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THE LAUSANNE TREATY
BY A STUDENT OF POLITICS
260 by ours; an unprman Governments mandate over
FOLLOWING close on the heels of our to effect in their peace settlement of declaration of war against Germany Sèvres. After the Allied Conference at came the rupture of diplomatic rela. San Remo the question of an American tions with Turkey. This move was mandate over Armenia was formally made by the Ottoman Government, presented to our Congress — and fornot by ours; an unprovoked act brought mally and very decisively turned down. about solely through the close relation. There was a certain amount of public ship then existing between Turkey and sympathy among us for the remnants Germany. Turkey herself thus gave us of the Armenian race. We were content our first good opening for a decisive to see our President named in the hand in the settlement of the Near- Treaty of Sèvres as arbitrator of the Eastern question.
frontier between Turkey and Armenia. In 1917 we might well have coun- But we were not signatories of that tered Turkey's unfriendly act by a Treaty, the President's delineation of a declaration of war against her. She frontier did not in any way commit us, had, some years before, repudiated all nor was our wrath aroused to action Capitulations (exterritorial rights), in- when Armenia later disappeared as a cluding ours. She had outraged us by political entity. We congratulated ourher wholesale massacres and deporta- selves on the fact that one of the bytions of her Armenian subjects. She products of our part in the winning of was the avowed ally of Germany, and the World War had been the driving of as such we might have declared war the Turk out of Europe and the interon her with at least as good grace as nationalization of the Straits. But we we later did against Austria-Hungary were quite content to stand aside and Had we done so we should have con- let the Allies handle the matter. ferred upon ourselves a voice in the Then we stood by and watched the settlement of the Near-Eastern ques. Allies blunder steadily and consistently tion equal to that of England, France, through four years. We saw a new or Italy. But we chose instead to revitalized Nationalist Turkey rise unignore Turkey.
der their noses and throw the Greeks With equal firmness we held aloof into the sea. When but a few British from the Near East during the period soldiers stood between the victorious of flux which followed the war. In 1919 Turkish Army and Constantinople, we and 1920 we were approached by our were amazed — but we did nothing late Allies for assistance in the solution about it. The blaze of Smyrna horrified of their Turkish problems. But we con- us — but we stayed our hand. cerned ourselves not at all with the rad Our complete and voluntary detachical changes which the Allies proposed ment from the Near-Eastern question is a fact which I have put baldly, not by less than similar treaties give England, way of criticism, but simply in order to France, or Italy. We chose the path bring it out. It is essential to a true of complete aloofness from the probcomprehension of the present situation lems of the Near East, and it has that we recognize the deliberate and brought us to exactly the same spot voluntary nature of our policy of stand- which our more ambitious friends have ing aloof in the Near East. Whether reached by devious paths of trial and
time of complet Italy. We skive England, luntary nature of our deliberate and brought the Near East, an the prob
mendable is a question of opinion, not we have little cause for complaint.
II that consistency and on that of public opinion. It is also a debatable question On the fifth of May, 1923, when the whether, even had we chosen to throw Turks formally proposed to us the neourselves into the Near East, we could gotiation of a treaty of amity and comhave held the Allies together against the merce at Lausanne, an entirely new centrifugal force of their national as- situation had arisen in the Near East. pirations. Could we have built up a There was, in the first place, a new stable system in which the rights of Turkey. The old Ottoman Empire, an majorities, minorities, and of foreign attenuated dominion over heterogePowers would have been respected, and neous races, had given place to a comin which the great waterways of the pact and relatively homogeneous state. Straits would have been international. The autocracy of the Sultan had been ized? It is certain we could not have succeeded by at least the forms of dedone it unless we had maintained con- mocracy. A government based on little siderable armed forces five thousand sense of nationality or patriotism had miles from home, spent great sums of been followed by one which had overmoney, and run the risk of war. Who come its many enemies through the shall criticize us if we chose to main- possession of those virtues. The Ottotain our policy of 'hands off' and to man Empire had survived under a sysassume no political obligations what- tem of balance of foreign intrigue and soever?
