"We were told Peace is done" as we can read in Elie's notebook. However, the French who came in Cilicia to administer it are severely attacked and besieged.
In February 1920, French army evacuated Marache. In April, the French garrison of Ourfa, short of food and ammunition, leaves the city to join Adana. They are massacred on the road, April 11th. Only three survivors will testify.
In May, the French are still in Adana and in the plain of Cilicia, up Bozanti, protecting as much as they can Armenians still alive. They are fighting to keep their positions, but they understand that the power of the Sultan is highly disputed. Will the Revolution which is begining go till the end? From 21 to 23 May 1920, France sends a mission to Angora (Ankara today) to start negotiations with the rebels and their leader. In the report of the "Mission Angora" (SHD 4H58), I found a portrait of Mustafa Kemal and his close friends, from the pen of Captain Mazen.
The Captain himself transcribed the names of people from what he heard. The adoption of the Latin alphabet by the Turks is later.
An ink stain on the front page hides few words.
The immediate goal of our trip to Angora was relationship with the Turkish nationalists, to negotiate with them the cessation of hostilities, fighting no longer serve any purpose in Cilicia, because we need and want to evacuate this province, we propose certain measures in return political and military to healing and preparing the gradual return of Cilicia under Ottoman sovereignty. But there our views were not limited.
Make appeasement in Cilicia, remove any misunderstanding, it was creating favourable conditions for a lasting rapprochement of France and the nationalists, bringing benefits to both parties; it was giving nationalists the opportunity to prove their authority … and was preparing in a certain… (splash) the government of Angora, and give France an opportunity to intervene on his behalf among the Allies. The cessation of hostilities and the settlement of the issue in Cilicia should be, on our point of view, only the prelude, the occasion and the condition of a political understanding of a much larger scope.
Indeed, the government of Angora was sympathetic to the good offices that France offered him (on this view, sending a personality so authorized as Mr de Caix has been pleased effects), but without ignoring the interests, it has consistently refused to enter for the time being in view of broad agreement that we were exhibiting. He had wanted to make, in return for future policy benefits, no immediate military concession. He only had confidence in the positive and tangible facts to the exclusion of any promise.
"What I saw about nationalism"
MUSTAFA KEMAL is a young man (he is about 40). By his allure, he is almost a young man. Medium-sized man, but very simply properly dressed in a khaki suit, good cut, supple shirt, knitted stockings and black shoes, he differs slightly in his implementation, many deputies of Angora. Only a bulky golden brown fur hat which crosses his forehead, of which he would almost never separate, is quite characteristic by its dimension, by its flared up form, and by its color. I have not seen another such hat, and when the pasha, hat on the head, opens solemnly in his chair, the first negotiating session, I imagine a bishop presiding over a ceremony mitre on head.
Only in the last day, the ceremonial device having not withstood the length and the liveliness of the discussions, that Mustafa, warmed up, left his hat for a moment. We must recognize that he did not gain. The bare skull causes a painful surprise. Undressing the Pontiff, Mustafa Kemal is a very small young man whatsoever. Oh! How far may we evoke the majesty of pashas of the Past!
The fur clear hat of Mustafa Kemal matches perfectly with his type surprisingly slavic. The complexion is clear, brown fair hair, eyes large and very blue, traits highly charged, prominent cheekbones, a little as the tartare, similar to the hair and brush cut moustache. On the whole complexion fairly open, but that breathes especially energy.
I would not be surprised that such an energy go, if necessary, to the most extreme resolutions… .. And even a bit beyond. His look very clear, very cold, and also not perfectly right, is very hard. Rarely he focusses on something.
Mustafa Kemal is not lacking intelligence, but his intelligence is simple, anchored in a small number of ideas, on which he returns repeatedly, and of which, moreover, he does not seem to have exhausted all perspectives. He lacks broad overviews. The spirit is strong, precise, but lacks subtlety. He speaks with force and not without skill. In short, he's a straightforward, a little primitive, imposed by his energy, common sense, simplicity and clarity of his ideas.
For as he is, he is the ringleader. We were told that his advisors have on him a huge influence, and even he was a sort of stooge of whom others were moving spirit; it is not true, and spending time with him, we were quickly convinced that it was he who, while affecting to consult his entourage, as it suits in a constitutional government, he imposes to anybody his direction. His personality is also asserting more and more, and those who knew him, a few months ago, very simple, very affordable, barely recognize him now that his power is asserted, as he has become authoritarian, difficult character and willingly pontificating.
First favorites, those who have the great honour to stay in his house :
DJELLA LEDINNE ARIF. Former president of the chamber, at Constantinople, and vice president at Angora, a former student of "Sciences Politiques" in Paris (1898), big, fat, unctuous, smooth talker of the band, speaking as well in Turkish as in French that he speaks quite remarkably. Spirit open, fairly subtle, very close to our way of thinking, he is demonstrating for our country what seems sincere sympathy. Very quietly, has always sought (without compromising too) to sort things out. It is to him that we addressed in the delicate issues because of its magnitude (intellectual) and its goodwill towards us. Is in all respects opposed to the next.
ISMET BEY. Staff chief of the Army, tight as well on physical than on psychological point of view. Unable to rise up to large views, but he drowns in details. Pernickety, mistrustful and liking bickering; often by his intemperate speeches and the narrowness of his views, he hampered negotiations and he is the leading cause of the difficulties encountered. Deaf as a pot. He talks on French very well.
Missis HALIDEY EDIB HANOUM. Woman of Letters in charge of the section of war prisoners and charity. Woman intelligent and enjoyable, with nationalist sentiments very exalted, sentenced to death in Constantinople for its nationalist propaganda very active. She is the party's égérie, the charm of the Pacha's table. Polyglot, she made her education among Americans and she admires them.
Mustafa Kemal's staff
The staff is embryonic; three or four young officers with disparate dressing, but generally speaking French, one or two have a little experience in Germany.
FEVZY PACHA. Formerly Minister of War in Constantinople, is now in the national government. He is silent and hard working, a scholar, as said. Good big Turk seems well prepared for us. Speaks French, as we believe, but rather plays mute character.
BEKIR SAMI BEY. Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in a mission, officially in Sivas, but probably in the Caucasus. Great reputation for subtlety and intelligence.
All the rest of the official characters of Angora seem count very little. In the wings in Constantinople IZZET PACHA, moderate, Francophile, with who we correspond secretly.