The main point
The main point was that the Turkish nation should be free to lead a worthy and glorious existence. Such a condition could only be attained by complete independence. Vital as considerations of wealth and prosperity might be to a nation, if it is deprived of its independence it no longer deserves to be regarded otherwise than as a slave in the eyes of civilised humanity.
To accept the protectorate of a foreign Power would signify that
Kemal Pasha 2 we acknowledge that we lack all human qualities; it would mean that we admit our own weakness and incapacity. Indeed, how could we make people understand that we can accept a foreign master if we have not descended to this degree of abject servitude?
The Turk is both dignified and proud
But the Turk is both dignified and proud; he is also capable and talented. Such a nation would prefer to perish rather than subject itself to the life of a slave. Therefore, Independence or Death!
This was the rallying cry of all those who honestly desired to save their country.
Let us suppose for a moment that in trying to accomplish this we had failed. What would have been the result? why, slavery!
In that case, would not the consequence have been the same if we had submitted to the other proposal? Undoubtedly, it would; but with this difference, that a nation that defies death in its struggle for independence derives comfort from the thought that it had resolved to make every sacrifice compatible with human dignity. There is no doubt whatever that in the eyes of both friend and foe throughout the world its position is more respected than would be that of a craven and degraded nation capable of surrendering itself to the yoke of slavery.
Moreover, to labour for the maintenance of the Ottoman dynasty and its sovereign would have been to inflict the greatest injustice upon the Turkish nation ; for, if its independence could have been secured at the price of every possible sacrifice, it could not have been regarded as secure so long as the Sultanate existed. How could it be admitted that a crowd of madmen, united by neither a moral nor a spiritual bond to the country or the nation as a whole, could still be trusted to protect the independence and the dignity of the nation and the State?
As for the Caliphate
As for the Caliphate, it could only have been a laughing-stock in the eyes of the really civilised and cultured people of the world.
As you see, in order to carry out our resolution, questions had to be dealt with about which the nation had hitherto known practically nothing. It was imperative that questions should be brought forward that could not be discussed in public without giving rise to serious dissentions.
We were compelled to rebel against the Ottoman Government, against the Padishah, against the Caliph of all the Mohamedans, and we had to bring the whole nation and the army into a state of re bellion.
It was important that the entire nation should take up arms against those who would venture to attack the principle part of Turkey and its independence, whomsoever they might be. It would undoubtedly have been of little advantage if we would have put forward our demands at the very beginning in a resolution of such far-reaching importance. On the contrary, it was necessary to proceed by stages, to prepare the feeling and the spirit of the nation and to try to reach our aim by degrees, profiting meanwhile by our experience. This is actually what happened.
If our attitude and our actions during nine years are examined in their logical sequence, it is evident from the very first day that our general behaviour has never deviated from the lines laid down in our original resolution, nor from the purpose we had set out to achieve.
In order to dispel any doubts which might still be entertained, one fact is urged upon us for mutual examination. As the national struggle, carried on for the sole purpose of delivering the country from foreign invasion, developed and was crowned with success, it was natural and inevitable that it would gradually, step by step to the present day, have established all the principles and forms of government founded on national sovereignty. The sovereign of the dynasty who, thanks to his traditional instincts, foresaw this fatal course of historical events, declared himself from the very beginning the most embittered enemy of the national struggle. I, also, from the first could see what would be the result. But we never disclosed the views we held. If we had done so we would have been looked upon as dreamers and illusionists. If we had offered explanations we might from the outset have alienated those who, discouraged by the possibilities arising from dangers that threatened from abroad, were fearful of eventual revolu tionary changes which would be contrary to their tradition, their way of thinking and their psychology. The only practical and safe road to success lay in making each step perfectly understood at the right time. This was the way to ensure the development and restor ation of the nation.
This was how I acted. This practical and safe way, however, as may easily be understood, provoked certain differences of opinion of more or less importance, and even the discouragement and dissention which was observable from time to time between us and our most intimate co-workers; differences of opinion, sometimes in regard to principles, at others as to the method of the execution of our programme. Some of my companions who had entered into the national fight with me went over to the opposition, according as the limitation of their own mental appreciation led them and their moral courage succumbed in the effort to develop national life, to proclaim the Republic and enact its laws. I shall refer to these cases individually as I proceed with my statement.
