ASIA MINOR DIVIDED BY SECRET TREATIES
France and England Agreed Upon Zones of Assistance to the Liberated People.
RUSSIA ONCE INCLUDED
She Was to Get Constantinople, but Not Now-Treaties Otherwise Considered Still Alive.
By CHARLES A. SELDEN.
Copyright, 1919, by The New York Times Company.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
PARIS, Jan. 2.-What Foreign Minister Pichon referred to in his recent speech in the Chamber of Deputies as " more recent contracts " between England and France, by which French rights were established in Asia Minor, was a group of secret treaties made by England and France at London in 1916 and another group, made by England, France, and Russia at Petrograd in 1917, just before the Russian Revolution.
According to the London treaties, France has control of all of Syria and Lebanon and part of Armenia, and England in Mesopotamia. Arabia is to be an independent kingdom. Palestine is to have an international administration. All such portions of Asia Minor covered by these treaties as are now part of Turkey are to be taken from Turkey altogether and determination of the exact boundaries of the reduced Turkish area left to the Peace Conference. The peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, and Mesopotamia are to have forms of government of their own choosing, with France and England acting as advisors in their respective spheres of control.
A French authority on these matters, who explained the gist of the treaties to me, laid emphasis on the fact that the word "control" is to be understood strictly in the French sense, rather than the British.
"That is to say," he continued, "France does not propose to dominate, or have protectorates, or assume rights of colonial Government over Syria and Lebanon, but merely to assist and advise those peoples in the management of their own interior politics. We have a perfect right to do this, for we have helped these countries since the time of the Crusades in the tenth century. We have schools and many interests in them.
"What we propose now is something entirely new in relations between small and great nations. We do not speak of zones of control, or dominion or spheres of influence, but rather of zones of assistance. It is necessary to have some such supervisory assistance, because there are so many different races in these countries that it would be fatal to allow any one of them to dominate the others.
"The treaty of 1917, to which Russia was a party, is now invalid so far as Russia is concerned , because of that country's collapse. The treaty provided that Constantinople was to go to Russia. As it is now, the future status of Constantinople will be fixed by the Peace Conference.
"Other provisions of the Petrograd treaty, pertaining to England and France, still stand. They, too, have to do with our areas of assistance in Asia Minor."
I asked my informant what Pichon meant when he said France recognized the rights of the Peace Conference on this subject of Asia Minor. He replied;
"That means that France recognizes the right of the conference to have a voice in the concrete application of the principles involved in these Asia Minor agreements. The principles themselves and the spirit of these treaties are already in accord with President Wilson's principles. By application of them I mean actual determination of boundaries and zones of assistance in Syria, Lebanon, and the other regions involved."