90th Anniversary of Woodrow Wilson's Arbitral Award


** Ara Papian **

For the past few decades now, the 24th of April has served as one of the major dates on the calendar for the Armenian people, a day representing perhaps the most significant manifestation of united Armenian political will. In the Armenian world, this date began first as one of requiems and remembrance, gradually developing into a day of righteous indignation and demands for justice through the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Nevertheless, the 24th of April is a day of loss, a day dedicated to acknowledging that greatest of losses.

However, as a nation and as a community in the pursuit of justice, we need a day of victory and reparation, a day of the establishment of justice and our rights. We have such a day; the day which keeps the flames of victory burning is the 22nd of November, the date of the arbitral award of US President Woodrow Wilson deciding the frontier between Armenia and Turkey. On that day, the arbitral award granted to the Republic of Armenia a part of our historical heartland, in the north-east. That day put in place and enforced forever a ruling which is binding, legally inviolable and perpetual for the existence of our rights, all in accordance with international law.

As the arbitral award was realised on the basis of the unqualified compromis of Turkey and Armenia, as well as of the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Canada, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, having been enforced upon signing, it is therefore binding, inviolable and perpetual for all of the above countries and their successor states. It is also binding, inviolable and perpetual for the US, as the arbitral award bears the Great Seal of the United States of America, signed by the US President, and co-signed by the Secretary of State.

According to the basic principles of international law, codified by numerous international documents, the arbitral award is to be carried out by all parties to that document, that is, by the countries which formed part of the compromis. It is their duty without reservation, their absolute responsibility. Thus, it ought to be a pan-national issue for us, to demand from those countries on the 22nd of November each year, to carry out their responsibility as per international law, and not to do so simply as a gesture of goodwill, but as an immediate and inviolable international obligation, which has lain forgotten, and which has partly been denied.

The 22nd of November must be rendered a day of restoration of justice, of demands for national reparations and the re-establishment of our dispossessed rights. In the words of that great Armenian, Garegin Nzhdeh, Hayrenadiroutian Day – National Patrimony Day.

Modus Vivendi


** Serzh Sargsyan **

President Serzh Sargsyan today issued an address to the Conference dedicated to the 90th Anniversary of Woodrow Wilson's Arbitral Award: the message reads, in part:

“Dear Participants of the Conference,

Ninety years ago on November 22, 1920, the President of the United States Woodrow Wilson made an Arbitral Award regarding Armenia's borders.

It was probably one of the most momentous events for our nation in the 20th century which was called up to reestablish historic justice and eliminate consequences of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in the Ottoman Empire. The Arbitral Award defined and recognized internationally Armenia's borders within which the Armenian people, who had gone through hell of Mets Eghern, were to build their statehood.

Perfidy and brutal force thwarted opportunities for calling President Wilson's Arbitral Award to life. Nevertheless, its significance is not to be underestimated: through that decision the aspiration of the Armenian people for the lost Motherland had obtained vital and legal force.

With the collapse of empires after World War I, a number of European nations had been endowed with the opportunity to achieve self-determination through the creation of their own nation states. President Wilson wished Armenia to be one of those nations which would employ all opportunities offered by the European civilization. He knew what the responsibility of a great state means; he didn't ignore sufferings of small nations.

Even today, through the power of his historic legacy, Woodrow Wilson entreats to strengthen international law, prevent genocides and undertake measures to restrain the impunity of brutal force. He is the one whom the grateful Armenian nation remembers and will remember for ever as an advocate of justice and a true friend.”

Public Radio of Armenia


Decision of the President of the United States of America