My first object now
To summarise what I have been saying, I may add that it was incumbent upon me to develop our entire social organisation, step by step, until it corresponded to the great capability of progress which I perceived in the soul and in the future of the nation and which I kept to myself in my own consciousness as a national secret. My first object now, Gentlemen, was to get into touch with the whole of the Army.
A telegram in cipher, on the 21 st May, 1919
In a telegram in cipher, on the 21 st May, 1919, I told the com mander of XV th Army Corps at Erzerum that “I was greatly distressed at the seriousness of our general situation ; that I had accepted my present position in the certainty that it would be possible to fulfil our highest duty towards the nation and the country if we worked together with all our strength; that, although I had wanted to go to Erzerum before this, I was obliged to remain for a few days longer at Samsoon, because serious events were threatening the pos ition there, which was very uncertain.” I further asked him, if he thought it necessary, to keep me well informed about anything I ought to know. (Document 10.)
Greek bands against, the Mohamedans at Samsoon
In fact, the position had been made considerably worse by attacks that had been made by Greek bands against, the Mohamedans at Samsoon and its surroundings, as well as many difficulties that had been placed in the way of the local government by foreign interference, the former being incapable of rendering any resistance.
Whilst I was undertaking steps to secure the appointment of a person well known to us and from whom we expected a great deal as Mutessarif of Samsoon, I provisionally appointed the commander of the XIII th Army Corps Governor of Djanik. Besides this, we took all steps that were possible on the spot itself; that is to say, we en lightened the population as to the real state of affairs and told them that they need not he alarmed about foreign bodies of troops or their officers being among them, and to do nothing to resist them. The formation of national organisations was immediately undertaken in this district.
I informed the commander of the XX th Army Corps at Angora
On the 23 rd May, 1919, I informed the commander of the XX th Army Corps at Angora that I “had arrived at Samsoon and would keep in close touch with him/ I requested him to inform me about everything he could ascertain concerning the district of Smyrna. Before I had left Constantinople I had turned my attention to the position of this Army Corps. It had been suggested that it should be transported by rail from the south to the district of Angora, but being well aware of the difficulties attending this, I asked General Djevad Pasha, the Chief of the General Staff, to lead the Army Corps to Angora on foot, in case the transport by rail would involve any delay. For this purpose, I inquired in the telegram in cipher I have already mentioned, “whether all the units belonging to the XX th Army Corps had succeeded in reaching Angora.” After having added certain in formation about the district of Djanik, I announced that “in a few days I would be going with my Staff from Samsoon to Kawsa for some time and that I hoped, in any case, to receive the required information before my departure/
In his reply, which arrived three days later, on the 26 th May, the commander of the XX th Army Corps reported that he had not received any regular communication from Smyrna; that the occupation of Manisa had been reported by telegram ; that the detachments belonging to the Army Corps stationed at Eregli had already left on foot as it was impossible to transport them by rail, but that, because of the great distance they had to march, it was uncertain when they would arrive.
In the same telegram the commander of the Corps remarked that “the actual strength of the 23 rd Division at Afium Kara Hissar was low and that for this reason all the men that could be mustered at Angora had been ordered to join this division/*
He added that “news had recently been received about unrest in the districts of Kastamuni and Kaisaria, and that he would keep me well informed/
In a despatch dated the 29 th May, from Kawsa
In a despatch dated the 29 th May, from Kawsa, I ordered the commander of the XX th Army Corps and the Army Inspection at Konia, under whose command this Corps was, to inform me from what sources the reinforcements destined for the division at Afium Kara Hissar were being drawn ; whether there was any practical possi bility of reinforcing them and what in the present circumstances their duty would be. (Documents 12 13.)
On the 28 th May the commander of the Corps gave me the in formation I had been awaiting: “In case of any attempt at occupation by the enemy, the 23 rd Division will not surrender its position, but if it is attacked it will defend it, recruiting reinforcements from among the inhabitants/ (Document 14.)
