860j.01/68: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace

3021. Confidential. Your 3960, August 30, 11 a.m.

Department would welcome despatch of 10,000 French troops for the protection of Armenia. The essential thing is by immediate action to avoid invasion of Russian Armenia and further massacres, to insure the transportation of food stuffs by rail from Batoum to Erivan and, at the same time, to show Turks, Kurds and others that [Page 839] the Allies have not abandoned the Armenians. It would, therefore, appear more practical and speedy if the French troops are going to be sent from France to have them land at Batoum, replacing the British troops and taking immediate control of the railway. The British should, in this case, be requested to suspend their withdrawal until arrival of the French and publicity should not be given until then.

Department received following dated August 30th from Constantinople. “The Captain of the United States vessel Olympia telegraphs as follows: from Batoum, ‘British evacuated Tiflis August 29th and will be entirely out of Transcaucasia, including Batoum, in two weeks. General Cook Collins of opinion that evacuation will result in collision with Georgian and Turkish forces at Batoum and general close in of [on] neutral Armenians by Tartars and Turks.’ Ravndal, American Commissioner.”