File No. 367.11/186

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Herrick )1


American Ambassador at Constantinople in a number of telegrams has urged United States to send war vessels to Turkey for protection of lives and property of Christians. He states Turkish authorities are taking advantage of present conditions to disregard capitulations and it is feared Turkish Government will abrogate capitulations. Reports that when Italian Embassy went to Turkish Secretary of Interior latter replied, “It is a shame to talk of capitulations now.” Ambassador quotes telegram from Consul General at Beirut: “In the absence of all European cruisers on Syrian coast public opinion clamors for presence of some American vessels to prevent anarchy.” He also states that presence of warships have been requested in telegrams from Americans at Smyrna and Jaffa. Turks are threatening to board foreign ships for purpose of requisitioning provisions. Ambassador and American consuls all report anti-Christian propaganda very active throughout Turkey. Under existing conditions United States Government may be compelled to consider it necessary to send one or two American battleships to Turkey for the sole purpose of protecting the lives and property of Christians. You will present these facts to the French [Page 760] Government and ask if they can suggest any other method for the protection of Christians in Turkey. A similar inquiry is being made of all other interested belligerent powers. You will forward this telegram mutatis mutandis to American Ambassadors at London and St. Petersburg.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Ambassador in Germany to be forwarded to the Ambassador in Austria-Hungary (File No. 367.11/315b).