860j.01/53: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Davis )

5874. Confidential. Supplementing Department’s 5867, August 23, 2 p.m., reiterating urgent appeal on humanitarian grounds to the British Government to continue the protection which it is giving to the Armenians, the following considerations may incidentally be brought to Lord Curzon’s attention.

The United States Government was not a signatory to the Paris treaty of 1856, the Berlin treaty of 1878, or any of the conventions between the European powers regarding the Near Eastern affairs and which caused the continuation of the condition of the Christians under Turkish rule. Consequently American desire to help Eastern Christians is based mainly on humanitarian and altruistic grounds without the feeling that America is in any way responsible for their condition or that she is under obligation to pay them back a moral or any other debt.
Should the withdrawal of British troops be followed by further massacre of Armenians, it may result in anti-British feeling in American public opinion, which this Government will greatly regret and would earnestly desire to avoid. We need not refer to British public opinion, much better known to the British Government than to ourselves.
The deportations and massacres of Armenians in 1915 and 1916 were principally due to the desire of the Young Turks to create a homogeneous Turkey. The pan-Touranian and pan-Islamic aspirations [Page 837] of the Turks still exist and do not seem to be discouraged by Moslems outside of Turkey. The Armenians and the formation of an Armenian state are considered by Turks as serious obstacles in the way of the realization of these aspirations, especially the first. It, therefore, seems to be in the interest of Great Britain and the other Allies to help the Armenians and protect them from extermination.
If public opinion in America should agree to an American mandate over Armenia, it will be due to the sympathy formed for the Armenians and the hope that through American help the Armenians may, during the mandatory period, learn to organize a self supporting state. If through further massacres, the Armenians should be weakened to the extent of pan-Turkish hopes [so] that they will be forever unfit to form a Christian state, then possibly a strong opposition may grow in this country against the assumption of any mandate by the United States.