An Open and Shut Case

Maxinne Vlug walks through the “open door” to consider how American public opinion swirled around the ratification of the Lausanne Treaty.

Maxinne Vlug is a History student at Utrecht University.

Although the United States sought to limit its involvement at the Lausanne Conference, it was also keen to protect its political and economic interests in the Middle East. Due to fuel shortages during the Great War and the increasing use of automobiles, many Americans feared a post-war “gasoline famine”, fears stoked by US oil majors as part of a fictional US-UK “Oil War”. Notorious for the oily Teapot Dome scandal, Republican President Warren Harding’s administration viewed the so-called Open Door Principle, championed by Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, as a means of escaping the tentacles of a “British oil octopus” allegedly intent on cornering the United States’ oil supply. The Principle held that no single power should enjoy special economic privileges, drawing a line under the pre-war system of “spheres of influence”. It was assumed that the new Turkish Republic’s interests would align with this policy. After all, the Turks not only sought international recognition at Lausanne, but curbs on the Capitulations and other economic controls imposed under the terms of successive French, German and British loans to the Sultan.


It was unclear, however, how such support of Ismet’s beloved “sovereignty” could be squared with other American concerns, not least humanitarian ones. Neither Lausanne nor the provisional bilateral treaty of amity between the United States and Turkey intended as a stop-gap made any mention of the Armenian Genocide or the prosecution of those who might be held responsible. The establishment of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Republican Turkey thus aroused considerable debate within the American society. Many Americans sympathized with the Armenians, contributing to missionary activities and the work of Near East ReliefFor a short period in 1919 it had seemed that energy security and humanitarianism might be reconcilable, as the borders of a proposed US-administered League of Nations mandate for Armenia were drawn in such a way as to include territories then believed to hold large oil deposits. Unfortunately Congress proved to have no appetite for such an open-ended foreign entanglement.

At Lausanne, by contrast, the Turks revived a dormant 1910 railroad and oil concession granted to retired US Admiral Colby Mitchell Chester. This served as a means of luring the American delegation to put oil (the Chester Concession) before humanitarian concerns (punishment of genocidaires, creation of an Armenian National Home within Anatolia), pitting the American observers at Lausanne against their British and French allies. For the Armenians themselves, a people that already suffered so greatly, hopes invested in a Wilsonian notion of self-determination and a better future within the generous borders of a Wilsonian Armenian mandate were crushed.


The American Committee Opposed to the Lausanne Treaty and church leaders such as the Episcopalian bishop of New York, William Thomas Manning, sought to rouse public opinion against the treaty, which the Committee described as “a purposeless and humiliating surrender to a red-handed, faithless military despot,” ratification of which would “reflect upon American honor and self-respect.”[1] During the course of the 1924 presidential campaign the Democrats argued that the treaty and the Open Door Principle betrayed the Armenian people. At the same time Democratic senator William H. King of Utah actively pleaded before the Senate against ratification. The Senator argued that Turkey’s past record did not indicate that she could be trusted to abide by treaties. “A few business men and the Turkish Government are carrying on an extensive propaganda in the United States to secure recognition,” King claimed. “Turkey wants to borrow money and hopes that the ratification of the Lausanne treaty will enable her to negotiate a loan in the United States.” [2] Secretary of State Hughes was singled out for criticism in much of this press coverage:

Obviously, Secretary Hughes went to Lausanne fully prepared to make any and all sacrifice to clinch this oil concession, and he betrayed Christian Armenia and his own country to attain his purpose.

The Atlanta Tri-Weekly Journal4 August 1924.

The headline of a Chicago blue-collar newspaper The Daily Worker put it more bluntly: “Turks given liberty to kill Armenians for big concessions.”[2] Other political figures and businessmen sought to minimalize the Armenian Question. Admiral Chester and his son Arthur Tremaine Chester claimed in the New York Times’ Current History that the massacres of the Armenians were a direct result of their own alleged “treachery”. “It is safe to say,” the latter wrote, “that no massacre of any importance has occurred that was not the direct result of traitorous or threatening acts by the victims.” [3] Chester Jr. then sought to ram his point home by inviting his American readers to imagine what he claimed was an analogous hypothetical:

Suppose that Mexico was a powerful and rival country with which we were at war, and suppose that we sent an army to the Mexican border to hold back the invading enemy; suppose further that not only the negroes in our army deserted to the enemy but those left at home organized and cut off our line of communication. What do you think we as a people, especially the Southerners, would do to the negroes?

