I will now tell you something.
You know that, instead of being ascribed to the excitement and awakening of the people, the national unity which now began to manifest itself was regarded rather as the result of personal initiative. Under this impression, it was considered important to prevent any prominent step on my part. It was thought advisable to do something with the object of leading the nation and the Government to disown and condemn me. In the propaganda which was carried on it was explained that there would be no longer need for the slightest action against the Government and the nation if I were disowned and condemned. That I, individually, was the cause of all the trouble; that it would be illogical for a nation to expose itself to dangers of every description at the behest of one man. The Government and my enemies made use of me personally as a weapon against the nation. In consequence of this, the Assembly examined this point during a secret sitting on 24 April, 1920. I begged them to take this point also into consideration in the election of the President, to regard it as a further subject for hesitation, and in every question to arrive at a decision only and solely with the single thought of the salvation of the country and the people.
In accordance with the Act of the 2 nd May, 1920, regarding the election of the Commissioners of the Grand National Assembly, the Ministerial Council, consisting of eleven Ministers and the Chief of the General Staff, was determined upon in the Grand National Assembly. About a week had elapsed since the 23 rd April when the Assembly was opened. Naturally, during this time the affairs of the country and the people could not stand still, especially as regards the measures which had to be taken against the activities and movements of our enemies. Several members elected by the Assembly as Commissioners had, however, when this Act was passed begun their work in co-oper ation with me. Among them was His Excellency Ismet Pasha, who had undertaken the duties of the General Staff.
I think at this opportunity I ought to emphasise this point. While at that time the question of the duties that could appropriately have been assigned to the different members was being considered, I had made up my mind that Ismet Pasha should be Chief of the General Staff. Refet Pasha, who was at Angora, had a private interview with me at which he asked me to make certain statements on this question. He wanted to know whether the Chief of the General Staff was the highest military authority. When I replied that this was actually the case and that only the Grand National Assembly was superior to it, he raised objections to my selection. He declared that he could not agree to it and that it would create a situation which would be tanta mount to handing over the chief command to Ismet Pasha. I told him that these duties were very important and very delicate, and that I must be trusted to know all my comrades and to be impartial to wards them. I added that it was not right on his part to hold such opinions.
Fuad Pasha, with whom I poke later on the western front, cat egorically opposed the appointment of Ismet Pasha as chief of the General Staff. I tried to persuade him also to my point of view, telling him it was the most feasible one at the moment. The argument Refet Pasha and Fuad Pasha advanced after they had made some personal remarks was, that they had worked with me in Anatolia long before Ismet Pasha had done so, because he only joined us later. But in my previous statements I had already had an opportunity to emphasise the fact that Ismet Pasha had worked with me before I left Stambul. In consequence of this he had come to Anatolia to work with me there; but when His Excellency Fewsi Pasha had been appointed War Minister he was again, for pressing reasons, sent on a special mission to Constantinople. There could be no question, therefore, of seniority as regards our unity of opinions and collaboration.
If the appointment o Ismet Pasha to the highest position on the General Staff had been unsatisfactory, it would have been the patri otic duty of Fewsi Pasha to direct my attention to it. However, on the contrary, His Excellency found the appointment perfectly satis factory and, with feelings of sincere cordiality, himself accepted the Ministry of National Defence which had been offered to him. The dignity and the great zeal which Ismet Pasha displayed as Chief of the General Staff, and later on as commander at the front, proved in practice how correct was the choice I had made, and in this I have a clear conscience before the nation, the Army and history.
When the Assembly passed the Act relating to crimes against the country on the 21 April, 1920, and in the course of the following months the Acts regulating the Independence Courts, it was following the natural consequence of the revolution.