The British Ambassador (Geddes) to the Secretary of State

No. 367

Sir: I have the honour on instructions from my Government to draw your attention to the renewal in Asia Minor, by the Angora Turkish authorities, of the deportations of the Christian minorities. Evidence of the renewal of these deportations, gathered mostly from the workers of the American Near East Relief, is contained in the enclosed memorandum2 which embodies reports recently communicated to His Majesty’s Government by His Majesty’s High Commissioner at Constantinople.

His Majesty’s Government, who have, in the proposed terms of peace with Turkey now under discussion, assumed a serious responsibility for the future protection of these Christian minorities, feel that they cannot allow reports of this nature to remain uninvestigated or such incidents to continue unchecked. They accordingly propose that the United States, French, Italian and British Governments should at once depute a carefully selected Officer to proceed to Trebizond or to whatever Black Sea port may be most suitable for the purpose, with a view to proceeding to such places in the interior as may best enable them to conduct the necessary investigation. While the permission of the Angora authorities will have to be obtained and facilities demanded from them, His Majesty’s Government consider that it will be difficult for these to be refused, since it is the contention of the Turkish nationalists, as evidenced by memoranda recently communicated to His Majesty’s Government, that these deportations and massacres either have not taken place or, if they have, that they have been provoked by the conduct of the Greek and other minorities concerned. Should permission however be refused, His Majesty’s Government feel that they will have no course but to reconsider their entire attitude towards the present peace [Page 920] proposals which obviously could not be pursued with any chance of success in conditions such as those existing.

In communicating to the United States Government the views of His Majesty’s Government on the present situation in Asia Minor, I am instructed most earnestly to urge that the United States Government may agree to the proposal outlined above and may be prepared to instruct the United States High Commissioner at Constantinople to act in concert with his British, French and Italian colleagues in carrying it out.

I have [etc.]

A. C. Geddes
  1. Not printed.