LESS-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE CLAIMS
New Anatolian, Turkey
May 16 2006
The authors of some of the literature referenced in Armenian genocide
There are many books, mostly from American, British, German and French
sources, being used in the pro-genocide claims. I selected some of them
written by well-known authors. Evaluation of events includes evaluation
of the character of the authors. A well-known British proverb roughly
says that if there is any statement to be discussed, first of all
you should look at who said it and when and where it was said.
3. Arnold Toynbee
A much-respected historian. He wrote the “Blue Book” of the British
government in 1915. In that book, the Ottoman rulers were accused of
committing brutal massacres of Armenians.
Toynbee was an employee of the British Foreign Office at the time
of his anti-Turkish publications. He was under orders to collect
material to write propaganda against Turkey. The resulting book was
published under the name of Viscount Grey of Fallodon, British foreign
secretary, in 1915, under the title of “Treatment of Armenians in
the Ottoman Empire.” It is also known as the “Blue Book.” Toynbee
had never been in Turkey nor had he met the Turks personally when he
edited this book and another small pamphlet in 1915. He first visited
Turkey in 1920-21 during the Turkish-Greek War. At that time he was
professor and chairman of the History of Greek Culture and Civilization
Department at London University, an institution established by Greek
donations. After seeing a Muslim-Christian conflict on the spot and
its effects on the Western world, he changed his mind. He described
his 1915 writings as examples of war propaganda. He became a critic
of the prejudiced, unjust, and ill-informed anti-Turkish propaganda,
and devoted his following publications to correcting this mental
attitude. His first book was “The Western Question in Greece and
Turkey: A Study in the Contrast of Civilizations” in 1922.
4. Viscount Grey of Fallodon
British foreign secretary in 1915. The British “Blue Book” in 1915
was published under his name.
The ignorance of Viscount Grey was legendary, as he was known as the
most ignorant foreign secretary Britain ever had. William Martin
mentioned that Viscount Grey couldn’t tell the Red Sea from the
Persian Gulf (The Statesman of War in Retrospect, William Martin,
New York, 1928).
In the same year of 1915, another book was published, and its author
was Sir Mark Sykes. He was an orientalist who traveled in Turkey and
Armenia with the knowledge of both peoples. He was undersecretary of
state for Middle Eastern affairs and foremost expert of the Foreign
Office for that area. He became a British delegate to a secret
allied conference for partition of the Ottoman Empire between the
three allied powers who also would decide the fate and future of
the Armenians. He was co-signatory of the famous Sykes-Picot secret
agreement. The notes of this secret conference were later published
by the communist government of the USSR.
The name of his book is “The Caliph’s Last Heritage: A Short History of
the Turkish Empire” (MacMillan Co., London, 1915). Although this book
does not touch on the 1915 Armenian relocation (it was written before
it), it deals with the basis and essentials of the Turkish-Armenian
conflict. What is written in the “Blue Book” to discredit and condemn
the Turks and the Turkish administration, the exact opposite is
written in “The Caliph’s Last Heritage.” Again whatever praise and
admiration is expressed about the Armenians and their cause, exactly
the opposite is written in Sir Mark Sykes’ book.
And curiously enough the British Foreign Office left the fate and
future of the Armenians for their postwar partition plans to the hands
of Sykes. The comments of Sykes about the Armenians and Armenian
revolutionaries in this conference caused strong resentment on the
part of Armenians, as expressed by an Armenian historian Richard
Hovannessian (“Armenia on the Road to Independence”).
5. Henry Morgenthau Sr.
Ambassador of the U.S. to Turkey in 1915, wrote the book “Ambassador
Morgenthau’s Story.” According to the Armenian Encyclopedia, he is a
champion of the Armenian cause. He mentioned the Armenian massacres in
his other books also. His publications and campaign for the Armenian
cause had a powerful effect upon U.S. public opinion.
During the period of the 1915 Armenian relocations and their aftermath
(1915-23), two American ambassadors (Morgenthau, in 1912 to the end of
1915 and Abram Elkus, from February 1916 to April 1917), and after the
defeat of Turkey, U.S. High Commissioner Rear Admiral Marc L. Bristol
(1920-24), represented the U.S. in Turkey. Adm.
Bristol later became the first U.S. ambassador to the Republic of
Turkey and served until 1928.
Both Morgenthau and Elkus were of the Jewish faith and were both
known to have strong interest in the Palestine problem and the Jewish
homeland. Since the Armenian relocations started after April 1915,
Morgenthau was in a position to get information only for its first six-
or seven-month period, mainly to the first emotional reaction, fear
and anxiety created in the Armenian community and to the widespread
rumors created by this action. As an emotional man, he was deeply
influenced by these rumors and third-hand information.
