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Britain's responsibility concerning the Genocide

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  • Britain's responsibility concerning the Genocide

    The responsibility of Britain for the Fate of Armenia

    The 30 Betrayals of Armenia
    1 The betrayal of 1878
    Britain's foreign policy objectives in the region in the nineteenth century was geared to bolstering Turkish rule in Armenia.. The British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir A.H. Layard commented, that "Russian conquest of Armenia would be the greatest blow ever struck at the British Empire" (Dwight E Lee: "Great Britain and the Cyprus Convention policy of 1878"). Turkey's geographical position with regard to India and Russia was unique
    Russian gains in 1877 of Batum, Kars and Ardahan horrified the British. The security of Armenians was enshrined in the Treaty of San Stefano signed by Turkey and Russia. British diplomacy suceeded in replacing the relevant clauses of this treaty by the Treaty of Berlin(13th july) and the Anglo Tturkish Cyprus convention of 1878(4th june). Article 61of the Treaty of Berlin had replaced Article 16 of the Treaty of San Stefano. The guarantees of Armenian security was no longer made to a powerful neighbour who could enforce them .Eventually both the Cyprus Convention and the Treaty of Berlin utterly failed Armenia.
    "It was the action of this country which deprived Armenians of the Russian protection guarranteed by the Treaty of San Stefano" James Bryce,MP for Aberdeen reminded parliament during the 1894-96 massacres
    In 1918 a FO memorandum maintained that Britain was "bound, perhaps juridically and certainly morally" by article 61 of the Berlin Treaty. David Lloyd George admitted in 1938 (in "The Truth about Peace Treaties") " Had it not been for our sinister intervention, the great majority of the Armenians would have been placed, by the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, under the protection of the Russian flag.... The action of the British government led inevitably to the terrible massacres of 1895-97 ,1909 and worst of all to the holocausts of 1915
    2 The betrayal of 1894-96
    During this time when 300.000 Armenians were massacred, despite widespread unease in Britain, nothing was done to force the Sultan to end the massacres. According to Gladstone, the British government had shrunk from "duty and honour." The Duke of Argyll concluded that the massacres were the terrible consequences of Britain's selfish folly. That these holocausts were but the necessary price to be paid for a policy essential to British national interests was an "abominable" and an "immoral" doctorine which had plunged this country into a "national humiliation". Britain was under the heaviest national obligations arising out of her active and repeated interventions in favour of the Ottoman government.These obligations were "patent and undeniable"
    Public meetings organised to protest against atrocities in Armenia were discouraged by the government. (the Bishop of Manchester had been told the government did not look favourably on such meetings.)
    3 The betrayal of 1909.
    The British government did not intervene either when 30,000 were massacred in Adana.
    4 1913 warnings ignored
    Fears of widespread massacres of Armenians were expressed by Dr C.A.Gates, one of the principals of Robert College, a missionary College in Turkish Armenia A member of the Foreign Office staff minuted the dilemma of the British government: "What Dr Gates says is probably quite true, but it is impossible to prevent massacres in Armenia except by the occupation of those provinces by Russian troops, which is undesirable for other reasons".A Scheme of reforms for the Eastern Provinces was initiated by Russia at this time. When the Turkish government asked for 17 British advisers and inspectors for these provinces, Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign secretary refused the request. However he maintained that the only policy to which Britain could become a party was "one directed to avoid the collapse and partition of Asiatic Turkey" The excuse used for this was the feelings of Moslem subjects in India.
    When the Archbishop of Cantebury wrote to Grey about the peril in which Armenians believed themselves to be , the latter replied that he was "glad to be able to say that this state of alarm was not warranted" While in the pre war period humanitarians in Britain pressed for the effective improvement of the condition of the Armenians, the Foreign Office would, for alleged national interests, do no more than make representations as an aquit de conscience
    Turkey enters the war driven by their pan Turkish aspirations
    In August 1914 Turkey secured a secret deal with Germany, wherby Turkey would enter any conflict in return for a correction in her Eastern border which would bring into direct contact with the Moslems of Russia. Separating Turkey from the Moslems of Russia was the mass of the Armenian people, on whose behalf protestations of the European powers had irritated Turkey for so long. Their land and property might now be used to placate the thousands of discontented Moslems who had become refugees from the Balkan wars.
    5 Britain uses the genocide for war propoganda
    After the genocide began in 1915 the government made use of this to stimulate the war effort. It was Lord Bryce who brought the genocide to public notice. The Foreign Office responded with the publication of the "Blue Book" in 1916.
    During the war the Armenian question had served a purpose for the government-to show the people that they were fighting for justice and against evil, and to encourage the war effort, and also to encourage American help in the war..Asquith and Baldwin stated in 1924 that the Blue Book "was used for Allied propoganda in 1916-17 and had an influence upon the ultimate desicion of President Wilson to enter the war" By 1918 the Armenian question had fulfilled its function and would be of no more use.
