Allow Turkey her freedom so that she would suffocate within her own territory, by maintaining the Capitulations
Another solution has been suggested : ostensibly to allow Turkey her freedom so that she would suffocate within her own territory, by maintaining the Capitulations, but at the same time to deprive her of Thrace, Smyrna, Adana yea, even Trebizond and, beyond all doubt, Constantinople.
We who are living in Constantinople consider that a provisional mandate by America, extending over all the provinces of old and new Turkey, would be a minor misfortune for us. The following are our reasons for thinking so:
Our reasons for thinking against the mandate
1. Whatever the terms may be, the Christian minorities will still remain. They will enjoy the privileges of Ottoman subjects and, relying on foreign countries on some European Power, they will always make trouble. This will continually provide a pretext for foreign interference, and year by year we shall lose a certain degree of our independence in favour of these minorities.
Before we can set up a well-organised government and a modern Constitution, we must sweep away the privileges of the Patriarchates and deprive the minorities of the possibility of perpetually threaten ing us under the segis of the Powers. An enfeebled Turkey, reduced in area, would not be in the position to accomplish this task.
2. Instead of the main principles of the governments that succeed one another and do nothing beyond satisfying the ambition of those who live only for profit, robbery, adventure and their own glorifi cation, we must insert a clause that will ensure the welfare and the progress of the nation and transform the people the peasantry into a modern nation, sound both in body and mind. We possess neither the financial means nor the special knowledge and power requisite for the execution of such an idea. Political loans merely in crease dependence. We do not feel that we are competent to create a state of existence that could produce any other results than the present ruling system, ignorance and vapid discussion.
Even allowing that our Government is incapable of appreciating American statesmen, notwithstanding that America is the only country that understands what the soul of a nation means and how a demo cratic regime is constituted the only country that has succeeded in creating modern state machinery operating automatically in a country as wild as the Phillipine Islands America is, I say, the only foreign Power that is more acceptable to us than all the rest.
It is the only political efficiency existing in the New World that could create a new Turkey within the space of twenty years, which, thanks to the education and mental development that would be acquired by every one of her sons, would enjoy true spiritual and economic independence.
3. We want help that will be capable of protecting our own country from the influences and rivalries of foreign nations. Our only hope to obtain this is from a quarter that lies beyond the boundaries of Europe and that is mightier than Europe.
4. In order to eradicate the evils that confront us and defend our cause with greater energy in the eyes of the whole world, it is impera tive that we appeal for aid to a Power that is strong enough to support us. If we can win America over to our side and lay before her a form of mandate under which she could protect us from the thousandfold methods of oppression that are practised on us by imperialistic Europe, as well as its objectionable foreign policy, the solution of the Oriental Question, including that of Turkey herself, would thereby be achieved.
It is quite natural that America, whose mandate we must urgently appeal to her to accept, is rather doubtful in her mind about it, for reasons that have just been explained. We must sacrifice a great deal of our pride. The inclination to espouse a religious cause does not, as many people imagine, exist in the official character of America. American missionaries, who distribute money among the Christians, do not take any part at all in the administrative machinery, which is not influenced either by religious or national considerations. It is organised for the purpose of maintaining perfect harmony between people of different races and professing different religious creeds.
America is not inclined to accept a mandate in the Orient and is anxious to avoid incurring any trouble for herself in America. But, in virtue of their systems and their ideals, the Americans consider them selves superior to European nations and treat this question as one that affects her pride.
If any people in any part of the world appeal to America in true sincerity, she takes a pride in showing Europe what an exalted form of administration she is capable of organising for the benefit of such a nation.
A movement that is rather in sympathy with us can be noticed among the prominent personalities in official America. A large number of influential Americans who have come to Constantinople as friends of the Armenians have departed as staunch friends of the Turks, resolved to make active propaganda in our favour.
The secret of official and non-official conception in America is this: She desires to obtain a general and undivided mandate over Turkey, on condition that her old frontiers shall be left to her and that no part of her territory shall be wrested from her.
During the stay of the American Commission in Syria, a public meeting was held for the purpose of asking for an American mandate. This request met with a very favourable reception in America.
Official America seemed to be disinclined to create an Armenia on Turkish territory. If she were to be entrusted with a mandate, she would cany it out by looking upon the people of all nationalities in habiting the country as brothers, members of the same nation, living on equal terms with one another. I have had this information from an absolutely reliable source.