On the 30 to May the Inspector of the Army replied: “While main-taining order and security at Kara Hfssar at the same time, the 23 rd Di vision will resist any attempt at occupation with all the means at their disposition/
He reported that he was making all preparations and that he was trying to collect reinforcements at Konia, but could get no further in formation or documents concerning them.
In my telegram to the Army Inspector, I had said : “Rumours are in circulation about the raising of an army at Konia which is called the Patriotic Army . What is its composition and how is it organised?” I asked this question, because I wanted to encourage it and hasten it on. I received the reply I have already mentioned. (Document 15.)
The commander of the Corps had replied to the same^ question, saying that he knew nothing about the formation of a “Patriotic Army” at Konia. On the I st June I informed the commanders of the XV th Army Corps at Erzerum, of the III rd at Samsoon and of the XIII *& at Diarbekr of the intelligence that had reached me through my communication with the XX th Army Corps and the Inspection at Konia, as far as it concerned them. (Document 16.)
About the troops in Thrace
I had received no information about the troops in Thrace or their commander and had, therefore, also to get into touch with this district. To do so, I applied to General Djevad Pasha, -Chief of the General Staff in Constantinople, in a telegram in cipher on the i6 th June, 1919, (I had arranged a private cipher personally with Djevad Pasha before I left), asking him to tell me who was in command of the Army Corps at Adrianople and where Djafer Tayar Bey was. (Do cument 17.) On the 17 th June, Djevad Pasha replied: “I have been informed that Djafer Tayar is at Adrianople in command of the I st Army Corps.” (Document 18.) The report I sent in cipher on the 18 th June, 1919, to Djafer Tayar Bey, commanding the I st Army Corps at Adrianople, mainly contained the following: “You are aware of the actions of the Entente Powers, which strangle our national independence and pave the way for the disintegration of our country; you have also heard of the servile and apathetic attitude of the Government.
“To confide the fate of the nation to the hands of a Government of this type means to abandon it to ruin.
“It has been decided to set up an energetic assembly at Sivas which is a safe place for the purpose of bringing together the na tional organisations of Thrace and Anatolia, so that they can boldly proclaim the voice of the nation before the whole world.
“The League of Thrace and Pasha Eli 7 may have a representative corporation in Constantinople, but they are not provided with full powers.
“When I was in Constantinople I spoke to several members of the Thracian League. Now is the time for us to begin.
“After you have spoken in confidence to these people you will immediately begin to form the necessary organisations. Send one or two competent men to me as delegates. Before they arrive send me a telegram in cipher, signed by yourself, giving me authority to uphold the rights of the Vilayet of Adrianople.
“I have sworn by everything I hold sacred that I shall work loyally and devotedly with the nation until we have ganined our complete independence. I have firmly resolved not to leave Anatolia.”
In order to raise the spirits of the inhabitants of Thrace, I added the following:
“From one end to the other of Anatolia the population is united. They have decided to obey all the commanders and our comrades. Nearly all the Valis and Governors are on our side. The national organisation in Anatolia comprises every district and community. The propaganda aiming at the erection of an independent Kurdistan has been successfully countered and the followers of this movement have been dispersed. The Kurds have joined the Turks.” (Document 19.)
The districts of Manisa and Aidin had been occupied by the Greek army
I had been informed meanwhile that the districts of Manisa and Aidin had been occupied by the Greek army; but I could not obtain any further particulars about the troops that I understood were at Smyrna and Aidin. I had sent orders directly to their commanders. At last, on the 29^ June, I received a telegram in cipher, dated the 27 th , from Bekir Sami Bey, commanding the 56 th Division.
