The appointment of the American Harbord Military Delegation, which coincided with the beginning of the War of Independence, is seen as the first comprehensive foreign policy initiative in the history of Turkish-American relations. The “Harbord Military Mission Report” book prepared by the Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar as a doctoral thesis, sent the US President Woodrow Wilson to Istanbul to investigate the situation in Anatolia and the Caucasus on August 1, 1919 under the leadership of Major General James G. Harbord. broaches.
The study, based on American archival documents, emphasizes that the comprehensive report prepared by the US delegation headed by General Harbord about the Ottoman State and the South Caucasus had serious effects on Turkish-American relations.
Accordingly, Turkish-American relations started with the opening of the first American Consulate in Izmir in 1824 and the Trade Agreement dated May 7, 1830, but bilateral relations; It did not develop much since it was limited to embassy affairs and services.
Harbord tribunal in the Eastern Anatolia region, and 58-day cruises carried out in the Caucasus and the report prepared after the study, Turkey, the American public about the Armenian issue, which even reached the findings will strengthen the hand today stated that at the same time in terms of the introduction of the National Struggle determined to be highly effective in included.
Pointing out the importance of this report in terms of Turkish-American relations in his book, Akar stated the following findings:
“Harbord be assigned military tribunal, United States by the most important and initiatives comprehensive external relations against Turkey. The task of this committee, and execution of the final report of the investigation trip, not only the American administration and affect people but also bilateral relations has also affected permanently. ”
The report highlighted that the Harbord Military Delegation “encountered a country that is undergoing a major transformation” and provided the recognition of the true structure of the National Struggle. Contrary to the allegations, it was seen that the National Struggle was “not a revolt against authority, but a movement to restore the broken order”.
With this comprehensive trip to the region, members of the delegation also witnessed events such as the occupation of İzmir, which emerged with the support and provocation of the British, and the atrocities of the gangs affiliated with Greece. From this point, the findings of the report reinforced the fact that those who had disturbed the security and order of the region were the occupying forces, especially England.
With the Harbord report, the project of the USA to establish a mandate regime in the region over Armenians has never been realized.
In the reports, it was stated that despite all the foreign interventions, the National Struggle gained strength and was surprisingly successful in maintaining law and order. In addition, General Harbord’s articles published in the magazine “The World’s Work” enabled Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the National Struggle to be recognized by the American administration and the public.
The Harbord Military Delegation Report is of great importance for the US to stand out in a critical period when it questions its own foreign policy regarding the Ottoman State and the Middle East. In this respect the report, resulted in the rejection of the proposed regime mandated by the US administration to discuss Turkey had made important contributions in recognition of the truth. Thus, he played an important role in the re-establishment of Turkish-American relations on a more realistic and solid ground.
The income obtained from Minister Akar’s book “Harbord Military Delegation Report” published in Turkish and English by the Turkish Language Association was donated to the Mehmetçik Foundation.