Arthur Tremaine Chester, “Angora and the Turks”, Current History 17.5 (Feb. 1923): 758-64 (763).

The Senate did not vote on ratification until January 1927. While the vote was favourable (50-34 in favour of ratification), this was six votes short of the requisite two-third majority. Admiral Bristol, the United States’ High Commissioner in Constantinople, was left having to reassure Ankara that the vote did not signal any desire to break off good relations, and attempting to secure another extension of a bilateral treaty of amity between the two countries. Despite this unhappy “modus vivendi”, later that year President Coolidge sent Joseph Grew to Ankara as ambassador. “Whether the Senate declares this legal or not,” noted the New York Times, “it was contended the President does not require an act of Congress to send an Ambassador to any country he chooses.”[5]

Meanwhile the Chester Concession proved to be a damp squib, even after being formally confirmed by the National Assembly in Ankara in 1923. By that point the Ottoman American Development Corporation which had taken over management of the Concession had fallen apart, thanks to disagreements among the shady characters now at the helm, which caused State Department officials such as Allen Dulles considerable embarrassment.

As for the Open Door, when it came to Middle East oil it only remained open long enough to enable a consortium of American oil companies to bluster their way (with the help of officials like Dulles) into the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC), whose claim to the oil of the Ottoman vilayets of Mosul and Baghdad derived from another pre-war concession, secured from the ancien regime in June 1914. This international (English, Dutch, French) condominium thus gained a fourth partner. Once inside TPC, American oil executives lost interest in the Open Door, and made sure that the State Department did, too. Here again, idealism had lost out to dollars.

[1] “Atrocities Laid to Turkish Rulers”, New York Times, 17 May 1926.

[2] “Urges the Defeat of Lausanne Treaty”, New York Times, 12 April 1926.

[3] The Daily Worker, 11 June 1924.

[4] C. Chester “Turkey Reinterpreted” and A. T. Chester “Angora and the Turks”,  New York Times Current History 17.5 (1923) and 16:6 (1922).

[5] ‘Turkish Relations Upheld”, New York Times, 29 November 1927.

Ruben Vardanyan will join 6th IMCA as a Plenary speaker at Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora section
Armenia –

Ruben Vardanyan, a public figure, politician, former State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh will join 6th IMCA as a Plenary speaker at the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora Cooperation section.

He is one of the founders of the Russian stock market; co-founder and partner of a number of global projects; a member of a number of large companies, educational institutions, professional and expert organizations, and management and advisory boards; and the recipient of local and international awards.

Among Ruben Vardanyan's most significant projects are the Troika Dialog investment company, SKOLKOVO business school, and the Phoenix Advisors and PhilinPhilgood companies in Russia. In Armenia, his notable projects include the UWC Dilijan International College, Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), “Wings of Tatev” aerial tramway, "Matena" leadership school, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, "Aurora for Artsakh" program to support residents of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the FUTURE ARMENIAN public initiative, and more.

For more than 30 years, Ruben and his family, together with partners from around the world, have invested over 1.5 billion dollars in key areas of human development: global education, health care, achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), solving humanitarian problems, heritage, and initiatives for the development of philanthropic traditions.

Syunik governor: border settlements have enough weapons for self-defense
Armenia –

The border settlements of Syunik Province have an adequate amount of weapons for self-defense, governor Robert Ghukasyan told journalists on May 27, noting that he cannot open many brackets.

According to him, 50 residents of Tegh village had their land stolen by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.
"The general situation in Syunik continues to be tense and uncertain. Despite all that, local residents have not left their homes and have no such intention," he said.

The governor added that a part of those displaced from Berdzor and Aghavno received jobs in Syunik. They stay at hotels in the city of Goris and are provided with food and shelter. They also receive support from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Armenpress: The vehicle of servicemen under search found on the inter-positional road. MoD denies Azerbaijani claims about sabotage




YEREVAN, MAY 27, ARMENPRESS. On May 26, at 19:00, the rear service vehicle operated by 2 servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces, which was loaded with food and water intended for combat bases, was found on the inter-positional road, ARMENPRESS reports, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia informs.

