The circular convening the congress had been sent
The circular convening the congress had been sent in cipher to the civil and military authorities. It had also been transmitted to certain persons in Constantinople; to the latter I wrote an accom panying letter. They were, Abdul Rahman Sherif Bey, Reshid Akif Pasha, Ahmed Izzet Pasha, Sayd Bey, Halid Edib Hanem, Kara Vassif Bey, Ferid Bey (then Minister of Public Works), Ferid Pasha, the leader of the “Peace and Salvation” party and who was sub sequently Minister of War, Djami Bey and Ahmed Riza Bey.
I will now go back to the chief points in this letter.
1. Meetings and similar demonstrations can never attain the re alisation of great aims by themselves alone.
2. They can only have a healthy result when they are directly supported by the spiritual power emanating from the soul of the nation.
3. The most important facts that reveal the situation, already suffi ciently serious, as being exceedingly dangerous, are the manoeuvres of the opposition going on in Constantinople, as well as the political and anti-national propaganda of every description designed to re present the true aspirations of the nation in a false and injurious way. We experience the frequently dangerous consequences of this at the expense of the country.
4. Constantinople is unable to govern Anatolia any longer. It will in future be compelled to take a subordinate position.
5. The sacrifice imposed upon you is of the greatest importance (Document 27).
I remained at Amasia until the 25 ttl June
I remained at Amasia until the 25 ttl June. You have not forgotten that Ali Kemal Bey, at that time Minister of the Interior, had issued a circular in which he announeed that I had been recalled. In it he added that all official correspondence with me had ceased and he gave directions that any orders issued by me were not to be obeyed. This telegram No. 84, is dated the 23 rd June and is a document revealing a very strange way of thinking. Here is the complete wording of it:
Copy of a deciphered telegram from the Minister of the Interior, Ali Kemal Bey, dated 23 rd June, 1919.
” Notwithstanding that Mustapha Kemal Pasha is a prominent leader, he is not qualified to follow the present policy, in spite of his ardent patriotism and the untiring zeal displayed by him. He has entirely failed in his new position. In accordance with the demands of the English High Commissioner he has been recalled. What he has been doing and writing since his recall shows his incompetence more than anything else could do. As an administrator, he has ag gravated his political errors still more by the telegrams he has con tinued to send in favour of certain organisations for instance, the Anti-annexation League organisations that have been formed without authority and without due consideration, and which in the end only serve the purpose of instigating the ill-treatment of Moha- medans in the districts of Karassi and Aidin and extorting money from the inhabitants. It is the duty of the Ministry of War, of which he is a member, to recall him to Constantinople. The formal order, however, which the Ministry of the Interior gives you, in addition to the intimation of the recall of this man, is to the effect that every body is forbidden to enter into official correspondence with him and nobody is to attend to any request of his regarding administrative affairs. You will surely understand the responsibility you will avoid if you follow these instructions. At this serious and critical moment, when our fate will hang in the balance at the Peace Conference and the consequence of our five years madness will be decided upon, is it not the most imperative duty of every official and all the people, every Ottoman subject, to show that at last we have become reasonable and are anxious to give evidence of our wisdom and foresight, so that we may be able to save our own lives, our property and the honour of the nation, without distinction of party, religion or race, and avoid the possibility of our country being further discredited in the eyes of the entire civilised world?”
It was only on my arrival at Sivas on June 27 th , that I heard of this circular in cipher. On the 26 th June, Ali Kemal Pasha retired from the Government, after having rendered great service to the enemies of our country and the Sultan by disseminating this circular note on the 23 rd June, It was not until much later that I learned of his letter addressed officially to the Grand Vizier in which he tend ered his resignation, of the other one he had presented personally to the Sultan, as well as the verbal declaration he had made and the reply of the Sovereign to it.
In his letter of resignation more particularly in the one he presented to the Sultan Ali Kemal Bey, after speaking of the “unrest and revolts” that had broken out in different parts of the Ottoman Empire, declared that, although it should have been the concern of the Departments to take the necessary steps for the localisation and immediate suppression of the rebellion, “certain of his colleagues, jealous of the Imperial favour and confidence he was enjoying, had furthered the outspread of the revolt for unworthy reasons.” He added that, although he resigns his office, he still offers his loyalty and special services to His Majesty. He presented this petition verbally: “May it please Your Majesty to protect me from the attacks of my enemies, who will regard my resignation as a favour able opportunity to show their malice against me.”
