Vanad kirjad savil ja paberil


Tartu Ülikooli Kunstimuuseumist
leiab tähelepanelik vaataja Eestis ainulaadsed eksponaadid – Mesopotaamia ehk tänase Iraagi aladelt pärinevad väikesed kiilkirjatahvlid ja lõvikujukese, mil vanust kuni 4000 aastat. Need on kindral Johan Laidoneri kingitus Tartu Ülikoolile.

Sedavõrd vanadel esemetel on jutustada mitmeid lugusid. Tuhandeid aastaid vanad muistised avaldavad meile paljutki põnevat Mesopotaamia vanade kultuuride kohta. Vähem tuntud on iidsete saviesemete Eestisse ja Tartu Ülikooli sattumise lugu, mis avaneb meile kindral Johan Laidoneri tegevuse ja kirjade kaudu.

Ost mustalt turult

1925. aasta oktoobrist detsembrini viibis kindral Johan Laidoner Iraagi-Türgi piirikonflikti lahendava Rahvasteliidu komisjoni juhina Iraagis, täpsemalt Mosulis. Rahvasteliidu komisjoni töö tulemusena otsustati Mosul jätta Iraagile. Seoses päevakajaliste sündmustega Iraagis 2003. aasta kevadel pälvis Laidoneri kunagine viibimine sealkandis ka ajakirjanduses tähelepanu, seepärast Laidoneri tööl Rahvasteliidu komisjonis siinkohal pikemalt ei peatuks. Rohkem huvitavad meid Laidoneri tähelepanekud võõra maa kultuurist ja ajaloost. Pikal reisil nähtust ja kogetust annavad meile aimu kindrali kirjad abikaasale ja pojale, mida säilitatakse Riigiarhiivis.

Mosulist saadetud kirjas abikaasa Mariale 5. novembrist 1925 märgib Laidoner, et on ostnud mõned antiikesemed: kirja savist ümbrikus, pitsati ja lõvi Assurist. Tänapäeva mõistes on tegemist mustalt turult ehk n-ö röövkaevamiselt saadud esemetega. Laidoner mainib oma kirjades, et ametlikke väljakaevamisi Iraagis peaaegu ei toimu, täiesti mõeldamatu oli see kohtades, kus moshee kunagise assüüria palee künkale ehitatud. Harrastusarheoloogide salajastelt uuristusretkedelt pärinesid arvatavasti ka Laidoneri ostetud esemed.

Kingitus ülikoolile

Mõned ostetud muististest – kirja savist ümbrikus, lõvikujukese ja väiksema sumeri kiilkirjatahvlikese, mille omandamise kohta Laidoneri kirjades kahjuks märkmeid ei ole – kinkis Laidoner varsti pärast reisilt naasmist Tartu Ülikoolile. 1926. aasta veebruarikuine Päevaleht (28.veebruar 1926) avaldas annetust tutvustava väikese kirjutise üsna trafaretse pealkirja all – “Kindral Laidoneri annetus Tartu Ülikoolile”. Ülikooli valitsus vastas kinkijale kirjaga, milles tänati härra kindralit, et ta suure ülesande täitmise kõrvalt aega leidis vanadest kultuuridest mälestisi ülikoolile muretseda.

Esemed anti üle Tartu Ülikooli Klassikalisele Muinasteaduse Instituudile ning sealtkaudu instituudi hallatavasse ülikooli kunstimuuseumi, tollal Klassikalise Muinasteaduse Muuseumi. Kas ja kuidas olid esemed tollases muuseumis vaatajaile eksponeeritud, on hetkel raske öelda. Sattusid nad ju klassikaliste filoloogide hoole alla, kelle põhihuvidest sumeri ja assüüria kultuurid kaugemale jäid. Assürioloogiaga tegeldi mingil määral usuteaduskonnas seoses vanade keelte ja tekstidega. Kiilkirjaoskajaid erialateadlasi noorukeses rahvusülikoolis siiski nappis. Mil määral kirjatahvleid tollal uurida püüti, ei oska samuti öelda. Meie teadmised kingitud muististe sisu ja väärtuse kohta pärinevad hilisemast ajast, mil nad on köitnud uurijate tähelepanu.

Laidoneri annetust tutvustavas Päevalehe artiklis osutatakse küll huvitavale faktile, nagu oleks assüüria kirjatahvel ümbrikusse suletud ning sealt veel välja võtmata, avamisakt võivat toimuda vaid teatud juhul ja annetaja nõusolekul. See sunnib arvama, et ehk oli ümbrik algul kuidagi suletud või vähemalt tervem kui praegusel kujul. Ümbrik on suurte pragudega, üks külg puudub peaaegu täiesti, mis võib olla kunagise avamise jälg. Kirjatahvel on terve ja eraldi.

Ihaldamist väärt vara

Tänaseks on ülikoolile kingitud muistiseid rohkem uuritud ning selgunud mõndagi põnevat. Kõiki esemeid restaureeriti 1980. aastatel Ermitaazhis. 1986. aastal deponeeriti assüüria kiilkirjatahvel koos ümbrikuga ajutiselt Ermitaazhi näitusele eksponeerimiseks, uurimiseks ning restaureerimiseks. Laidoneri kingitus tagastati ülikooli kunstimuuseumile küll alles 1995. aastal, kuid nüüd juba sisuliselt “avatuna” – tahvlikese ja ümbriku kirjamärgid olid deshifreeritud.

Ninel Jankovskaja, Ermitaazhi Ida osakonna teaduslik töötaja, tõlkis ja kommenteeris kiilkirjamärgid. Uurimus publitseeriti 1989. aastal. Selgus, et Laidoneri poolt juhuslikult ostetu oleks tõesti väärt ka Venemaa kogudesse ihalemist. Nimelt on tahvlil sisalduv tekst üks väheseid, mis puudutab võlaorjusest vabaksostmise korda. Rohkem on teada seadusi võlaorjusesse sattumisest kui sellest vabanemisest. Sellisena on tegu unikaalse dokumendiga. Kirjas seisab, et ori on end vabaks ostnud ning ei peremehel ega kellelgi teisel ole õigust hilisemateks nõueteks selles asjas. Teksti lõpus on tunnistajate nimed ning kirja koostaja nimi ja pitsatijäljend. Pitsatijäljend ja kirjutaja nimi korduvad ka ümbrikul. Dateerimise aluseks on savikirjas märgitud kuu nimetus, mis kuulub vanaassüüria kalendrisüsteemi. See kehtis kuni Tiglatpilesar I valitsemisajani (1115–1077 eKr). Seega on ümbrikuga assüüria kirjatahvel pärit ajast enne 1115. aastat eKr.

