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The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


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 A Turkish book regarding the memoirs of Mustafa Kemal's confidante, Kilic Ali Pasa, has been published by "Is Bankasi." From the third edition, Fatma S. provided (in a discussion forum) an informal translation of pages 69 to 77.

General Harbord was in charge of a 1919 fact-finding mission arranged by preacher's son, President Woodrow ("There ain't going to be no Turkey") Wilson. His findings would come to be known as the Harbord Commission. Having been exposed to the avalanche of pro-Armenian propaganda as the rest of his fellow Americans, Harbord was intensely pro-Armenian. However, the fair side of him saw for the first time that there was much more to the one-sided story he had been led to believe. How much this second perspective influenced him is a matter for review, as some of the information (e.g., the Harbord Reports neglected what Niles and Sutherland had written) was suppressed. Perhaps this is understandable, given that the side he was exposed to during his fact-finding mission was primarily bigoted missionaries such as Edward Partridge and Mary Louise Graffam, both of whom have recorded their own meetings with the general.

The book excerpt will be followed by other information regarding the American general.


An American General in Sivas

None of the secret meetings of our century has changed the flow of
events as the one that took place on 22-24 September 1919 in Sivas between the American Major General James C. Harbord and Mustafa Kemal with Rauf Orbey. This event will hold its place as one of the events that gave a break to the young Republic of Turkey.

Major-General  James G. Harbord

Gen. James Harbord

  We were all anxiously waiting and yet apprehensive that General Harbord may change his mind and not stop by in Sivas and his path would take him to a country named Armenia that England, America, and France wanted to establish on our land.

America had joined the allies (England, France, Russia, and Italy that we had fought from 1914-1918. Our opponents had won the war against our allies Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria with backing from America's unbeatably strong war machine. The American Senate had approved the foundation of a new country named Armenia occupying seven Turkish provinces.

The American General had arrived in Istanbul on September 1, 1919 with 17 war ships, 9,000 marines, and a check book that allowed him to fill in 9 zeroes at a time. He also had all the privileges that General Pershing enjoyed during the war of operations in Europe. General Harbord was assigned the duty to investigate and observe the area assigned to the new Armenian State and report his findings to the Senate.

It was a real dangerous time, because the armed forces of Armenia, founded within Russia, had concentrated on Turkey's Eastern Borders.

The Turkish Nationalists living in Istanbul contacted the General
through the friendly director and teachers of Robert College and tried to strike a lightning in his mind which might have been filled with false Armenian Myth. They also alerted Mustafa Kemal who was in Sivas through Halide Edip Adivar and Huseyin Ragip Baydur's letters.

I must admit that we were surprised at the level of importance that
Mustafa Kemal gave to the American General's visit. He paid attention to how he will win over the General and convince him that we were sincerely telling him the truth. We prepared the teacher's lounge for the meetings and the Kitapcizadeler's house for sleep over.


 We were all told to wear our uniforms. We prepared a military ceremony for the guest. The small band, high officers, the Sivas governor Resit Pasa who was a husky man and looked good in his jaketay, boys and girls dressed in their fines (as much as they could afford). A boy and a girl handed over a bouquet of flowers and were taught to say "Welcome" in English. Sivas Yoruks on their horses dressed in their local costumes were placed behind them. Next to Mustafa Kemal was Huseyin Rauf Orbay whose English was impeccable and Alfred Rustem Bey who could speak 4 European languages.

Mustafa Kemal

Mustafa Kemal

The American General had traveled through an Anatolia devastated by the war. Obviously he was not expecting a well coordinated ceremony in Sivas. I still remember the look on his face. I was at the head of the troops. Rauf Bey took a few steps forward and introduced Mustafa Kemal to the American General. I noticed that General Harbord gazed in disbelief at the face of this young man who grabbed everyone's attention at first sight. I could tell that he had heard a lot about this charismatic blond man who was only 38 years old. Mustafa Kemal shook General Harbord's hand gently and directed him towards the Military line-up. When the little kids delivered the bouquet of flowers to him, General Harbord bent down to the children, looked them in the eyes as if he wanted to see the truth through them. With a smile in his lips he thanked them.

We knew how important it was to show our hospitality. We had to erase from the Westerners' mind the undeserving image affixed on the Turks as a result of an unfair propaganda. Many years later, Mustafa Kemal explained to me the importance of General Harbord's visit following the reception ceremony of the American Ambassador General Sherrill as:

"With all its potential America is a World Power. Their freedom of thought philosophy is similar to ours. If he gets to know us as we are, a great friendship could be formed between our two nations and this would be good for both our countries as well as the World peace. If we could not explain the truth to General Harbord in those days we could face irreparable damage."

The meetings between Mustafa Kemal and General Harbord took two days. It was decided that the large group of Americans would travel to Erzurum. The Armenians had run havoc in that city. Kazim Karabekir Bey assigned Husrev Gerede Bey and me the duty to accompany our American guests to Erzurum.

While we were preparing for the trip, word came from Istanbul showing how desperate the leaders in Bab-I Ali were. Padisah Vahdettin had signed on Sep 12, 1919 the agreement that left our Government at England's mercy. We were on our way to Erzurum on September 26, when the news of our country's surrender was released.

May God bless... Kara Kazim Bekir Pasha's soul, the liberator of the Eastern cities. We owe our lives to him.

Elzade Sahin, a survivor of Armenian massacres.
Read the account on this page, here.


Kazim Karabekir Pasha

Kazim Karabekir Pasha

Mustafa Kemal ordered Husrev Bey and me to show the General everything as had happened on site. We were pleased that the large American group was moving slowly, because even the surrounding villages were devastated by the Armenians. The Armenians had killed some of their own kind when they came in disagreement. Armenians were testifying to the massacres they
faced in the hands of terrorist Armenians. There were Armenians among the American group. We were selecting the Armenians to speak to them.

Kazim Karabekir Pasa greeted the American General with a ceremony similar to the one in Sivas. His translator Ali Sukru Bey's English was impeccable too. General Harbord was so impressed that he said "I did not meet soldiers who can speak English as fluently as yours do, not even in Italy."

Karekin Pastirmaciyan who was representing Erzurum at the Ottoman Meclis-I Mebusan headed the Armenians who marauded Erzurum with the advent of the Russian army. He took refuge in Russia when the Russian Army retreated. Later he took the name Armen Garo, meaning Armenian Hero. He resorted to all kinds of atrocities among the Muslims of Erzurum with the Hinchak and Dashnak soldiers of Russian origin troops that he led.

Karekin Pastirmaciyan (Armen Garo)

Karekin Pastirmaciyan, during his days
as a younger terrorist; he helped lead
the Ottoman Bank takeover in 1896.

Antranik arrived in Erzurum after Karekin Pastirmaciyan left. His
atrocities were so fierce that the Russian Occupying General Ruchevsky had to send him out of the City of Erzurum. The local Armenians who did not join Antranik were also tortured. They had escaped to the mountains and came out only after the Turkish Army arrived. Kazim Karabekir Pasa faced the American General with these sad realities. We were staying at the Dumluzade's estate on the second day of our trip when a woman dressed in Turkish attire entered the garden. We wondered who this woman was that she could travel alone.

Later we found out that she was an Armenian nurse who worked at the Merzifon American College. She had joined the Armenian forces as they were invading the city in front of the Russian Army. When she saw the atrocities they performed on the innocent civilians, she argued with them. They threatened her, so she escaped to the Russian Commander's post with two Turkish children. She served the Russians as a nurse. After our soldiers took back the city, she was protected by the families of the Turkish boys whose lives she had saved. When she found out that an American General arrived to investigate the situation on site, she paid this visit to tell him about her experiences.

There were two people of Armenian origin in the American group and the Patriarchate had assigned the General three translators of Armenian origin. Rauf and Rustem Bey in Sivas, Ali Sukru and Irfan Bey in Erzurum checked the documents that they had translated. However, one of the American Armenians in the group said in Armenian to the translators to do the translation as they please in front of this woman who was dressed up in Muslim attire. She quickly informed General Harbord of the conversation and the General kept her in his entourage until he left Erzurum.

Our mosques, schools, and even our graveyards had been ransacked. The Armenian churches, schools and graveyards remained in good shape.

James Harbord in 1930

 James Harbord in 1930 while
retiring as president of RCA

 In some Muslim villages no stone was left unturned. The Armenian districts remained untouched in return. The General could see these for himself. General Harbord traveled onward from Erzurum to Kars and all the way up to Erivan. Probably he witnessed similar signs of rebellion on his trip onward. It was the path that the Russian troops had followed.

Harbord was bid farewell in the same sincere and proud manner that he was greeted by the people who had nothing to hide. While shaking General Karabekir's hand he loudly said; "I saw the truth on location." Husrev Bey and I returned back to Sivas at the same time that General Harbord left Erzurum.


Holdwater adds: And the general deserves respect for not concealing some of these truths. Yet, the overall impression provided in his reports to the United States Congress still focused on the brutality caused by the Turks. The effect of his Armenian interpreters must have proven overwhelming, assuming Harbord managed to check most of the anti-Turkish prejudices he was not alone in being brainwashed with.

ADDENDUM, Feb. '06: A July 1921 interview of Ataturk conducted by Lt. Robert Dunn reveals that Ataturk felt Harbord failed to keep promises he had made. Dunn adds the missionary, Mary Graffam, gave the same opinion.

The Dishonesty of James Harbord


The following is from a book by Prof. Justin McCarthy, the title of which has been misplaced for the moment; the chapter is entitled, "AMERICAN INVESTIGATION OF EASTERN ANATOLIA." After criticism of other Harbord statements as "falsifications," the professor continues:

Harbord even falsified the reporting of Armenians. The Harbord mission did not go to the worst areas of wartime loss in Eastern Anatolia, and Harbord obviously realized that this was a disadvantage to his report. His statement on the Mission's travels obfuscates that fact:

All of the vilayets (provinces) of Turkish Armenia were visited except Van and Bitlis, which were inaccessible in the time available, but which have been covered by Captain Niles, an army officer who inspected them on horseback in August, and whose report corroborates our observations in the neighboring regions.35 (Footnote: Harbord in 184,02102/5, p. 2.)

In reality, saying "all the vilayets of Turkish Armenia were visited except Van and Bitlis" is deceptive, because even areas of northeastern Anatolia had been visited only by sub-groups of the Commission. The sub-groups were usually led by Sherkerjian or Khachadoorian (who drew up reports of the sub-groups). More deceptive, Harbord's statement on Captain Niles' investigation of Van and Bitlis, the provinces where Muslims had suffered the most at the hands of Armenians, was completely false. Captain Niles had assuredly visited those provinces and had written a report, but his report did not agree with that of Harbord. Most of its conclusions were opposed to Harbord's , but Harbord did not include a copy of Niles' report with his, nor was it to be found anywhere in the printed Mission reports.

The report of Captain Niles was in reality the only one of the American reports that can be considered neutral.  


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