|Sunday, 25 February 2024
The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
III-REPORT UPON NON-ARABIC SPEAKING PORTIONS OF FORMER OTTOMAN EMPIRE
I-THE PROBLEM OF A SEPARATE ARMENIA
(1) The reasons why it is necessary that a separate Armenian State should be set up, have already been fully given. They need not be restated.
(2) The conception of such a State. It is well to have in mind the exact nature of the State proposed in this report in order to prevent misunderstandings on any side.
It is not proposed in such a state to establish the rule of a minority of Armenians over a majority of other peoples. That would inevitably seem to the Turks to be very unjust, and would at once excite resentment and unremitting opposition. Moreover, such an arrangement would be unfair to the Armenians as well. For it would place them from the start in a false and untenable position. It would put them, too, under great temptation to abuse of power. And it would be no fair trial of a truly Armenian State. It would of course, also make any mandate mean little or nothing, if not make it entirely impossible.
But such a separated State should furnish a definite area into which Armenians could go with the complete assurance that there they would never be put under the rule of the Turks. It should be also a region in which Armenians could gradually concentrate, and from which the Turkish population might tend increasingly to withdraw; though no compulsion should be put on any people.
All this necessitates a strong Mandatory Power. The State could not even start without such help. This separated State should be therefore a state definitely under the rule of a Mandatory Government, organized on modern lines to do justice to all elements of the population: and a state from which the Mandatory should not withdraw, until the Armenians constituted an actual majority of the entire population, or at least until the Turks were fewer than the Armenians. This would necessarily mean that full Armenian self-government would be long delayed. And that fact should be definitely faced as inevitable. The conditions are such that there is no defensible alternative.
(3) The term of the Mandate is practically involved in the conception of the State, which is forced upon us. It cannot be a short-term mandate, not because of any reluctance to withdraw on the part of the Mandatory, but because under the peculiar circumstances, a true Armenian State cannot be established in a brief period of time, however ardent the desires of both the Armenians and the, Mandatory Power. For the Armenians cannot safely undertake the government independently, until they constitute an actual majority. There is also the added consideration of the natural need of considerable time for the amalgamation and consolidation of the Armenian people, as against some tendency to split up into fragments. The mandate must be long enough, too, to make the people thoroughly ready for both self-government and self-protection, through an increasing use of Armenians in the government even from the beginning.
(4) An American Mandate Desired. It seems universally recognized that the Armenians themselves desire an American Mandate. And this choice is apparently generally approved by America's Allies. The Turks, too, though not wishing any separate Armenian State, would probably favor an American Mandate for Armenia, if there must be an Armenia at all.
(5) The conditions upon which America would be justified in taking the mandate for Armenia may be said to be: The genuine desire of the Armenians; the cordial moral support of the Allies in carrying out the mandate; willingness on the part of the Armenians to bear with a pretty long mandatory term, for the reasons already stated, and to give up all revolutionary committees that Armenia should have territory enough to ensure a successful development; and that the peculiarly difficult mandate for Armenia should not be the only mandate given America in Turkey. None of these conditions, perhaps, call for comment, except the last, which will come up for later consideration.
(6) The Extent and Boundaries of the Armenian State. The General Adviser, Dr. Lybyer, has expressed so exactly the conditions of the Commissioners concerning the extent and boundaries of the Armenian State. that his statement may well replace any other discussion of this question:
1. The Armenians should be provided with a definite territory, and organized as soon as practicable into a self-governing independent state. Otherwise the questions of their safety and of their ceasing to be a center of world disturbance cannot be answered.
2. This area should be taken from both Turkish and Russian territory. The wars of the Nineteenth century divided the proper Armenian land between these two empires.
3. The Armenians are entitled to an amount of Turkish territory which takes into account their losses by the massacres of 1894-6, 1908-9, and 1915-16. These losses may be estimated at one million. [This estimate of Armenian losses by mandate in the past thirty years is especially valuable in the light of conflicting statements]
4. They should not be given an excessive amount of Turkish territory, if their state is to be practicable.
5. The proposed large Armenia, to extend from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, is probably impossible of realization, and therefore should not be planned for. It encounters all the objections previously mentioned.
6. On the contrary, an Armenia reduced to the Armenian highlands in both Turkey and Russia, with an outlet on the Black Sea, would have a good chance of establishment and continuance. The Turkish area which the Russians held in 1917 may be taken approximately as the Turkish portion of this "small Armenia," and the present territory of Russian Armenia as the remainder. Engineers could overcome the physical obstacles to internal and external communication.
7. All this is argued with the best interests of the Armenians in mind, on the basis of genuine friendliness toward them, and of concern to give them a real and not an illusory opportunity. They are in genuine danger of grasping at too much and losing all.
If they establish themselves securely in the more restricted area, and if Anatolia fails to develop as a well knit and successful states there is no reason why the question should not be resumed later of connecting Cilicia with Armenia.
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