According to this telegram a certain Hurrem Bey had previously commanded the 56 th Division at Smyrna. He and nearly all the surviving officers of the two regiments at Smyrna had been taken prisoners. The Greeks had sent them to Modania by sea. Bekir Sami Bey had been sent to take over the command of what remained of these troops. In his telegram of the 27 th June, 1919, Bekir Sami Bey reported that he had received both of my orders of the 22 nd on his arrival at Brusa. Among other things, he said: “As I am unable to obtain the necessary means for the realisation of the national aims and as I consider that I could render better service by reorganising my division, I thought it better to leave Kula for Brusa on the morning of the 2i st June. In spite of many obstacles, I have still been able to spread the idea everywhere that our national movement is abso lutely necessary if we are to save the country.” He added that he had full confidence in my intentions and mode of procedure and that he had energetically set to work at once. He asked me to send further orders to the 57^ Division at Tshine, as well as to himself. (Document 20.) After I had stayed for a week at Samsoon, and from the 25 * May to the 12** June at Kawsa, I went to Amasia. While I was there I sent pressing circulars to all the commanding officers and higher civil officials, urging them to proceed with the formation of national organisations throughout the country.
People had not been fully informed about the occupation of Smyrna and, later, of Manisa and Aidin
I must observe that the people had not been fully informed about the occupation of Smyrna and, later, of Manisa and Aidin. Neither had they been made aware of the severity and ill-treatment that was being inflicted, consequently there had been no public manifestation of indignation and protest against the dastardly blow that had been aimed at their national independence. Their silence and apathy in face of this unjust conspiracy could only be explained in a very unfavourable light for the nation. The chief thing, therefore, was to arouse them and force them to take action. For this purpose, on the 28 th May, 1919, 1 gave these instructions to the Valis, the independent Governors, the leaders of the XV th Army Corps at Erzerum, the XX t]1 at Angora, the XIII* 11 at Diarbekr and the Army Inspection at Konia:
“The occupation of Smyrna and the unfortunate occupation of Manisa and Aidin that followed distinctly prove more than anything else could do how imminent the danger is. More unity and more power must be given to the national manifestation for the preservation of the integrity of our territory. Such events as occupation and annexation touch the very life and independence of the country, whose entire nation is deeply agitated by these shameful attacks. It is impossible to suppress this rebellion. Next week, from Monday to Wednesday, if circumstances will allow, you will raise the people to hold great and imposing meetings, appealing to justice and demand ing the intervention of all the civilised nations and the Great Powers to put an end to this intolerable state of affairs. These manifestations must extend over the whole of the district under you. Energetic and impressive telegrams must be sent to the representatives of the Great Powers and the Sublime Porte. It is important to influence the foreigners, where there are any, by strictly maintaining dignity and order while the manifestations are being held and avoiding any molestation of , or hostile demonstrations against the Christian population Thanks to the fortunate fact that your own conviction supports these ideas, I feel certain that you will carry this matter to a successful conclusion. Please let me know the result of your efforts.”
A few localities only had any hesitation
In obedience to these instructions, meetings were immediately organised in every direction. A few localities only had any hesitation, because they were troubled with vague fears.
For instance, this was notably the case at Trebizond, as could be seen from a telegram in cipher, dated the g th June, from the officer commanding the XV th Army Corps, which said that “although it had been decided that a meeting should be held, it could not take place, because they wanted to avoid any unpleasantness with the Greek elements and obviate incidents that might take place without any cause …. and that Strati Polides had been a member of the organis ing committee.”
Trebizond was a very important place on the Black Sea, and it showed weakness to hesitate in such a town and allow Strati Polides Effendi to take part in any meeting that had to do with national manifestations. This attitude indicated that the work was not being taken seriously, and it might be accepted in Constantinople as a fa vourable sign and argument that supported our enemies. Also there were some people clever enough to turn my orders against ourselves. Thus, the new Governor of Sinope led all the manifestations in that town himself, drew up the resolutions that were to be put to the meetings himself, pretended to have induced the population to sign them, and even sent us a copy of them.
In this lengthy document, which the poor population were urged to sign in the midst of all the turmoil that surrounded them, the follow ing lines were concealed:
“If the Turks have not made any progress, if they could never have been able to adapt themselves to the principle of European civilisation, the reason is that hitherto they have never been under good administration. The Turkish nation can only exist under a Government that is organised under the supervision and control of Europe naturally, with the proviso that it remains under the sovereignty of its Padishah.”
When I glanced at the signatures under this memorandum that was handed over to the representatives of the Entente Powers on the 3 rd June, 1919, in the name of the population of Sinope, the one that I immediately noticed following that of the provisional Mufti showed me the spirit that had inspired and dictated these lines. The signature was that of the Vice- President of the party known as “Unity and Freedom.”
