Woodrow Wilson’s arbitration award important for Russia
“Russia should understand that realization of Woodrow Wilson’s arbitration award is very important, since it meets all security demands in the South Caucasus. It’s high time to come to decision,” historian and diplomat Ara Papian said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net. “The Russian power is divided in two groups. One wants close relationship with Turkey proceeding from personal profit, the other upholds security issues in the light of Turkish nationalism. Actually, if the international community understands that the time to recognize the arbitration award has come, it will be to interest of Russia, Armenia and even Iran,” he said. “Interest in the decision is being observed, since it could become an extra tool of pressure on Turkey. According to the Treaty of Sevres, military monitoring units should be deployed in Turkey and this could deprive the latter of the possibility to uncontrolledly build up arms,” he said.
Remembering Woodrow: “Wilson Month” reflected on US president’s lobby for Armenia
“I realize that I’m calling on Congress to make a very serious choice . . . Our recognition of Armenia’s independence will mean true freedom and guaranteed happiness for its people...” One of the politicians most respected by the Armenian people, 28th president of the United States Woodrow Wilson signed under these words in his speech to the U.S. Congress in May 1920. In November 2006, different establishments of the republic marked the 150th birthday anniversary of the great humanist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. “The pages of Armenian history do not remember any other such influential politician on the world scale as Wilson who would assert Armenia’s interests in the world arena with such adherence to principles and dedication,” Dean of the Department of Law at the American University of Armenia (AUA), Professor Tom Samuelian said on November 3. That day marked the start of the Wilson Days in Armenia. Dean of the AUA Department of Political Science and International Relations Lusig Danielian and doctor of political science Armen Ayvazyan also made reports.
Woodrow Wilson’s proposal concerning the definition of the border between Armenia and Turkey according to the decision of the San Remo conference and the Sevre Peace Treaty (August 1920) is called in diplomacy “Wilson’s Arbitration Regime”. Under the Sevre Treaty the signatories agreed to leave it to the U.S. discretion to define the border between Armenia and Turkey with Armenia’s ensured gateway to the Black Sea. On November 22, 1920, at the suggestion of Woodrow Wilson it was decided to draw the Armenian-Turkish border through Van, Bitlis and Mush and farther through Yerznka to provide Armenia with a convenient gateway to the Black Sea. The U.S. president himself signed off on this map of Armenia. “Wilson’s Arbitration Regime” – the declaration of the new Armenian statehood, Western Armenia, on the ruins of the collapsed Ottoman Empire – was not translated into reality as republican Turkey of Mustafa Kemal together with Bolshevist Russia waged persevering struggle against the items of the Sevre Treaty and imposed a war on Armenia as a result of which the government of the First Armenian (Eastern) Republic was overthrown and a Soviet regime was established in the country. In the same year of 1920, the authorities of Armenia signed the Alexandropol Agreement and renounced the points of the Sevre Treaty.
However, different interpretations then appeared also among the Antanta allies. In particular, still on April 29, 1920, British Prime Minister D. Lloyd George, speaking at the House of Commons, said: “... As for Armenia, it proved to be a problem of extreme difficulty. The difficulty – and hardly need to say it to the friends of Armenia – is connected with the circumstance that there is no Armenian population in some of the vast areas which we wanted to hand over to Armenia and for getting which Armenia has historical reasons. But if they are transferred to Armenia, who will realize our decisions?” Later he would confess: “Oil outweighed the blood of Armenians.” “Wilson Month” in Armenia was marked also by another event. In November, Armenia’s former ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Canada Ara Papian declared that there are all preconditions for the establishment of legal protectorate over the historical Armenian lands situated in the territory of modern-day Turkey. As he said, the Armenian side should turn to the judicial instances of the United Nations.
“Our country should seek recognition of the validity of the Sevre Treaty, as only this document was signed by the authorities during the period when Armenia still was an entity of international law,” Papian said. “If Armenia’s legal protectorate over a part of the territory of modern Turkey gains international recognition, then it will be possible to get the right of use of the transit ways situated in the territory of historical Armenia and also sue British Petroleum for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline without coordination with the Republic of Armenia.” “Ara Papian’s approach is quite realistic,” Giro Manoyan, a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau in charge of the “Armenian Cause”, said, supporting the opinion of Armenia’s ex ambassador. “According to clause 89 of the Sevre Treaty, the right to draw a border between Armenia and Turkey was given to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, and he allocated a territory of 160,000 square kilometers to Armenia,” Manoyan reminded.
Official Yerevan does not yet have a common state approach to this matter in its diplomatic arsenal. On April 18, 2005, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian stated: “The issue of the international recognition of the Genocide was and still remains on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda. I don’t know whether the next president of Armenia will raise the territorial issue. Let the next head of Armenian state speak about subsequent claims.” The position of Armenian President Robert Kocharyan is interesting in this sense. Speaking on the same subject, as a rule he notes: “The question of the recognition of the Genocide and the question of territorial claims are two different problems and have no direct relations to each other. The question of territorial claims to Turkey should be regarded not in the aspect of Turkey’s recognizing the Genocide, but within the framework of the Sevre Peace Treaty.”
No one cancelled Sevr Treaty on Armenia
After conclusion of the Sevr Treaty on August 10, 1920 borders with independent Armenia had to be set by a neutral mediator – the United States. In this view, representatives of UK, France and Italy appealed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for an arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border. Mr Wilson outlined Armenia’s territory of 110 square km,” Ara Papyan, orientalist, specialist in international law and Armenia’s former Ambassador to Canada told a news conference in Yerevan. “The arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border is an international agreement which is not subject to appeal and restriction of time. The big Parisian Four addressed a joint note to the U.S. President in order to determine Armenian and Turkish borders on the territory of Van, Bitlis, Erzrum and Trapezund,” Papyan said. The fate of the arbitration award is not bound with the ratification of the Sevr treaty, according to him. “Westerman’s committee responsible for determination of borders was formed in the U.S. Congress. The map and award affixed by the state seal marking the significance of the documents are kept in the U.S. Congress Library. Another committee dealing with the demarcation of borders at the site was headed by Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in the times of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire,” the Armenian diplomat said. However, Papyan noted, November 29 the 11th Red Army entered Armenia and the First Republic stopped existence as an international element. “That is why the conditions of the Sevr and Lausanne treaties were not fulfilled. The USSR was not the assignee of the Republic of Armenia,” he said.