Kõige väärikama vanusega kingitud esemeist on väike sumeri tahvlike, mis pärineb 21. sajandist eKr. Sumeri kirjatahvli tõlge ja kommentaarid on meile teada tänu Jaana Strumpe bakalaureusetööle, mida ta kaitses 2001. aastal Tartu Ülikooli usuteaduskonnas ja mis valmis professor Thomas Kämmereri juhendamisel. Ea poolest küll auväärsem, on sumeri savitahvlike dokumendi liigina tavapärasem kui assüüria kiri ümbrikuga. Põletatud savist tahvlike osutus Uri III dünastia (s.o 21. sajand eKr) majandusaruandeks. Selle ühele poole on üles märgitud puusepa ja teisele pilliroopunuja ühe päeva töötulemused. Sumeri kirjatahvli täpne dateerimine sai jällegi võimalikuks kirjas sisalduva eripärase aastamarkeeringu kaudu, mida kasutati ainult kuningas Shulgi viimasel valitsusaastal – 2046. aastal eKr.

Kolmas Iraagist toodud ese, mille kindral Laidoner Tartu Ülikoolile kinkis, on väike assüüria lõvimehike, mille ostmist Laidoner ka oma kirjas mainib. Umbes 12 sentimeetri pikkuse lihtsalt vormitud savist kujukese näol on tegemist tõrjeamuletiga, mis pärineb Uus-Assüüria ajajärgust 9.–7. sajandil eKr. Kujutatud olendil on inimese keha ja lõvi pea. Selliseid väikesi kujukesi kaevati ukseläve alla maasse kaitseks kurjade jõudude eest.

Audoktor Laidoner

Tänu Johan Laidonerile 1920. aastatel Tartu Ülikooli Kunstimuuseumi jõudnud sumeri ja assüüria kultuuride muistised on tänaseni kõige vanemad ja väärtuslikumad originaalesemed muuseumi kogus. Analooge neile Eestis ei tea leiduvat. Seega on kindral Laidoneri Iraagi reisil oluline tähendus ka tänases päevas.

Ülikooliga seob kindral Laidoneri veel audoktoriks nimetamine 1928. aastal. Tiitel anti küll mitte seoses Vana-Idamaadega, vaid Eesti Vabariigi 10. aastapäevaga. Audoktori nimetuse pälvisid koos Laidoneriga teisedki riigitegelased teenete eest noore riigi iseseisvuse kindlustamisel.

INGRID SAHK (1976) on Tartu Ülikooli Kunstimuuseumi peavarahoidja.


Laidoner + Mosul + Iraak + Inglismaa - Türgi = NAFTA
Allikas: Horisont



Kindral Laidoneri trofeed Iraagist



Kindral Johan Laidoner tõi 1925. aastal Iraagist kaasa haruldasi sumeri-assüüria muinasesemeid. Neid säilitatakse praegu Tartu Ülikooli Kunstimuuseumis.

Hilissügisel 1925 saatis Rahvasteliit Eesti sõjavägede ülemjuhataja kindral Johan Laidoneri missioonile Iraaki. Ta juhtis komisjoni, mis pidi Mosuli linnas lahendama Iraagi ja Türgi piiritülisid ning vaigistama nende tõttu tekkinud rahutusi. Paljuski tänu Laidoneri aruandele otsustas Rahvasteliit anda Mosuli Iraagile ning Inglismaa, Iraak ja Türgi sõlmisid 5. juunil 1926 Ankaras sellekohase lepingu.

Briti toonane kõrgeim komissar Iraagis Henry Robert Conway Dobbs hindas Laidoneri tööd kõrgelt. "Kindral Laidoner toimetas kohapeal asja uurimist erakorralise energia ning kindlusega ja väljendas oma otsuse tähelepanuväärt erapooletus ettekandes, mida avameelselt tunnistasid mõlemad tülitsevad pooled. Tema ettekanne mõjutas tugevasti Rahvaste Liidu otsust 1925. a detsembrikuul - anda Mosul Iraagile. Iraagi riigi olemasolu aga ilma Mosulita oleks olnud väga küsitav," kirjutas Dobbs hiljem mälestusartiklis "Õiglane kohtunik Irakis".

Laidoneri Iraagi-missioonist saab aimu tema kirjadest abikaasa Mariale ja poeg Mišale ning kindrali intervjuust Läti ajakirjanikule Genfis. Laidoner imetles idamaa kaunist loodust, aga tal ei jäänud tähele panemata ka muistised.

Laidoner mustal turul

Laidoneri kirjadest koju ei selgu küll kuidas, aga mingil moel tutvus kindral kohalike "harrastusarheoloogidega". Võimalik, et nood ise sobitasid välismaa kindraliga tutvust. Igal juhul näib, et nendele meestele oli muistsete sumeri esemete otsimine ja müümine korraliku elatise teenimise viis. Ja nad oskasid Laidonerigi konksu otsa võtta.

Laidoner oli Mosulis elanud vaevalt nädala, kui ta 5. novembril 1925 juba kirjutab abikaasa Mariale oma saagist. "Ostsin endale mõne Niineve antiikeseme: kiri savist ümbrikus; pitsat, millega on suletud minu kiri; väike lõvi Assurist; ja mõtle - vanust neil esemetel on rohkem kui 2500 aastat, sest Niineve purustati 612. aastal enne Kristust. Väljakaevamisi siin praegu ei toimu. Connexridi palee kohalt on "kuidagiviisi" kaevatud, aga Assharadoni palee künkal on kõrgendik, kus kõrgub prohvet Joona püha mošee, moslemid austavad seda ja seal ei tohi kaevata. Mõningad küll uuristavad seal juhuslikult ja salaja ja sealt on ka pärit minu kiri ja pitsat ja veel ühed kivikesed sõrmuselt. Neilt asjaarmastajatelt arheoloogidelt võib osta huvitavaid muistiseid, aga nad on väga kallid," kirjutab Laidoner.

Kindral ei unustanud ka oma poega Mišat. Novembri keskel kirjutas ta pojale, et tallegi on kingitus olemas. "Muideks, ostsin sulle siit ühe Makedoonia Aleksandri mündi. Ja kujuta ette - tolle aja mündid olid praegustest isegi kaunimad. Ja ometi on see 2200 aastat tagasi. Siin on üldse palju igasugu muistiseid," teatab Laidoner vaimustusega.