    The Armenian genocide was also used by the British government to counter charges that Britain was fighting an imperialistic war with a view to annexations.Britain had to devise war aims which would show that British policy was not completely based on imperialist greed
    6 Promise of the Allies(unkept):
    The declaration of 24th may 1915 "The governments of Britain France and Russia will hold the members of the Ottoman government personaly responsable for the massacres,which they called " New Crimes against Humanity and Civilization"
    7 Rejection by the British government of requests for Relief :
    There was a request by the Russian Ambassador for a half share of one million francs for relief of Armenian Refugees in 1915 in Syria and Mesopotamia. The source of the fund should be kept secret to avoid the danger of fresh violence against Armenians.. The minutes written in the Foreign Office reveal:"The whole object of making such a donation would be the effect in the USA etc and it would be valueless if kept secret". A more senior official addedd "I should be disinclined to make any donation for the benefit of Armmenians in Turkey without publicly stating that we are doing it" The reply to the Ambassador was that it did not affect "British Narional interests" in such a way as to justify a grant from public funds.The treasury had before in august september 1915 refused to contribute towards Armenian relief.
    8 Rejection of Armenian help in 1915
    In 1915 the military authorities in Britain consistently refused to provide arms and training to Armenian volunteers in the diaspora
    The Armenians of Egypt wanted authorisation of the British government,arms that could be spared, permission to congregate in Cyprus, assistance in transport and a small allied contingent (to be under British conbtrol). Volunteers were to come from Egypt, Bulgaria, Rumania Greece America and Argentina. Grey and the Foreign Office were against the use of Egypt as a base for Armenian volunteers (out of consideration for Moslem feeling). The war office always rejected the idea of the use of Armenian irregulars for a landing or rising in Cilicia. The commander in chief of the Armed Forces in Egypt, General Maxwell, did not share this view.
    On 7 september 1915 the French Admiral on the Syrian coast cabled the High Commisioner in Cyprus that 6,000 Armenians were bravely fighting near the Bay of Antioch. They had asked for the removal of 5,000 their old men, women and children to Cyprus so that the able bodied men could copntinue fighting. The High Commisioner refused, and General Maxwell asked the Minister of War to help. Grey, the Foreign Secretary, opposed accepting Armenian refugees to Cyprus or Egypt because they had Moslem Communities. So in 1915. even refuge to the famillies of those fighting at Jebel Musa was only grudgingly given.
    In 1917 however it was the British authorities who tried to recruit Armenian manpower in the Caucasus. All proposals to form Armenian volunteer groups under British direction were rejected.
    The Collapse of the Russian army in 1917 precipitating British Pledges for Armenian independence.
    This worried the allies that Germany would transfer troops to the Western Front,and Baghdad, the strategic base might comne under threat.The collapse of the Russian Caucasian front might also open the valuable oil reserves of Baku to the Central Powers when shortage of oil was tending to weaken their war machine in Europe. The military balance in the Middle East might easily be tipped against Britain. The foremost concern was the provision of military support for troops in North Persia and Mesopotamia.
    On 15th october 1917, General Barter, Head of the British Mission at the Russian General HQ informed the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) that the difficulty of getting military support for General Maude in Mesopotamia might be solved. His staff officer, after making extensive enquiries in the Caucasus had come to the conclusion that the only really loyal troops in the Caucasus were the Armenians. Of the 150,000 Armenians fighting in the Russiuan armies, only 35,000 were on the Caucasus front.General Barter gained the agreement of the CIGS and the war cabinet discussed the question on 23rd october 1917. They authorised the Sec.of State for Foreign Affairs to concert with the US government to bring diplomatic pressure on the Russian government to deploy Armenian troops serving on the Eastern Front to the Caucasus, and allow for the recruitment and formation of Armenian units for service on the Caucasian front.Meanwhile discipline broke down in Russia and fighting stopped..
    Six Armenian battalions just formed in the Caucasus refused to be sent to the Persian front in october until the political status of Armenia was decided upon.. While the War cabinet and the British military authorities wanted the Armenians to fight in northern Persia,Mesopotamia and the Caucasus, these Armenians were naturally anxious to safeguard the prospects of their own homeland.They did not know what objectives they were being asked to fight for.At the Foreign Office it was the view of Lord Robert Cecil and Sir Ronald Graham that there was little prospect of inducing the Armenians to make any further efforts unless the future of Armenia was guaranteed by the Western Powers.It is in this context that the pledges on Armenian Independence given by Balfour and Lloyd George are to be uderstood.
    9 British war Pledges(unfulfilled)
    Pledge by Asquith in the Guildhall in 1916 Asquith stated that the British government was "resolved" that after the war there would be an era of "liberty" for the Armenians.

