The Acting Secretary of State to the Swiss Minister ( Sulzer )

No. 351

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th ult. [November 30, 1918]7 transmitting a communication [Page 280] from the German Government10 concerning German civilians in Turkey.

In that communication the German Government states Art. XIX of the Anglo-Turkish armistice provides that all civilians of German nationality must leave the Ottoman Empire; that if this provision be enforced the German hospitals and asylums for the blind and orphans, the latter of which principally take care of Armenian children, will be compelled to close, thereby causing new sufferings in the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire. The German Government therefore requests that the President should intervene in favor of the German civilians being permitted to remain in Turkey.

In reply I beg to inform you that as the United States Government was not one of the signatories of the above mentioned armistice, it does not feel warranted in transmitting to the Entente Powers any communication from the German Government in favor of any Germans in Turkey.

As regards the hospitals and asylums for the blind and orphans, the latter of which, according to the German communication, principally take care of Armenian children, the Department of State is informed that practically all the funds expended for such children are furnished by American Missionary or other philanthropic organizations, and that German civilians connected with such hospitals or asylums can turn over the work and whatever funds they may have in hand to the nearest American Missionaries or their Armenian associates. In this way the charitable work may continue undisturbed.

In conclusion I have the honor to assure you that this Government notes with interest that the German Government is now evidencing concern in the welfare of the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire and that it is now expressing the desire that this population be spared new sufferings.

Accept [etc.]

Frank L. Polk
  1. Not printed.
  2. Same as second wireless message of Nov. 15, 1918, from the German Government, quoted in telegram No. 38, Nov. 16, 1918, noon, to Colonel House, p. 18.