Milline mulje jäi kindralile Iraagist? "Kõik siin on ebatavaline: tolm, roheluse puudumine, varesed ja varblased nagu meilgi; nägin siin kuldnokki - võib olla meie omad meie aiast. Majad linnas - kuubikujulised karbid; tänavad, väljaarvatud kaks inglaste poolt tehtut - kitsad ja räpased, aga lapsed tänavatel - nii räpased, et kahju hakkab ja paljud neist suurte silmadega. Tänavad on täis mehi, naisi muidugi pole näha. Mulle isegi näib, et idas on elu nii maha jäänud, liikumatuks muutunud seetõttu, et naine siin elust osa ei võta: üks pool inimkonnast ei avalda siin elule mingit mõju, osalt seetõttu, et naine on kodune poolori - ja m ehed on muutunud üpriski laisaks.

Mis on siin veel ebatavaline? Ebatavaliselt meeldiv päike, mitte eriti palav ega ka külm, ja mõtle - seda novembrikuus. Ebatavaliselt kaunid taeva, mägede, horisondi värvingud loojangu ja päikesetõusu ajal, muidugi seal, kus pole tolmu, see tähendab natuke linnast eemal. Tigrise vesi paistab lennukilt täiesti roosa, peaaegu punasena, tegelikult on ta pruunikarva sogane. Nii palju sulle siis Mosulist," kirjutab Laidoner abikaasale 5. novembril 1925.

Laidoneri Iraagi-missioon oli edukas, ent väsitav. Hiljem Läti ajakirjanikule antud intervjuus vastas ta küsimusele, mitu kilomeetrit ta sõitis kokku ära, et üle 6000 kilomeetri. "Neist ainult 1500 raudteel, 2500 lennukil ja umbes sama palju autol." 23. novembril lahkus Laidoner Mosulist ja alustas tagasiteed koju.

Kingitus Tartu Ülikoolile

Iraagist naastes otsustas Laidoner kinkida haruldasemad muinasesemed Tartu ülikoolile. Veebruari lõpul 1926 avaldas Päevaleht artikli "Kindral Laidoneri annetus Tartu ülikoolile". Kindral oligi ülikoolile annetanud väikese savist lõvikuju ning kaks kiilkirjatahvlit. Pitsati ja sõrmuse-kivikesed jättis Laidoner endale mälestuseks ning nende hilisema käekäigu kohta puuduvad andmed.

Päevalehe teatel oli lõvikuju leitud Assüüria esemese pealinna Assuri varemetest. "Tegemist on ainult lõvi peaga, kuna kuju keha on inimese oma - selgesti võib ära tunda inimese käsi ja jalgu, samuti riietust. --- Üldiselt on kuju, mille vanadust umbes 3000 aasta peale tuleb arvata, hästi hoidunud."

Tartu Ülikooli Kunstimuuseumi peavarahoidja Ingrid Sahki sõnul on selle umbes 12 sentimeetri kõrguse savikujukese näol tegemist "tõrjeamuletiga, mis pärineb Uus-Assüüria ajajärgust 9.-7. sajandil eKr. Selliseid väikesi kujukesi kaevati ukseläve alla maasse kaitseks kurjade jõudude eest." Samasuguse lõviinimese kuju on leidnud väljakaevamistelt Assuris aastal 1909 ka Saksa arheoloogid.

Vanim kolmest kingitud esemest on tilluke, 3,6 sentimeetri kõrgune Sumeri kiilkirjatahvlike. Tahvlikese tõlkis ära Jaana Strumpe, kes kaitses sellest 2001. aastal ülikooli usuteaduskonnas bakalaureusetöö. Kiilkirjatahvel osutus Uri III dünastia ajast pärit majandusaruandeks. Strumpel õnnestus tahvel täpselt dateerida - 2046. aasta eKr.

Kiilkirjatahvli ühel poolel on puusepa, teisel pilliroopunuja ühe päeva töötulemused: "1354. puupalgilt palgatud puusepp tasu eest laasis koore ühe päeva jooksul. Šakkani templi (jaoks) (saadi) Lugalazidalt vääriskivi(d). Järgmisel aastal hävitati Kimaš, sellest järgmisel aastal. 108 m2 suure pilliroomaja (jaoks) 6 laia pillirooposti, (võetud) 3 šár'i (suuruselt) pilliroopõllult, palgatud roopunuja tasu eest põimis kokku ühe päeva jooksul." Kuigi maailma mõistes on tegemist väga tavalise dokumendiga, on see Eesti jaoks unikaalne - teist sellist meil lihtsalt pole. 

Tüli Ermitaažiga

Kahest kingitud kiilkirjatahvlist osutus ootamatult huvitavaks Assüüria tahvel koos saviümbrikuga, pärit enne 1115. aastat eKr. "Huvitav on, et kirja omal ajal ümbrikust välja pole võetud - nähtavasti ei jõudnud see adressaadi kätte - ja see asjaolu tõstab kindlasti asja väärtust," kirjeldab Päevaleht tahvlit veebruaris 1926.

Kuni augustini 1986 ei teatud, mis tahvlil kirjas on. Siis palus Ermitaaž kiilkirjatahvlit näitusele eksponeerimiseks, mida Tartu Ülikool lahkelt lubas. Ermitaaž omalt poolt kohustus tahvli restaureerima ja teksti dešifreerima.

1989. aastal ilmuski Ermitaaži teadusliku töötaja Ninel Jankovskaja kirjutis tahvli kohta. Selgus, et Laidoneri kätte oli sattunud tõeline haruldus. "Tahvlil sisalduv tekst on üks väheseid, mis puudutab võlaorjusest vabaksostmise korda. Rohkem on teada seadusi orjusesse sattumisest kui sellest vabanemisest. Sellisena on tegemist unikaalse dokumendiga," selgitab Horisondis 2004. aastal ilmunud artiklis Ingrid Sahk.

Kirjas seisab, et ori on end peremehe käest hõbeda eest vabaks ostnud ning et ei peremehel ega kellelgi teisel pole õigust hilisemateks nõueteks selles asjas. Kiilkirjateksti lõpus on tunnistajate nimed, kirja koostaja nimi ja silinderpitsati jäljend.

Ermitaaž, saanud teada, milline haruldus neile Tartust oli laenatud, otsustas eestlased pika ninaga jätta. Kui ülikool 1991. aastal Ermitaažiga ühendust võttis, selgus, et muuseum polegi tahvlit välja pannud. Möödus veel kolm aastat, aga Ermitaaž hoidis tahvlit endiselt oma käes. Ei jäänud muud üle, kui muuseumi toonane peavarahoidja Anu Laansalu sõitis ise Peterburi - turistiviisaga.

Kuigi Ermitaaži töötajad püüdsid kohtumist südika naisega igati vältida, see neil ei õnnestunud. Laansalu sai asedirektoriga kokku ja nõudis muuseumi vara tagastamist. Asedirektor Vilenbachov aga teatas, et kuna Tartu Ülikool pole vastava taotlusega Venemaa kultuuriministeeriumi poole pöördunud, ei saa ta tahvlit tagasi anda. Pärast pikka asjaajamist õnnestus Laansalul siiski kiilkirjatahvel kätte saada ja tagasi Tartusse toimetada. 

