File No. 19274/22–23.

The Acting Secretary of State to Chargé Einstein.

No. 529.]

Sir: I inclose for the embassy’s files a copy of a letter2 from the Hon. William S. Bennett, M. C., transmitting a petition2 relating to the recent massacres in Asia Minor, which the Armenian Evangelical Alliance of America has addressed to the President. I also inclose a copy of the department’s reply to Mr. Bennett.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee.

The Acting Secretary of State to the Hon. W. S. Bennett

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 18th, inclosing a petition from the representatives of the Armenian Evangelical Alliance, addressed to the President, urging the influence of the United States for the amelioration of the condition of the Armenians.

The petition has been read with attention and interest. This question has from time to time had the earnest consideration of this Government for many years, and the recent terrible events in Asia Minor have served to further manifest the deep sympathy of the American people and the abhorrence of the President over the atrocities perpetrated. While the Government of the United States, not being a signatory to the Berlin treaty engagement, deems itself—as the petitioners seem not unaware—precluded from any consideration on its part of a question of intervention in the present circumstances, or of sharing in those treaty responsibilities, the sentiments of this Government and its earnest desire that the Armenians shall possess absolute security of life and property are common knowledge to the concert of great powers who by the treaty compact aimed to accomplish that result.

Every thinking American deplores the antagonism, differences, and opposing ambitions which have arrayed the racial and religious elements of the Turkish population against each other. The sufferings of the innocent victims in the late outrages have deeply touched American sympathies. Neither in these events nor in times past has this Government looked on unmoved. It has always wished that it had the power to prevent such sufferings, but it is convinced that, in the obvious impossibility of intervention, it is powerless. The broader tendencies developing in the Near East and the moral suasion of the Christian treaty powers must be trusted finally to prevail to reconcile the opposing factions.

It is no longer a question of dealing with a government implicated in the Armenian massacres. It is earnestly believed that the best course now for the [Page 558] betterment of the unfortunate people concerned is to exhibit a degree of confidence in the newly established constitutional Government, whose Sultan has solemnly proclaimed to Parliament his horror over the awful slaughter among his subjects, his firm intention to punish the guilty, and his purpose to use his fullest power to maintain peace, justice, and tranquillity throughout his dominions and among all races and religionists. The magnitude and difficulty of the task of the new régime should win the sympathy of all well-wishers of peace and justify a fair opportunity of accomplishment without interference.

The hopeful promise of reforms seems to be confirmed by the recent official reports from Turkey that the constitutional Government is taking vigorous measures for the complete restoration of order in Asia Minor, for a rigid investigation of the massacres, and for the effective military protection of the disturbed districts. All of which, it is hoped, will prevent a recurrence of the recent lamentable events, which are deplored as keenly by the President as they can be by any citizens.

A copy of the petition of the Armenian Evangelical Alliance will be communicated to the American ambassador to Turkey, who is fully aware of the President’s views in the premises.

I have, etc.,

Huntington Wilson.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.