Episode 47 – King-Crane Report: Judging Turks without visiting the scene of Armenian atrocities

When the First World War ended, the American Protestant missionaries in the Ottoman Empire waged a massive campaign to influence American policy towards an American mandate over Anatolia. The American Committee for the Independence of Armenia soon turned into a lobbying group for the American mandate over Armenia. Another major lobbying group, the Armenian American Society, was founded by the former American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief representative Walter George Smith and led by Smith and George R Montgomery. Barton said the Turks would get help from Bolsheviks to achieve their goal. The only way to save the Christians was for the US to take a mandate over Anatolia, Russian Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. ► Ambassador Morgenthau was also firmly behind this scheme, advocating separate mandates over Istanbul, Armenia, and the rest of Anatolia. With total lack of foresight, he declared Turkey finished and said that Turkey would present no problems for an occupier. How wrong can one get? As we all now know, Turkey would fight courageously with limited resources and workforce, all the major powers and occupiers of the time, for four years, to achieve her independence at the high cost of lives. William Walker Rockwell, another mastermind behind the anti-Turkish campaign, wrote that Armenians were the largest population group in Armenia. The Turkish government is paying Kurds and Tatars of Persia and Caucuses to move to Armenia to change the demographics and build a Muslim majority. All of this was absurd. No such appropriation existed. In any case, neither the Ottoman government nor the Turkish nationalists had the money or the inclination. Other writers assured the unsuspecting Americans that all the people of Anatolia, including Turks, wanted an American mandate. Whereas the fact is that some did, but most did not; hence the Turks passionately fought an all-or-nothing independence war. The press was replete with misinformation. Prevailing opinion for American intervention in Armenia was based on wholly fictitious evidence, that Armenia had massive oil and coal deposits ripe for development, the vast Armenian army had defeated the Turks, and so on. Of course, none of them was true. In a full-page New York Times article, James W. Gerard, head of the American Committee for the Independence Of Armenia, stressed that the Armenians were brother Christians and warned that war would break out in Anatolia if America did not take the mandate and that there would be perfect peace if America took the order. Not taking the ruling would mean the loss of an excellent opportunity for the propagation of Anglo-Saxon civilization in the Near East. At the Paris Peace Conference, allies wanted President Wilson to determine the borders of Armenia and preferably assume a mandate over it. Under the circumstances, two American investigation commissions were sent out to examine conditions in the Near East: the first one was King-Crane Commission, dispatched to Arab lands, covered in this Episode 47. The leaders of the King-Crane Commission were Henry Churchill King and Charles Richard Crane. Henry Churchill King, a minister of the Congregational Church, the president of Oberlin College, was appointed in 1919 to serve on the American Section of the Paris Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey. Charles R. Crane, an industrialist who made his fortune in plumbing fixtures, a trustee of Robert College and president of the Constantinople Women’s College board, both Protestant missionary establishments in Istanbul. He was both a board member of the Near East Relief and a member of the American Section of the Paris Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey in 1919. Both were already committed to the Armenian cause. The two biased gentlemen interviewed many missionaries for their report and relied upon even the propaganda of Lord Bryce as evidence of Armenian massacres. They concluded that it would be impossible to suggest an Armenia extending from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea but suggested carving out lands from Turkey (and a bit from Russia) to enlarge current Armenia, under the protection of a powerful mandatory state, preferably the US. The US government did not release this report because of the suggestion of independence for Arab states in it, which would clash with the imperialist demands of Britain, France, and others.

Myths Realities

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published.