The Secretary of War (Baker) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: In reply to your letter of May 26, 1920,27 requesting the views of the War Department as to the strength of [Page 784] the American forces of occupation that would be needed for the successful carrying out of a mandate for Armenia, I beg to inclose herewith a memorandum which embodies the views of the Department upon this subject.

I am [etc.]

Newton D. Baker

Memorandum by the Secretary of War (Baker)

1. The report of General Harbord, Chief of the American Military Mission to Armenia,28 contemplated that Trans-Caucasia and the whole of the former Turkish Empire, less Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia, would be included in the terms of a single mandate. For this territory General Harbord proposed an initial Ameriican force of occupation of 59,000 men, to be reduced subsequently by about 50 per cent as a result of the organization of a native constabulary.

2. The area of the proposed state of Armenia is from 55,000 to 60,000 square miles, or about one-sixth of the area considered by General Harbord. Its population is estimated as approximately 3,000,000.

3. The War Department is of the opinion that pending the organization of a native constabulary, an American force of occupation of the following strength and composition, would be sufficient to insure domestic order in Armenia, and to protect its frontiers against the incursions of irregular or unorganized forces from adjacent territories, viz;

One Infantry Division, less 1 regiment of 155 mm. howitzers, plus a third brigade of infantry 21,152
Attached troops:—
1 Railway Battalion 1,000
2 Aero Squadron 400
Additional Sanitary Personnel 1,000
Service of Supply 2,500
Attached for duty with native constabulary 500
Total Attached Troops 5,400
Grand Total 26,552
Or in round number 27,000

4. As a result of the organization of native constabulary, it should be possible to reduce the above force substantially by the end of two years, and to about 10,000 men by the end of the third year.

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5. As to organized external aggressions against Armenia, if the League of Nations functions in accordance with the terms of the Covenant, the protection of Armenia against such aggressions will devolve upon all the member states of the League. In any event it may be said that it will be impracticable to maintain in Armenia American forces of occupation of such size as to insure the protection of that state against invasions in force. At present the greatest danger in this respect is that offered by the Bolshevists. A Bolshevist force of from 65,000 to 75,000 men has been advancing southward through the Caucasus and has recently occupied Baku, and in newspaper dispatches of this date is reported to have entered Russian Armenia.

Newton D. Baker
  1. Not printed.
  2. For the report of General Harbord, Oct. 16, 1919, see Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. ii, p. 841.