    In 1917 Balfour began mentioning the freedom of Armenia as a war aim.Lloyd George had mentioned this on 29th june 1917 in Glasgow and in the House of Commons in december 1917."Mesopotamia and Armenia would never be restored to the tyrrany of the Turk" In bringing in the liberation of Armenia, a land where Britain had no territorrial interests, and tying it in to the liberation of a strategically important , oil rich Mesopotamia, the British leaders could confuse the issues, silence critics who accused them of fighting an imperialist war, and could give notions of idealism and humanity to their war aims. At the same time,in the winter of 1917-18 Britain secretly considered making a separate peace with Turkey. Lloyd George was quite willing to abandon the Caucasus, including Armenia, in order to acheive peace with Turkey.
    In july 1918, Balfour in the Commons , Lloyd George replying to Manchester Armenians and Lord Cecil writing to Bryce all pledged a future liberated Armenia.A Pledge by Balfour in a telegram to Aneurin Williams, referred to Lord Cecil's letter published in the press on 3 october 1918 which "reaffirmed" the "government's intention to liberate Armenia"
    These pledges were according to Lloyd George "intended to have a propoganda effect". During a supreme war Council meeting he said "nobody was bound by a speech"
    A few weeks before his death, Lord Bryce wrote about the threat of extinction of the Armenians:"of the nation which the Allies caused to fight for them and have now deserted"
    In the nineteenth century Britain had strongly resented Russian presence in Armenia as a threat to her position in the Persian Gulf. Once Britain had gained control of Lower Mesopotamia, the importance of Armenia would become superfluous
    The Archbishop of Cantebury had jotted down the main points of a major speech he was to make in the House of Lords together with the war-time statements made by Lloyd George. One sentence reads " My fear is that the story of these horrors and our promises may be forgotten in resettlement"
    Contribution of Armenians to the war Lord Cecil recognised that Armenian forces took over from the Russians for five months, february till june 1918 on the Caucasian Front, and delayed the advance of the Turks,thus rending an important service to the British Army in Mesopotamia. In fact few Russians were fighting on the Turkish Eastern Front after the spring of 1917, and the Armenians fought alone, sustained only by the "Pledges" of British Politicians for a future free Armenia
    10 The betrayal of the The Mudros Armstice(30th october 1918) .
    This Armstice did not contain conditions on Armenia.
    It left the six Armenian villayets under the sovereignty of Turkey.
    No provision was made for the repartiation of Armenian refugees and deportees to their homes.
    There was no occupation of statregic points by the Allies and no provision for the release of women and children.
    There was no disarming of the Turkish army.
    It would have been possible to gain concessions surely from the Turks, as 3 out of 4 proposals for peace from Turkish sources included concessions on Armenia.The armstice was hastily signed in order to ensure that the victorious fleet sailing into Constantinople would be commanded by a British rather than a French admiral!
    In order to secure the Dardanelle straits, Palestine and Mesopotamia for Britain, concessions were given to the Turks over Armenia.
    The draft terms of the armstice were discussed in six war cabinet meetings. The British priorities were set: there was no mention of Armenia at all.Almost all the concesions made at Mudros were at the expense of the Armenians.The conditions were set which eventually enabled the Turks to gain complete control of Armenia and even gain part of "Russian" Armenia.
    Balfour wrote the Supreme Council 's reply to the Turkish delegation in july 1919. He characterised the "calculated atrocity" of the wartime Turkish massacres as equalling or exceeding "anything in recorded history". Lord Curzon, his successor as foreign secretary agreed that Turkish rule over the subjrect races should no longer be allowed.
    Oliver Baldwin the Prime Minister's son who served in the Armenian army in 1920-21 maintained that the 1920 Turkish Armenian war was a continuation of the Great War broken out afresh as a result of Britain's weakness in her dealings with Turkey.