"On May 26, the Azerbaijani media, then the border guard service of Azerbaijan, spread disinformation that the Armenian side made a subversive infiltration attempt, and 2 servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia were arrested.

We repeat that the message spread by the border guard service of Azerbaijan that the Armenian side allegedly made a subversive infiltration attempt is an absolute lie and disinformation. The Armenian side has enough evidence to deny it, which will be presented to international partners," the statement reads.

The Ministry of Defense noted that the weapon attached to one of the servicemen was also found in the vehicle, which proves that even in the case of the servicemen getting out of the car and not orienting in the area, they could not have sabotaged goals.

Extensive work is being done to reveal the circumstances of the illegal abduction of Armenian servicemen by Azerbaijan.

One victim and seven injured. Vehicle transporting athletes crashes




YEREVAN, MAY 27, ARMENPRESS. Athletes traveling from Artashat to Garni had an accident on May 27. As a result of the accident, there is one dead and seven injured.

Gor Abrahamyan, the press secretary of the chairman of the Investigative Committeeof Armenia, told the correspondent of ARMENPRESS that criminal proceedings have been initiated in connection with the incident.

"Two cars, one "VAZ 2106" and the other of a different brand, collided. Athletes and coaches were in "Vaz 2106". They were on their way from Artashat to Garni in order to participate in competitions," Abrahamyan said.

According to him, the father of one of the athletes, who was also a coach, died. "The condition of two of the athletes is serious. Forensic examinations have been scheduled. Preliminary investigations are currently underway. What I am reporting is preliminary data," Abrahamyan emphasized.

According to preliminary data, in addition to the driver, there were six other people in the VAZ 2106 car. "There is one victim and seven wounded. The driver of the other car is also among the injured," emphasized Gor Abrahamyan and added that the Investigative Committee will provide other details later.

Azerbaijani armed group crossed Armenian border and kidnapped the servicemen – preliminary data




YEREVAN, MAY 27, ARMENPRESS. The Investigative Committee of Armenia presented details about the kidnapping of two servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces by the Azerbaijani armed forces on May 26.

According to the statement of the Investigative Committee, two Armenian servicemen, Harutyun Hovagimyan and Karen Ghazaryan, transported food for one of the military positions located in the southeastern direction with a “Kamaz 43114”, after which communication was lost with them. As a result of searches, the vehicle was found on the road leading to the military position, the engine of which was still running. One AK-74 rifle was found in the vehicle, but the two servicemen were not found.

According to preliminary data, the Azerbaijani armed group crossed Armenian border and kidnapped the two servicemen.

Since there are elements of crime of illegal crossing of the Armenian state border, kidnapping of servicemen, transfer against their will or ignoring their will, a criminal procedure has been initiated at the Investigative Committee of Armenia.

Large scale measures are being implemented to fully clarify the circumstances of the illegal crossing of the border by the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and the abduction of the servicemen.

Asbarez: Azerbaijani Armed Group Kidnaps 2 Armenian Soldiers; Baku Charges Them with Terrorism

The vehicle used by the abducted soldiers was found on the side of the road with its engine still running

An Azerbaijani armed group crossed into Armenian territory and reportedly abducted two Armenian soldiers, Armenia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on Saturday. Azerbaijani authorities reported that the two soldiers are facing six counts of criminal charges, including terrorism.

The soldiers, Harutyun Hovagimyan and Karen Ghazaryan, were delivering food to a military position in Armenia’s Syunik Province, after which communication was lost, said the Investigative Committee.

After a search, the soldiers’ vehicle, with its engine still running, was found on the road leading to the military position where the delivery was to take place. The truck was filled with food and water and an AK-47 rifle was found in the vehicle.

Around the time of the incident, Azerbaijani media, and later through messages publicized by its border guards, Armenian forces were being accused of violating the cease fire. Armenia’s Defense Ministry has denied the allegations.

