|Saturday, 8 August 2020|
The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
I. THE REPORT UPON SYRIA
The Commission's conception of its mission was defined in the following statement, which was given to the press wherever the Commission went:
"The American Section of the International Commission on Mandates in Turkey, in order that their mission may be clearly understood are furnishing to the press the following statement, which is intended to define as accurately as possible the nature of their task, as given to them by President Wilson.
The Commission had in its survey of Syria the assistance of Dr. Albert H. Lybyer, Dr. George R. Montgomery, and Capt. William Yale, U. S. A., as advisors; of Capt. Donald M. Brodie, U. S. A., as secretary and treasurer; of Dr. Sami Haddad, instructor in the School of Medicine of the Syrian Protestant College of Beirut, as physician and interpreter; of Mr. Laurence S. Moore as business manager; and of Sergt.-Major Paul O. Toren as stenographer. The advisors had all been previously connected as experts with the Peace Conference in Paris, and had been students of the special problems of the Near East.
The report naturally falls into three divisions: Data, General, Considerations, and Recommendations .
The Commission had already familiarized itself before leaving Paris with the full and varied reports and material coming into the office of the Western Asia Division of the experts of the American Section of the Peace Conference, and with considerable other literature bearing on the Near East. The survey of Syria was made in the light of all this previous study.
The method of the Commission, in its inquiry in Syria, was to meet in conference individuals and delegations who should represent all the significant groups in the various communities, and so to obtain as far as possible the opinions and desires of the whole people. The process Itself was inevitably a kind of political education for the people, and, besides actually bringing out the desires of the people, had at least further value in the simple consciousness that their wishes were being sought. We were not blind to the fact that there was considerable propaganda; that often much pressure was put upon individuals and groups that sometimes delegations were prevented Tom reaching the Commission, and that the representative authority of many petitions was questionable. But the Commission believes that these anomalous elements in the petitions tend to cancel one another when the whole country is taken into account, and that, as in the composite photograph, certain great, common emphases are unmistakable.
The Commissioners were struck, on the other hand, with the large degree of frankness with which opinions were expressed to them, even where there was evident fear of consequences. In this respect the American Section had an evident advantage, which could not have held for a mixed Commission. Moreover, the nearly universal recognition of the fact that America sought no additional territory was favorable to a frank expressed of opinion.
The direct data, furnished by the inquiry in Syria, are given in a series of tables, prepared by the Secretary of the Commission, and based immediately upon the Conferences of the Commission and the petitions there presented.
The area and towns covered by the Commission's inquiry are shown in the following itinerary for June 10 to July 21, 1919, and in the table of the towns, classified according to the different divisions of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administrations-British, French, and Arab These tables show that the Commission visited 36 of the more important towns of Syria, scattered through all the military areas, and heard delegations from other important centers. It should be noted that the list does not include at all the names of hosts of villages in the vicinity of towns visited, which were also represented by delegations before the Commission. Our records show that there were 1,520 such villages. Cilicia was briefly included in the Syrian inquiry, because it is disputed territory claimed both by Syria and by the Turkish-speaking portion of the former Turkish Empire
BACK: The King-Crane Commission Report