestant Armenians on the one hand, and Gregorians on the other, in the efforts that were made to save them from massacre or deportation. It is no secret that His Holiness the Pope and President Wilson intervened through their representatives in Constantinople, and possibly in Berlin and Vienna, to stop the massacres. I record this fact with the deepest gratitude. Of course no such distinction can possibly have been made by the Pope or President Wilson, or their ambassadors; it was probably due to the well-meant activities of subordinates or of local European or American residents.

No doubt it was better to save Catholics and Protestants than none at all, but the very idea of any distinction being thought of, under such fateful circumstances, is obviously contrary to the spirit of Christianity, and the passages referring to it make sad reading to a Christian.


[21] Visitors to the San Francisco Exhibition will have seen and admired the work of the Armenian sculptor Haik Partigian, whose exhibits, I am told by one who saw them, were among the best, if not the best, of all the exhibits in the Sculpture Section. Russia's great marine painter Aivazovsky was an Armenian. The recently instituted Society of Armenian Artists is holding its first exhibition in Tiflis at the time of writing.

[22] It was reported in the Tiflis papers, after the above was written, that Mr. Mantashian, the Baku oil king, has made a further donation of £60,000 for agricultural improvements, and offered thirty thoroughbreds to improve the breed of horses in Armenia.

[23] Some of the most distressing and disgraceful cases of Turkish bestiality appeared in Doctor (Major) Aspland's report on the hospital at Van, which was under his charge as representative of the Lord Mayor's Armenian Relief Fund. Describing some of the individual cases brought to him for treatment, Dr. Aspland says—

"Here is a young woman leaving hospital to-day, who was raped by eight Kurds. She has suffered for months, and even now, in spite of operations, will be crippled for the rest of her life. Here is a small girl aged five, similarly treated by Turks, and is now lying in plaster of Paris in order to recover from injury to the hip joint."—(Ararat, October 1916, p. 172.)

[24] Compare this with the diary of a Turkish officer, reported in the Russkaia Viedomosti (p. 75).

[Pg 114]



Group A

"The Archbishop of Erzeroum, His Grace Sempad, who, with the Vali's authorization, was returning to Constantinople, was murdered at Erzindjan by the brigands in the service of the Union and Progress Committee. The bishops of Trebizond, Kaisaria, Moush, Bitlis, Sairt, and Erzindjan have all been murdered by order of the Young Turk Government" (p. 23).

"The shortest method for disposing of the women and children concentrated in the various camps was to burn them. Fire was set to large wooden sheds in Alidjan, Megrakom, Khaskegh, and other Armenian villages, and these absolutely helpless women and children were roasted to death.... And the executioners, who seem to have been unmoved by this unparalleled savagery,[Pg 115] grasped infants by one leg and hurled them into the fire, calling out to the burning mothers: 'Here are your lions'" (p. 86).

"The Turks boasted of having now got rid of all the Armenians. I heard it from the officers myself, how they revelled in thought that the Armenians had been got rid of" (p. 88).

"It was heartrending to hear the cries of the people and children who were being burnt to death in their houses. The soldiers took great delight in hearing them, and when people who were out in the streets during the bombardment fell dead the soldiers merely laughed at them" (p. 90).

"Every officer boasted of the number he had personally massacred as his share in ridding Turkey of the Armenian race" (p. 90).

"Mehmed Effendi, the Ottoman deputy for Gendje (Ginj), collected about forty women and children and killed them" (p. 94).

"Of the other children, a girl was taken away and only escaped many months later when the Russians came. Very reluctantly[Pg 116] she poured out her story to the Stapletons, from which it appeared that she had been handed round to ten officers after the murder of her husband and his mother, to be their sport" (p. 225).

"'See what care the Government is taking of the Armenians,' the Vali said, and she returned home surprised and pleased; but when she visited the Orphanage again several days later, there were only thirteen of the 700 children left—the rest had disappeared. They had been taken, she learnt, to a lake six hours' journey by road from the town and drowned" (p. 260).

"Sister D. A. was told, at Constantinople, that Turks of all parties were united in their approval of what was being done to the Armenians, and that Enver Pasha openly boasted of it as his personal achievement. Talaat Bey, too, was reported to have remarked, on receiving news of Vartkes's[25] [Pg 117]assassination: 'There is no room in the Empire for both Armenians and Turks. Either they had to go or we" (p. 261).

"A crowd of Turkish women and children follow the police about like a lot of vultures, and seize anything they can lay their hands on, and when the more valuable things are carried out of a house by the police, they rush in and take the balance. I see this performance every day with my own eyes" (p. 289).

"It was a real extermination and slaughter of the innocents, an unheard-of thing, a black page stained with the flagrant violation of the most sacred rights of humanity, of Christianity, of nationality" (p. 291).

"When the Governor was petitioned to allow the infants to be entrusted to charitable Moslem families, to save them from dying on the journey, he replied: 'I will not leave here so much as the odour of the Armenians; go away into the deserts of Arabia and dump your Armenia there'" (p. 328).

"P. P., the college blacksmith, was so terribly beaten that a month later he was[Pg 118] still unable to walk. Another was shod with horse-shoes. At Y., Mr. A. D. (brother-in-law of the pastor, A. E., who suffered martyrdom at Sivas twenty-one years ago) had his finger-nails torn out for refusing to accept Islam. 'How,' he had answered, 'can I abandon the Christ whom I have preached for twenty-years?'" (p. 378.)

"In Angora I learned that the tanners and the butchers of the city had been called to Asi Yozgad, and the Armenians committed to them for murder. The tanner's knife is a circular affair, while the butcher's knife is a small axe, and they killed people by using the instruments which they knew best how to use" (p. 385).

"The Ottoman Bank President showed bank-notes soaked with blood and struck through with daggers with the blot round the hole, and some torn that had evidently been ripped from the clothing of people who had been killed—and these were placed on ordinary deposit in the bank by Turkish Officers" (p. 386).

"One girl had hanged herself on the way;[Pg 119] others had poison with them. Mothers were holding out their beautiful babies and begging the missionaries to take them" (p. 403).

"What was the meaning of all this? It was the deathblow aimed at Christianity in Turkey, or, in other words, the extermination of the Armenian people—their extermination or amalgamation" (p. 404).

"During the weary days of travel I had as my companion a Turkish captain, who, as the hours dragged by, came to look on me with less of suspicion, growing quite friendly at times. Arrived at —— the captain went out among the Armenian crowd and soon returned with an Armenian girl of about fifteen years. She was forced into a compartment of an adjoining railway coach, in company with a Turkish woman. When she saw that her mother was not allowed to accompany her, she began to realize something of the import of it all. She grew frantic in her efforts to escape, scratching at the window, begging, screaming, tearing her hair and wringing her hands, while the equally grief-crazed mother stood on the[Pg 120] railway platform, helpless in her effort to save her daughter. The captain, seeing the unconcealed disapproval in my face, came up and said: 'I suppose, Effendi, you don't approve of such things, but let me tell you how it is. Why, this girl is fortunate. I'll take her home with me, raise her as a Moslem servant in my house. She will be well cared for and saved from a worse fate—besides that, I even gave the mother a lira gold piece for the girl.' And, as though that were not convincing enough, he added: 'Why, these scoundrels have killed two of our Moslems right here in this city, within the last few days,' as though that were excuse enough, if excuse were needed, for annihilating the whole Armenian race. I could not refrain from giving him my version of the rotten, diabolical scheme, which, however, fell from his back like water" (p. 410).

"I learned here, too, of a nurse who had been in one of the mission hospitals, who two days before my arrival there had become almost crazed by the fear of falling into the[Pg 121] hands of the human fiends, and had ended her life with poison. Were these isolated or unusual instances, it would excite no comment in this year of unusual things, but when we know of these things going on all over the empire, repeated in thousands of instances, we begin to realize the enormity of the crimes committed. I spoke again to the captain: 'Why are you taking such brutal measures to accomplish your aim? Why not accept the offer of a friendly nation, which offers to pay transportation if you will send these people out of the country to a place of safety?' He replied: 'Why, don't you understand, we don't want to have to repeat this thing again after a few years? It's hot down in the deserts of Arabia, and there is no water, and these people can't stand a hot climate, don't you see?' Yes, I saw. Any one could see what would happen to most of them, long before Arabia was reached" (p. 411).

"Crowds of Turkish women were going about insolently prying into house after house to find valuable rugs or other articles" (p. 411).

[Pg 122]

"The nation is being systematically done to death by a cruel and crafty method, and their extermination is only a question of time" (p. 432).

"Women with little children in their arms, or in the last days of pregnancy, were driven along under the whip like cattle. Three different cases came under my knowledge where the woman was delivered on the road, and because her brutal driver hurried her along, she died of hæmorrhage" (p. 472).

"I saw one young woman drop down exhausted. The Turk gave her two or three blows with his stick and she raised herself painfully" (p. 484).

"I saw two women, one of them old, the other very young and very pretty, carrying the corpse of another young woman; I had scarcely passed them when cries of terror arose. The girl was struggling in the clutches of a brute who was trying to drag her away. The corpse had fallen to the ground, the girl, now half-unconscious, was writhing by the side of it, the old woman was sobbing and wringing her hands" (p. 564).

