In the end the national movement will win the respect of the Administration in Constantinople
“In the end the national movement will win the respect of the Administration in Constantinople. Let me assure you that it is quite a mistake to believe that the present Government are inspired with good intentions.
“Before I left Erzerum, I wrote to Fetid Pasha and explained the true state of affairs to him, giving him definitely to understand that no power on earth can stand up against the national will and the national strength, and at the same time warning him against further persistence in his opposition.
“But this misguided man, instead of answering me, announced that the national movement was being conducted by merely a few in dividuals.
“Instead of listening to my patriotic and unselfish warnings, he preferred to depend on misleading reports from certain Valis who, blinded by their anxiety about their own private interests and led away by their ignorance, imagined that they would be able to save the situation by proceeding guardedly with both parties at the same time.
“Now that the Government has sunk to the lowest depths of scoundrelism, treachery and impotence, and the nation has plainly recognised the true condition of affairs, it is clearly our duty to see that a new Cabinet, representing the will of the nation, shall come into power as soon as possible.
“In case the members of the present Cabinet should be anxious about their own persons or their lives, we hold the opinion that it is in the highest interests of the nation that it should stand far above such paltry considerations, and is prepared to give them all the assu rances and guarantees they desire.
“But if they remain obdurate and continue their course along the evil road they have chosen, the reponsibility for the consequences that might result therefrom will fall entirely on their own shoulders.
“We feel quieter in our own minds now that we have at last been able to lay all we wanted to say before exalted personages, thanks to the opportunity afforded to us by the benevolence of Your Excellency by you, my brother, whose heart is beating and overflowing with loyalty and affection for our Padishah and with true love for the country and the nation, and of whom I shall always preserve the most affectionate memories.”
The words I have just quoted embody the gist of a very long message.
After I had said this : “The national movement is forcing its way on ward towards Constantinople and is gaining considerably in strength; Ferid Pasha and his colleagues are well aware of this fact. Will you on your part gather all the information you can about it and confirm the truth of what I say;” I went on to give Abdul Kerim Pasha further details by telling him all I could about the movements which had so far been perfectly successful. I added that, “to check this movement there is only one way possible, namely, to put a man at the head of the Cabinet who is subservient to the national ambition in the fullest meaning of the word and who can grasp its real objects and act accordingly. If you have any brotherly observations to make on what I have said, I earnestly beg you to be kind enough to do so.” And then I attached this signature: “Mustapha Kemal, in the name of the Representative Committee of the Union for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia.”
Then Kerim Pasha opened a second stage of our exchange of tele grams with the following introduction : “First, I beg you to be kind enough to present my greetings and respects to all the honourable persons who are with Your Excellency.” Then Kerim Pasha continued: cc Your Excellency has covered the questions I referred to. Twice you excused yourself for having to point out errors in the suggestions I made. You will understand how very difficult it is for me to act as intermediary without knowing all the particulars and local conditions. But we are really anxious to protect the interests of the country and this anxiety is the only guiding star that illuminates our path.
“At this hour, when the fate of our country is wavering in the balance, I would like to express my earnest hope that, thanks to the close co-operation between the Government and the nation, we may arrive at a happy issue.
“It is possible that I am wrong in my interpretation of the Imperial Proclamation, as you pointed out at the beginning. Allow me, however, to explain fully to you the meaning of what His Majesty said in the Proclamation, which we regard as the soundest foundation for the settlement of the question. It appears to me that His Majesty ”
Here I interrupted Kerim Pasha, and said: “Your Excellency, superfluous explanations can only lead both of us away from the mam question. More than that, it is quite un necessary to try to explain the Imperial Proclamation to us in detail. Let us keep to the main point.”
Kerim Pasha answered:
tc Yes, we shall keep to the main point. Allow me to continue.”
“Let us come to it and keep to it,” I said.
“Yes,” was the reply, “we are coming to it.”