The Sultan overwhelmed him with friendly expressions, and re plied: “I feel convinced that I can place entire confidence in you. Your fidelity has been a great consolation and a source of great hope to me. The Palace will always be open to you at any time. Continue to work in harmony with Refet Bey” (Document 28).
We have seen All Kemal, whose loyalty inspired the Sultan with such great hope and gave him so much strength, sitting before the Sultan in his ministerial seat as Minister of the Interior. Let us now look at him in the exercise of his real work.
Holla s letters to Mr. Frew, the English clergyman:
If I am not tiring you, let us just glance through one of Said Holla s letters to Mr. Frew, the English clergyman: “I have informed Ali Kemal Bey of the regret you have expressed concerning his last misfortune. We must get hold of this man. We must not let this opportunity slip, because this is an excellent moment to offer him a present.
“Yesterday Ali Kemal Bey spoke to a man whom you know. He told him that it is necessary to think a little about what we shall do with regard to the Press. It will not be easy for us to induce intellec tual people and journalists to change front after they have been supporting the opposite side. All the official functionaries are for the moment sympathatically inclined towards the national movement. Ali Kemal Bey will follow your instructions to the letter. He is trying to work with the Seinel-Abidin party. In short, the question is becom ing very complicated.”
The postscript to the letter reads:
“P. S. I have entirely forgotten to mention something I particu larly wanted to tell you some time ago. So that we can get Mustapha Kemal to come here in full confidence, we ought to pretend that we have a certain amount of sympathy with him and his followers. Will you kindly think seriously about this. We cannot support his cause in our own papers.”
I shall give you further details about these documents as the oc casion arises. This will suffice for the moment. All Kemal Bey s circular note about which as yet I knew nothing when I was at Amasia, had actually confused the heads of the offici als and the people themselves. Some who are totally unable to appreciate facts and who are to be found everywhere, devoted them selves to making active propaganda against myself personally.
Sivas was the fertile breeding spot for the most important of these reactionary agitations.
Sivas was the fertile breeding spot for the most important of these reactionary agitations.
If you will allow me, I will briefly describe them. On the 23 rd June, the date of Ali Kemal Bey s circular note, a certain Ali Galib Bey was at Sivas. He v/as a man ready for anything and was accompanied by about ten of his companions. This individual was a Colonel on the General Staff, who had been sent from Constantinople as Vali of Mamuret-ul-Asia. The people whom he took with him, alleged under-officials of the vilayet, were selected by himself.
Ali Galib stopped en route at Sivas and collected influential followers there, which circumstance left no doubt as to his intentions. He began at once to make the necessary arrangements to carry out his plans.
As soon as the order issued against me by the Ministry of the Interior arrived, he began to act. Posters were stuck on the walls in the streets of Sivas, proclaiming that I was “a dangerous man, a mutineer, a traitor/ One day he went personally to the late Reshid Pasha, who was then Vali of Sivas, to talk to him about this order that had been sent by the Ministry of the Interior, and asked him what steps he would take about me if I happened to come to Sivas.
Reshid Pasha asked him what he expected he ought to do, “If I were you,” answered Ali Galib “I would bind him and arrest him. There is no doubt that you ought to do this/
Reshid Pasha did not think that it would be quite so easy to do it. They discussed the question for a long time. There were so many people who were interested in the question that many of them came to listen, wondering what was going to happen.
All this occurred on the 27*^ June.
Let us now turn our attention for a moment from this scene and revert to it later. Let us see meanwhile what was happening at Amasia.
On the 25 th of the same month I was told of certain suspicious plots that were being carried on against me. On the night of the 25 th June I sent for my aide-de-camp, Djevad Abbas Bey, and told him that we would leave Amasia before daybreak and proceed southwards. At the same time I told him to make all the preparations as secretly as possible. 3$
I had privately arranged with the officer commanding the 5^ Division and the officers on my Staff what they were to do. The Commander of the 5 th Division was ordered to get together in all haste, during that night if possible, a strong detachment consisting of mount ed officers and specially selected men. I was to start by motor-car for Tokat before dawn on the morning of the 26 th June, accompanied only by my immediate followers. As soon as it was formed, the detachment was to march off, via Tokat, on the road to Sivas and try to keep in touch with me. I ordered that news of our departure was not to be telegraphed to any place, and, as far that would be possible, not to let it be known at Amasia that we had left.