[Pg 123]

"Sixteen hundred Armenians have had their throats cut in the prisons of Diyarbekir. The Arashnort (bishop) was mutilated, drenched with alcohol, and burnt alive in the prison yard, in the middle of a carousing crowd of gendarmes, who even accompanied the scene with music. The massacres at Benia, Adiaman, the Selefka have been carried out deliberately; there is not a single male left above the age of 13 years; the girls have been outraged mercilessly; we have seen their mutilated corpses tied together in batches of four, eight, or ten, and cast into the Euphrates. The majority had been mutilated in an indescribable manner" (p. 21).

"Five hundred young men were shot outside the town without any formality. During the following two days the same process was carried out with heartless and cold-blooded thoroughness in the eighty Armenian villages of Ardjish, Adiljevas, and the rest of the district north of Lake Van. In this manner some 24,000 Armenians were killed in three days, their young women carried away and their homes looted" (p. 73).

[Pg 124]

"According to Turkish Government statistics 120,000 Armenians were killed in this district" (p. 95).

"The immense procession, sinking under its agony and fatigue, forces itself along and moves forward without respite.... No pen can describe what this tragic procession has endured, or what experiences it has lived through, on its interminable road. The least detail of them makes the human heart quail, and draws an unquenchable stream of bitter tears from one's eyes.... Each fraction of the long procession has its individual history, its especial pangs.... Here is a mother with her six children, one on her back, the second clasped to her breast; the third falls down on the road, and cries and wails because it cannot drag itself further. The three others begin to wail in sympathy, and the poor mother stands stock still, tearless, like a statue, utterly powerless to help" (p. 197).

"Babies were shot in their mothers' arms, small children were horribly mutilated, women were stripped and beaten. The[Pg 125] villages were not prepared for attack; many made no resistance; others resisted until their ammunition gave out" (p. 36).

"A little bride and a slim young girl sidled up to our wagon to talk. In reply to our talk they told us that they were 'busy taking care of the babies.' We asked what babies, and they said: 'Oh, those the effendis stop here; the mothers nurse them and then go.' We asked if there were many, and were told that every house was full. We were watched too closely to make calls possible. Afterwards we found an officer ready to talk, who said: 'We take them off after a while and kill them. What can we do? The mothers cannot take them, and the Government cannot take care of them for ever'" (p. 359).

"This frightful suffering inspires no pity in the ruthless officials, who throw themselves upon their wretched victims, armed with whips and cudgels, without distinction of sex or age" (p. 414).

[Pg 126]

Group B

"Many Armenian women preferred to throw themselves into the Euphrates with their infants, or committed suicide in their homes. The Euphrates and Tigris have become the sepulchre of thousands of Armenians" (p. 14).

"While the Armenian refugees had been mutually helpful and self-sacrificing, these Moslems showed themselves absolutely selfish, callous and indifferent to each other's suffering" (p. 42).

"Many went mad and threw their children away; some knelt down and prayed amid the flames in which their bodies were burning; others shrieked and cried for help which came from nowhere" (p. 86).

"Several young women, who were in danger of falling into the Turks' hands, threw themselves from the rocks, some of them with their infants in their arms" (p. 87).

"Among the massacred were two monks, one of them being the Father Superior of[Pg 127] Sourp Garabed, Yeghishe Vartabed, who had a chance of escaping, but did not wish to be separated from his flock, and was killed with them" (p. 96).

"In some cases safety was bought by professing Mohammedanism, but many died as martyrs to the faith" (p. 102).

"The mother resisted, and was thrown over a bridge by one of the Turks. The poor woman broke her arm, but her mule-driver dragged her up again. Again the same Turks threw her down, with one of her daughters, from the top of the mountain. The moment the married daughter saw her mother and sister thrown down, she thrust the baby in her arms upon another woman, ran after them, crying, 'Mother, mother!' and threw herself down the same precipice" (p. 274).

"Sirpouhi and Santukht, two young women of Ketcheurd, a village east of Sivas, who were being led off to the harem, by Turks, threw themselves into the river Halys, and were drowned with their infants in their arms. Mlle. Sirpouhi, the [Pg 128]nineteen-year-old daughter of Garabed Tufenjjian of Herag, a graduate of the American College of Marsovan, was offered the choice of saving herself by embracing Islam and marrying a Turk. Sirpouhi retorted that it was an outrage to murder her father and then make her a proposal of marriage. She would have nothing to do with a godless and a murderous people; whereupon she, and seventeen other Armenian girls who had refused conversion, were shamefully ill-treated and afterwards killed near Tchamli-Bel gorge" (p. 325).

"Many began to doubt even the existence of God. Under the severe strain many individuals became demented, some of them permanently. There were also some examples of the greatest heroism and faith, and some started out on the journey courageously and calmly, saying in farewell: 'Pray for us. We shall not see you again in this world, but some time we shall meet again'" (p. 335).

"'No, I cannot see what you see, and I cannot accept what I cannot understand.' So the ox-carts came to the door and took[Pg 129] the family away. The wife was a delicate lady and the two beautiful daughters well educated. They were offered homes in harems, but said: 'No, we cannot deny our Lord. We will go with our father'" (p. 354).

"In a mountain village there was a girl who made herself famous. Here, as everywhere else, the men were taken out at night and pitifully killed. Then the women and children were sent in a crowd, but a large number of young girls and brides were kept behind. This girl, who had been a pupil in the school at X., was sent before the Governor, the Judge, and the Council together, and they said to her: 'Your father is dead, your brothers are dead, and all your other relatives are gone, but we have kept you because we do not wish to make you suffer. Now just be a good Turkish girl and you shall be married to a Turkish officer and be comfortable and happy.' It is said that she looked quietly into their faces and replied: 'My father is not dead, my brothers are not dead; it is[Pg 130] true you have killed them, but they live in Heaven. I shall live with them. I can never do this if I am unfaithful to my conscience. As for marrying, I have been taught that a woman must never marry a man unless she loves him. This is a part of our religion. How can I love a man who comes from a nation that has so recently killed my friends? I should neither be a good Christian girl nor a good Turkish girl if I did so. Do with me what you wish.' They sent her away, with the few other brave ones, into the hopeless land. Stories of this kind can also be duplicated" (p. 355).

"The men were finally convinced of the uselessness of their efforts when one of the younger and prettiest girls spoke up for herself and said: 'No one can mix in my decisions; I will not "turn" [change her religion], and it is I myself that say it'" (p. 357).

"Mr. A. F., a colporteur, had been willing to embrace Islam, but his wife refused to recognize his apostasy, and declared that she would go into exile with the rest of the[Pg 131] people, so he went with his wife and was killed" (p. 378).

"Again and again they said to me: 'Oh, if they would only kill me now, I would not care; but I fear they will try to force me to become a Mohammedan'" (p. 403).

"When we consider the number forced into exile and the number beaten to death and tortured in a thousand ways, the comparatively small number that turned Moslem is a tribute to the staunchness of their hold on Christianity" (p. 413).

"If the events of the past year demonstrate anything, they show the practical failure of Mohammedanism in its struggle for existence against Christianity—in its attempt to eliminate a race which, because of Christian education, has been proving increasingly a menace to stagnating Moslem civilization. We may call it political necessity or what not, but in essence it is a nominally ruling class, jealous of a more progressive Christian race, striving by methods of primitive savagery to maintain the leading place" (p. 413).

[Pg 132]

"The courage of that brave little doctor's wife, who knew she must take her two babies and face starvation and death with them! Many began to come to her home—to her, for comfort and cheer, and she gave it. I have never seen such courage before. You have to go to the darkest places of the earth to see the brightest lights, to the most obscure spot to find the greatest heroes.

"Her bright smile, with no trace of fear in it, was like a beacon light in that mud village, where hundreds were doomed.

"It was not because she did not understand how they felt; she was one of them. It was not because she had no dear ones in peril; her husband was far away, ministering to those who were sending her and her babies to destruction" (p. 418).

"One woman gave birth to twins in one of those crowded trucks, and crossing a river she threw both her babies and then herself into the water" (p. 420).

"And how are the people going? As they came into B. M., weary and with swollen and bleeding feet, clasping their babes to[Pg 133] their breasts, they utter not one murmur or word of complaint; but you see their eyes move and hear the words: 'For Jesus' sake, for Jesus' sake!'" (p. 478).

"Let me quote from W. Effendi, from a letter he wrote a day before his deportation with his young wife and infant child and with the whole congregation—

"'We now understand that it is a great miracle that our nation has lived so many years amongst such a nation as this. From this we realize that God can and has shut the mouths of lions for many years. May God restrain them! I am afraid they mean to kill some of us, cast some of us into most cruel starvation and send the rest out of this country; so I have very little hope of seeing you again in this world. But be sure that, by God's special help, I will do my best to encourage others to die manly. I will also look for God's help for myself to die as a Christian. May this country see that, if we cannot live here as men, we can die as men. May many die as men of God. May God forgive this nation all their sin[Pg 134] which they do without knowing. May the Armenians teach Jesus' life by their death, which they could not teach by their life or have failed in showing forth. It is my great desire to see a Reverend Ali, or Osman, or Mohammed. May Jesus soon see many Turkish Christians as the fruit of His blood.

"'May the war end soon, in order to save the Moslems from their cruelty (for they increase in that from day to day) and from their ingrained habit of torturing others. Therefore we are waiting on God, for the sake of the Moslems as well as of the Armenians. May He appear soon'" (p. 504).

