You know that the Sultanate and the Caliphate, taken separately or jointly, were regarded as questions of very great importance
You know that the Sultanate and the Caliphate, taken separately or jointly, were regarded as questions of very great importance. To support this assertion, I will tell you something that I now remember. Some time before the I st November, the opposition abandoned them selves to a lively agitation among the deputies of the Assembly on the question of the proposal to abolish the Sultanate that was attri buted to me. One day Rauf Bey came to me in my room in the As sembly building and told me that he wanted to speak to me about some important matters, and that we could chat with greater ease if I would go to Refet Pasha at Ketshi Oren. I fulfilled his wish. I like wise agreed that Fuad Pasha should be present at the meeting. Con sequently, we had a meeting of four at Refet Pasha s house. What I learned here from Rauf Bey may be summarised as follows: The Assembly is grieved to observe that the aim for the abolition of the Throne and, perhaps, even the Caliphate is being pursued. They distrust you and the attitude you will adopt in future. I am, there fore, of the opinion that you ought to reassure the Assembly and thereby public national opinion.
I asked Rauf Bey to tell me what were his own convictions and views regarding the Sultanate and the Caliphate. In his reply he furnished me with the following precise statements: “I am,” he said, “devoted heart and soul to the Throne and Caliphate, because my father has received benefits from the Padishah and was one of the dignitaries of the Ottoman Empire. The recollec tion of these benefits is coursing through my veins. I am not an un grateful man and could never become one.
“It is my duty to remain loyal to the Padishah. Regarding my attachment to the Caliphate, it is imposed upon me by my education. I might also mention considerations of a more general kind. It is difficult for us to make ourselves masters of the general situation; this can be secured by a higher office and the sublime dignity which everybody generally considers to be unapproachable. This office, this dignity, is the Throne and the Caliphate. The abolition of this dignity and the attempt to substitute it by a body of a different character would lead to disappointment and disaster. This is not to be thought of.”
After Rauf Bey, I asked Refet Pasha, who sat opposite me, to give his opinion. His reply was: “I entirely share Rauf Bey s opinion. In fact, no other form of Government can come into question for us than that of the Sultanate and Caliphate.”
After this, I was anxious to hear Fuad Pasha s opinion also. He declared that he had only recently returned from Moscow and that he had not had time as yet sufficiently to study public sentiment and opinion, and he apologised for being unable to express any concrete opinion about the question under discussion.
I gave the following laconic answer to my interlocutors:
“What we are talking about is not the question of the day. The alarm and excitement shown by some members of the Assembly are unjustified.”
This reply did not seem to satisfy Rauf Bey. Nevertheless, he continued to expound this question from different aspects. Our con versation, which had begun towards evening, continued until the morning. I had the impression that Rauf Bey was trying to make sure of one thing, namely, that I would personally repeat in the As sembly from the tribune the words I had used regarding the Sultanate and the Caliphate, as well as the attitude I would adopt personally in future, words which they had considered reassuring.
I said that I had no hesitation to repeat my statements to the same effect before the Assembly. Besides this, I wrote down every thing I had said on a piece of paper with a pencil and promised to seize an opportunity the following day in the Assembly to repeat it as a formal declaration. I carried out this promise. In my declaration, the opposition saw that Rauf Bey had been successful and expressed their satisfaction to him.
It is possible that Rauf Bey had carried out a task which he had undertaken towards certain persons. For my part, as I have already explained, I had fulfilled the phase of my general and historic mission relating to the period we passed through. But, when the moment came, I did not hesitate to carry out the essential point which was dictated to me by my general mission.
When I decided on the occasion of Tewfik Pasha s telegram to separate the Caliphate from the Sultanate and to abolish the latter, my first thought was immediately to ask Rauf Bey to come to my room in the Chamber. Standing erect before him and pretending not to know anything about his opinions and convictions which he took all night to explain at Refet Pasha s house, I made this demand to him:
We shall separate the Caliphate from the Sultanate and abolish the latter
“We shall separate the Caliphate from the Sultanate and abolish the latter. You will make a declaration from the tribune to the effect that you approve of this fact.”
No other word was exchanged with Rauf Bey. Before he left my room, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, whom I had invited for the same purpose, arrived. I asked him also to express himself to the same effect.