Kindral Laidoneri kingituse tähtsust on raske üle hinnata - sarnaseid muinasesemeid pole üheski teises Eesti muuseumis. Kui sakslastel, brittidel ja teistel mõjukatel riikidel oli võimalus Iraagis teha arheoloogilisi kaevamisi ning leitu vabalt oma kodumaale toimetada, siis eestlaste ainsaks võimaluseks jäi üksikesemete ostmine "hõlma alt".

Muististe loata väljavedu Iraagist on tänapäeval suur probleem, sest Iraagi sõja ajal röövisid liitlasväed sealsetest muuseumidest palju hindamatuid väärtusi. Hulk neist jõudis mustale turule Euroopas ja Ameerikas. Laidoneri nende röövlitega kõrvutada ei saa - ta ostis muinasesemed, et kinkida need muuseumile.

Allikas: Eesti Ekspress Autor: Pekka Erelt




Laidoner Iraagis



Iraagi sõda pole eestlastele pelgalt välispoliitiline “järjejutt”, nagu Palestiina–Iisraeli konflikt. Eesti osaleb Iraagi sõjas. Iraagis on Eesti sõdurid. Üks neist paraku hukkus. Kuid ajaloodoktor Vahur Made kirjutab, et eestlased ei osale Iraagiga seotud suurtes kriisides esmakordselt. 1925. aastal väisas Põhja-Iraaki Rahvasteliidu mõjukas uurimiskomisjon, mida juhatas kindral Johan Laidoner.

Türgi (Osmanite) impeeriumi hakati 19. sajandi rahvusvahelistes suhetes kutsuma “Euroopa haigeks meheks”. Kristlasi värisema pannud impeeriumist oli Esimese maailmasõja alguseks alles jäänud vaid kahvatu vari. Vaid Lähis-Ida oli Türgi võimu alla jäänud, sh praeguse Iraagi territoorium. Esimese maailmasõja puhkedes sai Türgist Saksamaa liitlane. Suurbritannia, Prantsusmaa ja Venemaa leidsid, et on saabunud paras aeg võtta “haigelt mehelt” ka Lähis-Ida. Venelased alustasid pealetungi Kaukaasias, inglased Mesopotaamias (Iraagis) ja Palestiinas, prantslased Liibanonis ja Süürias. Kui maailmasõda 1918 lõppes, olid inglased vallutanud praeguse Iraagi araablastega asustatud alad, sh Bagdadi, ja jõudnud kurdi alade lõunapiirile. Pärast relvarahulepingu allakirjutamist türklastega tungisid inglased veel edasi põhja poole ning vallutasid naftarikka Mosuli maakonna. Türklased asjade sellise arenguga muidugi nõusse ei jäänud ning väitsid, et Mosuli piirkond kuulub endiselt neile. Puhkes Mosuli konflikti nime all tuntud territoriaalvaidlus Türgi ja Suurbritannia vahel. 1919 loodi Rahvasteliit, maailmaorganisatsioon, milles Suurbritannia mängis juhtrolli. Türgi käest vallutatud Mesopotaamia muutus Iraagi nime all inglaste “mandaatterritooriumiks” – alaks, mille valitsemise Rahvasteliit andis Londoni hoole alla. Iraak iseseisvus 1931. Piir Iraagi ja Türgi vahel määratleti Rahvasteliidu otsusega 1924. Inglaste soovi kohaselt jäi Mosuli piirkond Iraagile. Türgi selle otsusega ei nõustunud. Puhkesid piiriintsidendid. Rahvasteliit lähetas Mosulisse (esimese) uurimiskomisjoni Rootsi diplomaadi Einar af Wirséni juhtimisel. Et inglased pidasid Wirséni komisjoni raportit liiga Türgi- ja kurdimeelseks, soovisid nad, et uus komisjon tuleks konfliktipiirkonda. Teise Mosuli-komisjoni etteotsa sai Johan Laidoner.

Miks just Laidoner?

Mosuli konflikti keskne persoon oli Suurbritannia kolooniate minister Leopold Amery. Juunis 1925 kohtus Laidoner Ameryga Genfis. Lauanaabritena Rahvasteliidu peasekretäri Eric Drummondi korraldatud lõunasöögil vesteldi elavalt Lähis-Ida teemadel. Laidoner andis Briti ministrile teada, et oli nooruses teeninud Kaukaasias Vene armees luureohvitserina ja tundis seeläbi päris hästi türklasi ja nende sõjaväge. Amery omakorda küsinud Laidonerilt, mida ta arvab Mosuli konfliktist. Kas võib puhkeda sõda Türgiga? Laidoneri vastus, et sõda saab ära hoida siis, kui Rahvasteliit aktiivselt sekkub, meeldis Ameryle. Ta raporteeris Londonisse, et Laidoner oli ”erakordselt meeldiv ja intelligentne” vestluskaaslane. Mõni aeg hiljem hakkasidki Rahvasteliidu juhtkonnas ringlema jutud, et Laidonerist võiks saada uue Mosulisse lähetatava komisjoni juht. Amery meelest oli Laidoner sobiv kandidaat mitmel põhjusel. Minister oli teadlik Laidoneri Briti-suunalisest sümpaatiast. Briti eskaadri saabumine Soome lahte sügistalvel 1918 oli lahendanud Laidoneri kui ülemjuhataja strateegilised dilemmad Vabadussõjas. Pärast Briti laevastiku sekkumist ei pidanud Eesti armee end enam tundma jõuetuna pealetungiva Punaarmee ees, vaid võis end pidada küllaltki arvestatavaks sõjaliseks jõuks. Lisaks oli Laidoner riigikogu väliskomisjoni ja riigikaitsekomisjoni esimees ning Rahvasteliidu ringkondades hinnatuim Eesti diplomaat. Seega, Amery vaatenurgast ühinesid Laidoneris tugev Briti-meelsus ja tugev poliitiline positsioon Eestis, mis panid Briti ministri lootma, et Laidoneri tegevus Mosulis võiks olla Londonile soodne. Laidoneri Briti-sümpaatiates ei tasu ilmselt kahelda. Samas ei tasu Laidoneri soostumises Mosuli komisjoni juhi koha vastuvõtmisel näha pelgalt tänutunnet. Rohkem oli soovi suurendada Suurbritannia jahtuma hakanud huvi Eesti vastu. Kindralil oli veel värskelt meeles kommunistide riigipöördekatse Tallinnas 1. detsembril 1924 ning Briti reageeringud sellele. Nimelt Londoni keeldumine lähetada ülestõusu järel Briti eskaadrit visiidile Tallinnasse, demonstreerimaks N Liidule inglaste jätkuvat huvi Eesti ja teiste Balti riikide vastu. Lisaks oli Eestil sel ajal käsil suurema välislaenu hankimine. Laenu kavatseti Rahvasteliidu vahendusel küsida Suurbritanniast. Laidoner oli laenuprojektiga tihedalt seotud.