"Before the girls were taken, the Kaimakam asked each one, in the presence of the Principal of the College, whether they wanted to become Mohammedans and stay, or go. They all replied that they would go. Only Miss H. became a Mohammedan, and went to live with G. Professors E. and F. F. had been arrested with other Armenians, but in the name of all the teachers some £250 to £300 were presented to the officials, and so they were let free" (p. 370).

[Pg 135]

"The priests were among the first to be sent off. A Turk described how K. K. was killed. They stripped him of all his clothes, excepting his underclothing. With his hands bound behind his back, he knelt, with his son beside him, and they finished him off with axes, while he was praying. The same description was given of the execution of L. L.—how they took off his head by hacking down into his shoulders with axes and carving the head out like a bust" (p. 371).

Group C

"But the [Armenian] revolutionists conducted themselves with remarkable restraint and prudence; controlled their hot-headed youth; patrolled the streets to prevent skirmishes; and bade the villagers endure in silence: better a village or two burned unavenged than that any attempt at reprisals should furnish an excuse for massacre" (p. 33).

"Some of the rules for their men [the Armenian defenders of Van] were: 'Keep[Pg 136] clean; do not drink; tell the truth; do not curse the religion of the enemy'" (p. 35).

"But, enraged as Djevdet was by this unexpected and prolonged resistance, was it to be hoped that he could be persuaded to spare the lives of one of these men, women and children?" (p. 39).

"Not all the Turks had fled from the city [Van]. Some old men and women and children had stayed behind, many of them in hiding. The Armenian soldiers, unlike Turks, were not making war on such" (p. 41).

"Our Turkish refugees cost us a fearful price.... Then, for four days more, two Armenian nurses cared for the [Turkish] sick ones at night and an untrained man nurse helped me during the daytime" (p. 42).

"Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, said: 'I am amazed at the self-control of the Armenians, for though the Turks did not spare a single wounded Armenian, the Armenians are helping us to save the Turks—a thing that I do not believe even Europeans would do'" (p. 70).

[Pg 137]

"The Turks offered to the Georgians the provinces of Koutais and of Tiflis, the Batoum district and a part of the province of Trebizond; to the Tartars, Shousha, the mountain country as far as Vladikavkaz, Bakou, and a part of the province of Elisavetpol; to the Armenians they offered Kars, the province of Erivan, a part of Elisavetpol; a fragment of the province of Erzeroum, Van and Bitlis. According to the Young Turk scheme, all these groups were to become autonomous under a Turkish protectorate. The Erzeroum Congress refused these proposals, and advised the Young Turks not to hurl themselves into the European conflagration—a dangerous adventure which would lead Turkey to ruin" (p. 80).

"The Turkish regulars and Kurds, amounting now to something like 30,000 altogether, pushed higher and higher up the heights and surrounded the main Armenian position at close quarters. Then followed one of those desperate and heroic struggles for life which have always been[Pg 138] the pride of mountaineers. Men, women and children fought with knives, scythes, stones, and anything else they could handle. They rolled blocks of stone down the steep slopes, killing many of the enemy. In a frightful hand-to-hand combat, women were seen thrusting their knives into the throats of Turks and thus accounting for many of them. On August 5, the last day of the fighting, the blood-stained rocks of Antok were captured by the Turks. The Armenian warriors of Sassoun, except those who had worked round to the rear of the Turks to attack them on their flanks, had died in battle" (p. 87).

"In the first week of July 20,000 soldiers arrived from Constantinople by way of Harpout with munitions and eleven guns, and laid siege to Moush" (p. 89).

"The energetic Armenian committees have taken care of their own people, and have been unexpectedly generous to the Syrians who are quartered in their midst" (p. 107).

"He met an Armenian officer who had escaped from the Turks, who told him of[Pg 139] the deportation and massacre of the Armenians. He said that the attitude of the Turks towards the Armenians was more or less good at the beginning of the war, but it was suddenly changed after the Turkish defeat at Sari-Kamysh, as they laid the blame for this defeat upon the Armenians, though he could not tell why" (p. 231).

"The fact cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was no 'rebellion'" (p. 34).


[25] Mr. Vartkes was an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, who was murdered, together with another deputy, Mr. Zohrab, when he was being escorted by gendarmes from Aleppo to be court-martialled at Diyarbekir (see Documents 7 and 9).—Editor.

[Pg 140]



There is no brighter page in the glorious history of the British Empire than the records of the liberties that conduce to the contentment and happiness of peoples—freedom of thought and worship, freedom of speech and association, freedom of movement and habitation, freedom of language, etc.; as well as measures of self-government varying in accordance with local needs and circumstances—granted unstintingly to the great family of nations and races constituting that marvellous commonwealth. This policy of broad, liberal justice has proved, under the stern test of this great war, the highest statesmanship and the strongest bond of empire. Freedom, justice, humanity have proved an infinitely stronger impetus to[Pg 141] loyalty than "frightfulness," a stronger cement, a superior and better "paying" stock-in-trade of empire by far than the jack-boot and the yatagan. The conclusive and practical demonstration of this great fact by the British Empire will probably exercise a far-reaching influence for good on the future policies of empires and the liberties of mankind. The British Flag has not only carried security, order and justice wherever it has gone, it has scrupulously respected religious and national sentiment everywhere. It has not denied to the peoples under its sway, or attempted to suppress, the sentiments and allegiances which it has itself held sacred. It has maintained the freedom of the seas as I believe no international device could have achieved it. I do not say this to please British readers. I have lived and travelled among small peoples and subject peoples large and small, and that is the impression I have gathered. Thus the Union Jack has become a symbol of freedom and fairplay the world over, and persecuted peoples have long had the conviction, deep down in their[Pg 142] hearts, that British influence is continually at work towards their ultimate liberation. If we were to reverse Mr. Gladstone's famous challenge concerning Austria, and ask, mutatis mutandis: "Can any one put his finger on the map of the world and say, 'Here the British Empire has wrought evil'?" it may be that Count Reventlow himself and the author of the "Hymn of Hate" might find themselves baffled. However opinions may differ as to the justice of some of her wars, the just and liberal treatment of the peoples that have come under British dominion is an indisputable historical fact to which the masses of mankind owe at least as much gratitude as they do to the French Revolution. Ireland may be singled out, and not without reason, if I may say so, as the one shaded spot on this bright page of the story of the spread of British liberty. To the neutral observer it certainly seems strange that Ireland, so near the home of liberty and the stronghold of democratic institutions, should be so long denied the full and free enjoyment of those blessings liberally bestowed upon the more[Pg 143] distant parts of the empire. Possibly neutral observers do not and cannot understand the difficulties and obstacles that have hitherto proved insuperable. It is outside the scope of my subject and beyond my competence to enter into a discussion of the Irish question here, but this much I may say, that Ireland should convince rulers in all countries that material prosperity alone "is no remedy." Security, order, prosperity, an efficient and equitable administration may palliate but can never heal a political injustice. They can never satisfy the legitimate aspirations for self-rule of a high-spirited and cultured people conscious of a strong, indestructible will as well as the undoubted capacity to govern itself. On the other hand, to compare the wrongs and sufferings of Ireland (and Poland) with the agony of Armenia, as is sometimes done, is to compare a headache, an acute headache if you will, with the Black Death.

It is in keeping with the ill-fortune that has dogged the footsteps of the Armenian people for five centuries that Armenia should have been the one exception to the rule;[Pg 144] the one country which has been denied the blessings and benefits that have accrued to every small people which has come within the sphere of, or whose fortunes have been directly or indirectly affected by, the policy or interests of the British Empire.

One of the most striking features of what has been said and written in this country on the treatment meted out by the Turks to their Armenian subjects during the war has been the paucity of reference to the effect, incidental and indirect no doubt, but the real and disastrous effect, nevertheless, of British policy in Turkey since the Crimean War upon the fate of the Armenian subjects of the Turk. This is in contrast with what was said and written during previous massacres, and is no doubt attributable to the fact of the country being at war. I am not touching this aspect of the question in the way of a grievance. I well know, and most gratefully recognize what the British Government and people have done and are still doing for us during the long and ghastly nightmare through which we are passing. The noble and unremitting efforts of Lord[Pg 145] and Lady Bryce, Lady Frederick Cavendish, Mr. Aneurin Williams, Mr. T. P. O'Connor, Miss Robinson, Mrs. and Miss Hickson, Mrs. Cole, Mr. Noel Buxton and his brother the Rev. Harold Buxton, Mr. Arthur G. Symonds, Mr. Llew Williams, the Rev. Greenland, Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee, and so many other friends of Armenia in this country, have placed us under a lasting debt of gratitude to them and to Britain. Lord Bryce's name will live in Armenian history as long as Armenia lasts.

But I do think it is fair, in justice to the people of this great and righteous empire, to one-half of the Armenian nation who have fallen as heroes and heroines both in war and martyrdom, and to "the little blood" that is left to the Armenian people, that the facts in this connection should be placed frankly and fully before the British public at this juncture, so that it may be able to form an equitable estimate of the reparation due to the Armenians, not only for the crimes and ravages committed by the enemy during the war, but also in the light of the obligations and responsibilities incurred by Europe in general and Great[Pg 146] Britain in particular for the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire by Art. 61 of the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention.

