The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: A man from Syria passed through here recently and gave me most interesting accounts of the state of affairs [Page 691] there. The Turks are oppressing the Arabians and the revolt of the Grand Sherif of Mecca may have great effects in this war. This man says the English are building two railroads from Suez into the desert and the Germo-Turks are building toward the canal from the North. For the canal attack there are at present principally Austrian troops assembled. The Turks are beginning to take Greeks from the Coast cities into the interior of Asia Minor and are oppressing the Syrian Arabian Cities, such as Beirut where thousands are dying of starvation. At the Islahje-Aleppo R. R. head 30 Turkish soldiers a day die from Cholera. The Germans by their precautions escape. He passed 147 German auto. trucks in the Cilician mountains bound for Bagdad. Also saw the British prisoners from Kut el Amara, who are dying of dysentery, being compelled to walk in the hot sun from Kut. He thinks the English and the Grand Sherif will transfer the title of head of the religion from the Sultan at Constantinople to either the Sultan of Egypt or some new Sultan to be established as an Arabian Sultan, perhaps at Bagdad if the Russians and English take it, or at Mecca, and he considers this movement of Arabians against Turks may assume great proportions.

There is still talk here of a resumption of reckless submarine war which question is complicated and involved in the eternal efforts of the Conservatives to get the Chancellor out.

The recognition of the “merchant submarine” has made a very good impression here.

The plain people are eager for peace but those interested in carrying on the war have the upper hand.

The Harvest is good, is now being garnered and, as I have always said, there is no question of starving Germany out.

A number of navy and (which is significant) army officers visited von Tirpitz, lately, in his Black Forest Retreat and gave him a testimonial.

There is prospect that what is called here a “Burg Frieden” (Peace of the City) will be declared between the Chancellor and the principal Conservative newspapers.

One of the American Correspondents back from Verdun says that a corps Commander said his corps took no prisoners.

I think many of the Hungarians are for peace. I get this from Andrassy’s son in law who is also a member of the lower house. Tisza however is still in full control.

Prince Leopold[’s] stags (he is brother in law of Kaiser) have destroyed vegetables of the plain people (as in the days of William Rufus) and people dare write letters, and Liberal papers dare publish them complaining of these depredations.

Yours ever

J. W. G[erard]