An Agreement Between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Artsakh from August 1919

An Agreement Between

Considering that the issue of the participation of Nagorno-Karabakh will be resolved at the Peace Conference; that all clashes are fatal for the nationalities living in Karabakh; that with any resolution of the Karabakh issue, Armenians and Muslims will have to live together, the Karabakh congress at the fourth meeting on August 15, 1919, decided to settle the following conditions of an interim agreement with the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

1. This interim agreement shall be in force for both parties until this issue is resolved at the Peace Conference and shall be the same for both parties.

2. The Nagorno-Karabakh part of Shushi, Djevanshir and Jabrail, districts (Dizak, Varanda, Khachen, and Jraberd) inhabited by Armenians consider themselves temporarily within the borders of the Azerbaijan Republic.

3. Shushi, Djevanshir, and Jabrayil districts shall be separated into a special administrative unit of the Karabakh general-governorate, the internal organization of which shall be such that an administration of Armenians is appointed in the Armenian highland areas with the observance of minority rights.

4. In the upland area of Karabakh (Dizak, Varanda, Khachen, and Dzhrabert), administrative officials shall be appointed on the proposal of the members of the Council of Armenians.

5. Under the Karabakh general-governorate, a council of six shall be established consisting of three Armenians and three Muslims.

6. The Armenian members of the council shall be elected by the Congress of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. The congress shall have the right to re-election.

7. All fundamental decisions of an interethnic nature shall not be implemented without prior discussion in the council.

8. The Council shall have the initiative of structuring and management of the general-governorate.

9. The Council shall have the right to control and supervise the administration of the general-governorate, while others shall not have the right to intervene in administration.

10. The position of assistant governor-general for the civilian part shall be established, to which an Armenian shall be appointed.

11. Two candidates shall be submitted and one of them approved by the Armenian congress to the Azerbaijani government for the position of civilian assistant.

12. Karabakh Armenians shall have the right of cultural self-determination.

13. The right of cultural self-determination shall be exercised by the Karabakh Armenian National Council through the authorized representatives of the Armenian government elected at congresses periodically convened from Karabakh Armenians. The congress shall be convened by the National Council.

14. The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall control the activities of the Armenian National Council through authorized Armenians.

15. Military units shall be deployed in Khankend and Shushi in peacetime.

16. Any movement of military units in the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Shushi, Djevanshir, and Jabrail counties inhabited by Armenians shall be carried out with the consent of 2/3 of the council members.

17. For political convictions, no one shall be prosecuted either in court or in administrative procedure.

18. All Armenians forced to leave for political reasons shall have the right to return to their places.

19. In Karabakh, the disarmament of the Armenian and Muslim populations shall be suspended until the Karabakh issue is resolved at the Peace Conference.


In view of the fact that disarmament has been declared throughout Azerbaijan, one can talk about suspension.

20. The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall provide material and moral support to the people of Karabakh in the matter of speedy restoration of the ruined villages of Muslims and Armenians.

21. For a better settlement of interethnic relations, the Council shall convene periodic general and local Armenian-Muslim congresses.

22. Complete freedom of association, speech, and press shall be exercised. Meetings throughout Azerbaijan shall be sanctioned by the administration due to wartime.

23. All misconduct by private and official persons shall be prosecuted with the exception of misconduct and criminal acts removed from general jurisdiction by the mandatory decision of the State Defense Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan from June 11, 1919.

24. No one shall be prosecuted for participation in the interethnic clashes that have occurred so far.

25. This agreement shall enter into force upon its adoption by the 7th Armenian Karabakh Congress.

26. This agreement shall remain in force in every situation – siege, military, etc.

Newspaper “Banner of Labor”, 1919, August 26, Shushi

Document notes

1. The Karabakh Armenian congresses of 1918-1920 were a form of legitimate authority. The first congress of plenipotentiaries of the Nagorno-Karabakh population was held on July 22-26, 1918. The congress declared Nagorno-Karabakh an integral part of the Republic of Armenia. All other congresses, except for the seventh, rejected the claims on Nagorno-Karabakh arising from the Turkish intervention of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

2. The very fact of the Interim Agreement’s conclusion meant that the government of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (hereinafter ADR) entered into contractual relations with the elected authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1919.

3. The wording “Nagorno-Karabakh… considers itself temporarily within the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic” indicates that Nagorno-Karabakh did not alienate its right to terminate the agreement in the event of a violation by the ADR.

4. The matter did not come to the Peace Conference, and the Interim Agreement was invalidated by the fact that the ADR disappeared on April 28, 1920, when the 11th Red Army of Soviet Russia entered Baku and abolished the political power and order established by the Turkish army after it seized Baku in September 1918.

5. On the eve of the establishment of Soviet power in Baku, the Interim Agreement was violated by the Azerbaijani side. In March, the country resumed military operations against Nagorno-Karabakh, during which the Armenian part of the city of Shushi and nearby Armenian villages were burned.

6. Held on April 23-29, 1920, the 9th Congress of plenipotentiaries of the Nagorno-Karabakh population declared the Interim Agreement null and void and declared Nagorno-Karabakh an integral part of the Republic of Armenia.

Document No. 1: Interim Agreement of the 7th Karabakh Armenian Congress with the Azerbaijani government on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh from August 26, 1919

The first document from the book of A.S. Minasyan “The Karabakh Conflict: Internationally Recognized Grounds for the Issue”

Read Document No. 2

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