I have said "Great Britain," but it would be more accurate to say "the British Government of the day," for I firmly believe—in fact, who will doubt?—that if the British people had had the slightest suspicion that the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention had in them the germs of the disaster that has since overtaken the Christian subjects of the Porte, they would never have ratified those treaties. Nor do I suggest, I need hardly say, that the statesmen who are responsible for these diplomatic instruments consciously and deliberately jeopardized the existence of an ancient Christian people. Lord Salisbury's sympathetic utterances in 1895-96 show unmistakably how deeply distressed he was at the grievous turn events had taken, and still more at the powerlessness of the Concert of Europe to save the Armenians from the position of extreme peril in which the Concert had placed them in 1878.

Successive British Governments have made[Pg 147] frequent attempts to improve the lot of the Armenians; but the more they tried the more the Turks massacred. There is no fairer-minded public than the British, whose hospitality and the blessings of whose rule I have gratefully enjoyed for many years, as have some thousands of my compatriots in almost every part of the empire. There is also no one more ready and anxious to pay his debt than the Briton when he knows what he owes. I have therefore no fear whatever of arousing any resentment by calling the attention of the British public to the existence of this old liability. On the contrary, I am convinced that the fact will be taken note of in good part, and by most even thankfully. I read a Press article not long ago—it was, if I remember rightly, a review of Mr. Llew Williams's book, Armenia Past and Present in The Court Journal—which ended with the following question: "If these terrible things are true and we have any responsibility, why are we not told so?"

As regards the nature of the responsibilities and obligations, I refer my readers to[Pg 148] the Appendix, where will be found the texts of Art. 61 of the Treaty of Berlin, Art. 18 of the Treaty of San Stefano—which was torn up and superseded by the Treaty of Berlin—the full text of the Cyprus Convention, and Lord Salisbury's Dispatch to Sir Henry Layard containing instructions for the negotiation of that Convention.

I may here point out that though at first sight there appears to be little difference between the wording of Art. 16 of the Treaty of San Stefano and Art. 61 of the Treaty of Berlin, there is this fundamental difference between the application of the two clauses that, while the former left the Russian Army in occupation of the Armenian provinces until the reforms should be an accomplished fact, the latter was a mere Turkish promise to be performed after their evacuation by the Russian forces. How the Turk performed his promise is well enough known, and forms the darkest page of modern history—probably of all history.

Those who have the interest and the time for fuller information on the subject I recommend to refer to Mr. Gladstone's[Pg 149] famous speeches on the Eastern Question and the Treaty of Berlin, the debates in both Houses of Parliament on the massacres of 1895-96, Canon Maccoll's "The Sultan and the Powers," Mr. W. Llew Williams's "Armenia Past and Present," and last but not least, "Our Responsibilities for Turkey," by the late Duke of Argyll. This frank and admirable commentary on the bearing of British policy upon the Armenian question is now unfortunately out of print. I therefore quote, with apologies, the following lengthy extract for the convenience of those who may have difficulty in procuring a copy. It is an authority that will command general and respectful attention.[26] (The italics are mine.)

"Nothing can be more childish than to suppose that the significance and effect of such a change as this[27] can be measured or appreciated by looking at the mere grammatical meaning of the words. The words seemed harmless enough. They may even[Pg 150] seem to be most benevolent and most wise in the interests of the Christian subjects of the Porte in Armenia. But when we look at the facts which lay behind the words, and at the motives which were at work among the contracting parties, we must see that nothing could have been devised more fatal to their interests. The change which the new words affected in the Treaty of San Stefano wounded the pride and the most justifiable ambition of Russia to be the protector of her co-religionists in provinces with which no other Christian Power had any natural connection. On the other hand, it delighted the low cunning of the Turk, in constituting another 'rift within the lute' which by and by would be quite sure to make the 'music mute' of any effective concert between the Powers of Europe. The Turk could see at a glance that, whilst it relieved him of the dangerous pressure of Russia, it substituted no other pressure which his own infinite dexterity in delays could not easily make abortive. As for the unfortunate Armenians, the change was simply one which must tend to expose them to the[Pg 151] increased enmity of their tyrants, whilst it damaged and discouraged the only protection which was possible under the inexorable conditions of the physical geography of the country.[28]

"But this is not the whole of the responsibility which falls on us out of the international transactions connected with the Treaty of Berlin. After that treaty had been concluded, we entered by ourselves into a separate, and for a while a secret, convention with Turkey, by which we undertook to defend her Asiatic provinces by[Pg 152] force of arms from any further conquests on the part of Russia, and in return we asked for nothing more than a lease of Cyprus, and a new crop of Turkish promises that she would introduce reforms in her administration of Armenia. No security whatever was asked or offered for the execution of those promises. We simply repeated the old mistake of 1856, of trusting entirely to the good faith of Turkey, or to her gratitude. But this time the mistake was repeated after twenty-two years' continued experience of the futility of such a trust. As to gratitude, it must have been quite clear to the Turks that we were acting in our own supposed interests in resisting the advance of Russia at any cost.

"No doubt we had occasion to remember, with some natural bitterness, the sacrifice to Russia of all that the gallant General Williams had done for Turkey in his splendid defence of Kars. But we ought to have remembered, also, how dreadful had been the account given by that able and gallant man of the detestable Government which he was defending. We ought to have [Pg 153]remembered how easy were the reforms which he had recommended, if the Turkish Government had been honest; and how they had all been systematically evaded. We ought, above all, to have considered the inevitable effect of this new treaty of guarantee upon the sharp cunning of the Turks. They saw how eagerly it was sought by us, and they must have concluded that, whilst we were clearly not only earnest, but excited, in our opposition to Russia, we were comparatively careless and lukewarm about any changes in their own system of government. They must have seen that the new convention[29] practically superseded even the slightest restraints put upon them by the Treaty of Berlin, and that the Christian population of Armenia were practically left entirely at their mercy.

"Let us look back upon all these transactions as a whole, and try to form some estimate of the position of responsibility in which they have placed us towards the Christian populations subject to the Ottoman dominion. In 1854-56 we had saved that dominion from destruction by defeating,[Pg 154] and locally disarming, its great natural enemy. We had set up that dominion with new immunities from attack, and we had choked off from any protectorate over the Christians the only Power which would or could exert any such influence with effect. We had done this without providing any substitute of our own, except a recorded promise from the Turks. We had provided no machinery whereby bad faith on the part of Turkey could be proved and punished. Then, twenty years later, in 1876, we had obstinately refused to join the other Powers of Europe in remedying this great defect, by putting a combined pressure on Turkey to compel her to establish effective guarantee for the future. In 1878 we had denounced the treaty in which Russia, by her own expenditure of blood and treasure, had imposed on Turkey the obligations which we had admitted to be needful, but which we had ourselves declined to do anything to enforce. Then, in the same year, at Berlin, we had again done all we could to choke off the only Power which had the means and the disposition to secure the fulfilment of[Pg 155] any promises at all. Particularly in Armenia we had substituted for a promise to Russia which her power, her geographical position, and her pride might have really led her to enforce, another promise to all the Powers which, on the face of it, was absurd—namely, a promise to let all the Powers 'superintend the execution' of domestic reforms in a remote and very inaccessible country. Lastly, in the same year, as we had already choked off Russia, we now proceeded by a separate Convention to choke off also all the other Powers collectively, by inducing Turkey to give a special promise to ourselves, apart from them altogether. For the performance of this special promise we provided no security whatever, but trusted entirely, as we had done in 1856, to the good faith of a Power which we knew had none. With Russia deeply offended and estranged, and the rest of Europe set aside or superseded—such were the conditions under which we abandoned the Christian subjects of the Porte in Asia to a Government incurably barbarous and corrupt.

"And now, we are astonished and disgusted by finding that the terrible [Pg 156]consequences of all this selfish folly have fallen on those whom we had professed, and whom we were bound by every consideration of honour, to protect. Surely these years might have brought us a reconsideration of our position. The fever of our popular Russophobia had sensibly abated. We had secured our "scientific frontier" in India, and Russian expansion had taken a new direction in the Far East. New combinations—and some new disseverments—had taken place in Europe. The whole position of affairs was favourable to a policy of escape from bad traditions—from obsolete doctrines—and from duties which it was impossible we could discharge. Surely we might have asked ourselves, What had we been doing all these years to fulfil those duties? Nothing. And yet all along we were not ignorant that the vicious Government which we had so long helped to sustain against all the natural agencies that would have brought it to an end long ago was getting no better, but rather worse. We knew this perfectly well, and we have recorded our knowledge of it in a document of unimpeachable[Pg 157] authority. In the second year after the Treaty of Berlin, when the obligations we had undertaken under it were still fresh in our recollection, we had made one more endeavour to recall the Ottoman Power to some sense of shame, if not to some sense of duty. In 1880 we had a special Envoy at the Porte, one of our most distinguished public men—Mr. Goschen; and we had called together at Constantinople a meeting of all the Ambassadors of the six Powers of Europe who were signatories of the Treaty of Berlin. They drew up an Identic Note, which they all signed and presented to the Porte. In that Note they declared that no reforms had been, or were even on the way to being, adopted, and that so desperate was the misgovernment of the country, that 'it would lead in all probability to the destruction of the Christian population of vast districts.' Could a more dreadful confession have been made in respect to the conduct and policy of any Christian Government?