  • #2
    Part 2.

    11 In Preparing for the Paris Peace Conference the General staff of the War Office were inflexible towards France, a potential Mandatory Power for Armenia, possibly causing France to shy away from accepting the mandate.. They were not happy for France to take control of the Caucasus. For Strategic reasons, Britain ought to remain there. The Foreign Office view was that a French Mandate over Armenia and the Caucasus was the best practical option . The military view that France should have neither the Caucasus or Mesopotamia, Syria or Palestine prevailed. If France was to accept the mandate for Armenia she would not be allowed to control the Caucasus and would have to evacuate Syria. These hard bargaining terms by the British naturally kept the French from assuming the Mandate for Armenia
    Britain though was prepared to protect "international interests "in the Caucasus. On 17 November 1918 a British force from north Persia accompanied by Russian troups occupied Baku.on behalf of the allies. The reasons given were Caspian sea Oil,security of India, protecting Persia from Bolshevism
    12 After Independence, Britain did not recognise Armenia because of her(Britain's) support for the White Russian armies who planned to integrate the Caucusus into Russia.. Non recognition meant that Armenia could not raise the loans they desperately needed.. The British General commanding Baku (Thomson) disregarded the independence of the Caucasus As the British were taking large quantities of oil from Baku the British favoured Azeri territorrial aspirations in Karabagh and sent large quantities of arms to Baku not to Erevan. General Thomson appointed a Pro-Turk and Armenophobe as governor of the disputed Karabagh region.
    13 The military abandonment of Armenia. Withdrawal from the Caucasus after only three months for financial reasons. The declared policy of evacuation encouraged the Turks.General Milne who Commanded the the Army of the Black sea, was of the opinion that evacuation would lead to massacres of Armenans. The military representative of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference asked the War Office (under public pressure)if it would be possible for British troops to leave behind a portion of their ammunition for the Armenians. The Army Council opposed this request.. The British withdrawal presented an opportunity for the Kurds,Tatars and Turks to sabotage any agreement which might favour Armenia.
    14 The Army Council abdicates all responsibility for Armenia Admiral Calthorpe, High Commisioner in Constantinople,suggested that some of the large body of British Indian troops freed for use following withdrawal from the Caucasus could be transferred to Asia Minor to enforce the armstice, to pacify the country and to enable repatriation of Armenians to go forward "without molestation".. The response of the Army Council was negative. These duties "must be left to the mandatory power" they replied.
    In mid August, after information from Colonel Rawlinson and other sources that the Turkish troops and Moslem tribesmen, all well- armed, were gathering around Armenia and that the withdrawal of British forces would be the signal for the massacre of the entire Armenian popoulation, Lord Curzon spoke to Sir Henry Wilson of the War Office.. A few days later Sir Ronald Graham, assistant under seretary of state spoke in the same vein asking the CIGS to postpone or delay the departure of the British troops. The evacuation began on schedule.
    In addition, the Army Council rejected requests for assisting the Armenians with arms and equipment even after the bulk of the British troops were withdrawn.The excuse was that hostility of the Mohamedans of Turkey to Armenians and to the entente powers would be created. Eric Graham Forbes of the British delegation in Paris hoped that " the apparent desire of the war office to take every and any opportunity of influencing the conference in favour of leaving an independent Turkey as large as possible......will not play a large part in the final desicions of HMG and the conference.. Sir Eyre Crowe , head of the British delegation agreed.The inaction of the powers emboldened the Turks to disregard completely the terms of the armstice in Eastern Anatolia, and they found they did so with impunity.