As may be read in the protocols of that day, Rauf Bey made the declarations from the tribune that had been agreed upon, once or twice. He even proposed that day the abolition of the Sultanate, which should be observed as a public holiday. One point might puzzle you here. Rauf Bey, who had regarded it to be his duty to remain loyal to the Padishah and had spoken of the fatal consequences which might follow an attempt to substitute the Sultanate by a body of quite another description this same Rauf Bey had now succumbed to a new resolution after it had been brought to his knowledge and what is still more remarkable he even yielded to my proposal and my decision so far as to advocate the abolition of the Sultanate, without having expressed in any way his own opinion on the subject. How can such a proceeding be explained? Had Rauf Bey changed his mind? Or, rather, had he in principle been insincere when he had expressed his opinion? It is difficult to discern the truth and to come to a definite decision in favour of one or the other of these suppositions.
Instead of trying to throw light on this doubtful subject, I prefer to recall certain stages, certain incidents and discussions bearing on the situation and thereby facilitate your study of it. I had previously explained that the abolition of the Sultanate had resulted from the fact that an invitation had been addressed also to Constantinople to send a delegation to the Lausanne Conference, and that this invitation had been accepted by Constantinople, that is to say, by Wahideddin, Tewfik Pasha and his colleagues, an accept ance which had to serve as a pretext for lessening the advantages which the nation had gained at the price of so many efforts and sacrifices and which might even deprive them of any importance.
Tewfik Pasha sent at first a telegram addressed personally to myself. In this telegram on the 17 th October he said that the victory that had been gained had done away with any conflict and dualism between Constantinople and Angora and that national unity had thereby been assured. Tewfik Pasha wanted to make us understand that there was no longer any enemy in the country, that the Padishah remained in his place with the Government at his side, and that the duty henceforward imposed upon the nation was to obey the orders emanating from these authorities. Under these conditions, no further obstacle stood in the way of national unity. Tewfik Pasha had em ployed special skill in rendering further services to Angora. These services, considering the fact the Constantinople and Angora were both invited to go together to the Lausanne Conference, were intended to assure the preliminary and most rapid despatch of a person furnished with secret instructions from my side to Constantinople. (Docu ment 260.)
In a telegram which I sent to Hamid Bey in Constantinople to be communicated to Tewfik Pasha I informed him that Tewfik Pasha and his colleagues, showing no hesitation to bring confusion into the policy of the State, were apparently taking a grave responsibility upon themselves.” (Document 261.)
Unfortunately, Hamid Bey hesitated about the necessity of com municating this telegram to Tewfik Pasha and looked upon it as an instruction addressed to himself. Within the course of three days, nevertheless, he sent us five communications composed in the sense of the above telegram.
He even sent to the newspapers and agencies the draft of a com- muniqu6 containing the essential points of the declarations which were made with the object of preventing Tewfik Pasha and his col leagues from sending delegates to the Conference. (Document 262.)
It was easy to see that Wahideddin s gang, consisting of Tewfik Pasha and other Pashas of his type, this gang whose only interest consisted in clinging to the tottering feet of a sullied throne, did nothing else but make their secret plans to be agreed to at any price. After I had sent Tewfik Pasha a reply to the telegram sent to me which, however, he pretended never to have received, he appealed directly to the Presidency of the Assembly in a further telegram on the 29 th October, in which he assumed the title of Grand Vizier. (Document 263.)
The form given to the contents of this message was of the type peculiar to the Tewfik Pashas of the old regime. In this telegram Tewfik Pasha and his colleagues went so far in their impudence as to speak of the services which they had rendered in the attainment of the successes that had been achieved.
It is idle, Gentlemen, to go on troubling ourselves with the last Ottoman Ministry, consisting of Tewfik Pasha, Izzet Pasha and others, who had been unscrupulous enough illegally to assume the title of a Government of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, I will now return to the debates in the Assembly.
The discussion on the question about which we are speaking began on the 30 th October. There were many speakers and they talked a great deal. They spoke about the different Cabinets which had followed one another in Constantinople, of the time of Ferid Pasha, which was succeeded by the comedy of Tewfik Pasha, of the types without conscience and without common sense who played a part in it and they demanded the application of the law in respect to them. “Persons of such mentality,” they said, “persons who make us such idiotic proposals … are in reality people who give their signatures to prove the historical character of the Sublime Porte, and are more devoted to it than anything else.”
Motions were introduced demanding that the crimes against the country committed by those people who had pretended to be repre sentatives of a Government in Constantinople should be punished by the force of law.