Elkus was in a position to obtain information for a period of two
years, from April 1915 to April 1917. Therefore he was in a much
better position to know the real causes, aims, and significance
of the Armenian deportations, and knew much better about it than
Morgenthau. The reports and evaluations of Elkus were very different
from those of Morgenthau. (The characters, political views and
activities of these two U.S. ambassadors to Turkey, particularly in
terms of the Armenian and Palestine problems, were evaluated in a book,
Germany, Turkey and Zionism: 1897-1913, Isaiah Friedman, Oxford, 1977)
Morgenthau was described as a “charming, but over-emotional, erratic
and particularly untactful personality and sometimes acts as a bull
in a china store.” He thought a British victory would provide the
best solution to the Palestine problem and Jewish homeland. He was
strongly in favor of U.S. participation in war on the side of Britain
for a complete defeat of Turkey. As the campaign manager of President
Woodrow Wilson in 1916, he raised the Armenian problem as a moral
issue to convince the U.S. people in favor of war.
Elkus was an entirely different personality and had very different
political views than Morgenthau. He was described as a quiet
but extremely effective diplomat, achieving practical results of
far-reaching consequences. He greatly valued good relations between
the U.S. and Turkey, and restored them to an excellent relationship
which had been in poor shape due to Morgenthau’s lack of tact. He
was against U.S. participation in the war and strongly opposed a U.S.
declaration of war against Turkey and achieved it. Instead of publicity
or agitation, he devoted his efforts to provide help to the relocated
Adm. Bristol was the third U.S. top official to serve in Turkey
during the years of war and its aftermath. He was one of the high
commissioners of the four victorious allied powers in occupied
Turkey. He was in a position to reach and obtain all the records
and documents of the Ottoman government. He was able to see all the
grieved Armenians, their religious community and political leaders
and also all the American missionaries and relief workers who stayed
in Turkey and helped the Armenians during the whole period of war. He
visited the Republic of Armenia and met its leaders and people.
Additionally he played host to two very important American commissions
assigned by President Wilson:
1. The General Harbord Commission – assigned to investigate the
feasibility of a proposed American mandate to Armenia and Turkey.
2. King-Crane Commission – in charge of investigating the aspirations
and wishes of the different various communities of the Ottoman Empire,
including the Turks and Armenians, and to advise President Wilson
for his policy at the Versailles Peace Conference.
Both commissions had staffs of experts including Armenians in each.
The Armenian claims and grievances were thoroughly investigated by
both commissions. His staff members were eyewitnesses to those in
Armenia, and he himself chaired a commission formed by four Allied
military commanders who investigated atrocities and massacres of the
civilian Turkish population by the Greek Army during their invasion
of western Anatolia.
Therefore the whole Turkish-Armenian conflict during and after World
War I was open to Adm. Bristol. All the official reports of Bristol
and Elkus expressed views contradicting the writings of Morgenthau.
(The official reports of these two figures are available for historical
research. Adm. Bristol’s papers are in the Library of Congress,
Washington, D.C. His reports were also used as reference in some
books, for example United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey,
1914-1924, Laurence Evans, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
Maryland, 1965; The Partition of Turkey, Harry Howard, New York, 1966;
and An American Inquiry in the Middle East, The King-Crane Commission,
Harry N. Howard, Beirut, 1963.
According to these historical studies, the reports of Adm. Bristol
and these two American commissions of inquiry revealed the
baselessness of wartime Armenian and British atrocity and
extermination allegations. All these also strongly opposed Allied
plans for the future of Armenia and described them as impractical
and impossible. Bristol’s reports were also full of atrocities and
massacres committed by Armenians and Greeks against the Turkish
population. Some reports also strongly warned the U.S. government
against British, Greek, and Armenian political intrigues and violent
An anecdote of Talat Pasha
There is an important story mentioned in the book Story of Near
East Relief: 1915-1930 (James L. Barton, MacMillan Co. 1930). When
diplomatic relations between Turkey and the U.S. were cut upon
the U.S. declaration of war against Germany, Talat Pasha promised
Ambassador Elkus that he would let all American missionaries and
relief workers stay in Turkey and continue their relief work for
Armenians. This was done against strong German opposition and despite
very heavy anti-Turkish propaganda organized by the Near East Relief
Agency. It is an interesting example of such a humanitarian gesture
in diplomatic history: A combatant country gave permission to the
citizens of another country fighting against its side to stay, feed,
clothe, treat, educate and give moral support to the people which it
was accused of exterminating. At the same time, because of a great
famine, Turkish people were starving to death.