"This Identic Note commented severely on the calculated falsehoods of all kinds, and on the cunning procrastinations, which[Pg 158] characterized the conduct and language of the Porte. It concluded by reminding that Government, as an essential fact, 'that by treaty engagements Turkey was bound to introduce the reforms which had been often indicated,' and that these reforms were to be 'carried out under the supervision of the Powers.'

"We might as well have addressed our representations to a convict just released from a long sentence, and determined at once to renew his career of crime. And so we had gone on for fifteen more years since 1880, failing to take, or even attempt taking, any effectual measures to protect the helpless populations subject to a Government which we knew to be so cruel and oppressive—populations towards whom we lay under so many responsibilities, from our persistent protection of their oppressors. At last comes, in 1894, one of those appalling outbreaks of brutality on the part of the Turks which always horrify, but need never astonish, the world. They are all according to what Bishop Butler would have called the 'natural constitution and course of things,' that is to[Pg 159] say, they are the natural results of the nature and government of the Ottoman Turks."

Such is the nature of Great Britain's debt to us. It was rashly incurred by her statesmen. Successive British Governments have made strenuous efforts and run great risks to discharge it. But it has proved undischargeable for forty years, with consequences to us which are well known. This terrible war and the ensuing peace will give Great Britain both the power and the opportunity to discharge that obligation, and our weapons for enforcing our claim are the honour, the conscience and the never-failing sense of justice of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the British Empire. I appeal to these in the name of my sorely-stricken nation, pale, prostrate and bleeding almost to death, to stand by us and fight our battle at the Peace Conference. And if my appeal reaches a wide enough circle of British and Irish men and women, I am confident that my nation will not die, but will live and prosper, and carve out a future that will amply compensate her for the past.


[26] Our Responsibilities for Turkey, by the Duke of Argyll, K.G., K.T., John Murray, 1896, p. 72.

[27] The supersession of Article 16 of the Treaty of San Stefano by Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin.

[28] Town Topics of February 10, 1917, had the following: "The idiotic and ignorant criticism of the Navy one hears occasionally, recalls an immortal answer by a harassed First Lord, during an earlier Armenian atrocity (1895-96)—

"'Will the right honourable gentleman tell the House definitely whether it is proposed to send a British battleship to Armenia?' asked the bore who worried about every country but his own.

"'It is not proposed to send any ships there,' replied the Minister gravely. 'Navigation, I am informed by expert advisers at the Admiralty, has not been good in the vicinity of Ararat since the cruise of the Ark.'"

Would to God that this intelligence had reached the Foreign Offices of Europe twenty years earlier, before the signing of the Treaty of Berlin.

[29] The Cyprus Convention.

[Pg 160]



Gentlemen, this historic conference has come together to draw up a map of a new Europe and a new Near East which will in no part violate the principle of nationality—the great weakness and inherent injustice of former treaties, which has been largely responsible for the disastrous war now happily come to an end.

You have also assembled as a great international tribunal to uphold the sanctity of law and humanity, and to give judgment as to the just reparation that must be made, and as to the penalties to be exacted for all outrages committed during the war against humanity and the laws and usages of civilized warfare.

Among the multitude of problems, great and small, that await a just and wise [Pg 161]settlement at your hands, there is also the Armenian question.

This question may appear, to some of you at least, a small and insignificant one in the presence of the great and weighty questions of world-wide importance that await settlement. I claim for it without any fear of contradiction that in point of outraged humanity and civilization, measured by the sacrifice of innocence, the magnitude and unspeakable horrors of the martyrdom, destruction and ruin that has been brought upon this people with a calculated, deliberate object, and without the slightest provocation; I maintain that, on these incontestable grounds, this is the greatest Wrong that ever demanded justice and reparation at the bar of a great International Tribunal.

And it is not Turkey and Germany alone who owe us reparation, although upon their shoulders lies the guilt for the innocent blood that has been ruthlessly shed, the wanton destruction that has been wrought and the untold suffering and sorrow brought upon this people during the war. All the Great Powers of Europe have their share of[Pg 162] responsibility for leaving them at the mercy of the Turk to be murdered, burned, outraged, enslaved, to provide this or that European Statesman the satisfaction of having scored a point against his opponent in the sordid jealousies and rivalries of conflicting interests.

In 1877 Russian armies, partly under Armenian generals, occupied our country, and we hoped and believed that the hour of our liberation from the hideous nightmare of Turkish domination had struck.

It was a short-lived joy. The Congress of Berlin assembled soon after, tore up the Treaty of San Stefano which had given us the blessing of effective Russian protection, compelled the liberating Russian armies to evacuate our country, and left us once again the sport and prey of our Turkish and Kurdish tormentors.

After the butcheries of 1895-96 Great Britain was prepared to exact effective guarantees from the Sultan Abdul Hamid, if necessary by force of arms, against a repetition of these unspeakable barbarities; but the Russian Government of the day, sore[Pg 163] at the rebuff administered to it by the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention, opposed Great Britain's proposal of taking coercive measures to stay the hand of the Great Assassin.

In 1913 a Scheme of Reforms proposed by Russia formed the subject of discussion by the Powers, and was finally agreed to by Turkey after it had undergone such modifications and revisions at the instance of the Turks, backed by Germany, as to render it of little practical value. The war intervened before the scheme could be put into operation, and it remained a dead letter, as had all its predecessors. Meanwhile massacre, outrage, rapine, plunder, and all conceivable forms of oppression and persecution went on without respite, though in varying degrees of intensity, culminating in the frightful hecatombs of the last two years.

Although, of course, such was not their object and intention, the net result of these transactions was to give the Turk the opportunity, as events have unfortunately proved, of murdering, burning, drowning, torturing, violating, enslaving and forcibly[Pg 164] converting to Islam at least 2,000,000 unoffending and defenceless Christians within the comparatively short space of forty years. I do not for a moment suggest that the authors of these Treaties themselves foresaw such a result of their efforts. But that makes no difference to the result. Europe backed "the wrong horse," as Lord Salisbury had the courage to say, and the stakes were the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Christians—men, women and children—and a sum of human suffering and misery such as the world has probably never seen before.

I gratefully acknowledge the efforts made by the successive British, French, Russian and Italian Governments, from time to time, to bring moral or diplomatic pressure upon the Turks to treat us with less harshness and inhumanity. But the Turk, Young and Old, knew that coercion would never be used against him. He treated all European representations with amusement and contempt and went his way relentlessly, intent upon wiping out the whole race. He felt more secure from the danger of coercion after the Christian Emperor William II, on his return from his pilgrimage to the Holy[Pg 165] Land, paid a visit to and fraternized with the Sultan Abdul Hamid while his hands were still red with the blood of the fearful massacres of 1895-96.

That, gentlemen, has been the net result of the solemn promises given by the Turks in the Treaty of Berlin, for which every Signatory Power has its share of responsibility. Since that Treaty became the law of Europe we have made numerous appeals and representations for the application of Art. 61. The reply we received from the Ministers of the Signatory Powers was almost the same every time and everywhere. "Insistence on the application of Art. 61 will lead to complications; you must wait for a favourable opportunity."

Gentlemen, that long-looked-for opportunity has at last come. Armenia—"the little blood that is left to her"—stands at the bar of this Conference, full of hope and expectation that the Entente Powers will compel Turkey in the first place to make full reparation for the untold horrors, outrages and injustices that she has inflicted upon her; that they will compel Germany to compensate her for her acquiescence in the[Pg 166] atrocities committed by the Turks while Turkey was under her influence and control; and that they will add their own quota as a debt of honour and conscience in return for a part at least of what she has had to endure as a result of the diplomatic transactions cited above, for which they have their share of responsibility. You cannot give us back our dead, but this Conference gives you the opportunity of exacting and making a reparation as generous as our trials and sacrifices have been heavy.

"What do you expect this Conference to give the Armenian people as their adequate reparation and just rights?" I would probably be asked.

This is what I should expect the Conference to give to my nation, in all justice and equity:

The formation of an autonomous Armenia, comprising the vilayets of Van, Bitlis, Erzeroum, Kharput, Diyarbekir and Eastern Sivas, also Cilicia with an outlet on the Gulf of Alexandretta, say from the port of Alexandretta to a few miles south-west of Mersina.

This State to be an internationally guaranteed neutral State with its ports[Pg 167] and markets open to all nations. It would have an Organic Statute drawn up for it by the Protecting Powers, England, France, and Russia, giving equality before the law to all the different elements of the population with extra-territorial rights and consular courts for Europeans for a term of years. Russia to act as mandatory of the Protecting Powers, and during the first few years the executive to consist of a Governor-General or High Commissioner and a mixed Legislative Council appointed by the Protecting Powers. A Legislative Assembly to be called together as soon as the country regains its normal state.

The country being at present in a more or less chaotic state, an army of occupation will be necessary for as many years as will be required to organize and train an efficient gendarmerie from the local population. European advisers and heads of departments would be necessary, but there are large numbers of experienced Armenian administrators, magistrates, post and telegraph inspectors, engineers, etc., etc., in the Ottoman Empire as well as in the Caucasus, Egypt and the Balkans, who would gladly put their[Pg 168] services at the disposal of their own country. Some would probably come from America, India and elsewhere. Adequate financial compensation by Turkey[30] and Germany would place at the disposal of the executive ample funds to begin the work of rebuilding the ruined towns and villages and reconstruction generally, and to carry on the Government of the country until the first year's harvest is sown and gathered and revenue begins coming into the Treasury.