    Blame for this outcome must rest with Sir Henry Wilson. Under his responsibility,the General Staff did not deal effectively with the disarmament of Turkey. In addition, the Army Council, under his guidance,persistently refused to provide the necessary arms and ammunition to the Republic of Armenia.The military authorities in Batum even held up for some time two aeroplanes purchased privately by the Republic. Yet later Sir Henry Wilson victoriously argued that the republic was not capable of taking possession of the ancient homelands of Armenia as earmarked by the Foreign Office experts of the British delegation in Paris
    "How do you expect Armenia to hold her own against a fully armed Turkeyand a rearmed Azerbaijan, herself being unarmed"he asked, when he himself was more than anyone responsible for these conditions. Turkey was allowed to be "fully armed" even before Peace was made, when she should have been disarmed.Having made up his mind that Turkey should be a major power in the Near East after the collapse of the white Russians, he continued to press his views resoloutely. When President Woodrow Wilson asked him how many troops America would require for the mandate over Armenia, Sir Henry replied "up to five divisions" and this "terrified " the president.. It seems he persistently tried to frustrate any encouragement given to Armenian independence.
    15 The government attempts to abdicate responsibility
    In September 1919, the French proposed to land a 12,000 strong force ar Alexandretta which would proceed to help the Armenians in the Caucasus. The war Office suggested that the proposal was not practicable. In the end they decided to invite the French to dispatch their Force through the Black sea ports. Bonar Law pointed out that aquiesence to the French proposals would not save the British from responsibility if a massacre should happen. He wrote to Balfour in Paris: "If you could get Clemencau to make a public declaration that he would undertake the responsibility of protecting the Armenians, then I think that would be a good thing whether or not he was able in reality to do so". The following day he expanded his views to Lloyd George" If they would do this and let us get away , though this is a rather cynical thing to say, I would not much care if they propose to help them from Mars instead of Alexandretta". It is evident that the British government at least felt some moral responsibility for the Armenians.. Instead of effectively helping them, however, they tried to "get away" and throw this responsibiliy onto other powers.
    In the Paris Peace Conference it was felt that Britain had secured the richest and the strategically important parts of the Ottoman Empire for herself. Likewise the Americans felt that the withdrawal from the Caucasus was an attempt to "force" the hands of the US government and to see that only the poorest parts were eventually assigned to the mandatories.. During the war British leaders made many statements promising liberation and protection, and were seen now to pass the responsibility onto the US. They reminded the British of Lloyd George's speech in the guildhall in 1916 "Britain is resolved to liberate the Armenians from the Turkish yoke and to restore them to the religious and political freedom they deserve and of which they have been so long deprived"
    In the end The Treaty of Sevres (10th august 1920) a Treaty which Britain had no intention to enforce, allowed Britain to wash her hands of Armenia.
    Lloyd George devised a scheme that the Allies should find equipment for the Armenians who should be given a chance to fight their own battles If they were not in a position to defend their own frontiers, then he thought that "there was no use for a nation like that in the world"