Azerbaijani authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against the two Armenian servicemen charging them with six counts, including terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred by violence and smuggling weapons and ammunition. The Azerbaijani side accused them of illegally crossing the state border and carrying out a subversive incursion attempt, reported on Saturday.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said that the illegal abduction of the servicemen is an attempt to deviate from its own obligations.

“We call on Azerbaijani authorities to release them and fulfill commitment to release all Armenian POWs in line with Trilateral Statement of Nov 9, 2020, as well as pleas by international partners and institutions,” the foreign ministry also said in a social media post.

This is a developing story.

Armenpress: The illegal abduction of Armenian servicemen is an attempt by Azerbaijan to withdraw from its obligations. MFA




YEREVAN, MAY 27, ARMENPRESS. The illegal abduction of 2 Armenian servicemen by Azerbaijan is an attempt to deviate from its own obligations, ARMENPRESS reports, the Foreign Ministry of Armenia said in a Twitter post.

“We call on Azerbaijani authorities to release them and fulfill commitment to release all Armenian POWs in line with Trilateral Statement of Nov 9, 2020, as well as calls of international partners and institutions”, reads the post.

Asbarez: Friends of ANCA-Western Region Host Welcome Reception Glendale Mayor Dan Brotman

Mayor Dan Brotman and Friend of ANCA Western Region Ronnie Gharibian

GLENDALE — The Friends of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, led by community activist Ronnie Gharibian, organized a welcome reception on Thursday, May 25, for the newly-selected Glendale Mayor Dan Brotman. 

Mayor Dan Brotman From l to r: Aida Babayan, Karin, Pilavian, Ronnie Gharibian, Mayor Brotman, Maral-Demirjian, Ayana Hamamjian, Sako Tchakian and Alex-Izmirlian

The event was held at the Glen Arden Club in Glendale to warmly welcome Brotman to his new posting, introduce members of the community, and provide an opportunity for ANCA Western Region supporters to meet and greet the many public officials in attendance. 

As the city with one of the largest Armenian constituencies in the worldwide Armenian Diaspora, and home of the headquarters of the ANCA Western Region, Glendale serves as a home away from home for many Armenian community members as City leaders consistently and ably serve their needs both locally and globally. The ANCA Western Region and its local chapters work closely with the City to address issues ranging from the need to combat Armenophobia to standing in strong solidarity with Artsakh facing the threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the genocidal regime in Baku, in addition to finding ways to build on the sister city relationship between Glendale and Martuni to deliver tangible results to both cities and communities. 

Ronnie Gharibian, Ayana Hamamjyan, Ardy Kassakhian, and ANCA Western Region Community and Coalition Development Director Edward Barsoumian Former Mayor of Glendale Ardashes Kassakhian Attorney Garo Ghazarian introduces former Mayor Ardashes Kassakhian

The event was organized to express gratitude to the City of Glendale for providing a safe haven for many of our community institutions and organizations to thrive. Nearly one hundred community leaders and organizational representatives attended the event to show their support and appreciation including the Western Diocese, Western Prelacy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian American Museum, Armenian Consulate, Armenian Educational Foundation, Hamazkayin, Homenetmen, St. Mary’s Church, Chamlian Armenian School, and numerous ACF and ANCA Western Region local chapters. 

“It’s an incredible honor to be Mayor of a city that has such a rich Armenian community. I’ve made many friends, and hope to deepen my ties to the community in this coming year”, said Mayor Brotman, after being introduced by Ronnie Gharibian, Friend of the ANCA Western Region.

Ayana Hamamjyan, Ronnie Gharibian, Police Chief Manny Cid, and Edward Barsoumian Ayana Hamamjyan and Ronnies Gharibian with Fire Chief Timothy Ernst (middle)

Dan Brotman was first sworn in as a Glendale City Council Member in April 2020. Brotman has over twenty years of professional experience, first as an economist at the Federal Reserve and then for 16 years in various finance roles at Cisco Systems. Brotman first moved to Glendale in 2015 to teach economics at Glendale College and has since been involved in several community organizations. He co-founded the Glendale Environmental Coalition and was Chair of the SoCal 350 Climate Action Legislative Committee, and was most recently selected as Mayor of Glendale on April 4, 2023, succeeding former Mayor Ardashes (Ardy) Kasshakian.

