|The Turkish Army is marching in Smyrna 1922.|
Nancy and George Horton
“Oil does not mix well with blood and the smoke smells bad from the burning of Churches and Bibles.”
Nancy Horton, is the daughter of George Horton the Consulate of United States, officially representing the USA government in Smyrna, during the last tragic days and the destruction during 1922.
I met Nancy Horton, as recently as 2003, in Glyfada, a nice suburb of Athens, where she still lived. (I met Nancy once more in Athens in November 2009. She was in good health and probably one of the last persons alive that experienced the destruction of Smyrna in September 1922).
Nancy is a “leaving monument” of this era. She lived among mountains of documents of immense historical value, which she inherited from her father. Nancy Horton has devoted her life to save the work of her father and what she believed was an evidence of a “lost civilization”.
An account of the historic events that lead to the defeat of the Greek Army in Asia Minor, given by Nancy Horton the daughter of George Horton the Consulate General of United States in Smyrna during 1922.
(A speech given by Nancy Horton to the Greek American confederation in Philadelphia USA during 1992)
Nancy Horton was invited to speak to the Greek American confederation on the 23rd of February 1992. She was introduced to the audience by Doctor Lyras and the President of the Confederation, Dimos Vasiliou.
The Greek American audience listened, as in a ritual, to what Nancy Horton was describing, with the same historical consistency and sensitivity her father used to describe in his reports to USA Secretary of State.
Especially she gave emphasis to the part that her father said:
“ If, the war ships of the Great Powers that were anchored in the port of Smyrna at that time would have decided to fire even just on canon-shot, or one gunshot, the city and the lives of hundreds of thousands of Christian inhabitants would have been spared from the distraction, death and the menace of the Turks.”
George Horton Consulate General of United States in Smyrna during 1922.
The fleet of the Great Powers
But why would a Yankee of tenth generation, from a small suburb of New York, be so deeply involved in a city on the coast of Asia Minor? Nancy Horton questioned in her speech.
The young, George Horton used to listen to his father reading the bible and one part that apparently impressed George for life was the chapter from Apocalypse where it is mentioned that the last of the seven cities of Apocalypse was Smyrna. So he was destined to live and experience the destruction and death of the city.
Nancy Horton, in this historic speech, gave her account for the events that lead to the destruction and expulsion of the Christian population from Asia Minor, starting from the “first world war”.
Nancy described that her father said that: It was the first time in 100 years that the USA flag had been hauled down on a Consulate. The Greek victory against the Bulgarians and the fight for Thessalonica that followed impressed the British enormously. Evidently, the British started thinking that some of the land that Greeks were now holding under their control would be very important for Great Britain.
This is why the British invited Eleftherios Venizelos, the Greek Prime Minister to London. They wanted a base in the Adriatic Sea, maybe Argostoli in Cefalonia Island.
The British were thinking to trade Cyprus for this. Instead of this, the British Minister of exterior Sir Edward Grey gave instructions to the British Ambassador in Athens to offer Greece significant compensation in land on Asia Minor coast. In return Greece would enter the war on the side of the Allies, breaking its neutrality. This happened during January 1915.
Venizelos accepted and allowed the Allied forces to enter Thessalonica.
King Konstantine of Greece opposed this decision and Greece was divided into two states.
In May 1919 Lloyd George and Venizelos decided that the Greek Army should move into Smyrna.
On May 14th , 1919 the Allied forces took their position in the port of Smyrna, next day the Greek armed forces disembarked in Smyrna.
In August 1920, the Government of the Sultan signed the Treaty of Sevres. According to this Treaty the Greek population of Asia Minor would be freed from the Ottoman Turks and the area would be under the control of International supervision.
The signing of the treaty of Sevres 10th of Agust 1920
But the treaty was never signed by all the parties, in parallel with objections by the “New Turks” party overthrowing the Sultan. Italy objected because they were looking at Greece as their financial rival and they were worried about the commercial strength Greece would acquire and the French were anxious that Great Britain would increase their influence in the area.
Under the circumstances Venizelos believed that the only way to achieve the signing of the Treaty was by applying military pressure, on his own, he telegraphed to Lloyd George announcing his decision and asked for the support of Great Britain. It was amazing how much Great Britain was interfering in the war issues of Asia Minor and how much the Greeks were maintaining a continuous consultation with the British before every move they would make.
The British maintained a cautious position and they did not commit anything precise.
