A Concerned Greek Diplomat: 1922
By Stavros T. Stavridis

The two documents reproduced below are from the US Department of State collections. The first document shows the concern of Hector ME Pasmezoglu, the Greek Consul in St Louis, during the time of the Lausanne Conference when the Turks were threatening to expel the Greek Patriarch from Constantinople. Pasmezoglu sent a telegram to Washington hoping that Senator Selden P. Spencer would protest in the US Senate regarding the future of the Patriarchate. Spencer passed this telegram onto Secretary of State Charles E.Hughes.

It is important to note that on December 16, 1922 the Turks addressed the sub-committee on exchange of populations demanding the removal of the Greek Patriarchate and all its institutions in return for the Greek population to remain in Constantinople.

The Turks argued that the Greek Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis displayed a hostile attitude towards Turkey during the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22. G.C Montagna, an Italian delegate and also the President of the sub-committee on Exchange of Populations, said it was impossible to reach a solution on the future of the Patriarchate, unless the matter was referred to a plenary commission for solution.

On December 26, the French, always seeking to be conciliatory towards the Turks, came up with a formula in which the Patriarch would remain in Constantinople as the spiritual head of the Church but with the loss of his temporal powers.

It was the unanimity of the Orthodox and Allied nations on January 10, 1923 that forced Ismet Pasha, the leader of the Turkish delegation, to withdraw the Turkish claim to remove the Patriarchate.

There was no mention of the Patriarchate in the final peace treaty and so ended one of the most controversial issues of the entire Lausanne Conference.

Stavros T.Stavridis Historical Researcher, National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe
University, Bundoora Vict Australia. Email s.stavridis@latrobe.edu.au

Document 1

Document 2

About the Author

Stavros Terry Stavridis was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949 of Greek parents. He migrated to Australia with his parents in September 1952. Stavros has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Political Science/Economic History and B.A (Hons) in European History from Deakin University and M.A in Greek/Australian History from RMIT University. His MA thesis is titled "The Greek-Turkish War 1919-23: an Australian Press Perspective."

Stavros has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, lecturing at University and TAFE (Technical and Further Education, the equivalent of Community College in the US) levels. He has presented papers at international conferences in Australia and USA and has also given public lectures both in Australia and on the West Coast of the US. Many of his articles have appeared in the Greek-American press. He currently works as a historical researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

Stavros' research interests are the Asia Minor campaign and disaster, Middle Eastern history, the Assyrian and Armenian genocides, Greece in the Balkan Wars 1912-13 and the First World War and history in general.

Readers interested in the works of Stavridies may read more of his fine articles posted on HCS at the URL http://www.helleniccomserve.com/stavridisone.html.

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