Vahan Cardashian: Advocate Extraordinaire for the Armenian Cause’
Compiled by Vartkes Yeghiayan
400 pp. CAR Publishing, $25.00
The new book “Vahan Cardashian: Advocate Extraordinaire for the Armenian Cause,” compiled by Attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan, offers the discriminating reader an eye-opening, jaw-dropping experience. This work finally reveals America’s role in the Armenian Genocide. It also exposes America’s ultimate calculated betrayal of the Armenian Cause.
Attorney Vahan Cardashian (1883-1934) was a Classical Hero who came out of nowhere, engaged in a Sisyphean struggle against the most powerful forces in human affairs, and paid the ultimate price by dying young from a broken political heart. His cause in life was the Armenian Cause, a Cause that America championed only to discard it soon after for economic self-interests.three decades from 1908 until his death in 1934, American Citizen and Armenian Patriot Vahan Cardashian grappled with the most vital values and issues in the history of humankind
The book discloses that nine months before the Armenian Genocide began on April 1915, the New York-based attorney sounded the following warning in a letter to then U.S. Secretary of War the Honorable Lindley M. Garrison: “I have information, bearing on the program of the Turkish Government, to be put into operation in the event of Turkey’s being involved in the European War with reference to all the native and foreign Christians in Turkey . . . Unless some powerful restraining forces are brought into play from without, you can rest assured that the Turk, with the opportunity for untrammeled action, such as he now believes to enjoy, will perpetrate upon helpless humanity the most ghastly horrors of his entire loathsome career.”
Cardashian’s clarion call, however, was dismissed outright. And the rest is tragic history.
This book describes how Cardashian, undeterred by this callous snub, continued his advocacy to prod successive American administrations to fulfill their original promises to the Armenian People. He was outraged at the fact that so soon after the Genocide, the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government was establishing relations with Turkey based on Modus Vivendi. With great resolve, Cardashian single-handedly rallied thousands of clergy and various politicians and successfully persuaded the United States Senate not to ratify the Lausanne Treaty.
In Part I, John R. Mardick presents a compelling cradle to the grave biography of Cardashian’s career in the United States. In Part III, “Vahan Cardashian: An Unfinished Odyssey,” using additional materials gathered from the U.S. National Archives and The New York Times, Vartkes Yeghiayan acquaints us with the legal-political battles that Cardashian waged until his premature death in 1934, at the age of fifty.
Parts IV and V present two seminal memoranda that Cardashian himself wrote as the founder and driving force of ACIA, the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia. They are: “A 1921 Memorandum to the President on Armenia,” and “In Support of An Application for a Hearing by the U.S. Senate Upon the Lausanne Treaty: Mosul Oil and Armenia.”
In addition to his writings, Cardashian also edited a booklet under the title, “The Lausanne Treaty, Turkey and Armenia,” with essays by Henry Morgenthau, Wartime Ambassador James Gerard, Rev. Manning, Vahan Cardashian and others.
Lastly, Part VIII presents Cardashian’s final legal argument, “A Memorandum to the Secretary of State on a Proposed Statement on Armenia’s International Rights.” Collectively, these writings offer an invaluable tool to examine the Armenian Cause from multiple perspectives. Unfortunately, Cardashian’s mission still remains unaccomplished. The Ideologies, Strategies and Tactics against which he battled are still with us today. In these dark days of history, when the power of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code trumps even in America, and a mild, non-binding Resolution such as H.R. 106 is not even allowed a debate in Congress, the clear and strong voice of Cardashian heard in this compilation must again ring out loudly throughout all the corridors of power.
The reader is warned that this book is not easy reading. Cardashian’s three memoranda in this collection deserve repeated and careful examination. This is not because they are brilliantly argued and written works, but because the issues that Cardashian grappled with decades ago are as relevant and current as the price of a barrel of oil, which today is selling for over $101.
Here are Cardashian’s final thoughts on Armenian-American bi-lateral relations:
“I, therefore, have recourse to you, Sir, as President of the United States and, under the Constitution, the repository of final authority in all such matters, and to party of you one of the following three suggested courses of action:
That you recommend to the Senate of the United States a hearing upon the Lausanne Treaty, at which all the facts of the relations of the United States Government, and its officials, to Armenia and to the Ottoman Government in connection with the Armenian question, shall be investigated;
That you direct your Secretary of State to accept the invitation which has been extended to the United States Government to submit the points at issue between the United States and Armenia to the adjudication of the Permanent Tribunal of Arbitration at the Hague:
That, if this shall not seem to you the course imposed upon the Government of the United States by indubitable considerations of honor and justice, at least you appoint a court of three or five Americans, chosen by yourself, to hear the facts and render a decision.
I respectfully submit, Sir, the question of the moral and legal responsibility of the United States towards the martyred millions of Armenia, formerly the Allies of the United States in the late war, is one which can no longer be evaded with honor; and I venture to invite your consideration of the fact that, in the event that one of the three courses suggested above is not adopted, the judgment of history cannot fail to pronounce the charges contained in my letters to Senator Borah above referred to, and twice embodied in Resolutions presented to the United States Senate, to be well founded. Vahan Cardashian”
“Vahan Cardashian: Advocate Extraordinaire for the Armenian Cause” compiled by Vartkes Yeghiayan can be purchased from CAR Publishing, Armenian Bookstores, National Booksellers, and on the Internet, at www.centerar.org.