2 décembre 1922, dans le New York Times.
LAUSANNE, Dec. 1.--A black page of modern history was written here today. Ismet Pasha stood before the statesmen of the civilized world and admitted that the banishment from Turkish territory of nearly a million Christian Greeks, who were two million only a few short years ago had been decreed. The Turkish Government graciously allows two more weeks for the great exodus.
The statesmen of the civilized powers accepted the Turkish dictum and set about ways to get those thousands of Greeks out of harm's way before they should meet the fate of 800,000 Armenians who were massacred in Anatolia in 1910 and 1917.
[b]New Light on Turkish Massacres.[/b]
Here, in the beauty of the Winter sunshine of the Swiss Alps, diplomats have been for ten days talking political problems with the Turks, treating them as equals. Massacre and bloodshed seemed far away. But today a change took place, and a new light was thrown on the situation. The facts are not new: the world knows the Turks' cruelty and massacres. But the way their crimes were presented this afternoon came like a clever stage effect. As an audience may change from smiles to tears, the diplomats here seem to have had their souls touched today as Lord Curzon unfolded the sinister story of the fate of the Greeks in Asia Minor; and today's events cannot but fail to have an important effect on the final settlement. In all probability no treaty will be written at this session, and in two weeks the conference will be adjourned, it is believed, to meet again in a month or six weeks. In the meanwhile the Turks will have time to think things over and become more reasonable or face the consequences.
Today's meeting was scheduled under the simple heading: "Exchange of Prisoners." The delegates rolled in luxurious automobiles to the old chateau. They left it two hours later with solemn faces. Within the ancient walls the shades of murdered thousands had poured to have their say.
[b]Dr. Nansen Reads His Report.[/b]
Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, who had been sent to Anatolia by the League of Nations, read his report on conditions there and made the radical recommendation that all Greeks under Turkish sovereignty be got away quickly to save them from starvation or death by other agencies. It was immediately apparent that something more than the mere discussion of the fate of some few thousands of prisoners of war had been staged. Ismet Pasha arose and said that the Turks were willing to begin the discussion of means for getting all Greeks out of Turkey and suggested that the conference proceed at once to take up the subject of minorities. Lord Curzon declared that he felt that many thousands of lives were at stake and said that quick action must be taken. He said that the Turks had decreed that all Greeks in Anatolia must get out by the last day of November and added that they had extended the date to December 13. Immediate steps, Lord Curzon said must be taken to remove the Greeks by that date.
[b]Ismet Admits Decree of Banishment[/b].
Instead of retreating before Lord Curzon's attack, Ismet agreed that the Greeks must leave Anatolia and volunteered the statement the Greeks in Constantinople had better depart also. Lord Curzon protested that this would mean great economic loss for Turkey. Ex-Premiere Venizelos declared that if those hundreds of thousands were sent to Greece the country could not care for them and would have to ask the United States for aid. When Lord Curzon warned Ismet of danger to the Turks in Western Thrace, which remains Greek, Ismet coolly replied that it might be good idea to trade the Greeks in Turkey for the Turks in Greece.
Lord Curzon then said that he wished to give some statistics in order that there might be a clear idea what was at stake. He said that figures from American sources showed that before 1914 there were 1,600,000 Greeks in Anatolia. Between 1914 and 1918 300,000 died, left the country or otherwise disappeared. Between 1919 and 1922 another 200,00 left Anatolia or disappeared. In September and October of this year another reduction of 500,000 took place leaving now 500,000 or 600,000 Greeks in Anatolia, most of whom were males between 15 and 60, to whom the Turks had refused permission to leave.
[b]A Million Greeks Wiped Out.[/b]
"In other words" said the British Foreign Minister "a million Greeks have been killed, deported or have died." Lord Curzon said that there had been 300,000 Greeks in Constantipole, most of whom were still there, 320,000 Greeks in Eastern Thrace, some of whose families had been there for a thousand years and more, all had fled before the dread of the Turks, leaving desert areas behind them. Turning to the issue of the prisoners of war, Lord Curzon said that the Greeks held 10,000 Turkish soldiers and about 3,800 Turkish civilians. The Turks hold about 30,000 Greek soldiers. He further pointed out that there were in Greece proper, in the Greek islands and Western Thrace 480,000 Moslems. He further mentioned 120,000 Greeks who have been deported by the Turks into inner Anatolia. He recommended that immediate steps be taken to solve the tragic problem.
Ismet demanded that the Greeks free at once the Turkish civilians whom they held, whom he called hostages. He said that some of Lord Curzon's figures were too high, but he did not deny that the Turks had decreed that all Greeks must leave their territory. The outcome of the discussion was the appointment of a subcommittee to consider means for getting the Greeks out of Turkish territory.
This story of the fate of 2,000,000 Greeks who were in Turkey takes no account of the wiping out of an almost equal number of Armenians of whom the Turks wished to be rid. After the massacres of war times only about 300,000 Armenians remain in Turkey. There is almost an equal number in Constantinople and Thrace. They must go somewhere else or be killed, in all probability.
