25.2.19

3682) Opportunity To Strike A Blow- US Gov And Armenian Apostolic Church 1956–63

 © This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com An Opportunity to Strike a Blow? The United States Government and the Armenian Apostolic Church, 1956 – 1963
James R. Stocker
Department of International Affairs, Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

ISSN: 0959-2296 (Print) 1557-301X (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fdps20

To cite this article: James R. Stocker (2018) An Opportunity to Strike a Blow? The United States
Government and the Armenian Apostolic Church, 1956–1963, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 29:4,
590-612, DOI: 10.1080/09592296.2018.1528782
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2018.1528782
Published online: 17 Dec 2018


This analysis examines the influence of the United States government on the internal conflict within the Armenian Apostolic Church and the transnational Armenian community between 1956 and 1963. During these years, American officials followed closely and occasionally intervened in this strife amongst various Armenian political parties and factions within the church. The intervention helped to shape the outcome of the struggle within the Church and within the broader Armenian community.

The United States government influenced an internal conflict within the Armenian Apostolic Church and the transnational Armenian community between 1956 and 1963. During these years, American officials followed closely and occasionally intervened in a complex struggle between various Armenian political parties active in the diaspora, on one hand, and between different factions in the Church, on the other. ..

They took place in many different locations around the world; they unfolded over the course of two presidential administrations; the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] rather than the State Department officials conducted some of the intervention; and policy concerning the issue was often formed in an ad hoc manner. ..

The Armenian migration has served as a frequent case study for scholars of diaspora...
Like the British Empire in its day, the sun never sets on the Armenian diaspora.

Major relocations of Armenians around the world occurred during the First World War and after Turkey’s Armenian genocide, following the Second World War, and in the Lebanese civil war, 1975–1991. In addition to Armenia proper, there are large Armenian populations in Russia and the former Soviet Union, the United States, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and ..
mThe Antelias Catholicos had followed his flock during the exodus of Armenians from Cilicia—in southern Turkey on the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea—to French-mandated Syria and Lebanon after the ceding of that region to Kemalist Turkey in 1921...

By the late 1940s–1950s, three major Armenian political parties competed with one another for the loyalty of the diaspora: the Liberal Democrats— Ramgavars, the Social Democrat Hnchagian Party—Hnchags, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation—Tashnagtsutiun or Tashnags. All traced their origins to the late nineteenth century as manifestations of growing Armenian nationalism, each aiming to improve the political and social conditions of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire...

These parties, moreover, were all transnational in nature: two founded by exiles, all three seeking to mobilise Armenian communities around the world. Resentful of the sovietisation of the Armenian Republic in 1920, the Tashnags took a strong anti-communist line. The Ramgavars opposed communism as an ideology but advocated for maintaining strong ties to the Armenian community and Church in the ASSR, as did the Hnchags, which kept their socialist orientation. The Armenian Apostolic Church remained central in the life of the diaspora; thus it often became the forum for inter-party competition sometimes spilling over into violence. Most notably, in 1933, several Tashnag murdered Archbishop Leon Tourian in New York City, angered by his refusal to display the tri-colour flag of the formerly independent Armenian Republic—sometimes referred to as the “Tashnag Flag.” ..


During the Cold War, the Tashnag Party generally identified itself with a pro-Western agenda, in part to help expand its influence, whilst the Soviet Union hoped to use Etchmiadzin’s influence over the Church to advance its interests abroad. In addition, there is a strong oral tradition in the Armenian community in Lebanon regarding Western involvement in the community’s affairs, including rumours of connexions between the CIA and the Tashnag...

Perhaps the best-known case of United States government relations with a diaspora is the Jewish one. A great number of works examine the role of that diaspora in successfully advocating for policies in support of the creation of the Jewish state...

Although a sensitive topic, several works discuss the role of the Jewish diaspora in influencing American foreign policy since 1948...

despite resentment over the loss of a homeland and the presence of some efforts to migrate to Soviet Armenia, there was no major, successful effort to mobilise the liberation of a lost homeland in Anatolia analogous to the Zionist project...

Finally, the study of the American intervention in this dispute is of relevance to understanding the increasing involvement of the United States in the Middle East during the late 1950s and early 1960s..



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