This is the scheme I would propose in broad outline, it being impossible to go into details here.

"But there is not a large enough number of Armenians left to form a State," I may be told, as I have been told so often recently. (I may say here, in parenthesis, that the Turkish and German delegates cannot advance this objection, as their Governments have denied the existence of any massacres.)

That is an entirely mistaken assumption, created by the frequent but inaccurate use[Pg 169] of the phrase "Armenian extermination." The Turks did make a final ruthless attempt to exterminate us, and have dealt us a staggering blow as a race; but, gentlemen, they have not quite succeeded in their nefarious design, and it would be a sad day, indeed, for civilization if such a design had succeeded.

There are to-day 500,000 Turkish Armenians in the parts of vilayets in occupation of the Russian armies, in the Caucasus and Northern Persia. Far from their spirits being broken, these people are animated with the unshakable determination that their beloved country shall rise again from its ashes and their nation revive and enter upon a new era of security and free development. Armenians all over the world are animated with the same spirit and determination. Of the above half-million 50,000 or 60,000, mostly able-bodied men, are in different parts of the occupied provinces. There are a little over 250,000 refugees in the Caucasus and Persia, and some 200,000 emigrants and refugees from pre-war massacres; most of them are ready to return to their homes, one potent reason for the readiness of the [Pg 170]pre-war emigrants to return being the growing scarcity and dearness of land in the fertile parts of the Caucasus. Then there are the hundreds of thousands of Armenians in concentration camps in Northern Mesopotamia and Syria. How many are alive to return to their devastated homes, I cannot say. Perhaps the Turkish delegate will be able to inform the Conference on that point. Then there are still large numbers of Armenians—though mostly old men, women and children, so far as our information goes—in Anatolia and Thrace, and over 200,000 mostly young, intelligent, ambitious men, who have emigrated since the beginning of Abdul Hamid's reign of terror, to the United States, Egypt, the Balkans, and different other countries. A not unimportant number of these will return to their native land ready to "do their bit" in the—to them—sacred work of its reconstruction and regeneration with invincible industry.

This will give us within a very short time an Armenian population of not much under one million souls in the proposed Autonomous Armenia. It may not form a majority taken as a whole, but it will form the largest[Pg 171] coherent ethnological element. In many important centres, such as Van, Alashgerd, etc., where there are almost no Turks left and a much smaller number of Kurds than there was before the war, it will form an absolute majority. This is an important fact which the Conference should bear in mind. Although the Armenian element is sadly reduced in numbers, the great majority of the Turkish and kindred elements in these occupied provinces have, as is their wont, followed the retreating Turkish armies and will probably never return. On the other hand, Armenians have for some time past and do still percolate through the Turkish lines in groups of various sizes and gain the Russian lines. This movement of population will almost certainly continue for some years, tending to increase the Armenian and reduce the Turkish element in the proposed Armenian State, if such a State is set up. Similar movements of populations have always taken place whenever any piece of Turkish territory has passed under Christian rule.

I may also remind the Congress that when Greece achieved her independence, the[Pg 172] population of Greece proper did not exceed 400,000.

Another important point bearing on this question of population is the fact, to which most students of Near Eastern affairs have borne witness, that the Armenian race is endowed with extraordinary powers of recuperation, is almost entirely free from the diseases that impede the rapid growth of population, and is one of the most prolific races in the world. Their neighbours, on the evidence of travellers and students, are less free from disease and, in spite of polygamy, or perhaps partly because of it, are much less prolific.

But apart from mere counting of heads, it is, I believe, generally known and admitted that there is a vast difference between the moral, intellectual, economic, and industrial value of the Armenian population as compared with most of its neighbours, the Armenians being markedly superior in every field of human activity. They have proved this even under the most trying handicaps, and when they have had a fair field they have easily proved themselves the[Pg 173] equals of Europeans. In fact, the Armenian mind is much more European than Asiatic.[31]

Lord Cromer has said that "the Armenians with the Syrians, are the intellectual cream of Near Eastern peoples."

But apart from all these practical and certainly essential and vital considerations there remains, messieurs, the moral argument which, I feel quite certain, this august Conference, representing the will and the conscience of Europe, is not minded to ignore.

After the massacres and deportations of 1915 Talaat Bey is reported to have said: "I have killed the idea of Armenian autonomy for at least fifty years." Whether he said it or not, that was clearly the object—to kill the Armenian question by wiping out the Armenian race, and incidentally to destroy the roots of Christianity in Asia Minor.

Is this Conference going to condone and justify the barbarous and revolting practice, as a State policy, of the deliberate attempt[Pg 174] to murder a whole nation in cold blood, by permitting that infamous policy to succeed in its object?

Is it conceivable that this historic Conference can bring itself to decree that the myriads of our brothers and sisters who have fallen victims to the super-tyrants' fury, for their religion and their nation, as well as those who have fallen in the common struggle for Right, have suffered and died in vain?

In the name not only of the living, but also of the dead, I appeal to you; I appeal to the heart and conscience of Europe to desist from enacting such a flagrant and cruel injustice.

M. Paul Doumer, late President of the French Senate, declared in Paris not long ago, with a fine sense of French chivalry and outraged humanity, that when the question of Armenian population came to be considered at the end of the war, the dead must be counted with the living. Who but my martyred nation has the moral right to invoke the memorable and exalted words of the French officer who, at a moment of dire straits for men, looked at his fallen[Pg 175] heroes around him and exclaimed "Debout les morts!"?

I appeal to you, in particular, great and noble-hearted Russia, our mighty neighbour and protector. Our destiny is indissolubly bound up with yours. Without the protection of your mighty sword and your most generous grants to our refugees, the Turk would have succeeded in his sinister design. We will remain ever grateful to you, and loyal to the death. We have always proved our unswerving loyalty to you in your hour of peril. We in our turn have rendered services which have been of value to you. Your generals gave our men great praise. Your foremost newspapers hailed our soldiers and volunteers, and with truth, as the saviours of the Caucasus. Your great Statesmen and Ministers declared in the Duma that our terrible sufferings were chiefly due to our loyalty to Russia. Have trust in us. Help us to stand on our feet again and rebuild our devastated homes. Leave us freedom to develop and progress according to our own national genius. Some of your newspapers are speaking of a scheme[Pg 176] to plant Russian colonies in Armenia, "to create a dividing zone between the Russian and Turkish Armenians."[32] If this is true, it[Pg 177] is an injustice. I am speaking candidly as a friend of Russia, and a supporter of my nationality as my birthright. Russians will always be welcome amongst us. To show our feelings towards you I may mention the fact that in conversation between [Pg 178]themselves Armenians do not speak of you as "Russians" but as "kéri," which means "uncle." But it is manifestly unfair to establish colonies and apportion lands before the repatriation of our numerous refugees, some of whom may be the owners of the land given away. Besides, what is the object or the necessity of a "dividing zone" between the Turkish and Russian Armenians? We are all ready to rally to your support again if the need should arise, as we have always done in your righteous struggle against barbarism. Such measures, before the blood of our numerous victims is dry on our land, grieve and perplex us. I say again, we welcome your protection, but enable us to say always, as Sir Wilfrid Laurier said of the French Canadians, "We are loyal because we are free." With such just and liberal treatment from you, we will not only create in a short time important markets for your trade down to the shores of the Mediterranean, but you will have in us a reliable bulwark and counterpoise, on your southern frontier, against the turbulent elements who are a standing menace to that frontier. The[Pg 179] stronger you help us to grow, the more secure that frontier of your empire will be.

To England, France and Italy I appeal jointly with Russia, to prevent the Congress from finally condemning to death our long-cherished and legitimate aspirations of national regeneration, for which we have paid such a fearful price. In particular I appeal to you to give us an outlet to the sea, not only as an indispensable necessity of our economic life and development, but also as the avenue of Western Culture which a hard and cruel fate has so long withheld from us.

Let the radiant sun of liberty and security shine again on our land of sorrow and drive away for ever the stifling miasma of the Turkish blight, and there will spring to life, within a generation, a people with a passionate craving for the light and progress of the West—a people morally and mentally equipped and adapted for the assimilation of the New Dispensation not only for its own benefit, but also for its dissemination amongst its less advanced neighbours—a well-qualified and willing instrument and leaven of Christian civilization.


[30] A friend of mine, a Turkish Armenian well acquainted with local conditions, told me that £50,000,000 would be a conservative estimate of the material loss of the 1,200,000 massacred, deported, enslaved, but in all cases despoiled, Armenians.

[31] M. J. de Morgan says in an article in La Revue de Paris (May 1, 1916): "Les Arméniens sont des Orientaux par leur habitat seulement, mais des Européens par leurs origins, leur parler, leur religion, leurs mœurs et leurs aptitudes."