On the 31 st May I received this telegram from the War Ministry:
Exactly three days after I had ordered these meetings to be or ganised everywhere that is to say, on the 31 st May I received this telegram from the War Ministry:
“I send you herewith a copy of the Note addressed by the English Commissioner to the Sublime Porte and the War Ministry.
“Although according to the last reports there is nothing of special importance to be noted, except the customary robberies in the dis trict of the III rd Army Corps, you will order a special inquiry to be made as to the facts referred to in this Note and report the result of your inquiry as soon as possible/ Shefket
31. 5. 1919. Minister of War.
1. I have to bring to the knowledge of your Highness that I have recently received somewhat disquieting information regarding the situation at Sivas as well as the safety of the Armenian refugees, who are very numerous in the town and its vicinity.
2. I have therefore to request your Highness to give orders to the War Minister to send an urgent telegram to the officer in command, instructing him to do everything that is possible to protect the Ar menians dwelling in the district under his command, and, further, to inform him that, in case of massacres or excesses occurring there he will be held personally responsible for them,
3. I specially request that orders to the same effect shall be sent to the civil officials.
4. Knowing how much your Highness is justly concerned about the insecurity prevailing in the interior of the country, I feel convinced that you will immediately do what is necessary.
5. I shall feel greatly obliged to you if you will inform me when these orders have been sent out.
A telegram received from the Vilayet of Sivas on the 2 nd June stated that another had been received on the same day, signed by Colonel Demange, of which this is an extract:
“On account of the occupation of Smyrna, the lives of the Chris tians at Asisie are in danger. This cannot be tolerated any longer. In virtue of the authority conferred on me, I draw your attention to the fact that such occurrences will probably lead to the occupation of your province by the troops of the Allies …”
In reality, nothing whatever in the shape of unrest had taken 2 7
place at Sivas, and it is natural, therefore, that the lives of the Christians had not been endangered. The fact is, that the Christian elements, influenced by the meetings which the people had begun to organise and which they regarded as damaging to their own interests, intentionally spread these rumours abroad for the purpose of at tracting the attention of foreign countries. (Documents 22 24.)
I sent to the War Minister in reply to their telegram
I give you the answer that I sent to the War Minister in reply to their telegram, together with the exact wording of the Note.
Extremely urgent. No. 58. June 3 rd , 1919.
To the Imperial Minister of War. Reply to your telegram in cipher of June 2 nd , 1919. No incident has occurred which could in any way be calculated to disturb the Armenians at Sivas and its vicinity; the refugees arrived there later. Neither at Sivas nor in its neighbourhood is there any cause whatever for uneasiness. All of the inhabitants carry on their business as usual. I am able emphatically to confirm this. For this reason, I must request to be informed what is the source from which the English have obtained the information referred to in their Note. It is quite possible that some people have been alarmed about the meetings that have been held by the Mohamedan population, following the news of the distressing occupation of Smyrna and Manisa. These meetings, however, have not caused any ill-feeling at all against the Christian elements. There is no reason to be anxious about the non-Moslem elements, so long as the Entente Powers respect the rights and in dependence of our nation and so long as the integrity of our country is guaranteed. I beg you, therefore, to be assured that I willingly accept all responsibility in regard to this matter, and believe that you are justified in putting full confidence in me. But, as far I can see, neither I nor anyone else can possibly suppress the revulsion and indignation that is felt by the nation in face of the threats and attacks represented by the territorial occupation and the various assaults that are delivered against its independence and its very existence. Nor are there any means of prohibiting the natural national mani festations that are the direct consequence of these events. I cannot imagine that there is a single military commander or civil official or any government that could accept responsibility for any events that could arise under such conditions. Mustapha Kemal.
