The Call. September 1919

British Troops in the Caucasus


Source: “British Troops in the Caucasus” The Call, 4 September 1919, p.7;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.


The Commission of the Second International, sitting in Lucerne, has passed the following resolution

“’the International Conference, shocked at the renewed massacre of the Armenian population, asserts the necessity of putting an ‘’end to this outrage against humanity, and requests that the British Army of Occupation be not withdrawn, and that it may remain until its withdrawal has been finally decided upon by the League of Nations.”

THE PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT.

On August 18th, Lloyd George, in the House of Commons, said:

“We have been urged to withdraw troops, and it is said that the withdrawal of troops and demobilisation are the only methods to secure immediate reduction: but the other day I was amazed to get a letter from the International Labour Conference, sitting at Lucerne, which represented Socialists of all ranks. What was their suggestion? Was it that we should demobilise; was it that we should reduce of armaments; was it that we should clear out from countries which were not our own and leave the people to self-determination? Not at all. It was a resolution angrily complaining that British troops were withdrawing from the Caucasus. We have a division and a half there, and it is costing us millions. Speaking roughly, I should not be a bit surprised if it costs us about 30,000,000 a year, with shipping and everything else. America appeals to us not to withdraw, the International Socialists appeal to us not to withdraw.”

The British troops in the Caucasus are a support to Denikin’s rear, and facilitate the supply of munitions, etc., to him.

THIS IS HOW THE PEOPLE OF THE CAUCASUS REGARD DENIKIN:-

The Swiss Socialist daily, “La Feuille,” July 22nd, published this statement issued by the Circassian-Press Bureau of July 11th:

“Throughout the Caucasus a grave struggle between Denikin and the North Caucasian Republic is the order of the day. His army is composed in great part of officers of the old regime. He is abundantly supplied by the Entente with arms, war material and munitions. A lively agitation is spreading amongst the Caucasian population. The Circassian Government has addressed a strong protest to the Allied representatives. It was read in the Parliament by M. Kozof, the premier, in the following terms:-

“During the whole period of our government we have taken part neither for nor against Russia. We have given assistance to all those who sought a refuge with up. Russia, on the word of Russians themselves, can only nourish feelings of gratitude towards us.

“We had the right to expect that Denikin’s army of volunteers would entertain no aggressive designs towards us. We were deceived.

“We do not want war. We have made many concessions. General Denikin demands not only that we should recognise his authority, but requires us to furnish him with troops. The people of Daghestan, for example, have been asked to supply. 3 regiments of cavalry, 8 of infantry, and 3 squadrons of artillery, all fully equipped.

The Premier concluded by declaring that all the Caucasian people are agreed that they must fight to the end against the common enemy. The declaration of war, followed by mobilisation of all men between the ages of 18 and 40, has been notified to the Allies’ representative in the Caucasus, who, on his side, has asked the forces of the Circassian Republic to remain on the defensive.

“This new conquest of the Caucasus undertaken by the ‘black general’ – for so Denikin is generally called – has put all the other Caucasian Republics in a ferment – Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan. All strongly protest against the invasion of Denikin’s volunteers.”

The “Everyman Encyclopaedia” says of the Armenian atrocities :-

“The advanced party amongst the Armenians determined to try to produce disturbances such as those that had given place to Bulgaria, and so gain their object. Steeped in Nihilistic tendencies, they formed various secret societies, such as the Huntchagist, and carried on an active propaganda in Turkish Armenia. .... exasperated by their lack of progress, the emissaries of the revolutionaries on January 5th. 1893, posted revolutionary placards at Yuz-gat, and on the walls of the American College at Marsivan ... Outbreaks followed at Kaiserieh and elsewhere, but were easily suppressed. In the summer of 1893 an emissary was captured near Mush,and a raid was made on the district by the Kurdish Irregular Horse, acting on the orders of the Governor. The Armenians held their own, both then, and again when they were attacked in the Spring of 1894. The Sultan then issued a firman calling upon all loyal subjects to aid in suppressing the revolt, and regular troops were called up from Erzengan. A massacre of a most brutal character ensued....’

This indicates that the Armenian atrocities started because the Armenians revolted against their rulers, and the Turks have as much reason to interfere in India, Egypt, or Ireland, as the British have in Armenia. At the present time Soviet Russia has declared complete freedom for the part of Armenia which is in Russia. The Armenian workers have more to fear from the powerful Allies than from the weak Governments of Turkey and of Persia, the latter is now completely dominated by Britain.

The “Everyman Encyclopaedia” further says of Armenia:-

“It does not exist politically, being shared between Turkey, Persia, and Russia. . .. The country stands as an open doorway between the East and, the West. It connects the Iranian plateau with the protected harbours and fruit-lands of Asia Minor, and nations have striven for its possession from the remotest periods of antiquity .... At the close of the Russo-Turkish war, Ardahan and Kars were ceded to Russia by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878, thereby adding 6,687 square miles and 271,000 persons to Russian suzerainty. .... Great Britain on this occasion secretly guaranteed that Turkey should retain her Asiatic possessions. ....

The occupation of Armenia gives to the British control of Batum, and with it the direct steamship route to Constantinople and through the Dardanelles, and the main trade routes around the world. Batum, too, is the terminus of the Trans-Caucasian Railway to Baku, which is not only the centre for the great oil wells, but has direct railway communication across the Caspian Sea to Krasnovoelsk, which is the terminus of the railway across Russia to Turkestan.

The People’s Russian Information Bureau.