The Greek Legation to the Department of State

No. 4181–4182

Aide Memoire

The Royal Government is daily receiving reports from Turkey which arouse in its mind a most serious concern about the fate of the Christians living in Thrace and Asia Minor.

Turkey having laid down her arms and the Allied fleets having cast anchor in the Bosphorus, the Christians who after centuries were liberated gave vent then to their joy. The manifestations of gratitude to the Allies succeeded one another uninterruptedly. That aroused [the?] Moslem fanaticism, a circumstance which the parties interested at once turned to advantage.

Thus the Turkish press continued to keep the people under the illusion that Turkey had not been defeated but had asked for peace of her own accord. The Turkish people consequently continued in the same taunting attitude towards the Christians whom they provoked.

Although its chiefs have fled the Young Turk Committee is still in control. Having at its disposal the Chamber and the Senate composed of its henchmen, it continues in fact to rule Turkey. Moreover, the Government is composed of the same personnel as heretofore, that is to say, is in the hands of the Young Turk Committee which in this hour still wields the whole power.

It would even seem that the power of the Committee has increased since a large part of the old Turks have joined the Young Turks, and formed a new party styled the “renaissance” so as to create an illusion that it was still possible to inaugurate reforms in Turkey and that the party to undertake the task was already organized. The only result that has been achieved is that the Moslem population is now united and ready to attack the Christians as soon as the word is given.

The Allied Representatives do not appear to have grasped the imminence of the danger, relying on deceiving appearances, on false explanations of the Turkish officials. They refrain from seeing to the strict execution of the terms of the armistice. For instance, the disarming of the Turks has not even begun. On the contrary arms have been given out to all the Moslem population for use on the Christian population when the word is given.

Bands of out-laws consisting mainly of deserters or of soldiers discharged with their arms keep the country in a state of terror. Crimes are being committed on a larger scale than in the past. The [Page 277] Christians are incapable of offering any defence as they are without arms.

The Allied commanders acting on the advice of Levantines who are known by everyone to be closely connected with the Young Turks, instead of assuming the only attitude that a Turk understands, a threatening attitude, keep on negotiating with the Turkish administration. For instance, they are in continued relations with the ex-Vali of Smyrna, Rhami Pacha. His men encouraged by this attitude of the Allied Commander at Smyrna behave towards the Christians in an arrogant way so as to create disturbances. Brigands walk the streets of Smyrna without intervention from the allied authorities who merely declare that they cannot take any action.

The Royal Government deems it a duty to draw the attention of the Government of the United States as it has done with the other Allied States, to the danger which threatens the lives of Christians especially in the interior of Thrace and Asia Minor. The massacre of Christians after the defeat of Turkey would be a crime. These people who have suffered so much for centuries are entitled to better attention now that the tyrant is overthrown. It is absolutely necessary to shield the lives of the Christians with positive safeguards. And this can only be done by having important centers in Thrace and Asia Minor, occupied by allied troops as force alone has any effect on Turkey. But that force must be seen, must be felt by the Turkish populace.

The Government of the United States has so often given evidence of its good will toward these unfortunate people that the Royal Government is convinced that it will kindly take into earnest consideration the awful situation of the Christian population and begin such action as may be necessary to save their lives. It is furthermore necessary to look into the repatriation of the refugees in Greece who are a serious burden on the Royal Government, This repatriation can only be attempted when their safety is assured.

  1. File translation revised.