At the time the Greeks disembarked in Smyrna, George Horton wrote to the United States State Department:
This is the “Second expedition to Syracuse”, referring to the war against Syracuse during 413 BC that lead to the total loss of the financial strength of the ancient Athenian state and totally eliminated Athens as the leading force of the known world at the time.
During November elections of 1920, in Greece, Venizelos lost and resigned.
King Kostantine of Greece returned to power. At the time George Horton wrote to the State Department:
The overthrow of Venizelos, the Greek Statesman of great devotion to Europe and United states, will mark the beginning of the end.
He was right! The British took back their word and withdrew all agreements that they had made with Venizelos.
The excuse that Winston Churchill gave, in his speeches, was, that Great Britain would not help the Greeks in Smyrna and they would not give Cyprus to Greece because King Constantine returned to power.
“We have a monarch who disregarded the wishes and aspirations of his country and his people, he has thrown, for personal reasons, his country to the side of the enemy and lost. The return of King Constantine terminates all the Allied support and legal obligations to Greece” said Winston Churchill.
At this stage Horton was writing to the State Department:
“Even at this stage the Greek officers could still bring this task to a successful end, but they are being replaced by the new Government”.
The newly appointed Chief of Staff, Gen Hatzianestis, a very incompetent officer, totally failed and he was replaced by Charilaos Trikoupis on the 4th of September 1922. But it was to late, Gen Trikoupis had already been surrounded by the Turks.
The same day George Horton started a series of telegrams to the USA Minister of Exterior asking permission to mediate to the Turkish Government in Ankara for a general amnesty that would allow the Greek Army to retreat and return to Greece.
“Refugees are crowding in the City!” he wrote.
“ In the name of Humanity, for the protection of American interests, I beg you to allow steps towards the direction of a mediation which might prevent the destruction of the city.”
The telegrams reached William Phillips who was Assistant to the Minister of Exterior.
But Phillips, a very cautious and calm politician, had a different view. He wrote to President Harding: I have another message from General Consulate G. Horton, I think it would be wise to position ourselves for the protection of American citizens and American property. I don’t think that the situation justifies us to volunteer for a mediator’s roll.”
It is tragic for me to think of the advantages that would have resulted if this request, from G. Horton, would have been accepted.
The Turkish Army is marching in Smyrna 1922.
The 9th of September, the people of Smyrna were looking to their main Greek protection, their only defense against the Turks, to pass from the city and leave.
The Greek Army was going to Tsesme and from there they were departing back to Greece. A tragic figure in this picture of the destruction of Smyrna was the presence of the Allied fleet that was moving around the port with indifference, probably waiting for the protection of their nationals.
For the fire and the destruction that followed George Horton wrote:
One order from the commanders of the fleet, even one “dummy” shot towards the Turks would have stopped the Holocaust.
The Allies did not take such decision. The reason why they did not act lies in the events of the previous decade. One decade before the burning of Smyrna.
The year 1901 a German political and financial analyst emphasized that “Mosouli’s” oil reserves were the richest in the world. Other historians also underlined that commercial and financial interests have kept the United States away from a war against Turkey. Another historian wrote: The years 1919 to 1923 were so important for the history of Asia Minor that two senior US statesmen opposed each other over the issue of the use of military power. The power of conscience, on one side and the power of realism on the other. These men were George Horton and Mark L Bristol.
Mark L Bristol was the commander in charge of the United States Navy in the Turkish waters. Horton had worked very hard defending the American interests.
He managed to help in such a way so that Standard Oil would save many thousands of dollars from illegal tax avoidance. Nevertheless Horton did not believe in neutrality in cases of high morality when lives of many people were at risk There are many statements supporting Horton in this line especially statements from Turks that Horton had helped. But Bristol believed that it was his duty to send Navy personnel and journalists to cover up any negative behavior from Turks against Christians.
His objective was to win the Turkish sympathy and get what was known as “Bristol concessions”.
He censored all communication from Horton and from other personalities till they would come back to USA.
When I give these speeches, I usually don’t like to speak about the lives my father managed to save, because I think it is not proper to speak, as a daughter, about my father. But on the other hand why should I hide real facts of historical importance?
Even up to today, I meet people, on the plane, on the beach, at the grocery store, and when they hear the name Horton they come and speak about the lives of friends and relatives he saved. Somebody I met, on a Greek island, told me of a story that he filled boats with hundreds of American flags to cover up many Greek refugees.