Mäed ja põgenikelaagrid

Septembris 1925 kinnitas Rahvasteliidu nõukogu Laidoneri uue Mosuli uurimiskomisjoni etteotsa. Läbi Marseilles’i, Beiruti, Jeruusalemma, Ammani ja Bagdadi reisides jõudis komisjon oktoobri lõpuks Mosulisse. Komisjoni esimeseks ettevõtmiseks oli kohtumiste korraldamine Mosulis. Vesteldi nii kohaliku poliitiliste rühmituste esindajatega kui ka inimestega tänavalt. Kui Wirséni komisjon oli just kohalike elanike küsitlemise põhjal koostanud Londonile raporti, kus märgiti, et suurem osa Mosuli piirkonna elanikest on kurdid, kel on tugev rahvustunne ja kes soovivad iseseisva kurdi riigi loomist, siis jäi Laidoneri raportis kurdide riikliku kuuluvuse teema teisejärguliseks. Rõhutati vaid, et Mosuli ja selle ümbruskonna elanikud eelistavad pigem Iraagi kui Türgi ülem-võimu. Pärast kohalike küsitlemist keskendus komisjon Iraagi ja Türgi piirile. Koos Briti piirivalveohvitseridega käidi piiritsoonis ning vaadeldi piiri kulgemist maastikul. Laidoneri sõnul olid inspekteerimised rasked, kuna rännata tuli kõrgmägedes ning tihtipeale polnud maastikul täpselt võimalik kindlaks määrata, kust piir täpselt kulgeb. Seetõttu leidis Laidoner, et piiririkkumised on enam-vähem vältimatud, mistõttu tuleks hoiduda tulevahetusest ning püüda lahendada arusaamatusi inglaste ja türklaste vahel rahumeelselt. Lõpuks külastas Laidoneri komisjon ka põgenikelaagreid piiriäärsetes Sinati, Derživi, Suli ja Nuzuri külades ning Zakho linnas. Laagrites oli ligi 8000 põgenikku Türgi poolelt, nende hulgas nii kristlasi kui ka muhameedlasi. Kristlasi süüdistasid Türgi võimud koostöös inglastega. Muhameedlaste osa moodustasid need, kes polnud rahul ilmaliku pöördega Türgi poliitikas. Türgi tegi mässulised külad inimtühjaks ja kodudest välja aetud põgenesid Iraagi poolele. Laidoner kuulas põgenike jutustusi, kinkis puhast voodipesu ning delikatesse – maasika- ja krabikonserve. Detsembris 1925 Rahvasteliidule tehtud ettekandes rõhutaski Laidoner peamiselt põgenikeküsimust, tuues ohtralt detaile põgenike viletsast seisundist ja kirjeldusi Türgi vägede poolt põgenike kallal toime pandud vägivallast. Lisaks kinnitas Laidoner, et türklased olid okupeerinud külasid Iraagi poolel, viinud sealseid kurde endaga kaasa üle piiri, kuid lahkunud, kui Rahvasteliidu komisjon saabus piiritsooni inspekteerima. Mingeid otseseid soovitusi Mosuli piirkonna kuuluvuse kohta Laidoner ei andnud. Küll aga leidsid inglased, et ettekanne häälestas Rahvasteliidu neile soodsalt. Detsembris 1925 otsustaski Rahvasteliidu nõukogu, et Mosuli piirkond peab jääma Iraagile. Türgi tunnustas seda 1926. aastal Suurbritanniaga sõlmitud Ankara lepingus.

Avastamata Kurdistan

Hoolimata Mosuli külastamisest jäi Laidoneril Kurdistan avastamata. Koju naasnuna kirjeldas ta ajalehtedele Lähis-Ida karmi loodust, Mosuli naftarikkusi ning analüüsis Palestiinas üha teravamaks muutuvat konflikti juutide ja araablaste vahel. Kurdidest läks ta mööda. Ka praegune Eesti missioon Iraagis on end Kurdistanist ja kurdi probleemist delikaatselt eemal hoidnud. Vaevalt et see kaua õnnestub. Maailm ei saa kurdi probleemi lõputult eirata. Ligi 15-miljoniline rahvas peab saama oma riigi. Praegu on selles suunas liikumiseks väga head väljavaated. Saddam Husseini langemine on ainult tugevdanud Iraagi kurdide vabadusiha. Türgi kurdide tulevikuväljavaated paranevad samuti. Türgi soov pääseda Euroopa Liitu muudab Kurdistani küsimuse kogu Euroopa probleemiks. Hinnaks, millega Türgi lõpuks euroliitu pääseb, on tõenäoliselt kurdi omariiklusega nõustumine. Lähema paarikümne aasta jooksul saabub Tallinna Kurdistani saadik.

JOHAN LAIDONER • Sündis 12. veebruaril 1884 Viljandimaal Viiratsi vallas Raba talus. • 8-aastaselt läks esimest suve karja. • Üritas astuda sõjaväkke, selle ebaõnnestumisel läks elama Peterburi kubermangus olevasse Aljutino mõisa onu Peeter Saarseni juurde. • 6. augustil 1901 astus vabatahtlikuna väeteenistusse – 110. Kaama jalaväepolku Kaunases. • 1909-1912 õppis Imperaatorlikus Nikolai Sõjaväeakadeemias Peterburis. • 1911 abiellus Maria Kruszewskaga Peterburis. • Augustis 1914 läks Esimesse maailmasõtta. Sõdis Lõuna-Poolas. • 23. detsembril 1918 nimetati Eesti sõjavägede ülemjuhatajaks Vabadussõjas. • 21. märtsil 1920 ülendati esimese Eesti sõjaväelasena kindralleitnandiks. • Sai Vabadussõja teenete eest Viimsi mõisa südame. • Oktoobris 1925 lahendas Rahvasteliidu volinikuna Mosulis Türgi–Iraagi vahelist piiritüli. • 24. veebruaril 1928. valiti Tartu Ülikooli audoktoriks. • 20. aprillil 1928 sai õnnetult surma poeg Michael. • 1924–1931 Eesti Olümpiakomitee abiesimees, 1931-1934 täitis esimehe kohuseid ja jaanuarist 1934 oli olümpiakomitee esimees • 13. märtsil 1953 suri Vladimiri vanglas Allikas: Laidoneri muuseum ja Eesti Päevaleht



ASSYRIANS IN IRAQ.

THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY had the following Notice on the Paper:—To call attention to the position of the Assyrians in Iraq and to ask His Majesty's Government whether they are now able to give definite information as to the prospects of the settlement of the Assyrians in Syria and as to the contribution which His Majesty's Government are prepared to make towards the cost; and to move for Papers.

The most reverend Primate said: My Lords, this is not the first occasion on which I have brought before your Lordships' House the position of that ancient nation and Church called Assyrians or Nestorians, or reminded your Lordships of their long history, partly noble and partly tragic, or of their unhappy fortunes in the Kingdom of Iraq. I do not propose to make any rehearsal of past events, but rather to look forward with hope to a more satisfactory future. Yet at the outset it is well that we should remind ourselves of the measure of special responsibility which rests upon the Government of the United Kingdom for the welfare of these people. That responsibility has, I think, a twofold basis. First of all, in the years of the Great War they were our allies in a limited but not unimportant field. They were invited, not indeed by ourselves but by Russia, to join forces against the Turks. They responded to that invitation, and showed amply their hereditary qualities as a warlike tribe.

Then, in 1917, came the collapse of Russia's place in the War, and the Assyrians were left to the tender mercies of the Turks. Our authorities asked them to continue as an allied force. The Assyrians were given, not, I quite admit, official, but sufficient assurance to induce the Assyrians to trust that the British Government would make their future its Certainly, they suffered severely at the hands of the Turks. They were driven from their homes, they were without lands or resources. Thousands of their numbers had been killed, and our Government took them under their protection. They established a temporary settlement for some 25,000 of them, where they were maintained at 'the cost of this country—a considerable cost—for two years. The best of them were organised as levies in Iraq under our control. Then began efforts to secure for them a more permanent settlement. These efforts, it must be admitted, were not satisfactory in their results. There were constant difficulties between the Assyrians and the Arabs and Kurds. I quite admit that there were also difficulties created by them on the side of the Iraq Government and our own, but at least they were there because they had been our allies in the War, and from the first their levies had been a fine force at our disposal.

Secondly, they came under our protection by virtue of our Mandate in Iraq, by which we were bound to protect the interests of minorities. Later, for reasons which it is not necessary to discuss, we saw fit to recommend to the League of Nations that the Iraq Government was sufficiently strong and trustworthy to be admitted as a Member of the League, and to be itself entrusted with its Mandate. Assurances as to the trustworthiness of the Iraq Government were made in 1931 by our representative, Sir Francis Humphreys, to the Permanent Mandates Commission, and I think these assurances are worth repeating. What is certain is that these assurances directly influenced the decision of the League to transfer the Mandate to the Kingdom of Iraq. It was stated that His Majesty's Government fully realised its responsibility in recommending that Iraq should be admitted to the League, which was in its view the only legal way of terminating the Mandate. Should Iraq prove herself unworthy of that confidence which had been placed in her the moral responsibility must rest with His Majesty's Government.

Not unnaturally the Assyrians, who had specially relied upon our protection, were gravely alarmed. Alas! it was soon proved that they had good reasons for their alarm. In August, 1933, there broke out those deplorable massacres at Simel and at Mosul. I do not propose to discuss, indeed it would be a most futile proceeding, the degrees of provocation on either side. It is enough to remind ourselves that the massacres were in themselves admittedly brutal and indefensible, and they left behind them ineffaceable memories which made the continuance of the Assyrian people in Iraq quite impossible. Certainly our own action in surrendering our Mandate and in advising the League that the Iraq Government was competent to hold it leaves us some measure of very real responsibility for the present plight of these people. This twofold responsibility made it plainly most inconsistent, at least with honour, for this country to leave the Assyrians to their fate or to contend that we had no greater responsibility for them than any other Member of the League. The first course would have been indeed a betrayal, and the second would have aroused the indignation of the not inconsiderable public opinion in this country which is deeply concerned with the lot of the Assyrians.

With this special responsibility in our minds, which I measure not in legal terms but in terms of honour, let me call your Lordships' attention to the present position. After the massacres, as I have said, it was plain that the Assyrians could not stay in Iraq, nor did the Iraq Government desire them to remain. The League of Nations, feeling rightly its very great responsibility in the matter, appointed a Committee of the Council and that Committee at once set about to discover opportunities of resettlement elsewhere. They were actively assisted by the British Government, and here I should like to acknowledge most cordially the personal interest shown in the matter by Sir John Simon. Various possibilities were explored. First, you may remember, Brazil was thought of, but there local opposition was encountered. Then the Government of our own Colony of British Guiana offered to receive them, but an expert committee reported that the land proposed would be unsuitable in climate and general condition for the Assyrian people.

Then it became known that the French Government were willing to receive a large settlement in their mandated territories of Syria and the Levant. Already a small settlement of the Assyrians were there who had crossed the border before and after the massacres, and had remained with the consent of the French authorities. This was in the region of Upper and Middle Khabur. At first it was thought that settlement might be extended here. Drafts of Assyrians from the large camps of the refugees at Mosul to the number of 1,100 were sent across, and I believe I am right in saying that by the middle of September last year a total of 6,000 Assyrians were to be settled in the Upper Khabur. But further investigation showed that there was a far more promising region for a larger settlement further from the frontier and more capable of development. It was the area called the area of the Ghab, on the left bank of the Middle Orontes. There was land there available on high ground at the foot of mountains, suitable to the mountainous character of the Assyrian tribes. It was plain that this land could by irrigation be made good for the growth of fruit and vegetables, for cereals, for cotton, for rice and for live stock. It was clear that the French authorities would welcome the development of their land by a large settlement of hardy and industrious people, and the conditions were favourable to the Assyrians, their character and their habits. That scheme was adopted and recommended by the League of Nations.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee of the Council of the League, M. Lopez Olivan, last summer visited Iraq, held consultations with the chiefs of the Assyrian tribes, and found that the great majority were eager to leave as soon as possible—probably about 24,000. True, the chiefs representing some 8,000 hesitated until they knew more about the conditions of settlement, but the Levies and the large number of Assyrian employees on the railways and on other undertakings were ready to leave on any conditions. And here I would venture to ask the noble Earl, who I think will reply for the Government, if he can give any later information as to the numbers of the Assyrians who are now known to be ready and willing to be re-settled in the Ghab area.