    • #3
      Part 3.

      16 The loss of Karabagh.
      Britain caused its annexation by Azerbaijan
      It was the desicion of the British Military Command to transfer Karabagh to Azerbaijan which had first struck a blow at the defence of the country; and it had eventually opened up the way for the alliance of the Bolsheviks and the Turkish-Azerbaijanis. . Armenians were being attacked on all sides, by the Azerbaijanis, the Turkish nationalists, the Russian Bolshevics and ,within the disputed territorry, by the Molokans and the Kurds. Morover Armenia was hampered by lack of financial resources, of fuel, and of means of transport for the army.The loan of a few million dollars by the British government would save her from an impossible situation, Commander Luke was told.
      17. The allies (particularly Britain) did nothing to show the Turks that they meant to implement the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres regarding Armenia..Even when Colonel Katheniotes in the Greek army suggested raising volunteers from the Black sea coast to help Armenia occupy Trebizond, Commander Luke warned the Armenian government against this. Armenia was urged not to make concessions to the Soviets, but no diplomatic help from the allies was forthcoming.
      In september 1920 The Turks attacked Armenia while the Bolsheviks advanced from the north. and the Azeris manouvering in the east.The Armenian government requested pressure on the Greek front and a supply of oil. Curzon cabled the British High Commisioner in Constantinople: "Allied occupation of Trebizond is impracticable and Greek occupation is considered undesirable."The commisioner by his own initiative arranged the dispatch of oil, but this was not made without a bargain. : Armenia agreed to accept 14,000 refugees from Basra.
      The Armenian representative Avetis Aharonian came to London on the 12 th november 1920.
      Sir John Tilley of the Foreign Office told him armed intervention was "entirely out of the question."
      His suggestion for an Armenian volunteer force concentrating at a base on some Greek island was dismissed as "wholy impracticable".
      He then suggested an army of peace with volunteers from all parts of the world. Tilley rejected that idea too.
      Aharonian asked how the powers contemplated executing the Turkish Treaty.Tilley told him that the powers could execute immediately that which related to Constanyinople and the straits. Then they would organise Turkish forces with which they hoped it would be possible gradually "to pacify Anatolia". So the Treaty of Sevres, regarding the Armenian clauses and the Eastern provinces would only be carried out through pacifying Anatolia by "Turkish" forces.!.
      Refering to Aharonian's numerous letters asking for effective help, Lord Curzon had expressed the view that " no reply need be returned"
      18 The Complete abandonment of Armenia
      In desperation Armenians tried to mobilise the Leage of Nations. Tilley at the Foreign office instructed the British delegate to discourage any attempt to raise the Armenian Question there. " I do not feel that it is a matter we want to hear very much about: and whatever may have been expected of us originally we intend to do as little as we can for Armenia either in mem or money." Curzon initialled the minute and did not argue against it.
      In a similiar mood a Conference of British ministers agreed, on the advice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that Britain should not offer to participate in any financial guarantee to be given to Armenia by the members of the League 0f Nations. The Conference agrred to oppose admission of Armenia into the Leauge of Nations.
      M.Hymans, President oif the Council of the League of Nations cabled the British government asking whether vthey would be disposed to undertake, on behalf of the League,the humanitarian mission of stopping the hostilities between Armenia and the Kemalists. the response was negative.On 19th november 1920the Army Council wrote to the Foreign Office that it would serve no useful purpose to foreward munitions to Armenia. Thus the abandonment of Armenia was complete and total in respect of help.
      19 Britain continued to use Armenia for her own ends
      Britain continued to discourage Armenia from coming to terms with Soviet Russia or Kemalist Turkey.. The Special Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian revealed that an offer by Kemalist Turkey in the spring of 1920 to negotiate directly with Armenia was declined "after consultation with the British Chief Commisioner for Transcaucasia" Above all Britain discouraged Armenia from coming to a feasable understanding with Soviet Russia, which might have saved her from dismemberment by Turkey. Britain could not help Armenia, but to the end, her representatives aimed at keeping her within the orbit of trhe Entente powers. The Russian Commissar for foreign Affairs, Chicherin, alleged that the allies even stopped food supplies to Armenia when it opened negotiations with Russia
      When Russia offered to atrrange Turkish withdrawal to the pre 1914 borders if Armenia would sever her "links" to the Entente powers. The Armenians rejected the offer, with the knowledge, and surely the advice of, British representatives.
      Writing in 1921, Robert Wilson insisted that Britain should have a strong and friendly Turkey"stretching from Smyrna to Baku" on her side.
      20 On the 12th november 1920 Gevorg the 5th, Catholicos of all the Armenians made this appeal from Yerevan :"Weakened, famished,suffering, the Armenian people sees itself abandoned at the present hour to the enemy which desires their total destruction.... In the name of the Saviour I appeal to Christian Humanity to save the rest of my people in Armenia. The British government paid no heed to this.
      21 Even before the collapse of Armenia, Bonar Law wanted to revise the Treaty of Sevres in favour of the Turks. It would please the Mohamedan world. Also war exports to Turkey exeeded 8.5 million. Annexing territory to Armenia was now viewed in the Foreign office as undesirable: "Giving them the Wilson frontier would merely bring Russian influence nearer Constantinople-which neither we nor the Turks want."
      22 After the war,in Cilicia, thousands of Armenian refugees were sent back home by the British authorities in Aleppo. When the French withdrew from Cilicia in october 1921, thousands of unsheltered Armenians in Mersina , Cilicia were waiting to be moved. Bishop Torgom in Egypt cabled that the British Authorities in Palestine, Egypt and Cyprus were refusing to accept the Armenian refugees.A few who had reached Alexandria in Egypt were not allowed to disembark. Aneurin Williams argued that the British government had made public and repeated promises to the Armenians during the war that they would be delivered from Turkish rule.On the strength of these promises the Armenians had taken the side of Britain (ie after the collapse of the Russian Army) and had lost innumerable lives.The British took no heed of this.The British sent no battleships as thousands of Armenians were massacred in Cilicia in 1921-22.


