40-The Cabinet has not been informed about the character of the organisations

The Cabinet has not been informed about the character of the organisations

Eventually we received the reply from the new Grand Vizier that we had been waiting for.

It ran:

Very urgent. Vizierate, 4 th October, 1919.

To the Representative Committee of the “League for the Defence of the Rights/ Sivas.

Reply to your telegrams of the 2 nd and 3 rd October.

The Cabinet has not been informed about the character of the organisations and the claims drawn up and passed by the Congresses of Erzerum and Sivas, referred to in Your Excellency s telegrams.

Please wire me urgently the resolutions passed by these congresses, so that we may be in the position to consider them and keep them for reference. Ali Riza,

Grand Vizier.

Is it not surprising that the Grand Vizier and his colleagues should pretend that they had known nothing up the day of their taking office about the character of the national movement, when the same Djemal Pasha who, as we shall soon see, declared in his capacity as a delegate of the national forces that he was a member of the Cabinet?

It is still more remarkable that they asked for information about the resolutions passed at the congresses so that they might be able to decide whether they would take the aims of the national movement into consideration or not.

Could it be imagined that they were not perfectly well informed about the resolutions passed by the congresses and which had attracted so much attention throughout the country, resulting in the overthrow of the late Cabinet?

I had no doubt whatever that their object was to gain time and, while disclaiming any obligation towards us, to devise some new devilish schemes to deceive the nation and shake its solidarity.

But if it should actually come to a rupture, I decided, as far as I was personally concerned, to reveal all their nefarious schemes to the nation. So, I set to work to conform to the request of the Grand Vizier and his colleagues.

In a telegram, dated the 4 th October, I sent them, word for word, the Manifesto issued by the Congress and extracts from the essential points of its regulations regarding the organisation. (Document 130.)

Circular notes were again distributed in all directions confirming the order to abstain from all official correspondence. (Document 131.)

Their intention is to rid themselves of our presence and, at the same time, ignore our movement

On the same day we received the following telegram:

Vizierate, 4 th October, 1919. Reply.

“The Cabinet is in perfect agreement about taking energetic action, in accordance with the wishes of the nation. In order to secure the welfare of and save the country, there is no doubt that the maintenance of Ottoman unity, national independence, and the throne and Cali phate can only be secured by leaning for support on the strength and the will of the nation, as provided by the Constitution. It is under stood that the well-defined a.im of the present Government must be to keep all the territories that belonged to the Empire at the time of the armistice, on the principles declared by Wilson, under the imme diate sovereignty of the Ottoman State ; to prevent the dismemberment of its territory remaining within these frontiers and inhabited by a Mohamedan majority, and to act in such a manner that a just and equitable decision will be arrived at, which will safeguard the his torical, ethnographical, religious, and geographical rights which we possess in these districts.

“It is perfectly clear that no formal obligation of a binding nature regarding the fate of the nation can be undertaken until the Assembly has met.

“The delegates to be chosen for the Peace Conference will be select ed from among experts who are worthy of confidence and capable of understanding the demands of the nation.

“As, according to the Constitution of this country, the nation is a sovereign power, the present Government recognising that it cannot come to any decision without first appealing to the will of the nation will make the necessary provisions for holding the elections as early as possible, and thus hasten the opening of the Chamber of Deputies.

“The programme of the present Government aims at bringing all its acts into agreement with the stipulations laid down by law and preventing and checking any action that is contrary to this.

“Any abnormal and unlawful situation might, if it continued for any length of time, result in a separation between the Metropolis and Anatolia, which could produce very grave consequences ; it might may God forbid it! endanger the Metropolis and lead to the oc cupation of different parts of the country.

The Government, therefore, requests you forthwith to evacuate the State buildings

“The Government, therefore, requests you forthwith to evacuate the State buildings which you now occupy, to remove the obstacles that are placed in the way of business being carried on in the State offices, to respect the authority of the Government, which will not submit to any interference, to desist from entering into political relations with foreign countries, and, lastly, not in any way to restrict the freedom of the people in carrying out the Parliamentary elections.”

You will notice that this telegram has no address and no signature. It is evident that it was sent by the Grand Vizier, and it is also clear that the persons who had written it had refused to recognise the Representative Committee as having any authority or to enter into formal correspondence or an official exchange of views.

But the President and the members of the new Cabinet believed that the resolutions passed by the Congresses were natural, and ex pressed their intention to consider these proposals.

They pretended that they would carry out the provisions and principles of these resolutions.

After the telegram had begun by pointing out that the Govern ment would be guided by law and acknowledged that it would be their duty to prevent any illegal action, it referred to the abnormal and illegal character of our movement. It adds that such a state of affairs, if continued, would lead to a separation between the Metropolis and Anatolia, and suggests the dangers that would ensue.

In fact, the Cabinet shows its hand. It demands that we should bind ourselves to evacuate the State buildings occupied by us, not to interfere with business being conducted in public offices, to respect the authority of the Government, not to enter into political relations with foreign countries, and in no way to restrict the freedom of the voters during the elections for the Chamber of Deputies. In short, it implies that their intention is to rid themselves of our presence and, at the same time, ignore our movement.

We had not occupied any Government building whatever

Before I enter into further details I must remark, while I remember it, that we had not occupied any Government building whatever. The Vilayet of Sivas alone had received the Representative Com mittee as guests in the principal school in this town, and that was during the holidays. The State building referred to in the telegram could only have been this school.

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