“Your Excellency,” I interrupted, “we can no longer suffer our legitimate acts or the manifestation of the national will to be misinter preted or exposed to criticism and correction. In particular, we cannot admit that the counter-proposals of a Cabinet convicted of treason should serve as a ground for reproaches. Representing ^ the formal desire of the nation, we made our position quite clear. Is it necessary to revert to it?
“If, instead of aswering this national demand which categorically insists shall be realised, you attempt to intervene in favour of Fend Pashas s Cabinet, so that he may continue to defile the supreme dignity of the Empire, your efforts will not lead to any satisfactory results. Besides, I am afraid that the friendly regard we entertain for you may be shaken by such an attempt.
“If Ferid Pasha immediately hands over his position to an irre proachable person and if you are convinced that he will do so, there is no question left to be settled. If he is not prepared to do this, your mediation can have no other result than to do you harm and lead to unnecessary trouble.
“By his obstinacy in remaining in power, Ferid Pasha is exposing himself to an unfortunate fate. This is our last word. We intend to make this truth known to His Majesty. If you will undertake this noble task, it will be the only way by which you will be able to fulfil the religious and national duty which the nation expects from Your Excellency.”
Although Kerim Pasha had commenced by saying that the main thing was not to make the conversation too lengthy, he himself dragged it out a great deal farther than was necessary. His long speeches ended with the following words:
“The task we have assumed in the interest of the country will be looked upon as pure by the Almighty, and will also appear to be the same in the eyes of the nation. The Good God who guides our destiry will undoubtedly show the leaders the best way to save the nation and the country. I send you my brotherly greetings.” It was 4.30 in the morning when my turn came to reply.
I could not leave the questions raised by Kerim Pasha unanswered. After having explained my views to him, I concluded my message by saying: “What must be the aim of patriots like ourselves? Is it to seek the impossible by endeavouring to reconcile the nation to Ferid Pasha, from whom the nation can expect nothing in the future but mischief? Or, is it to attempt to convince the Padishah of the necessity of confiding the reins of Government, without loss of time, to a Cabinet to succeed that now in power, which will appreciate the needs and destiny of our country and nation?
“If you will do me the kindness of answering “yes” or “no” to these questions we shall, at least so far as we ourselves are concerned, have fulfilled the noble task whose settlement you have taken upon yourself and which undoubtedly will receive the highest reward from God and from the nation.”
Instead of replying clearly, Kerim Pasha answered again with long circumlocutions.
By some of his phrases, however, he gave me to understand that the Sovereign had not been deceived, but that he was fully informed about everything that was going on. These were some of his ex pressions: “In the antechamber of the Imperial Throne Room sits the Superior Council who examine all questions and discuss them. In a lawful government this antechamber may be compared to an altar to which the eyes of all the people are turned. His Majesty has told me that he knows all about the petitions that have been presented to him from Anatolia; not a single one of them has escaped the know ledge of His Majesty, our Sublime Sovereign, who is the Pole where all the affairs of the country centre and to which all the highest desires converge.”
Continuing for a long time in his peculiar strain, Kerim Pasha said:
“The Almighty will bestow upon us the grace to discover the way out of this difficult question and will inspire us. It is sure that His decisions are sublime and that their manifestations are near at hand. His hand is over all others. Thanks to His Divine benevolence, my beloved Soul, everything will turn out well in the end and will cor respond to the great merits of the nation.”
It was I who introduced the third phase of our telegraphic con versation, although it was then 6.10 a. m.
I began by addressing him as “Bujuk Hasret,” which I knew would please Kerim Pasha: “It is just because it is the highest altar of our i6o
nation/ I said, “that we have not failed to lay the wishes and com plaints of the nation before His Majesty. We must add, however, to guard you from falling into serious error, that the nation is not so absolutely sure that His Majesty the Caliph, has taken any notice of the wishes of the whole of Anatolia, for it cannot help feeling that, if the Sultan really knew them, he would not listen to certain individ uals convicted of treason in preference to the entire nation.”