      • #4
        Part 4.

        23 The British then began to rid themselves of Armenian refugees in Mesopotamia.transfering them to terrible conditions which existed in Erevan.
        24 In 1922 Noel Buxton MP for Sufolk North proposed that the government confer with the Powers at Lausanne with a view to cession of trerritorry to Turkey in Northern Mesopotamia in return for territorry to the Armenian republic.. The government chose to hold on to the oil-rights of Mosul rather than carrying out pledges to the Armenians.
        25 Britain France and Russia sign away historic Armenia for good in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). In this Treaty which fixed the present day border of Turkey, there was no mention of Armenia! The idea of a national home for Turkish-Armenian refugees was dropped to the ground.
        26 Activist Emily Robinson maintained that armstice terms had provided for the return of all prisoners of war. Yet only male prisoners were released and "about 100,000 Armenian women and children remained captives still." As a result of her efforts, the League of Nations had appointed in 1920 three commissioners to enquire into the conditions of these detainees.. In 1923 however in reply to her enquiries, the Foreign Office had written that the Turks at Lausanne "refused to allow the work of the comission to continue". She was outraged. This meant, she wrote to Canon J.A.Douglas that the Turks have flouted the desicion of the League and that they had been upheld by the victorious powers Grieved that the Allies would go to any lenth to secure concessions to themselves instead of carrying out pledges to liberate Turkish Armenia,she wrote"By betraying Armenia the Allies have
        destroyed not only faith in themselves but in other things as well"
        27 On 26th november 1924, the leaders of the two main opposition parties in Britain,H.H.Asquith and Stanley Baldwin presented a memorial to Ramsey MacDonald, the Prime Minister.. They said that Britain should respond to the letter from the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, dated 24th march 1924,and supporting the assistance of the Armenian people for the following reasons.
        1 because the Armenians were encouraged by promises of freedom to support the allied cause during the war, and suffered tragically for this cause.
        2 because during the war and since the armstice, repeated pledges were given by statesmen to secure the liberation and independence of the Armenian nation.
        3 Because Great Britain is responsible for the final dispersion of the Ottoman Armenians after the sack of Smyrna in 1922
        4 Because the sum of 5,000,000 in Turkish gold was deposited by the Turkish Government in Berlin in 1916, and taken over by the Allies after the armstice, was Armenian money confiscated from deported and massacred.Armenians. This sum was distributed among Allied nationals having claims on Turkey. The Armenian Community are not permitted to claim compensatoion for their losses!
        The leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Parties recognised this. They said the "government should forthwith make an important grant"
        Shortly afterwards, the minority Labour governmrent fell from power. Baldwin became Prime Minister commanding 419 seats out of 615 in the Commons. No grants were made for resettlements of Armenian refugees in Armenia or in Syria
        28 In 1925,there was a plan by the League of Nations to irrigate land in Armenia. The whole irrigation scheme and resettlrement of refugees would cost 1 million sterling. Nansen, the League,s High Commissioner for Refugees proposed that the League should raise a loan among the member states. The Armenian Government, the federal government in Transcaucasia and Soviet Russia successively agreed to guarantee the loan.. On 12th september 1925 Nansen laid his cause before the Assembly of the League of Nations and by this scheme alone it would live in history for it would have made the first move to right what everyone in the chambrer believed to be a great international wrong
        The British delegation supported the proposals, but Winston Churchill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer telegramed The Dutches of Athol forbidding her to comit Britain to any financial assistance.. This sudden withdrawal of British support blocked all


        • #5
          Part 5.