The reception also honored Kassakhian’s decades of involvement, service and dedication to the Armenian-American community and to the City of Glendale during his mayoral term. He was introduced and thanked by his colleague, attorney and Glendale’s Civil Service Commissioner, Garo Ghazarian. “Thank you for honoring me with the privilege to serve the city I grew up in and love. I will continue to work with you (the residents of Glendale) to make Glendale the best city that it can be, and I’m ready to support our new mayor in every way possible to make sure that his successes are our collective successes,” said Kassakhian.

Ronnie Gharibian, Aida Babayan, Tamar Tufenkdjian, Karin Pilavian, Silva Kechichian, Ardy Kassakhian, Ayana Hamamjyan, Maral Demirjian, and Sako Tchakian Sako Tchakian, Maral Demirjian, ANCA Western Region Board Member Lena Bozoyan, Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian, Ayana Hamamjyan, Karin Pilavian, and Ronnie Gharibian

Friend of ANCA Western Region, Ayana Z. Hamamjyan, introduced Glendale’s new executive leaders, including Chief of Police Manny Cid, and Fire Chief Timothy Ernst who were also welcomed to the City at the reception and were given well-wishes by community members, organizations, and officials for a long, fruitful career serving the residents of Glendale. 

Attendees of the Welcome Reception for Mayor Dan Brotman

The event was well-attended by city leadership including the entire Glendale City Council, Glendale Community College Board Members, Glendale Unified School District Board Members, as well as the City Manager, City Clerk, Glendale Police Department Deputy Chief, GUSD Superintendent, and GUSD President.

Glendale is home to the largest Armenian community in Los Angeles County, and is the vibrant central hub of Armenian-American culture, with many businesses, schools, churches, and organizations that serve the needs and interests of the Armenian diaspora. 

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

ANCA-Western Region Endorses Adrin Nazarian for L.A. City Council District 2

ANCA-Western Region board and staff with Adrin Nazarian

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced its endorsement of former Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian for Los Angeles City Council District 2, the seat currently held by Council President, Paul Krekorian, who will be termed out in 2024. Nazarian is a son and champion of the Armenian American community and has demonstrated his commitment to advancing the Armenian Cause and the concerns of his constituents.

Nazarian served in the California State Assembly from 2012 to 2022, representing the 46th district, which includes parts of the San Fernando Valley and a large Armenian American population. Nazarian worked as Paul Krekorian’s chief of staff before the latter was elected to the position of Los Angeles Councilmember and Assistant Majority Leader in the California State Legislature. In addition, Adrin served as aide to Congressman Brad Sherman, took part in the prestigious CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs program, and was chosen by Governor Gray Davis to serve as Special Assistant to the California Trade and Commerce Agency.

“Few have done as much for the Armenian community as Adrin Nazarian, who has led delegation visits to Artsakh and Armenia, championed pro-Armenian policies, ensured necessary funding for Armenian community service organizations, while working tirelessly to promote justice for Artsakh and Armenia,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The ANCA-WR is proud to endorse not only an Armenian-American for the office of Council District 2, but a stalwart champion of the Armenian Cause.”

During his tenure as Assemblymember, Nazarian authored and co-authored several bills and resolutions related to Armenian issues. Assemblymember Nazarian played a vital role in 2014 when the California State Legislature recognized the Republic of Artsakh. Nazarian also successfully led the charge to have California divest its public funds from Turkish government-backed securities and financial vehicles in 2019. The Assemblymember was also instrumental in establishing April 24 as a state holiday in 2022, with the closure of all public schools and community colleges. He also secured millions of dollars in state funding for various Armenian American organizations and projects, such as the Armenian American Museum, the creation of TUMO Los Angeles in North Hollywood, Homenetmen Hrashq, the Ararat Home of Los Angeles, the Armenian Bar Association, Camp Arev, and the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School. In 2016, the ANCA-WR honored Assemblymember Nazarian with the “Legislator of the Year ” award at its annual Gala.

Nazarian is running for Los Angeles City Council District 2, which covers parts of the eastern San Fernando Valley, including the communities of North Hollywood, Studio City, Sun Valley, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, and Toluca Lake. The district is home to a large portion of San Fernando Valley’s Armenian American population. Primary elections will take place on March 5, 2024.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issue.