To Baghdad – thank God for the last of the Motor-cars for a bit after that 600 mile drive on a vile road. The Jilu refugees – poor things – blocked the road everywhere and I feel half responsible for them though it was not my fault that Government would not take up my Urmieh scheme. Billeted in No. 2 Mess – Stuart Wortley. Dined with the C.-in-C.
Out to Abi Shini to see the Urmieh refugees.
Interviews and interviews with all the Staff Branches. My object is to persuade them to let me take on the Urmieh situation and save 80,000 Christians from being massacred.* Very hot but pleasant to see real civilisation and drink soda and other good things. Romantic sleeping on a marble floor on banks of Tigris with moon reflected on water – electric punkah.
* This is a reference to what is now known as the Armenian Genocide or Armenian Holocaust; the Ottoman government set about a systematic extermination of ethnic Armenians starting in 1915. Assyrians were also massacred in the Urmia region; historians consider the various genocides against non-Ottomans in this region as part of the whole Armenian Genocide. These peoples were already being targeted as a result of their Christianity – the prevailing religion being Muslim – but it is hard to ascertain from the brief reading I have done whether their religion or their being non-Ottoman was the key motivation behind their slaughter.
Rather tired and weary after diarrhoea. We have lost several men from cholera and a good deal of typhus and sandfly fever. The flies are awful. Days are hot but nights quite cool.
The number of situations I have to deal with is enormous. The Jilus and Armenians at Urmieh have long been entirely surrounded by the Turks, but have bravely held out so far. Yesterday I managed to get an aeroplane through to them. The aviator, Pennington, was received with an ovation, could not move for half an hour, people kissing his hands and knees.
As a result, I hope to open up the road to Urmieh from Hamadan and have asked the Jilus to fight their way down to Sain Kale [location unidentifiable] to meet us. This is a new situation. Then, in case the Turks get Baku I am sending a party over to Krasnovodsk to see what can be done on the East shore of the Caspian and in Turkestan [Turkmenistan].
Then I still have the defence of Baku on my hands, and am anxious having had no news of Bicherakov for some days.
Then there is the Turkish invasion situation via Tabriz doing pretty well. The Turks hold Tabriz with 2000 men and I am bluffing them with about 20 and 1 armoured car. Then there are the Persian Levies and the Irregulars which are not a great success. They want pay, but don’t want to fight.
Then there is the internal political situation. At Teheran there is a revolution going on, not very dangerous so far. In the town here all is quiet, but all Persian officials are pro-Turk.
Then there is the Jangali situation, which is doing well so far. We are bombing them by aeroplane again to-morrow. My hands and head are very full. Then I am worried a lot by the question of liquidation of the Russian debts, contracts with the Russian road Company, interviews with Russian revolutionaries and schemes to help indigent Russian officers.