Now we come to the question of cost, bound to be considerable to re-settle some 20,000 or 30,000 people. I believe that the cost has been estimated in pounds, provisionally and of course only approximately, at £1,140,000. I think that was on the basis of about 21,000 Assyrians. How is this large sum to be met? At once there were grave difficulties, and here I must give my cordial testimony to the keen personal interest of Sir Samuel Hoare. I do not hesitate to say that his coming upon the scene in many ways quickened and stimulated the activity both of the League Council and of His Majesty's Government. He set himself at once to try to reduce the claim of the French Government for the cost of settlement and development, and to increase the contributions of Iraq and of the United Kingdom. He had some success, not much, with the French, more with the Iraqi and United Kingdom Governments.

Last summer the Council of the League asked the United Kingdom to make some large independent contribution, apart from its share of any contribution which the League itself might decide to make. Hitherto the attitude of His Majesty's Government appears to have been that they were unwilling to accept any sort of liability beyond that which was shared by other Members of the League. Indeed, when I brought this matter before your Lordships in November, 1933, the noble and learned Viscount now upon the Woolsack, who then replied for the Government, said: I cannot give an assurance—because I do sot think it would be fulfilled—that we shall individually, apart altogether from the League of Nations … accept a separate and independent liability outside our liability as a Member of the League. I am very thankful that His Majesty's Government have seen fit to take a more generous attitude, and the United Kingdom has now promised, I understand, on certain conditions—namely, that the Iraqi Government will give a similar amount and the League will find the balance—to contribute a sum up to £250,000. I desire very cordially to acknowledge the action of the Government in making this large independent contribution. The result is that the Iraqi Government have been persuaded to double their first proposal and to contribute a like sum. Thus towards the sum of £1,140,000 the French have promised for development work, so I am informed, about £380,000, His Majesty's Government have promised £250,000, the Iraqi Government have promised £250,000, and the League has promised approximately £80,000. This may seem a comparatively small sum, but it is larger, I think, than was expected.

And so you see a balance still remains of about £180,000—£960,000 is promised out of £1,140,000. I should be very grateful if the noble Earl would confirm or correct these figures, and if he could give any information as to how this balance of £180,000 is to be obtained. Am I right in saying that, while it is hoped that of this £180,000 about £130,000 might be raised by credits and loans, partly on the basis of eventual reimbursement by the Assyrians for the purchase of their land, £50,000 is left which the League desires to obtain from private sources? Certainly in the autumn it was strongly pressed upon me that the Council of the League considered that without some such sum contributed from private sources it would be impossible to transfer all the Assyrians who were ready to be transferred, and that therefore, if any were left behind, there would be great bitterness; and I pledged myself, if possible, to make a special appeal to the people of this country. But before I can venture to do so I must be assured that the scheme of settlement in the Ghab area is now certain to go forward.

The concluding questions, therefore, which I would venture to ask of the noble Earl are these. Is the scheme now definitely in process of being carried out? Have the proposed Executive Settlement Commission and Trustee Committee for carrying out an administrative settlement in the mandated territory of Syria been appointed? If the scheme is really going forward can he say whether the actual re-settlement of the Assyrians in the Ghab region has begun, or when it will begin? Also, can he tell us what numbers are immediately to be settled? Over how many years is it contemplated that the process of re-settlement will be spread? Again, I should like to be assured that, if the scheme is now certain to be, or is actually being, carried out, the Government strongly urge that some effort should be made in this country to raise a considerable sum by voluntary subscription, and do they attach real importance to this point in the sense that such help is essential if the success of the whole scheme is to be assured?

If the answer of the Government is in the affirmative to these last questions, I am myself ready to inaugurate such an appeal, and I may add I have already secured the appointment of a strong Committee to further it. Indeed I am only awaiting the reply of His Majesty's Government this afternoon before taking immediate steps to go forward. If the Government can give the assurance that this scheme is now well on the way, and that it is in their judgment of real importance that, in addition to the £250,000 contributed by the Government, there should be, if possible, a large sum raised from voluntary sources, then I am prepared to do my best. I hope that many people in this country, possibly some of your Lordships among them, will be ready to take some personal share in delivering a people, for whom they have so long felt deep sympathy, from their present intolerable position and in providing for them a home where they may live together in peace.

I hope I have not unduly taken up your Lordships' time this afternoon over the affairs of a small, obscure, and distant people. This country has not been wont to measure its interest in, or its responsibility for, oppressed peoples by their mere numbers. Some of the finest episodes in our history are concerned with what we have tried to do for very small minorities. This is a question not of numbers or of intrinsic importance, but of our honour and of the cause of humanity. I am sure that His Majesty's Government will do its utmost to enable this ancient people after its long and troubled voyages to reach some haven of security at last. I beg to move for Papers.

LORD NOEL-BUXTON

My Lords, when this question has been raised in your Lordships' House in the past the obligation involved in the history that the most reverend Primate has given us has been recognised by all Parties. This is no Party question, but I should Like to say that the Party which we on these Benches represent are behind none in advocating the discharge of our national duty in this matter. It happens that many of us in the Labour Party have been associated with the relief work that has had to be done these few years past, work which might very well have been undertaken as Governmental work, but which has been falling on private shoulders and which has been very readily undertaken to the best of our ability. It might be thought that at this day the question is not an urgent one, but it can be added to what we have just heard that there is an urgency at this very day on account of the danger in which a very great number of the Assyrians find themselves. There are large numbers who, we are informed, are not at all anxious to move, and indeed are perfectly in the dark as to what kind of provision is to be made for them, but they feel it is better to move anywhere than remain where they are in a situation which may at any moment become again dangerous for them.

The facts of the case have been fully given to us, and I shall not take a moment of your Lordships' time in repetition, but I may add just one thing that some of your Lordships may have forgotten—namely, that the British officers who have been in charge of the Assyrian levies in Iraq have formed an extraordinarily high opinion of the Assyrians. They have been very much attached to them, and regard them as conspicuously deserving of help. There is no need to recount the peculiarly hard fate that has been theirs, and today there are only three points to which we need give our attention—the question whether the plan for their settlement is a good one, the extent to which this country owes them a duty, and the obligation which falls on private individuals to subscribe to the supplementary unofficial appeal which has been adumbrated. The League of Nations has fully admitted its concern in the question, and now for a considerable time has undertaken a prolonged study of it. The Report of the League of Nations Committee is a most interesting document. It shows how this particular need of a place for a large body of men is to be associated with a real economic development. Happily, in the example which is before us, we see a genuine economic improvement which would have been worth making in any case, and which is not artificially created for the particular object as if it were relief works for the unemployed.

