File No. 867.00/652
The Consul at Mersina (Nathan) to the Secretary of State
Mersina, August 15, 1914.
[Received September 14.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that as a result of the European wars the local situation continues to be very distressing from a political and economic standpoint. About 15,000 troops have already been mobilized in this province but there appears to be a likelihood that no more calls will be made for the present, as an order was received not to take anyone who has not had previous military training. Requisitions of all kinds of goods that may be-needed for military purposes are being made. Christian merchants been the worst sufferers in regard to requisitions and the military exemption tax has been taken from them in some cases unnecessarily.
Foreign subjects liable to military duty in their respective countries have been departing in large numbers. Most of these were engaged in the construction of the Baghdad railroad, all work on which has now been suspended.
All banks continue to abstain from all business and even refuse to pay deposits. The scarcity of money is everywhere felt and all business of all kinds has practically ceased. The wheat crop is for the most part still in the fields and the lack of labor and the inability to pay laborers make all efforts to complete the harvest vain. The cotton crop which promised to be the largest in the history of the province of Adana will doubtless go to waste for the most part. The requisition of about 4,000 horses adds to the difficulties.
American citizens who are engaged in missionary work in this district are nearly all in a small mountain village near Mersina for the summer. I duly communicated to them the Department’s instruction to advise all Americans not to go to remote places but they decided to remain where they are for the present. The Governor of Mersina has assured me that they are in no danger but, if I should find conditions otherwise, I shall peremptorily order them to return. I have also succeeded in obtaining temporary exemption from requisition for the horses of the missionaries.
As all Americans who are entitled to registration, of whom the consulate has any knowledge, are already registered and have pass ports, I believe no further formalities are necessary in their case.
Thus far no American citizens in need of money who have been unable to procure same from other sources have come to the Consulate. I have however arranged with the director of a local bank to permit of the drawing of drafts on the Department for small sums in case same should be needed by some American citizen whose, relatives deposit same with the Department.
With the exception of the horse of an American citizen of Ottoman origin named Aram H. Tellalian and concerning the true ownership of which I am not convinced, no important requisitions of Americans property have yet been made. The authorities however intend either to requisition large quantities of American petroleum belonging to the Standard Oil Company and the Vacuum Oil Company or to control [Page 767] the prices at which it can be sold. I am acting under instructions from the Embassy concerning these matters, and the Embassy is being continually informed concerning the development of the local situation.
Should the Department decide to request of the Navy Department the sending of American warships to these waters I respectfully urge that a visit be made to this port.
I have [etc.]