The Turks have been invited by the Allies to become members of the League of Nations. They have replied that they will join when their friends, the Reds of Moscow, are admitted.
[b]Recess From About December 15 Planned.[/b]
Facing a situation which seems almost impossible, the leaders of the Lausanne Conference have about decided to try to arrange a temporary settlement of the most pressing issues between the Turks and the Greeks and take a recess from about December 15 until the middle of January or the first of February. It is reported that meanwhile Ismet Pasha will go to Angora to explain the allied position on the larger questions. On the issues of the exchange of prisoners, the protection of minorities, the capitulations, the customs and the Ottoman debt, the diplomats believe that an agreement can be reached with the Turks. But on the issues of the European frontier of Turkey, the future of the Straits and the Anatolian boundary line, it appears unlikely that as long as Ismet Pasha sticks to his instructions, any agreement can be reached.
According to present plans, Ismet will take to Angora the proposals of the Allies relating to these questions and endeavor to bring back new instructions. This proposal originated with Ismet Pasha and was tentatively approved by Lord Curzon, who today communicated the suggestion to the *** *** ***including the Americans *** *** *** would be taken to allow Ismet to confer with the Angora Government in person, conversations with the Turkish delegates reveal another idea, namely, that the Brussels conference may produce a change in the complexion of the allied negotiations with the Turks. The Turks feel that the allied unity at Lausanne which they did not expect, is due to a bargain between England and France by which England has promised France aid in the solution of the latter's economic problems, including reparations.
The Turks reason that after the Brussels Conference the French will either have the fruits of their bargain or will be ready to act against Germany without British help. In either eventuality they calculate that France may be ready to stand less firmly by the side of England against themselves. It seems scarcely believable that the Poincare Government could have given the Turks any encouragement in such hopes, but nevertheless the Turks seem confidential that they will lose nothing by waiting.
Turks Working With Russians[/b].
On the issue of the Straits the Russians, whose chief delegate, George Tchitcherin, arrived tonight, are ready to fight to the end the British claims, whatever they may be. The Turks so far are working closely with the Russians and are denying the British demands for the demilitarization of the Straits. Coached by the Russians, they now refuse to listen to the proposal to have the League of Nations guard the Straits, although three weeks ago in Paris, Ismet said that the solution would be acceptable. While the British demand the right to send their warships through the Straits into the Black Sea, the Russians demand that the Straits be closed to all warships, as before the World War. With respect to the European frontier the Turks demand a bridgehead on the western side of the Maritsa River, on the ground that it contains the railroad station of Adrianople. The Allies refuse to allow the Turks to cross the Maritsa, on the ground that it gives them an excellent bridgehead for offensive operations in Europe.
The Anatolian frontier issue hinges on the Mosul oil fields, which the British intend to keep within the borders of the Mesopotamian mandate, but which the Turks claim for themselves. On none of these three issues has the slightest progress been mad toward a settlement. It is true the Turks maintain stoutly that the British have made them proposals by which the Turks would get sovereignty over the district in return for an assurance of oil concessions, the British giving assurances that they could dispose of the French, Italian and American claims. Lord Curzon himself authorized a denial that any such proposal has been made. The basic trouble here is that the Turks present themselves as conquerors having whipped the Greeks in 1922, while the Allies present themselves as conquerors, having whipped the Turks in 1918. Ismet Pasha, leading one side, acts on the basis of the Mudania armistice which marked the halt of the victorious Turkish troops while Curzon, leading the other side, acts on the basis of the Mudros armistice, which marked the halt of the victorious Allied troops. Russian intervention on the one hand and *** intervention on the other, serve to muddy the waters with the result of a confusion which is almost complete.
M. Tchitcherin on his arrival went into a three-hour conference with Ismet Pasha, head of the Turkish delegation.
Tomorrow the Turks will entertain the Russian delegation at luncheon. In a statement to the press M. Tchitcherin said: "Two principles will guide the Russian delegation at the Lausanne conference. "One is the principle of self-determination and the other is the need for peace in the world. The first obviously applies to
Turkey as well as to other nations and, therefore, the Russians will demand an independent Turkey. As for the second principle, we consider one of the essential conditions for peace in the Near East is that the Straits shall be effectively closed to all foreign warships."
[b]Bulgaria Threatens to Fight Greece.[/b]
Premier Stambouliwaki of Bulgaria, in an interview tonight, declared that he had quitted the Balkan League and was going to work with the Turks.
Furthermore, he said if the conference did not give Bulgaria the port of Dedeaghatch and a corridor to the Aegean, the Bulgars would "go and get it." "It is foolish to talk about the Balkan bloc," he said. "There is no such thing. If this conference does not give us Dedeaghatch as demanded, we will fight the Greeks for it." "The
Bulgarian Government is in complete accord with Turkey and ready to support all her claims in return for Turkish support for our demand for an outlet to the Aegean, which has been promised us and which we mean to have."
M. Stambouliwaki said that as for the proportion of the Ottoman debt owed by the parts of Bulgaria won from Turkey. Bulgaria would not pay one cent.