File No. 763.72/1544
The Ambassador in Turkey ( Morgenthau ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 4, 1.22 p. m.]
470. Meeting of representative Americans was held at Embassy to-day to arrange protectionary measures for safeguarding of all Americans and institutions in case crisis arises. Government has compelled Constantinople banks, Public Debt and Tobacco Regie to send their gold to Konia, Eskishehir and Adrianople. Minister of the Interior told me yesterday and Minister of War confirmed to-day that adequate measures had been taken for the protection of native as well as foreign population of capital and that Constantinople is being fortified in order to prevent landing of troops by Allies and not for the purpose of attacking Anglo-French fleet. However there is every indication of an intention to defend not only the city itself but the approach to it in the Marmora, guns having been placed in the Princes Islands from which all the population have been ordered to depart. I suggest the establishment of zones in Pera, Stamboul, and Scutari which Turkish authorities should leave unfortified and invading forces agree not to bombard or use for landing troops. This would enable non-combatants to secure safety. Minister of War favors plan. I strongly recommend its being submitted to British Government. Presuming that Allied fleet will accomplish passage of Dardanelles and that hostilities will be continued here, I think there will be serious danger for all foreigners. McCauley suggests that Navy Department should obtain British permission to have North Carolina follow entering fleet as American sailors might then protect after Allies land.
Germans here probably would not deprecate destruction of Saint Sophia and other monuments because of angering effect upon Moslems of India and elsewhere against British. German Ambassador will undoubtedly make determined efforts to put blame on British [and] French for probable destruction of life and property which he asserts will follow attempt to take the city. It might be well that Germany be informed that she will have responsibility of the fate of non-Moslems.