Secret Treaties to Dismember the Ottoman Empire
The following excerpt is from the King-Crane Commission, formed primarily to examine the situation in Syria, originally sponsored by Britain, France and the USA (with the first two nations eventually dropping out).
King was a a theologian, which sounds like he could have been a missionary, and Crane was a former secretary of the original Committee on Armenian Atrocities in 1915. The biased gentlemen interviewed many missionaries for their report, and relied upon the propaganda of Lord Bryce as evidence of Armenian massacres. While concluding that it would be impossible to suggest an Armenia extending from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, King and Crane set upon themselves the task of taking lands from Turkey (and a bit from Russia) to enlarge Armenia, emphasizing that a powerful mandatory state would be necessary to implement the land-grab.
The secret treaties agreed upon by the imperialistic Allies to divide the booty of the Ottoman Empire gives us an understanding as to why it was necessary for nations such as Britain, France and Russia to demonize the Turks, regarding the so-called Armenian "Genocide." British statesmen proclaimed that it would be only just to appropriate Turkish lands as penalty for Turkish crimes ("...I therefore suggest punishment should rather take the form of, nationally, dismemberment of the late Turkish Empire..."; British Deputy High Commissioner Webb, April 3, 1919) and propagandist Arnold Toynbee made his nation's intentions clear in a memorandum (dated September 26, 1919, F.O. 371/3404/162647, p. 2): "The treatment of Armenians by the Turks is the biggest asset of his Majesty’s Government, to solve the Turkish problem in a radical manner, and to have it accepted by the public."
In TAT's analysis of "The Burning Tigris," more light was shed on the King-Crane Commission.
Next, we examine a "mini"-secret treaty, The Balfour Declaration.
Most of these secret treaties concern Turkey, the choicest bit of war loot for the victors. The first of the lot had to do with Constantinople, and the last- so far as the world knows-dealt with Mosul and its oil, and this treaty was drawn up by the British and French in February, 1919, a month after the Peace conference, with its pledge of "open covenants, openly arrived at," had formally opened. Any honest man may be excused for the use of strong language in characterizing this impenitent diplomacy which stultified the soldier dead and the aims for which they died.
Summarized, the principal secret treaties among the allies, or sub-divisions of the allies, are given below. They must be borne in mind if the King-Crane report is to be understood.
Ever since the days of Peter the Great, Russia had coveted Constantinople, so, in March, 1915, by a series of three notes exchanged between Russia, France and Great Britain, Constantinople was promised to Russia, after the allies had won the war. The other allies were to have compensations elsewhere in Turkey, and Britain was also to be given the "neutral zone" in Persia, with its rich petroleum perquisites This treaty also provided for independent rule of the Moslem holy cities, and, if possible, the caliphate was to be taken away from the Turks. By it Britain abandoned her historic policy of nursing "The Sick Man of Europe." When the Revolutionists came into power in Russia they renounced this treaty and made a battle-cry of the phrase, "No annexations and no contributions (indemnities)."
Most sordid and cynical and shameless of all the secret treaties, and described by Mr. Balfour at one of the Peace Conference sessions in a cynical and sardonic speech that is perhaps unmatched in the annals of friendly international negotiations, was "The Treaty of London," signed in April, 1915. This was Italy's price for entering the war. In addition to giving Italy amazing stretches of territory within the Austrian Empire, and the best port in Albania, and making the Adriatic an Italian lake, plus territorial extensions in Africa, the treaty awarded the Italians the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean, off the shore of Turkey, and territory in Turkey equal to what Britain or France would get! Incidentally, the Italians demanded a share of the German indemnity, and a loan from Great Britain of £50,000,000.
By a later secret treaty in April, 1917, Italy was promised a still larger zone in Anatolia, and Smyrna also, if the Russians agreed. Since revolutionary Russia was about to denounce secret treaties it never approved. Consequently, Paris had heated discussions as to Italian rights in Smyrna; and the squabble ended in the Greek expedition of May 15, 1919, to circumvent the Italians. It was this adventure, with its attendant excesses, which called into existence the Turkish Nationalist movement, which has since become victorious over the Christian powers. If there had been no secret treaties there would be no Near Eastern crisis today.
As early as March, 1916, what is known as the Sazanof-Paleologue Treaty between Russia and France, gave to Russia the land lying between Persia and the Black Sea. It extended France's prospective territory in Turkey over a large section of Asia Minor and Syria clear to the Tigris River.
Two months later came the famous and troublesome "Sykes-Picot Agreement," between France and Great Britain. By this secret treaty, France was to have Syria down as far as the famous Crusader port of Acre. Great Britain was to have Haifa, potentially the best port on the coast. She was also to receive Lower Mesopotamia. The cities of Damascus, Homs and Aleppo were to go to some future "Arab State -and already King Hussein, of the Hejaz, was on Great Britain's payroll! Explicitly, no other nation-meaning Italy-was to be allowed any rights in the Arabic-speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire.
From the day of its signing until now this agreement has been smeared with oil, and other forms of commercialism and imperialistic exploitation, as the reader of the King-Crane Report has seen. One of the rawest sessions of the plenipotentiaries at Paris was held in Lloyd George's apartment on March 20. It was but of this acrimonious discussion that there was born President Wilson's suggestion for the sending of a commission of inquiry to Turkey, which resulted in the King-Crane Report. He said.[NOTE: See "The Turkish Empire as Booty," which is Chapter Four of Volume One of Ray Stannard Baker's "Woodrow Wilson and World Set.]
The Balfour Declaration, a "Mini" Secret Treaty
Arthur Balfour was mentioned in the King-Craine Commission excerpt above. A promise was made to create a Jewish homeland within the remarkable document of the Balfour Declaration. The catch was that the promised land was part of another country... the Ottoman Empire. Arthur Koestler wrote that in the letter "one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third."
Foreign Office, November 2nd,1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour.
(A Survey of Palestine, 1945-1946, H.M.S.O., vol. I, p.1.)
General Allenby's forces were still south of the Gaza-Beersheba line, and it was decided that the "Declaration" should be kept secret until the end of the war; word surfaced only after the establishment of the Civil Administration in 1920.
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