From unpublished memoirs of the Prime Minister of the Caucasian Armenian Republic Alexander Khatisyan
(Excerpt from the new book of Doctor of Sciences, Professor Vladimir Harutyunyan)
.. If I were to transmit our meetings, visits, and conversations with all diplomats, ministers, journalists, and public figures step by step and day by day, it would turn out to be a giant volume of what was the report of our delegation presented to the Government of Armenia after returning to Erivan.
Therefore, for greater clarity of presentation, I presented our contacts with all those groups with whom we communicated.
These groups were: The Council of Ministers headed by Great Vizier Talaat Pasha, the Minister of War-Generalissimo Enver Pasha and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Missilem Bey, foreign ambassadors, of which there were three of the warring powers: from Germany – Benkendorf, from Austria-Hungary-Marquis Palavinsky and from Bulgaria-Kolikhev, from neutral powers -the ambassador of Persia and the Swedish envoy, the Young Turk Committee, the Armenian and Turkish press and Turkish politicians, such as the chairman of the Senate, the famous Ahmed Riza and the former editor of Takini, the vice-president of the Parliament Huseyn Jahid Bey, Head of the Trebizon delegation of Turkey Rauf Bey and many others.
In addition, Enver Pasha introduced us to the Sultan, with whom we talked about the Armenian issue.
At the same time, according to the instructions received, members of the delegation of the Armenian National Council Hamo Ohanjanyan and Arshak Zurabyan, who have already received powers from the Government of the Republic of Armenia, presented everything necessary to the German government, and also communicated with the Ambassador of Bolshevik Russia to Germany Joffe.
These are the areas with which the Armenian delegation had relations and contacts in Constantinople for four months.
During our first conversation with Khalil Bey, we encountered an objection to the fact that all states began their existence from small territories and developed over time.
Greece, which began its existence with a population of 400,000 people, and Belgium, which had 6 million people and a 30.000km area, in the case of the territory, two were especially often mentioned.
When the meetings on zemstvo issues resumed in the Palace in 1916, the issue of Armenian territories became relevant for Armenians.
I was a member of this consultation.
We have been striving hard to create territories with a dense Armenian population.
The only way to achieve this was to carry out an administrative division, that is, to change the borders between states and provinces.
This work, that is, the preparation of the theory of this question, was carried out after the death of our friend A.Shahatuni.
He published his work-an important and impressive work for understanding the issue of Armenian territories in the Caucasus.
For the fundamental processing of the issue of the Armenian territories, we created a commission, which included Christopher Vermishev, Shahatuni and me.
Levon Mantashev provided 20,000 rubles for these works and after careful research, the work was completed.
The draft “border redistribution” was the basis of all of our speeches in the House of Commons on the Transformation of State Boundaries, in particular. We sought to cut off Lori and Akhalkalak from the Tibilisi region, Zangezur and Karabakh from the Elizavetpol region, and Kars and Kagzman districts from the Kars region, and in this case, a strong national territory with a dense and majority Armenian population was created – the Armenian territory.
What the Turks were doing, artificially diluting the density of the Armenian population in six vilayets and ensuring that Armenians did not form a majority in any of them, the same was done by the tsarist authorities in the Caucasus.
The Turks distributed the borders of the vilayets in such a way that Armenians did not make up more than 38% of the population in any vilayet, which gave them the right to claim that Armenians do not make up the majority in any of the six vilayets.
Therefore, the issue of Armenian territories was extremely painful. The steps aimed at solving it later cost a lot of blood, but without these steps, there would haven’t been the Armenian Republic of the Caucasus – neither democratic nor Soviet.
The main Armenian territories were Erivan province, Kara region and part of Elizavetpol province:
In Erivan province there were 1,114,498 inhabitants, of which Armenians-669,871, Kars region-404,305 inhabitants, of which Armenians-123,170, in Elizavetpol province-1,275,131 inhabitants, of which Armenians-418,859, the population of Tibilisi province was 1,472,308 people, of which 411,747 were Armenians.
Armenians were everywhere present as a powerful element, but the absolute majority (about 60%) were only in the Erivan province, and not in all provinces.
In general, in Transcaucasia, Muslims accounted for 42.02% of the total population, Georgians -20.89%, Armenians-22.92.
The number of Armenians in Transcaucasia was 1.803.556 people, Georgians – 1.651.378 people.
In the case of the changed borders, already in the case of the Armenian Republic of the Caucasus, when we did not take into account the borders of the former Russian states, a completely different statistical picture was obtained. In 1917, within the borders of the Armenian Republic of the Caucasus, as we theoretically imagined them, 2,159,000 people should have been found, of which 66%, that is, 1,416,000 Armenians, 31%, that is, 670,000 Muslims, 3% – 73,000 people -representatives of other nations.
Even in this case, there were still 494,000 Armenians outside Armenia, in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and in the North Caucasus.
But in order to get such a picture, it was necessary to restructure the administrative borders.
In the palace they talked about it very often and for a very long time.
But in 1916, in the Palace under the tsarist government, we did not talk about the ” Armenian national space”.
We talked about the reasons related to climate, movement, agriculture, and irrigation, which cause the need to revise the existing administrative boundaries.
Everyone silently understood each other, but no one was going to call by its name.
Tatars were against the revision of borders, Georgians too.
But this thought was very deep in us.
Back in 1905-1906, during the Armenian-Tatar clashes, there was a deaf struggle for the creation of large national territories and linking them with each other in safe and secure ways.
That is why I felt it necessary to convey this important information, starting in 1905 and ending in 1916 so that it would be clear what serious questions and disputes erupted in 1917-1918, which were deaf and silent ten years ago.
And in 1918, in Constantinople, we tried many times to build the borders of Armenia in such a way as to be able to accommodate as many Caucasian Armenians as possible within them.
This has been the basis of our work here.
In the future, the works devoted to these issues have expanded.
Currently, all of them are published in Paris in the form of an edition of the Delegation of the Republic of Armenia in separate four volumes.
But the Turks knew about all our projects and deliberately opposed them.
They did not want the creation and establishment of Armenia.
They needed Karabakh-Zangezur itself to connect Nakhichevan with Baku, and they needed Akhalkalak-Lori so that they could travel from Kars and Akhaltsikhe to Kazakh-Elizavetpol.
During this competition, the truth itself was hidden, since the Turks did not want to reveal their projects and maps.
However, when we had already prepared our data, drawings, and border designs, which took about a month and a half from June to July, we saw that Georgians and Tatars included the same regions in their borders.
An internal conflict was already brewing here, which later escalated into the Armenian-Georgian, Armenian-Azerbaijani, and Georgian-Azerbaijani wars.
This conflict is still not over today.