AIMS OF ARMENIAN CONGRESSES
Throughout the period covered by the "Armenian Question" or "Armenian Problem" the Armenian terror groups have been given indirect encouragement by certain churches and states, while at the same time a number of Armenian congresses have been held at their request and invitation. Most of these congresses have been organized by the Dashnak or Hunchak terror groups and attended by their own members, together with other Armenians interested in the topic and representatives of the churches. Such congresses have normally been in the nature of forums at which topics such as the actual situation and conditions together with the activities and potential capabilities of the organization were discussed, and at which a number of decisions were taken. These decisions were, however, very rarely actually applied and most often served merely to foment faction and conflict.
In the period 1973-1985, during the New Armenian Terror, congresses under such titles as "The International Armenian Groups" were held in Paris in 1979, Lausanne in 1983 and Sevres in 1985. At these congresses attempts were made to address world public opinion, as well as the various Armenian communities and members of the Armenian terror groups. At the congress held in 1985 under the chairmanship of a priest, James Karauzian, the text of an "Armenian Constitution" was accepted. The declared aims of the congresses held during this period were "to foster unity and co-operation among Armenians", "to form a centre for the formulation of political demands and aspirations", and "to combine the various Armenian terror groups in a single organization". Priority was given to a massive propaganda and psychological campaign to inform international public opinion of their activities. Attempts were also made to interest Armenians in the work of the various groups and to involve them in terror or other operations. Another aim of these congresses was to ensure harmony and co-operation between the various separate Armenian terror groups. Thus all terror and other activities could be presented as the common policy of the international Armenian community, and the various elements brought together in a united front.
These congresses had a number of characteristics in common:
a) In all of them priority was given to discussions concerning armed struggle. Disagreements between those who supported armed struggle and those who opposed this strategy finally led to splits in the Armenian terror groups. ASALA refused, or was not allowed, to participate in any of the congresses held after the Paris Congress of 1979.
b) It was decided that the texts of all decisions taken at these congresses should be forwarded to the various international bodies and that these decisions should be considered and discussed at various levels in the international forums. Means were also discussed by which this decision could be put into effect.
c) One of the most important topics of discussion was the union of all Armenians in a single organization, but no agreement could ever be reached on how this aim was to be achieved. The text known as the "Constitution" accepted the idea of a preparatory period.
d) The number of participants at these congresses steadily diminished.
e) No effective measures were taken to remove the differences of opinion that were very clearly revealed at these congresses.