Vahan Kartashian has lived in the United States and has always worked for the independence of Armenia. In the interest of an independent Armenian state, he lobbied alone in the United States.

Kartashyan was born in 1883 in Caesarea (the present city of Kayseri), then he moved to the United States and married an American woman. He was admitted to Yale Law School, where he began writing while still a student. After graduation, he got a job at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, but soon learned that his mother and sister had been victims of the Armenian genocide. Using his official position, he tried to secretly warn others of the impending atrocities, but the Turkish ambassador found out and fired Kartashian from his job.

Vahan Kartashian established the American Committee for Armenian Independence and lobbied leading circles in the United States for Armenian independence. Many well-known Americans were included in the committee, helping to bring the issues to the upper echelons of the American authorities.

 Kartashian continued to press for the extension of the U.S. mandate to Armenia and the Armenian provinces of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. This, he and many others believed, would prevent a future Russian and Turkish attack. As a result of the attack of the Turkish army led by Mustafa Kemal from the west and the Russian army from the north, Armenia was subdued and forced to accept Soviet supremacy, becoming part of the newly created state. Until the end of his life, however, Kartashian continued to put all his energy into the service of independent Armenia.

The American Committee for Armenian Independence became the basis for the lobbying activities of subsequent generations of Armenian Americans, later evolving into one of the most influential Armenian American organizations today, known as the Armenian National Committee of America