The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Geddes )

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of May 15th last, referring to reports of the renewal of the deportation of Christians by the Turkish authorities at Angora, and the alleged atrocities connected therewith, and communicating the proposal of His Britannic Majesty’s Government that the British, French, Italian and American Governments should at once depute carefully selected officers to proceed to such places in Anatolia as might best enable them to conduct an appropriate investigation.

In Your Excellency’s subsequent memorandum of May 19th, you indicate that the Turkish deportations and outrages might lead to retaliatory action in territory held by the Greek forces and suggest that this Government should join in requesting the authorities functioning in Greece to permit the despatch of officers to regions under Greek occupation.

The situation of the Christian minorities in Turkey has enlisted to a marked degree the sympathies of the American people and it has been noted with deep concern that the work of benevolent and educational institutions in Turkey has steadily been hampered, that the rights which American citizens have long enjoyed in Turkey in common with the nationals of other Powers have often been disregarded and the property rights and interests of Americans and other foreigners placed in jeopardy.

In view of the humanitarian considerations which are involved and of the desire of this Government to have adequate information through a thorough and impartial investigation of the actual conditions prevailing in Anatolia, in order that this Government may determine its future policy in relation to the authorities concerned, the President is prepared to designate an officer or officers to take part in the proposed inquiry.

In taking this course, I should make clear to Your Excellency my understanding that the proposed action is limited in scope to an inquiry to obtain accurate data as to the situation in Anatolia for the information of the Governments participating therein, and I should advise you that this Government assumes no further obligation and enters into no commitment.

This Government suggests that in order to expedite the inquiry officers should be designated by the respective governments to institute inquiries concurrently in the districts respectively under Greek and [Page 928] Turkish occupation, and that these two commissions, upon the completion of their investigation, should unite in a comprehensive report.

As I have not been advised of the reply which the French and Italian Governments may have made to the British proposal, I shall await further information before communicating with the American representatives in Constantinople and Athens regarding the designation of officers or the sending of such communications to the local Greek and Turkish authorities, as may be necessary to open the way for the proposed investigation.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes