Tijdelijk zaakgelastigde Londen Michiels van Verduynen aan minister van BZ Van Karnebeek

Londen, 28 April 1920.
[gestempeld met: ingekomen Buitenl. Zaken -1 MEI. 1920, Exh: 3 Mei 1920, Kabt. No. 9]

Nº 816/344

Zijner Excellentie den Heere Minister van Buitenlandsche Zaken 's Gravenhage

In mijn bericht van 24 dezer, No. 780/329, schreef ik Uwer Excellentie onder meer over de weigering van den Raad van den Volkenbond om een mandaat voor Armenië op zich te nemen, hetwelk hem was aangeboden door den Oppersten Raad.

De Raad van den Volkenbond heeft gemeend niet in staat te zijn dit mandaat op zich te nemen en heeft zijne weigering om het te aanvaarden uiteengezet in een memorandum, dat aan den Oppersten Raad is toegezonden.

Toen de pers is gaan vermelden, dat den Volkenbond het mandaat over Armenië was aangeboden, doch dat deze dit had geweigerd, heeft de Volkenbond aan den Oppersten Raad verzocht het memorandum te publiceeren, daar hij de openbare meening in kennis wilde stellen met de redenen, welke tot die weigering geleid hadden.

De Opperste Raad heeft om onbekende en onbegrijpelijke redenen tot die publicatie niet willen overgaan.

De Raad van den Volkenbond heeft daarom zelf het meergenoemd memorandum openbaar gemaakt, waarvan Uwe Excellentie den tekst hiernevens gelieve aan te treffen, welke heden ochtend in de dagbladen is verschenen.

De tijdelijk Zaakgelastigde,

F. Michiels van Verduynen

[handgeschreven aantekening]
Kennisgeving

[bijlage, knipsel uit krant]

The Memorandum states that Lord Curzon in a telegram of March 12 inquired whether the League would agree to take the new Republic of Armenia under its protection—presumably under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League. After expressing its full accord with the Supreme Council as to the claims of the Armenian nation, and declaring that the establishment of an Armenian State is an obligation of humanity, the Council of the League points out that the League is not a State, that it has as yet no finances and no army and that its action upon public opinion would be fainter in Asia Minor than in the more civilized regions of Europe. Further, it contends that the stipulations of Article 22 do not, contemplate the acceptance or exercise of a mandate by the League itself. Nor is such acceptance or exercise compatible with the League's supervision of the various mandates entrusted to certain Powers. It concludes that the future of the Armenian nation could be best secured by giving the mandate to a member of the League or to a Power willing to accept the supervision of the League. But until the intentions of the Supreme Council on certain fundamental joints are clearly defined, it would be difficult for the Council of the League to ascertain whether any Power would undertake the mandate. It then proceeds to formulate these points as follows:—

1. The Government of the Armenian Republic will require substantial advances in order to secure in an exhausted country the services essential to every State. Without these essential advances the independent Republic of Armenia cannot be constituted under satisfactory conditions.

The Council of the League of Nations is of the opinion that it would not be fair to expect the Member of the League invited to exercise a Mandate for Armenia to assume the financial responsibilities involved in such a Mandate; nor is it probable that any member of the League would accept a Mandate under such conditions.

The League of Nations possesses no financial resources of its own. The Council is disposed to recommend the Assembly to guarantee such a loan from all the countries members of the League of Nations. Until the decision of the Assembly can be taken the Council desires to know whether the Supreme Council of the Allies is prepared to make the necessary advances or to give a provisional financial guarantee to the independent Republic of Armenia.

2. A large part of the territory of the independent Republic of Armenia is at present under the domination of the Ottoman Empire and is occupied by the Turkish Army. The League of Nations having no military force at its disposal is not in a position to compel the Turks to evacuate the territory of the Armenian Republic. The Council of the League would be glad to know whether the Allied Powers are prepared to assure to the Republic of Armenia, if necessary by force, the restitution of the territories formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire and now to be assigned to the Republic of Armenia.

Even when the territory of Armenia has been freed from Turkish troops there may for some considerable period still be need for military forces beyond the resources of a Mandatory Power. The Council of the League would wish to be informed whether, in these circumstances, the Supreme Council of the Allies is prepared to provide for the defence of Armenian territory until it can be assured by other means.

3. Any member of the League of Nations who may be invited to accept a Mandate for Armenia will doubtless desire to know what, if any, arrangements have been made by the draft Treaty of Peace with Turkey to secure free access to the sea for the independent Armenian Republic, and this not only in the interests of Armenia herself, but in order that full facilities of communication between the Armenian Republic and the Mandatory Power may be assured. The Council of the League trusts, therefore, that the Supreme Council of the Allies may find it possible to notify their intention both as regards the port of Batum and as to the measures which will be taken to assure the future protection not only of the town, but also of the lines of communication between the port and the territory of the Armenian Republic.

Should the Supreme Council of the Allies find it possible to give the Council of the League adequate assurances on these points, the Council of the League will then undertake informal inquiries with a view to ascertaining whether any member of the League would be prepared to accept a mandate for Armenia under the above conditions. If these inquiries have a favourable result, the Council of the League will invite the member concerned to communicate immediately with the Supreme Council of the Allies in order to obtain the requisite information relating to such essential questions as the future boundaries of Armenia and the régime to be applied to the neighbouring States.

4. The Council does not conceal its opinion that by far the best solution of the Armenian question would be the acceptance of a mandate for Armenia by one of the civilized Powers. Such a solution would be acceptable to Armenia, conformable to the general diplomatic arrangements on which the Covenant of the League of Nations is based, and likely to be more conducive than any other plan to the efficient organization of the new State. The Council would do its best to facilitate such an arrangement by recommending to the Assembly of the League that it should endeavour to obtain collectively from the countries of which it is composed the necessary financial guarantees for the mandatory State.

It is possible, however, that these negotiations might fail. It is conceivable, though it is to be hoped not probable, that no State would be willing to assume the responsibilities of a mandate for Armenia. In that event the Council of the League would not cease to interest itself in the fate of Armenia. On the contrary, it would be prepared to discuss in conjunction with the Supreme Council whether, in that unfortunate event, other measures could be devised for the protection of the Armenian State.

Bron: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken: Kabinet en Protocol, 1871 - 1940, nummer toegang 2.05.18, inventarisnummer 47/110.

Colofon