A copy of this Note and my reply to it were communicated in a circular to all the military commanders, the Valis and the Mutessarifs,You must be aware of a telegram of this date, signed by Said Molla, which was sent to all the civil heads and in which the nation was in vited to join the Society of the “Friends of England/ appealing for the help of Great Britain. You also know of the steps I took with regard to the Government, as- well as my efforts to minimise the effect of this telegram (Document 25) by enlightening the people as to the real state of affairs. Among other particulars, the Turkish-Havas- Reuter Agency had published news about a Privy Council to the effect that “the ruling opinion at the full sitting of the Privy Council in question was that Turkey must seek the protection of one or other of the Great Powers.” Whereupon the Grand Vizier wrote to me saying “that the nation is determined to preserve its .independence; that it is willing to submit to the greatest sacrifices in order to resist fatal possibilities, and that to circulate erroneous ideas about the national conscience is calculated to provoke disquieting counter- manifestations.” I think I have told you already how I brought this fact to the knowledge of the whole nation.
Request of Fend Pasha, the Grand Vizier, that I should go to Paris
With regard to the request of Fend Pasha, the Grand Vizier, that I should go to Paris, I have already given some account of this at the first sitting of the Grand Assembly. In order to explain ray own point of view and my procedure in this matter I must read this document to you:
Telegram in cipher. Urgent. Personal. Kawsa, 3 rd June, 1919.
To Refet Bey Effendi, commanding the III rd Army Corps at Samsoon, His Excellency Kiasim Pasha, command ing the XV th Army Corps at Erzerum, Hamid Bey Effendi, Governor of Djanik, Munir Bey Effendi, Vali of Erzerum, Hakim Hasbi Effendi, Commissioner Vali of Sivas, Ibrahim Bey Effendi : Vali of Kastamuni, His Excellency All Fuad Pasha, commanding the XX th Army Corps at Angora, His Excellency Djemal Pasha, Inspector of the “Jildrim” corps at Konia, Djevdet Bey Effendi, temporary commander of the XIII th Army Corps at Diarbekr, Haidar Bey Effendi, Vali of Van.
Advised him to go to Paris with the object of defend ing Ottoman rights at the Conference
From the public communique from the Ministry of the Interior and from reports published by the Telegraph Agency, it can be seen that M. Defrance, the diplomatic representative of France, called on the Grand Vizier and advised him to go to Paris with the object of defend ing Ottoman rights at the Conference. The national revolt produced by the incident at Smyrna and the determination expressed by the nation to defend its independence are facts deserving unstinted praise and admiration. Nevertheless, the Greeks were not prevented from occupying Smyrna.
In any case, there is no doubt at all that the Entente Powers will respect our nation and its rights, for in future we shall show them that the nation is conscious of these rights and is ready to act as one man in their defence, rather than allow them selves to be trodden underfoot. His Highness the Grand Vizier will undoubtedly do everything he possibly can to uphold Ottoman interests at the Conference.
Among these national interests that are to be defended in the most energetic manner, there are two of vital im portance:
i. Complete independence in every possible way of the State and the Nation; and,
2. The majority in the purely national districts of the country shall not be sacrificed in favour of the minority.
It is imperatively necessary that there shall be complete agree ment on these points in the minds of the delegates who are preparing to go to Paris, as well as in respect to the formal demands advanced by the national conscience. If this should not be so, the nation might find itself in a very difficult position and, judging from past ex perience, it might never be able to hold up its head again. The reasons that justify these fears are these:
From the accounts that have reached us, His Highness the Grand Vizier has affirmed that he has accepted the principle of Armenian autonomy, but he has not defined what the frontiers of this Armenia will be. The population of the Eastern Provinces, astounded at this, have felt themselves bound to demand an explanation. Nearly the whole of the Crown Council have insisted on the maintenance of national independence and have demanded that the fate of the nation shall be entrusted to a National Council. Sadik Bey, the leader of the “Unity and Freedom” Society, supported by the Government, was the only one who proposed in a written statement an English Protec torate. From this it can be seen that the national will and the con ception of the Government on the questions of a wide autonomy being granted to Armenia and the acceptance of a foreign protectorate are not in accord with one another. We cannot help feeling seriously uneasy about these questions so long as the principles and the pro gramme by which the Grand Vizier and the delegation accompanying him permit themselves to be guided are not laid openly before the nation. In these circumstances, it is necessary that the delegates of the Unions for the Defence of the National Rights and the Anti-annex ation Unions in the Vilayets, their branches, and the representatives of those communities where the national organisation has not yet been completed, should appeal to the Grand Vizier, and directly to the Sultan himself, insisting upon the conditions