[32] The Retch, the organ of the Constitutional Democrats in Russia, has published the following in its issue of July 28, 1916 (O.S.)—

"The scheme of settling Russian emigrants in the occupied parts of Turkish Armenia, recently discussed in the Duma, is being energetically carried out. This matter has been the subject of a lively discussion between the Emigration and Military authorities. Investigations are in progress, not only in the districts near the frontier, but also further afield, the fertile Mush valley being the object of special attention. Agricultural battalions have been in course of organization since last autumn and already number 5000 men. More will be found presently. Armenians and Georgians are excluded. The task of these young arms is to cultivate the fields on which investigations have been carried out, under the supervision of agricultural experts, in order to facilitate the provisioning of the army. The question of emigrating the families of these men is also under consideration.

"Side by side with this scheme there exists another scheme of settling Cossacks in Turkish Armenia, on similar lines to what has already been done in Northern Caucasus with good results. Those who have conceived these schemes have in view the creation of a sufficiently broad zone inhabited by Russians, separating the Russian Armenians from the Turkish Armenians.

"Armenian refugees are gradually returning to their country and resuming the work of cultivating their lands. They usually settle in the villages that have suffered least, their own villages having been totally ruined.

"To avoid confusion, the Grand Duke Nicholas issued a Ukase in March last, warning these returned refugees to keep themselves in readiness to vacate these districts on the establishment of Russian Civil Administration. In the same Ukase the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasian Army has decreed that the vacant lands in the plains of Alashkert, Diadin and Bayazid may be given in hire up to the time of the return of their rightful owners. General Yudenitch has issued orders, however, prohibiting the settlement in these places of any other immigrants except Russians and Cossacks. Only those natives are permitted to return who are able to prove ownership of land or property by legal documents. This arrangement makes it impossible for the natives (Armenians) to return to their homes because it is ridiculous to speak of title-deeds, when dealing with land in Turkey; and as for other documents which prove ownership, these always get lost during flight.

"In the above three plains, also in parts of the plain of Bassain, the surviving native inhabitants are debarred from returning to their homes and resuming their peaceful occupations."

[Pg 181]


Since the foregoing pages were written and before they had left the printer's hands, two momentous events have occurred which must profoundly influence not only the remaining course of the war, but also, and more especially, the settlement of the peace on its termination: two events that together mark the greatest triumph of democracy and civilization the world has seen. The Russian revolution and the entry of the great American Republic into the ranks of the champions of Right and Humanity have not only brought peace nearer, they have banished any doubt that may have existed in the minds of sceptics both in belligerent and neutral countries that this war of wars is a struggle between the forces of Light and Liberty and the powers of Darkness and Reaction.

After watching the course of the struggle[Pg 182] for more than thirty months, taking note of the difference between the methods of warfare employed by the opposing groups of belligerents; after ascertaining their respective aims; after long, patient and careful deliberation, the greatest of all the neutral judges came to the conclusion that "civilization itself seems to be in the balance." (It will not be forgotten in the Entente countries, I feel sure, that though unlimited submarine "frightfulness" was the immediate casus belli, the martyrdom of Armenia played an important part in leading President Wilson and the people of the United States to that conclusion.) The world's greatest Democracy, imbued with a deep-rooted love of peace and abhorrence of war as to which no doubt or suspicion anywhere exists, has broken away from a century-old tradition, which was the very foundation of its external policy, and drawn the sword impelled not by ambition or the furtherance of material interests of any kind, but by honour and the instinctive call of true chivalry to stand by those who have carried on a long and fierce struggle to save the "desperately[Pg 183] assaulted" free institutions, principles and ideals which are its own and humanity's most precious and sacred possessions. For the first time in history—I think one can safely say that—a great nation, led by a great and sagacious leader, has gone to war prompted almost entirely with the disinterested motive of upholding its own ideals and the ideals and rights of humanity—truly an event of which the best elements of the human race will always be proud; which will ever stand out as a bright and noble landmark in the history of the world.

While these epoch-making events have stamped the cause of the Allies with the seal of supreme moral sanction, they have also made assurance doubly sure that the end of the war will confer upon the world a lasting peace based upon real justice and equity. The presence of the delegates of the United States at the Peace Conference side by side with the representatives of the British Empire, France, Italy, and free Russia will constitute a sure and sterling guarantee to the world that the determining[Pg 184] factors in the moulding of its destinies will not be the selfish interests, avowed or veiled, of this or that empire, not the whims and ambitions of despots and ruling castes or the greed of cosmopolitan financiers, but "the pure milk," of the broad interests of justice and peace, the rights of nations great and small and the freedom and welfare of mankind itself.

To the Armenian people it is a final pledge that the reparation to be demanded and obtained for them, in the terms of peace will be commensurate, in full measure, with the magnitude of the wrongs and sufferings inflicted upon them because, in a vast waste of ancient barbarism and fraud, they formed an oasis embodying the ideals and principles which the democracies of Europe and America are struggling to vindicate.

If the great and free nations of Europe have greeted these auspicious events with the satisfaction and enthusiasm we have witnessed in these last days, it can be readily imagined how intense is the rejoicing they have evoked in the hearts of the most ruthlessly oppressed of all peoples, so long[Pg 185] denied the blessings whose advent has been placed beyond all doubt by President Wilson's clarion call to Democracy and by the declarations of the Provisional Government of free Russia.

That the declarations of the Provisional Government of free and regenerated Russia have been received with profound satisfaction by Armenians, goes without saying. These declarations added to those already made by the Allied Governments in regard to their war-aims, and President Wilson's "Declaration of Liberty"—as his inspiring and memorable address to Congress has been rightly called—finally ensure the realization of Armenia's legitimate aspiration to freedom and self-government. And if the Russian people should decide that the new Russia shall be a Republic, that would open out the vista of a thoroughly democratic, integral and united Armenian State free to work out her regeneration according to her own national genius, under the guidance of the Protecting Powers and with their and America's generous moral and material support.

[Pg 186]

America's interest in Armenia and the excellent work of her Missions in numerous Armenian centres both in Armenia itself and throughout Asia Minor leave no doubt that when the time for reconstruction comes, American aid—moral, material and cultural—will be forthcoming on a scale and in a manner worthy of that great country and the lofty aims for which she entered the war. For, what part of the vast war-stricken area in Europe and the Near East more acutely and tragically exemplifies the evils which the Allies and the United States are determined to put an end to once and for all, and what nobler and more fitting culmination to their gigantic efforts and sacrifices for humanity, than the redemption and re-birth of this thrice-martyred ancient Christian people?

Before concluding, I take this opportunity to call attention to a passage in Mr. Asquith's speech in the House of Commons on the entry of the United States into the war, which brings into strong relief the guilt of the Governments of the Central Powers in the stupendous crime of attempting the murder of a nation, although the occasion[Pg 187] of the speech was of course the very antithesis of the attitude of the Central Powers towards the Armenian atrocities.

"In such a situation," said Mr. Asquith, "aloofness is seen to be not only a blunder but a crime. To stand aside with stopped ears, with folded arms, with an averted gaze, when you have the power to intervene is to become not a mere spectator, but an accomplice."[33]

I am quoting this striking utterance by one of England's greatest living statesmen also in the hope that it may furnish food for reflection to those pro-Turks who have maintained during pre-war massacres, and still maintain, with Count Reventlow and his followers, that the massacre of his Christian subjects by the Turk is his own concern, and that nobody has the right or the obligation to intervene and create new conditions that will eliminate the possibility of its recurrence.


[33] The Times, April 19, 1917.

[Pg 189]


[Pg 191]



As the evacuation by the Russian troops of the territory which they occupy in Armenia, and which is to be restored to Turkey, might give rise to conflicts and complications detrimental to the maintenance of good relations between the two countries, the Sublime Porte engages to carry into effect, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security from Kurds and Circassians.


The Sublime Porte undertakes to carry out, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds. It will periodically make known the steps taken to this effect to the Powers, who will superintend their application.


TURKEY NO. 36 (1878)

Correspondence respecting the Convention between Great Britain and Turkey, of June 4, 1878.

Presented to the Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty 1878.

[Pg 192]

List of Papers

No. 1. The Marquis of Salisbury to Mr. Layard, May 30, 1878.

No. 2. Sir A. H. Layard to the Marquis of Salisbury, one Inclosure June 5, 1878.

No. 3. Sir A. H. Layard to the Marquis of Salisbury, one Inclosure July 1, 1878.

No. 1 is the letter which conveys to Mr. Layard Lord Salisbury's instructions for entering into the Convention (as follows)—

The Marquis of Salisbury to Mr. Layard.

Foreign Office, 
May 30, 1878.


The progress of the confidential negotiations which have for some time past been in progress between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Russia make it probable that those Articles of the Treaty of San Stefano which concern European Turkey will be sufficiently modified to bring them into harmony with the interests of the other European Powers, and of England in particular.

There is, however, no such prospect with respect to that portion of the Treaty which concerns Turkey in Asia. It is sufficiently manifest that, in respect to Batoum and the fortresses north of the Araxes, the Government of Russia is not prepared to recede from the stipulations to which the Porte has been led by the events of the war to consent. Her Majesty's Government have consequently been forced to consider the[Pg 193] effect which these agreements, if they are neither annulled nor counteracted, will have upon the future of the Asiatic provinces of the Ottoman Empire and upon the interests of England, which are closely affected by the condition of those provinces.

