BRITISH POLICY TOWARDS THE ARMENIAN QUESTION FROM THE ARMISTICE OF MUDROS TO THE OPENING OF THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE
On October 30, 1918, the Ottoman Empire signed an armistice in the town of Mudros of the Greek island of Lemnos, thus effectively ending the hostilities with the Allies. The armistice was signed by the Ottoman Minister of Marine Affairs Rauf Bey and the British Admiral Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe, on board HMS Agamemnon in the harbor of Mudros. The terms of the Armistice of Mudros were already to a great extent a setback for the just settlement of the Armenian Question as stipulated by British and other Allied leaders during the war. The British Foreign Office, after three weeks from the Armistice of Mudros, on November 21, 1918, had prepared a memorandum which outlined the borders of the independent Armenia which included most of its historic territory. However, the British were never prepared to make an actual commitment (military and otherwise) to one of their supposed war aims, of holding the Turkish government accountable for what it had done to the Armenians and granting the latter their promised independence based upon the principle of self-determination. The fact that Western Armenia was not occupied by the Allies turned out to be fatal for the Armenian survivors who during the war already had experienced a horrific genocide at the hands of the Turkish government. The armed Turkish regular and irregular formations throughout the Armenian provinces according to the terms of the Armistice of Mudros were to be disarmed. However, this task was not taken up by the Allies, and was left up to the Turkish government officials. Many of these officials simply paid lip service to this Allied demand and did very little, if anything, in carrying out these orders. By mid-1919, a “new” Turkish nationalist movement headed by “former” Young Turk leader Mustafa Kemal who hailed from the ranks of the C.U.P. that committed the Armenian Genocide, already begun to plan its course of action against the fledgling Armenian state. As Oliver Baldwin, the son of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who served as an infantry instructor in the Republic of Armenia and remained committed to the Armenian cause for many years after its “betrayal” and occupation, noted that for the British political elite and other Allied leaders “Armenia had served her purpose…that was all that was needed”.
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