that are vital to the nation that is to say, the preservation of complete independence and recog nition of the rights of the national majority and demanding that the principles of defence on which the delegation now ready to start will lean for support shall be brought officially to the knowledge of the country. By this, the Entente Powers will see clearly what the principles are which the delegates will endeavour to defend and which actually correspond to the wishes and claims put forward by the nation. It is natural that, as a result of this, they will be treated with more serious consideration and that the work of the delegation will be facilitated. In the highest interests of the nation, I appeal earnestly to your patriotism, and beg you to bring these facts to the knowledge of all those concerned. I beg you, also, to inform me when you receive this telegram. Mustapha KemaL
I have already had the opportunity of explaining to you that on the 5 th June five days after this telegram was sent I was ordered by the Minister of War to come to Constantinople, and that in reply to my confidential request I was informed by a high personage all about those who wanted me to be summoned and why the order was sent to me. This personage was no other than Djevad Pasha, who at that time was the Chief of the General Staff. Part of the correspon dence that followed is generally known. My correspondence with the Minister of War and direct with the Palace continued until the day of my resignation at Erzerum.
A month had gone by since I had set foot on Anatolian soil. During this period permanent communication with the divisions of all the Army Corps had been kept up; the nation, informed as far as possible about current events, had been aroused; the idea of national organi sation was growing. After this it was no longer possible for me to control the whole movement in my position as a military commander. Now there could no longer be any doubt about my having joined the Revolutionary Party. I continued to lead the national movement and the national organisations, but, nevertheless, I refused to obey the order of my recall. Besides, it was not difficult to guess that the measures and procedure which I was determined to carry through would be of a radical and decisive nature. Consequently, these measures and actions had to lose their individual character and be conducted in the name of a corporation or body that represented the unity and singleness of the whole nation. The moment had come to carry out the programme I had laid down in Thrace on the iS* 11 June, 1919. As you will remem ber, this was to form a general assembly at Sivas, in which the national organisations of Anatolia and Rumelia were combined, so that they could be represented as a single body and be controlled from one centre.
The main points in the circular note
The main points in the circular note which I dictated with this end in view to Djevad Abbas Bey, my A. D. C. at Amasia, during the night of the 21 st June, were these:
1. The integrity of the country; the independence of the nation being in imminent jeopardy.
2. The Government is unequal to the task for which it has assumed responsibility; the consequence being that our nation is not considered at all.
3. The energy and the will of the nation alone can save its inde pendence.
4. It is absolutely necessary that a National Assembly shall be formed to protect the country from foreign influence and be indepen dent of all control, so that it will be free to examine the position of the nation and assert its rights before the whole world.
5. It has been decided to convene a national congress forthwith at Sivas, which from every point of view is the safest place in Anatolia for that purpose.
6. Every district in all the vilayets must therefore immediately send three delegates each who possess the confidence of the nation, and they must start without delay, so that they may arrive as soon as possible.
7. To avoid any danger, this must be kept a national secret and the delegates must travel incognito through all the districts, if it should be considered necessary to do so.
8. On the io ttl July a congress of the Eastern Provinces will meet at Erzerum. If the delegates of the other provinces can reach Sivas in time, the members of the congress at Erzerum will also start for Sivas in order that they may be present at the general meeting. (Document 28.)
What I dictated had, as you see, the purpose of spreading through out the whole of Anatolia the decision I had already taken and com municated four days previously to the organisation in Thrace. You will, I hope, readily admit that this decision was no new terrible and secret resolution taken in the dark in the night of the 21 st June.
These sheets of paper comprise merely a draft
I would like to say a few words about this for your information. These sheets of paper comprise merely a draft. (The speaker here showed the document to those present.) It comprises four articles. I have already indicated their contents. It bears my signature at the bottom, and following it those of Colonel Kiasim Bey (now Kiasim Pasha, Vali of Smyrna), who is my Chief of Staff, Husref Husri Bey (now holding the rank of an ambassador), who is also on my staff and who directed the transport of troops, Musaffer Bey my A. D. C. ? director of communications in cipher with the military authorities, and, finally, a civil official who was in charge of the communications in cipher with the administrative authorities. Beneath these there are other signatures.
