The Vice Consul at Smyrna (Russell) to the Secretary of State

No. 204

Sir: I have the honor to refer to previous inquiries of this office concerning the possibility of the abrogation of the Capitulations in this district, and to state that the Honorable Arthur Hugh Frazier, American Charge d’Affaires at Athens, has just informed me of the result of an interview with Mr. Politis, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, on this subject.

Mr. Politis stated that the Greek Government intended to abrogate the system of Capitulations at Smyrna. He added that, in so doing, the Government was merely availing itself of privileges conferred by the treaty with Turkey.

While I am not a trained diplomat, I must say that I fail to see the logic of the Greek Government’s contention. It is my understanding that the United States and the other Allied and Associated Powers never recognized the abrogation of the Capitulations by Turkey, considering that these treaties were bilateral agreements, which could not be nullified by a unilateral declaration. This being the case, the Capitulations must have still been in effect when Turkey ceded the administration of the Smyrna region to Greece. Turkey [Page 155] could not give nor Greece receive more than the Ottoman Empire possessed.

Consequently, it seems to me that Greece inherits the administration, modified by the Capitulations, and that she can not declare them ended any more than Turkey could, except by consent of the Powers interested. Such consent has not been given.

I may add that this is the attitude of all the foreign representatives here.

I have [etc.]

H. Earle Russell