There is another report which would interest your Lordships—the report of Captain Gracey who, on behalf of the Save the Children Fund, accompanied the League of Nations Committee. That gives in more graphic detail the very interesting aspects of the scheme, an account of the qualities of the Assyrians, and the nature of the country to which they are destined. Captain Gracey was familiar with the Assyrians during the War and, moreover, he had great experience of similar settlement schemes in the case of the Armenians. That experience is most encouraging for our purpose to-day. In a country not very far off, on the Syrian coast, there are villages of Armenians who were brought there after being driven from their homes some years ago, who have made good and who, moreover, to a great extent have repaid the small advances which had to be made to them. They have by some extraordinary means which we in England, especially at the Ministry of Agriculture, might envy, subsisted on holdings of about five acres; a larger portion is designed in the present scheme. The district that has been selected on the Orontes River, consisting of marshy land which might become very rich by drainage, and depending on a reservoir of water dammed up above it, might imaginatively be compared with Egypt once Lake Tsana, is adequately harnessed for regulating the water supply. It forms a very interesting and very hopeful economic unit.

May I say one word as to the other point—the responsibility that we ought to feel as a political responsibility? I think we must admit that by every canon of honour we are morally and directly responsible. The Assyrians became unpopular in connection with the services that they rendered to us. We have experienced the fear that this might be one of those cases where we, as a Government, have been led to encourage confidence in a body of people and have in the end exposed them to trouble from which we were not able to rescue them. That was a danger alluded to by Sir Samuel Hoare in the speech which he lately made on his resignation. We ought to be very conscious of that, and very anxious to be on our guard. It is gratifying that in this case the danger of having led these 24,000 Assyrians into trouble will, I hope, be removed. We gave an assurance when we gave up the Iraq Mandate that the Assyrians would be safe and our assurance proved to be unfounded. Indeed, one of the League representatives felt bound to say, after the massacres, that he would not have agreed to the change of status except on the ground of that assurance. Consequently, it is not too much to say that the good name of this country was at stake, and there has been the keenest anxiety on that account.

One recalls the very similar anxiety which was felt in regard to our responsibility for the Armenians whose aid in the War was on similar lines. That responsibility was recognised shortly after the War by the leaders of political Parties, but it was not discharged. Large numbers of people in this country were mortified by that fact and deeply desirous that such responsibility should not be neglected again. Indeed, the conduct of Governments does sometimes lag behind the private ideals of the men who compose those Governments. In this case, all the more, we may be very thankful that His Majesty's Government have seen their way to announce that a large contribution will be made.

I would like to say that I am deeply conscious of the debt that we all owe to the most reverend Primate for his action in this matter. I happen to know that it has meant to him, not the discharge of one of his innumerable functions, but persistent toil, for which, I think, we cannot be too grateful. And we should be very ungrateful if we did not recognise that if the country has indeed been saved from what would have been a betrayal, it is very largely due to him. Not only should the Assyrians be grateful, but so also should all who value morality in politics. There remains the question of the way we should regard the private appeal for charity. The Government do not see their way to complete the task, and part of it falls on private charity. I would only say that this is an object which ought to appeal to us all, and we ought to realise that both charity and honour enjoin generous response to the appeal.

LORD LLOYD

My Lords, as one who in years prior to the War had manifold opportunities of appreciating the great qualities of the Assyrian peoples, I rise to supplement in a very few words the plea which the most reverend -Primate has made, and to say how very glad I am that at long last this debt of honour, which I think it is, is going in some measure to be discharged, and that the pledges given so categorically by Lord Curzon at Lausanne are going to be fulfilled. There have been in the past, as noble Lords will remember, some attempts to suggest that our responsibilities in regard to the Assyrians were not so definite or so clear as the most reverend Primate has, I think rightly, stated them to be to-day. It was urged, I remember, in one debate in this House that because it was the Russians who recruited the Assyrians in the first instance to fight in the War and not ourselves, therefore we had no responsibility. Those who made that suggestion must have forgotten, however true that may have been before the Revolution, that immediately after the Revolution, when General Baratoff was charged under the Dunsterville force with the operations in the Caucasus and to the South, it was the Assyrians who were used to harass the Turkish lines of communication, and the whole of the Baratoff and Dunsterville forces, Russians and Assyrians, were in the pay of the British Government. I do not think in such circumstances our responsibility for their military activities can be positively denied.

I should like if I may to say one word on a point which has not been touched upon—namely, the very great debt which Iraq owes, and through Iraq which we also owe, apart from the War, to the Assyrian levies. It will be in the memory of all your Lordships how grave and difficult was the situation in Iraq between the years 1924 and 1926. The Iraqi Government was surrounded by Kurdish as well as Arab difficulties, and if that troubled situation had not been cleared up before General Laidoner came up to the League of Nations Boundary Commission, I think it is almost certain that General Laidoner would have awarded the vilayet of Mosul to Turkey and not to Iraq. It was due to the soldierly qualities, the fidelity, the courage and loyalty of the Assyrian levies at that time, and only due to them, that that situation was safely cleared up. Iraq not only gained all the great oil wealth to which was largely due the considerable surplus in Iraq's Budget which it had last year, but she preserved all the granary of that great province, including the rich areas of Khoi Sanjak, Sulemanieh and indeed stretching out in all its fertility down to Kurkuk, which she might have lost. Therefore Iraq owes almost everything of her present financial situation to what the Assyrians did for her at that time.

In view of those facts it is worth noting that really the Iraqi Government are not making a very heavy contribution towards the Assyrians to-day. Although I for one should like to see His Majesty's Government settle the whole matter and so save the most reverend Primate the onerous duty of making yet another appeal to the public, I think His Majesty's Government have at present put up a great deal more money than is obvious at first sight. That is to say, the £250,000 which is given by Iraq, or alleged to be given by Iraq, for this purpose, is not in fact given by Iraq at all; it is given by His Majesty's Government. His Majesty's Government, as I think the noble Earl will not deny when he conies to speak, made a remission of £250,000, as I understand, to Iraq in respect of a debt of £600,000 for the Iraq railways on condition that they would give £250,000 to the Assyrians in this matter. The real fact therefore is that His Majesty's Government have given both sums. It is a matter of some regret to me that the Iraqi Government, who have profited so much by the valour and loyalty of the Assyrians, were not able to do a little more than they have done. I hope that when the most reverend Primate makes his appeal at the Mansion House they may find an opportunity of contributing a larger sum—and it may well be a larger sum—than they have been able to give at present.

If it is a matter of satisfaction to all of us that this debt of honour is being discharged, it cannot but be rather a regret to think how great a loss Iraq is suffering by our inability to have settled this matter before we parted with the Mandate. France has always been desirous of irrigating the great Orontes valley to the north of the Ghab area and we are now going to irrigate it for her. She will have the benefit not only of a very largely increased number of taxpayers, but a loyal and valiant body of Christians who cannot but be a great source of support to France in the future, as they grow in strength, in the difficulties which she has to encounter with Syrian nationalism. All that body of loyal people might have been at the disposal of Iraq if

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