influence in its internal affairs; NationYet there are many people in Ameri- alist Turkey was in plain sight of comca who apparently do not accept the piv- plete sovereignty. Whether the new otal fact of our policy of detachment in Turkey represented a reform and a the Near East, or at least not its logical zeal in nationalism which would prove implications. We have recently nego- to be lasting was another matter; but tiated treaties at Lausanne which are in the fact of transformation could not be essence nothing but ordinary engage- questioned. Nationalist Turkey then ments of reciprocal amity, commerce, differed from the old Ottoman Empire and extradition between ourselves and at least as much as the United States a government which we, in common after the adoption of the Constitution with the rest of the world, recognize as differed from the American Colonies sovereign, de facto and de jure, in its before the Revolution. own land. These treaties fail to give us Another factor of the greatest imexterritorial rights in Turkey or to portance in the new situation was the guarantee, under our protection, the complete change in the attitude of the rights of any minority group of Turkish Allies toward Turkey. The Great Powcitizens. They give us neither more nor ers had attempted to settle the Near
Eastern question largely on a basis of tion then existing: Turkey was not in partition into mandates and spheres of the Bolshevist camp. Whatever we influence. But in June 1923, it was might think of the Angora Government, obvious that they were on the point of we were at least sure that it was not surrendering their capitulatory rights, subservient to Moscow and not leagued withdrawing their forces, and recogniz- with those who strove, by propaganda ing the full sovereignty of Turkey and corruption, to overthrow existing (steps which they have since taken). governments in the interests of world We were faced with the prospect of a revolution and communism. In their kind of detachment neither traditional desperate struggle to free their country with us nor to our liking — an anoma- from Greek invasion, the Nationalist lous position in which the protection of Turks, cut off from all open aid from our interests in Turkey would be based Europe, accepted munitions from Rusneither on Treaty rights nor on dip- sia. But they refused to adopt even the lomatic or consular representation, forms of communism, and Bolshevist while Turkey's late enemies in the war propaganda made no progress among and our commercial rivals in the Near them. When Ismet Pasha refused to East enjoyed all of these advantages. follow Chicherin at Lausanne in Decem
Capitulatory rights in Turkey were ber 1922, Turkey placed herself defiobviously lost to us as well as to all nitely outside of the Russian orbit. other Powers, whether we negotiated or The question over which Ismet broke not. There was but one way in which with Chicherin at Lausanne was also exterritoriality might be reëstablished, significant. The Western Powers (as and that was by war. We who had well as ourselves) wanted to secure the carefully refrained from taking part in greatest possible freedom of passage the strong-arm policy by which the through the Straits. After the war the Capitulations had been maintained plan had been to internationalize them would certainly not go to war for them and keep them open to all vessels at all at a time when Europe was on the point times. When the Turks again came of acknowledging their abolition. On into power the West hoped to secure the other hand it seemed highly proba- free passage for at least all vessels flying ble that our citizens and interests in flags of nations not at war with Turkey. Turkey would need, in the period of But Russia wanted the Turks to close readjustment following the capitula- the Straits to all foreign warships at tory era, such protection as our diplo all times. Much was to be said for matic and consular officers might af- this contention from the point of view ford. We were somewhat skeptical of of Turkish interests. But the Turks the reforms in Turkish administra- refused to support it. tion and jurisprudence by which alone fair play to foreigners was to be se
III cured. And it was obvious that we could give our people the usual or nor. Such was the situation on the first mal diplomatic and consular protection of June, 1923, when our Government only through a treaty which recognized finally consented to negotiate with the the new régime and our rights under Turks at Lausanne. Whatever we may it, and reëstablished normal relations have thought of the men then in power between ourselves and Turkey.
in Turkey or of the Turks themselves, There was also another factor of con- there was no denying that the Turkish siderable importance to us in the situa- State was a new entity in the world, that it had won its sovereignty in open Turk. We had kept out of that sort of fight with foreign enemies, that it rep- thing. We did not surrender a protecresented the will of the majority of tory position at Lausanne for the reaits people, and that in form at least it son that we had no such position to surfollowed our traditions of independ- render, even if we had chosen to do so. ence and democracy. In entering into As to the influence of the Chester ordinary treaty relations with Turkey Concession on our Lausanne treaties, we should be following our traditional the joke of it all is that the Concession policy with respect to new democracies, was ratified by the Angora Assembly and at the same time we should estab on April 10, 1923, nearly four weeks lish a basis for the protection of our before the Turks proposed negotiations interests in Turkey during a critical and over seven weeks before we defiperiod of reformation.