It is impossible that Her Majesty's Government can look upon these changes with indifference. Asiatic Turkey contains populations of many different races and creeds, possessing no capacity for self-government[34] and no aspirations for independence, but owing their tranquillity and whatever prospect of political well-being they possess entirely to the rule of the Sultan. But the Government of the Ottoman Dynasty is that of an ancient but still alien conqueror, resting more upon actual power than upon the sympathies of common nationality. The defeat which the Turkish arms have sustained and the known embarrassments of the Government will produce a general belief in its decadence and an expectation of speedy political change, which in the East are more dangerous than actual discontent to the stability of a Government. If the population of Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia see that the Porte has no guarantee for its continued existence but its own strength, they will, after the evidence which recent events have furnished of the frailty of that reliance, begin to calculate upon the speedy[Pg 194] fall of the Ottoman domination, and to turn their eyes towards its successor.

Even if it be certain that Batoum and Ardahan and Kars will not become the base from which emissaries of intrigue will issue forth, to be in due time followed by invading armies, the mere retention of them by Russia will exercise a powerful influence in disintegrating the Asiatic dominion of the Porte. As a monument of feeble defence on the one side, and successful aggression on the other, they will be regarded by the Asiatic population as foreboding the course of political history in the immediate future, and will stimulate, by the combined action of hope and fear, devotion to the Power which is in the ascendant, and desertion of the Power which is thought to be falling into decay.

It is impossible for Her Majesty's Government to accept, without making an effort to avert it, the effect which such a state of feeling would produce upon regions whose political condition deeply concerns the Oriental interests of Great Britain. They do not propose to attempt the accomplishment of this object by taking military measures for the purpose of replacing the conquered districts in the possession of the Porte. Such an undertaking would be arduous and costly, and would involve great calamities, and it would not be effective for the object which Her Majesty's Government have in view, unless subsequently strengthened by precautions which can be taken almost as effectually without incurring the miseries of a preliminary war. The only provision which can furnish a substantial security for the stability of Ottoman rule in Asiatic Turkey, and which would be as essential after the re-conquest of the Russian annexations as it is now, is an engagement on the part of a Power strong enough to fulfil it, that any further encroachments by Russia[Pg 195] upon Turkish territory in Asia will be prevented by force of arms. Such an undertaking, if given fully and unreservedly, will prevent the occurrence of the contingency which would bring it into operation, and will, at the same time, give to the populations of the Asiatic provinces the requisite confidence that Turkish rule in Asia is not destined to a speedy fall.

There are, however, two conditions which it would be necessary for the Porte to subscribe before England could give such assurance.

Her Majesty's Government intimated to the Porte, on the occasion of the Conference at Constantinople, that they were not prepared to sanction misgovernment and oppression, and it will be requisite, before they can enter into any agreement for the defence of the Asiatic territories of the Porte in certain eventualities, that they should be formally assured of the intention of the Porte to introduce the necessary reforms into the government of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these regions. It is not desirable to require more than an engagement in general terms; for the specific measures to be taken could only be defined after a more careful inquiry and deliberation than could be secured at the present juncture.

It is not impossible that a careful selection and a faithful support of the individual officers to whom power is to be entrusted in those countries would be a more important element in the improvement of the condition of the people than even legislative changes; but the assurances required to give England a right to insist on satisfactory arrangements for these purposes will be an indispensable part of any agreement to which Her Majesty's Government could consent. It will further be necessary, in order to enable Her Majesty's Government efficiently to execute the [Pg 196]engagements now proposed, that they should occupy a position near the coast of Asia Minor and Syria. The proximity of British officers, and, if necessary, British troops, will be the best security that all the objects of this agreement shall be attained. The Island of Cyprus appears to them to be in all respects the most available for this object. Her Majesty's Government do not wish to ask the Sultan to alienate territory from his sovereignty or to diminish the receipts which now pass into his Treasury. They will, therefore, propose that, while the administration and occupation of the island shall be assigned to Her Majesty, the territory shall still continue to be part of the Ottoman Empire, and that the excess of the revenue over the expenditure, whatever it at present may be, shall be paid over annually by the British Government to the Treasury of the Sultan.

Inasmuch as the whole of this proposal is due to the annexations which Russia has made in Asiatic Turkey, and the consequences which it is apprehended will flow therefrom, it must be fully understood that, if the cause of the danger should cease, the precautionary agreement will cease at the same time. If the Government of Russia should at any time surrender to the Porte the territory it has acquired in Asia by the recent war, the stipulations in the proposed agreements will cease to operate, and the island will be immediately evacuated.

I request, therefore, your Excellency to propose to the Porte to agree to a Convention to the following effect, and I have to convey to you full authority to conclude the same on behalf of the Queen and of Her Majesty's Government—

"If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at[Pg 197] any future time by Russia to take possession of any further portion of the Asiatic territories of the Sultan, as fixed by the definitive Treaty of Peace, England engages to join the Sultan in defending them by force of arms. In return, the Sultan promises to England to introduce necessary reforms (to be agreed upon later between the two Powers) into the government of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories; and, in order to enable England to make necessary provision for executing her engagement the Sultan further consents to assign the Island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England."

I am, etc.,  
(Signed) Salisbury.

No. 2 is the Convention itself, as follows—

Article I

If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further territories of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan in Asia, as fixed by the definitive Treaty of Peace, England engages to join His Imperial Majesty the Sultan in defending them by force of arms.

In return, His Imperial Majesty the Sultan promises to England to introduce necessary reforms, to be agreed upon later by the two Powers, into the government and for the protection of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte in these territories; and in order to enable England to make necessary provision for executing her engagement His Imperial Majesty the Sultan further consents to assign the Island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England.

[Pg 198]

Article II

The present Convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications thereof shall be exchanged, within the space of one month, or sooner if possible.

In Witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto the seal of their arms.

Done at Constantinople, the fourth day of June, in the year One thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight.

(L.S.) A. H. Layard.
(L.S.) Safvet.

No. 3 is the Annex to the above Convention, consisting of Six Articles, signed at Constantinople on July 1, 1878, by A. H. Layard and Safvet respectively. The first five Articles deal with the manner in which the Island of Cyprus would be governed, whilst under British occupation. The final Article, viz. Article VI, is as follows—

"That if Russia restores to Turkey Kars and the other Conquests made by her in Armenia during the last war, the Island of Cyprus will be evacuated by England; and the Convention of June 4, 1878, will be at an end."


[34] By a curious irony of events, at the time these lines were written by the great English statesman, Egypt was governed by an Armenian Prime Minister, Nubar Pasha, while the victorious Russian Army in the Caucasus was under the command of the Armenian General Loris Melikoff, the victor of Kars, who later became Minister of the Interior and one of the most trusted advisers of the Czar Liberator. It is interesting to note that Egypt had an Armenian Prime Minister during the reign of the Khalif Al-Mustansir (1036-94) by the name of Badr-el-Gamali (probably a variation of Bedros Gamalian), "who governed wisely and well for twenty years (1073-94)."—See Adrian Fortescue: The Lesser Eastern Churches, p. 237.


(p. 29.)

"The Turanian movement is not the spasmodic effort of a few enthusiasts. It represents a carefully matured plan most elaborately studied in its [Pg 199]philosophical and practical aspects, and carried out on a vast and ambitious scale. The spirit of its teaching has been made to permeate all classes of the purely Turkish population, including women; while, in the army, it has been taught in the shape of a patriotic creed, and the force of military discipline has been laid at the service of its promoters. The movement, therefore, no longer expresses the creed of a limited number of nationalist fanatics, represented by the Central Committee of Union and Progress, or the extremist section of it, but of practically the whole of the Turkish people, backed by the formidable power of the army. Thus, the view that would represent the Turkish people as unwitting or unwilling tools in the hands of the Unionist Government can no longer be accepted. The Turkish race as a whole, with but few exceptions, stands convicted of indulging in a wanton political dream, for the realization of which it seized the opportunity of the world-war to commit most atrocious crimes. It is true that the initial responsibility lies with the C.U.P., but the whole of the Turkish nation has since shared the responsibility by its ready response. This is borne out by the easy success attained by the Unionist Government in modifying—with hardly a dissentient voice—the system of State education, embracing even the elementary schools, and in misappropriating the Wakfs funds.

"Military officers of the higher grades were instructed to pay periodical visits to the barracks and there deliver lectures of a mixed religious and racial character, prepared by the Government. Were not the Turkish heart a ready soil, such sowings would not have yielded such an early and abundant harvest. In spite of successive admixtures of blood, the Turks have retained the original instincts of the wild men of the Steppes,[Pg 200] and a creed aiming at conquest and domination through destruction and bloodshed found eager response in their souls. Islam, sympathetic as it is, despite its militant character, was sacrificed for the realization of this widest of human dreams. There was not enough of 'iron and blood' in its teaching. The Turanian creed, framed on the Prussian pattern of militarism, appealed a thousand times more to the Turks' savage nature; and the proof is that, without any compulsion being employed, it quickly supplanted the religious heritage of centuries. The troops took up readily the heroic Turanian songs in place of the usual prayers which had, until lately, been compulsory, but are so no more. The simplest of Anatolians willingly accepted the idea that the prophet of later days is Enver! The fundamental rules of Islam became, for them, the Testimony (for the unity of God), Reason, Character, and the Collection of contributions for the Government and the War under the Turkish banner."

(From an article entitled "Turanian and Moslem" in The Near East, April 20, 1917.)

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