All of those at the bottom of this draft were obtained through a happy chance.
I received a telegram in cipher from AH Fuad Pasha commanding the XX th Army Corps at Angora
While I was still at Kawsa, I received a telegram in cipher from AH Fuad Pasha commanding the XX th Army Corps at Angora. It ran : “A certain person whom you know has arrived here with some of his comrades. What shall I tell them to do?” This enigmatic telegram set me thinking very deeply. I knew the person he referred to : he asked me for instructions. He was at Angora with a reliable commanding officer who was a comrade of mine, and the telegram was in cipher! Why, therefore, did he hesitate to mention his name in cipher? I thought over this for a long time and then fancied I had solved the riddle. You will admit that it was not a particularly good time for guessing conundrums. But I was very anxious to see Fuad Pasha, because I wanted to talk to him about his official district, his surroundings and his views. Therefore the enigmatic telegram inspired me with the idea of sending him this request: “Come here immediately for a few days. Make your arrangements in such a way that your departure from Angora will not attract attention. Disguise yourself and change your name. Bring your friend from Constantinople with you. M
Fuad Pasha actually came to Kawsa, as I have already told you, but for pressing reasons I had to leave Kawsa immediately and go to Amasia. On his way to Kawsa, Fuad Pasha heard of this and altered his journey in the direction of Amasia, Thus he met me there on the evening of the 21 st . The person whose name he had refrained from mentioning in the telegram in cipher was, Rauf Bey.
Rauf Bey came to me just as I was getting into my motor-car when I left Constantinople. He had heard from a confidential source that the ship in which I was going would be followed and that it was very likely that she would be sunk in the Black Sea, if I could not have been detained in Constantinople. This is what he came to tell me. I prefer red to risk being drowned rather than being made prisoner in Con stantinople. So I started off, telling him that if sooner or later he should feel himself obliged to leave Constantinople I would advise him to come to me. As he wanted to do more work, the idea of leav ing Constantinople grew on him and eventually he left, but he did not come direct to me. He thought he would be able to do better at some place nearer the Smyrna front, and so he went to the district of Manisa, via Panderma and Ak Hissar, to meet his comrade Colonel Bekir Sami Bey, commanding the 56 th Division. When he arrived there he saw that the moral of the population had been shaken and that the situation was extremely dangerous and threatening. He changed his name immediately and travelled via Odemish Nasilli Afium Kara Hissar, and then by an ordinary vehicle via Asisie Siwii Hissar to Angora, where he met Fuad Pasha; then he came in my direction. Very well ; that was all right, but why upset me by concealing his real name? Moreover, I wanted at last to send Refet Bey, com manding my III rd Corps, whom I had left behind as Governor of Samsoon, to Sivas on the Staff of the Army Corps. I had repeatedly ordered him to come, and now he was on the way; but I had received no reply from him to my order. At last, he also arrived on the same day quite by chance.
Now let us return to the question of the signatures.
Now let us return to the question of the signatures.
I wanted my comrades who had just arrived also to sign the draft of the circular we were speaking about. Rauf Bey and Refet Bey were at that moment in my room ; Fuad Pasha was in another. I pressed the latter to sign, assuring him that this document would be of historic al value: this induced him to sign. Refet Bey, however, declined, saying that he could not understand why and with what object we were convening the congress. I was astounded at his attitude and mentality. It seemed incredible to me that a comrade whom I had brought with me from Constantinople could take such an extraor dinary view about so simple a question, especially as he understood perfectly well what we were going to do. I sent for Fuad Pasha, and as soon as he understood my point of view he signed. I told him that I could not understand why Refet Bey had demurred. After Fuad Pasha had reproached him rather sharply, Refet picked up the draft and put some sort of signature to it, which it is rather difficult to make out. This is the document I am talking about. All who are interested in it might like to look at it.
Gentlemen : At first sight this account might appear to be superfluous. I have submitted it to you, because I think it will throw some light on certain dark points connected with subsequent events.