nitely consented to negotiate! It has often been said that these were The ratification of the Concession was not our real motives, but that, on the not made in any way contingent on the contrary, we surrendered at Lausanne scope of our negotiations, or even on our capitulatory rights and the interest whether or not we negotiated. The of Christian minorities in Turkey to Concession was granted by the Turkish obtain the Chester Concession. Nothing Government for reasons of their own, could be further from the truth the principal ones probably being that
In the first place our capitulatory they believed it would be beneficial to
bility of recovery save by war. We had would have been) and that it would obtained them almost a century before exert a certain pressure on the Eurofrom the Imperial Ottoman Govern- pean Powers with whom they were ment, not by our own efforts, but by then negotiating peace (as it did). virtue of their having been secured by The Chester project was an old one. other Powers. In 1914 the Ottoman As far back as 1910 it had been apGovernment had repudiated them. It proved by the Turkish Minister of is true that we had refused to sanction Public Works. After the rise of the new that repudiation, but in 1923 the Capit- Turkish Government in Angora, ten ulations were placed still further be- years later, the Ottoman-American De yond our reach by the disappearance of velopment Company (the Chester peothe Ottoman Government and the suc- ple) entered into negotiations for its cession of a new State not at all dis- ratification by that Government. Durposed to take up the exterritorial hand- ing all these years and right up to its icaps of its predecessor.
final ratification in April 1923, the Nor was the protection of Christian American Government took no steps to minorities in Turkey ours to hold or to secure it, and lent the Development surrender at will. We had deliberately Company only such support as Ameriavoided meddling in Turkish affairs in can citizens engaged in legitimate busithe interest of the Armenians or other ness were entitled to receive. In point Christian minorities. We had formally of fact the unequivocal position of our refused an offered mandate. Other Government in refusing to give special Powers had assumed certain protectory support to the Chester project beyond rights over Christian minorities, with the Open Door Policy was a contributhe net result of encouraging them to tory cause of its failure to obtain the assert themselves and then leaving necessary financial backing in America. them in the lurch at the mercy of the So, when we consented to negotiate treaties with the Turks at Lausanne, On the same day that these two treaour hands were free. We were in no ties were signed the American and way influenced by an important rail- Turkish delegates, by an exchange of road and mining concession which had notes, came to a partial agreement on already been obtained without the aid two important points — the status of of the American Government. We were American benevolent institutions in free of political obligations to any mi. Turkey and of American claims against nority group in Turkey save our own Turkey. In the first case the Turks citizens domiciled there. We sought pro- recognized those institutions which tection for our legitimate interests in existed prior to October 30, 1914, and the only way, short of war, open to us — agreed to examine favorably those their definition in treaty form and the which had been established since that reëstablishment, by treaty, of normal date. In the case of the American diplomatic and consular relations. claims, it was agreed to discuss the
question after a short interval, and it IV
was actually discussed in Constantino
ple during the following November and On August 6, 1923, we signed two December. This discussion led to a treaties with the Turks at Lausanne. final decision in the form of an agreeThe basis of both was reciprocity and ment for the establishment of a Claims the mutual granting of privileges ac- Commission, composed of two Americorded to the ‘most favored nation.' cans and two Turks, to meet six months
The first treaty, that of amity and after ratification of the Lausanne Treacommerce, reëstablishes diplomatic re- ties. The Commission is to have aulations, acknowledges the abrogation of thority to examine all American claims the Capitulations, guarantees protec- against Turkey which are passed upon tion by the Turks of the lives, liberty, by our State Department. property, and business rights of Americ To a certain extent the question of cans in Turkey, places in the hands of American benevolent institutions in American tribunals all questions of Turkey is still an open one. It is a personal status and family law affecting matter of adjustment which time alone non-Moslem Americans in Turkey; can settle. The Turks oppose two provides for freedom of commerce and courses of action — any attempt to navigation, including freedom of the convert Moslems to Christianity and Straits under the 'most favored nation any partiality shown the racial minorclause'; provides for a just levy of taxes ities, particularly the Greeks and Arand custom duties; reëstablishes con- menians. Now, our institutions are sular relations, defines their functions supported to some extent by money and privileges; and abrogates previous donated in the hope of converting Mostreaties between the two countries. lems. They are also under suspicion of It is, as Secretary Hughes has said, partiality toward the racial minorities, ‘such a treaty as would be negotiated largely because those minorities have with any other sovereign State.
taken more kindly to our schools and The second treaty provides for the hospitals than have the Turks. It is extradition of persons charged with perhaps in this matter more than in crime. It differs in no essential from any other that adjustment will be most many other extradition treaties now in difficult and in which the Turks, as force between the United States and well as our own people, will be called other foreign States.
on to show liberality and fair play.