File No. 763.72/1295
The Ambassador in Turkey (Morgenthau) to the Secretary of State
Constantinople, November 16, 1914.
[Received December 11.]
Sir: I have the honor to forward you herewith a translation of the account in the Lloyd Ottoman of the 15th instant, of a demonstration which took place in Constantinople on the 14th.2
After the ceremonial declaration of the holy war described in the translation, Seid Bey, deputy of Smyrna, made a speech in which he emphasized the sin a Moslem committed in fighting in the armies of England and France against the Ottoman army. The crowd led by the committees of “National Defense” and of the Fleet, then visited the Sublime Porte, the Sultan’s Palace and the German and Austrian Embassies, at all of which places there were patriotic speeches. At the German Embassy it was announced that Emperor William was sending to the Sultan Musulman prisoners captured by the German armies.[Page 150]
After the visit to the Austrian Embassy most of the crowd dispersed, but those referred to in the local press as “a few evilintentioned individuals” broke the windows of the Russian Consulate General, of one French and one English shop and wrecked the first floor of “Tokatlians,” a large Russian-owned hotel. The damage in each case was done by a few men and without real police opposition. A considerable cheering crowd followed them and watched the proceeding. It is quite possible that the demonstration was engineered by the Government to give a fictitious appearance of enthusiasm for this war.
At the very moment this small riot was beginning, Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, was calling at the Embassy assuring me that there was no danger here for English and French, that only suspicious characters would be asked to leave; that there could be no massacres without orders from the Government, and that these orders would never come. The Minister of the Interior informed me to-day that the offenders of yesterday would be severely punished, as they committed these acts of vandalism without the permission of the police.
The official declaration of the holy war described in the accompanying enclosure1 is a dénouement long desired by the Germans in order to cause Moslem uprisings in Egypt and India. Since Turkey is allied with Christian nations this move is somewhat extraordinary, and I cannot yet tell what effect it will have on this country. Since the mob on the 14th, this city has been perfectly quiet.
I have [etc.]