The Paris Peace Conference was convened after the end of WWI on January 18, 1919 – January 21, 1920, to agree on the terms of the peace treaties between the belligerents and the settlement of territorial disputes. The delegation from the Republic of Armenia was headed by Avetis Aharonyan. Another delegation headed by Poghos Nubar arrived at the conference as well.
All conference participants submitted official reports where they set out their vision of the demarcation of borders and presented their proposals. The Armenian side also set forth its demands and attached to the report a map of the united Armenia which included Cilicia. The author of this historical map which is now stored in the National Library of France was Zatik Khanzadyan.
The path of the commodore
A commodore in the Navy of France, famous geographer, and cartographer Zatik Khanzadyan (1886 – 1980) was born in the city of Manisa in Western Turkey. While studying at the Department of Cartography of the Izmir Naval School, the talented young man very quickly stood out among other students and was sent to Paris in 1909.
Here, he studied at the Higher School of Navigation and then at the Academy of the General Staff of the French Navy. From the latter, he graduated as an engineer-hydrograph and with the rank of commodore – engineer of the French Navy.
Khanzadyan was seconded to Istanbul where he worked as an expert in the Ottoman Turkish Naval Mapping Authority. In 1914, after the outbreak of WWI, he moved to Bulgaria, after which he finally settled in France.
In 1919, Khanzadyan participated in the Paris Peace Conference. In 1920, he published the Atlas of the Geographical Community of Historical Armenia. The work included 25 maps and possesses great scientific value.
Forty years later, Khanzadyan compiled all his maps in the book “Historical Cartography of Armenia” which was published in 1960.
After the end of the Paris Peace Conference, Zatik Khanzadyan worked in the League of Nations as a geographer and cartographer. Between 1920 to 1932, he compiled and published the fundamental atlases of the economic geography of a number of countries. Subsequently, he headed the French Navy Cartographic Bureau, after which he assumed the position of the chief cartographer of France.
During WWII, Khanzadyan took an active part in the French resistance movement. After the war, he was awarded the Legion of Honor of France. It is also known that Khanzadyan, working underground, on the instructions of the anti-Hitler coalition developed maps of the Mediterranean basin region aimed at disorienting the German command.
The question addressed to Khrushchev
Zatik Khanzadyan was the honorary chairman of the cultural association of Armenians of France and a foreign correspondent member of the Academy of Sciences of Soviet Armenia. In one interview, Jacques Khanzadyan – the son of Zatik Khanzadyan’s – told some interesting things from his father’s life.
During his visit to Soviet Armenia, Zatik Khanzadyan, being well aware of the events of 1921, in a private conversation with the leaders of the republic asked when the question of the return of Kars to Armenia would be finally raised. He was told, however, that Armenia was not an independent state and that perhaps the diaspora could raise questions of such a level.
Nikita Khrushchev paid an official visit to Paris in 1960. During a meeting with the French intelligentsia, Khanzadyan, on behalf of the Armenian community of France, asked him a question: “When will the Soviet Union put forth the question of Turkey returning the Kars region to Soviet Armenia?”
Khrushchev was not surprised by the question and accepted it very calmly. However, he answered very vaguely, saying that such issues would only be resolved after the war.