File No. 867.48/475

The Ambassador in Turkey (Elkus) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

2276. Your 3121, November 16.1 After prolonged and difficult negotiation, Embassy obtained consent of Turkish Government to the importation free of duty and requisition of food supplies to be consigned to our Consul General at Beirut and distributed conjointly by Beirut chapter of American Red Cross and Red Crescent to the starving and destitute inhabitants of Syria and the Lebanon. Embassy believes once the supplies are landed, American representatives will be able to provide for impartial distribution according to agreement. Ward is member of distribution committee. Philip will join ship in Italy if permission granted. Doubtful if the Sublime Porte will now consent to modify arrangement already agreed upon. If Philip is not permitted to take ship in Italy for Beirut, he might meet ship at Vurla or Beirut. Failure to send supplies now for sole reason that American Red Cross can not technically control distribution will create bad effect and will be basis for claim by the Turkish Government that Armenians and Syrians need look for no help from America. This would simply be playing exactly into the hands of the Turks who do not desire any outsider to supply relief directly to Ottoman subjects, no matter how badly needed. I believe that there is no danger of supplies being seized.

Elkus
  1. Not printed.