          29 A Labour Party Resolution on Armenia In february 1920 the Labour Party's Advisory Committee on International Questions passed a "Resolution on Armenia" protesting "against the treatment of Armenia by the Allied Powers" During the war, the resolution claimed, the Ottoman government had once and for all forfited any right to rule the Armenian provinces of Turkey by the "deliberately organised" attempt "to exterminate the Armenian population" The evidence was "abundant and conclusive" and the British government had published it in a Blue Boook Yet in negotiating the armstice the Allied governments had left the Armenian provinces under the Turkish authorities, while Turkish rule was immediately terminated in the Arab provinces.
          The resolution calaimed that: .... "the policy of the Allied Governments since the armstice.... intends to detach from Turkey and attach to themselves under the form of mandates conferred by the League of Nations all those provinces of the Ottoman Empire where they have financial, economic or strategic interests, while no provision is being made for Armenia, the one region of Turkey which unquestionably ought to be released from Turkish sovereignty"
          (Labour Party, London, Advisory Commitee on International Questions, Minutes and Memoranda 1918-234 (LP/IAC/1/91 and ibid. no 170)
          In a draft memorandum, the same Committee argued that the case for a mandate in Armenia was immensley stronger than in any other part of the Turkish Empire, though, just because it would be "onerous and not lucrative" it seemed unlikely to be accepoted by any Great Power. Written in 1919, it proved to be an accurate prediction
          In 1921, the Committe strongly blamed the Allies for having sacrificed the Armenians to their own interests. Had they followed a "wise foreigh policy," "if they had been prepared to give up their own policy of plunder-they could have obtained all that could reasonably be demanded including that freedom for Armenia which they had promised to secure. They have sacrificed the Armenians to their own self-agrandisment." It has to be said however that the Labout Party did not bring pressure on the government for effective help to Armenia
          30 Why did Britain Betray Armenia?
          Lieutenant-Commander J.Kenworthy the Radical Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, implied with brutal frankness that helping the Armenians-"not aristocrats"-would not have in any way furthered the material interests of the influential ruling classes, who however, had wholheartedly supported intervention in Russia.The cost of that intervention to this country was some 115 million. Oliver Baldwin (Prime Minister Baldwin's son) also believed that the desertion of Armenia by Britain would not have happened had there been oil wells in Armenia.This view was shared by many humanitarians. These advocates for Armenia like Aneurin Williams thought that recognising "majorities made by massacre" was absolutely intolerable.
          31 The final nail in Armenia's coffin happened at the end of the second world War when the Soviets attempted to regain Kars and Ardahan for Armenia. Churchil opposed this for fear of extending Soviet Power. In 1946 when debating this issue, Bevin replied for the government that " there is no longer any nationality problem in the region"( ie Turkish occupied Armenia),in a sense agreeng that by the sucess of the genocide of the Armenian population, Turkey had a right to these territories.
          32 Today's denial of the Armenian Genocide for selfish financial, economic and strategic reasons by Britain is a continuation of Britain's pro-Turkish policy since Disraeli


          • #6
            Yes, strictly speaking 32 points and not 30, but close enough for government work.


            • #7
              Originally posted by steph View Post
              Yes, strictly speaking 32 points and not 30, but close enough for government work.
              Steph, thanks for this post. Very enlightening.
              General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Joseph View Post
                Steph, thanks for this post. Very enlightening.
                Very enlightening as to why Armenians have had such lamentable failure in politics, international relations, and public relations.

                Most people would want to piss on their enemies. Too many Armenians seem to prefer to piss on their friends and on each other. There is a writer in the immediate post WW1-period who put that better (I'll try to dig out the quote), but he meant more or less the same thing.
                Plenipotentiary meow!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
                  Very enlightening as to why Armenians have had such lamentable failure in politics, international relations, and public relations.

                  Most people would want to piss on their enemies. Too many Armenians seem to prefer to piss on their friends and on each other. There is a writer in the immediate post WW1-period who put that better (I'll try to dig out the quote), but he meant more or less the same thing.
                  I would agree with some of what you are saying. I think the title of this particular thread is harsh. Ultimately, it is the Turkish authorities of the O.E/ and then CUP that were responsibel.

                  Armenians tend to lash out and this is very apparent in much of the genocide literature. It is very harmful but part of the reason is that to some degree the European powers of the time disingenously spoke a great deal about protection of minorities within the O.E. but when things grew worse, chose to basically abandon them; to completely write them off. Then again it would be irresponsible to discount what men like Gladstone, religious organizations, NGO's, aid organizations, and private individuals did to try to protect those that could not protect themselves. I think we do a pretty good job of documenting those people on this site.

                  Anyway, the frustration still manifests itself among Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and that frustration can lead to misplaced anger.

                  Still, Steph's post does document the overall abandonment of the dhimmis of the O.E. by the British authorities and they are certainly not the only ones to do so in the name of real-politik.
                  General Antranik (1865-1927): I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.


                  • #10
                    Okay, point conceded, perhaps the thread should have been entitled "Britain's responsibilities concerning the Genocide", could you change that Joseph?
                    Or is it just a moot point?