When the Turks entered the City the scene became horrific. Rapes, murders and robberies were common. Horton was looking at the Turks in front of the American consulate General, who were throwing petrol on the building. When the fire embraced the building it was time to abandon the place, he left together with a number of people taking among them many non American Nationals.
It is very important to note that many buildings next to the American consulate that belonged to American humanitarian agencies were also burned together with the house of Horton with all his belongings, while the buildings belonging to Standard Oil were not touched. Navy personnel arrived there just to protect these buildings.
As Horton was departing aboard the ship for Greece he wrote:
“The worst impression I had as I was departing from Smyrna, was the sickening feeling, that I belong to the human race”.
He was comparing the destruction of Smyrna with the destruction of Carchidon by the Romans. Noting:
“In Carchidon though, we don’t have a fleet of Christian war ships looking at the situation their governments themselves had made”.
Since then, one of the most shocking memories some refugees refer to is the dancing music that was coming out of the Allied fleet in the port of Smyrna.
And Horton continuous:
“The presence of these warships during 1922, looking at the last Christian population in Turkey is the ugliest and most important scene of this story”.
In spite of Bristol’s strategy to ignore the loss of human souls to serve his personal objectives, one should not overlook the effectiveness with which some officers and sailors of the USA navy managed to save many lives by taking them aboard for more than two days against official instructions. But we should also stress the fact that only the Japanese traders surpassed every effort, they threw their merchandise in the sea to get aboard more refugees.
Immediately upon the return of George Horton in USA he spoke in a special hearing in the Congress and later he tried very hard to influence the decisions in the treaty of Lausane.
His efforts on this treaty are not very well known but in reality this has been the battle of his life. Horton objected to the signing of the treaty without provisions for a home country and the safety of the Armenian people. Also, Horton insisted for the return of all females alive, taken by force from the Turks and finally he demanded a public declaration from the Turkish Nation of the crimes made. Finally THE TREATY OF LAUSANE WAS SIGNED.
The Armenian representative made a plea for a home for the Armenians but this resolution failed to be adopted because of the fierce reaction from the Turkish side.
The personal and financial interests of the Great Powers, that had or were hoping to have with investments in Asia Minor,made their goverments to instruct their representatives to see these interests fully protected.
The history registered by Standard Oil is referring to a statement made by a representative who banged his fist on the table and said: Are we here for these damn minorities or are we here for looking after our interest after all this?
Members of the CHESTER group were there as well but nothing happened at the end because the British took Mosouli Oil before them. They beat them to that.
You can understand how important oil is, Horton wrote to his mother in Washington, when specialists announced that there is enough in the USA just for twenty years and all civilization is dependant on it. Even our warships are moving with this. I am almost ready to accept this but there must be other ways to obtain it in a less CRIMINALway. It will not burn well like that.
“Oil does not mix well with blood and the smoke smells bad from the burning of Churches and Bibles.”
Horton was always closing his lectures and speeches adding the names of the cities he was thinking of giving more “Greatness” than all poetry in the world.
As far as myself, a reflection will relieve me, the rest of my life, even after death. Any omissions that I may have made, my hands do not have Christian blood and I have never betrayed my Christ for “thirty silver coins”.
Nancy Horton, 1997
Link with last news for Nancy Horton from her home in Voula, Athens Greece. September 15th 2015.
The following is a message from Patricia
Great-Great Granddaughter of George Horton
16 Oct 2009
“This site is a great tribute to your family! Patricia (Great-Great Granddaughter of George Horton”
Reply from Nick Kouzos:
Patricia, I am honored with your message.
I have lost contact with Nancy, do you know her where about?
Please send me your e-mail if you please.
Comment from Nick Kouzos:
I met Nancy Horton once more in Athens on the 6th of November 2009.
She was in good health and probably one of the last persons alive that experienced the destruction of Smyrna in September 1922.
Note: December 2009.
Once more, I can make a reference to Nancy Horton who delivered an other one of her speeches, during a special event, in honor of George Horton and the Japanese war ship that helped to save thousand of Greeks during 1922 in Smyrna.
The event was organized by the association of Asia Minor Greeks in collaboration with Municipalities of the towns of Cavalla, Xanthi and Drama, in North Greece, during the Summer of 2009.
Note: 31 October 2012
No news on Nancy Horton
We regretfully announce the death of Nancy Horton that happened in Athens at Hospital YGEIA on Thursday morning the 18th of February 2016, There will be an Ecclesiastic ceremonial at the Anglican Church, Fillellinon street in Athens, 11 am the 5th of March. Her body will be sent by plane to US to her family.