The Ambassador in Turkey ( Grew ) to the Secretary of State

No. 101

Sir: In my despatch No. 60 of November 23, 1927, regarding the re-opening of American schools in Anatolia, I had the honor to inform the Department that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his letter to me of November 13, had proposed negotiations with the American Board for the purchase by the Ministry of Public Instruction [Page 811] of American school property in Anatolia prior to considering the question of the re-opening of the schools. I now have the honor to report that, in accordance with the request of Mr. Fred Field Goodsell, Field Secretary of the Turkish Mission of the American Board, I wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on December 2, requesting that a specific date be designated for the desired conference between the representative of the American Board and the Ministry of Public Instruction in Angora. No reply to my letter, a copy of which is enclosed herewith, has as yet been received.

In this connection, a conference, which was held recently between Shukri Bey, a representative of the Bible House, and Avny Bey, of the Council of Education of the Ministry of Public Instruction, is significant. I am informed that Avny Bey stated that his Minister, Nedjati Bey, regarded the Bible House as hardly more than a Christian missionary propaganda institution and that the Minister desired to have no dealings with it in any shape or form. He said that while the Bible House could continue to print its publications, as the Turkish law allows, the Ministry of Public Instruction would have nothing to do with them in regard to the American schools. Avny Bey observed that if such institutions were authorized to function by the Treaty of Lausanne, they would be allowed to re-open, otherwise not.

In relation to this general subject, I am informed that certain of the deputies in the National Assembly, chiefly journalists, have conceived the plan of opening two girls’ schools in Turkey to compete with foreign secondary schools in this country, one to be established in Angora and one in Stamboul. While they expect to receive assistance from the Government, these schools will be denominated “private schools” in order to avoid the legal restrictions on compensations of instructors so that teachers of the calibre of those employed in foreign-controlled institutions may be engaged. It is said that the following deputies, all journalists, are the prime movers in this project: Nejmeddin Sadik Bey, Falih Rifki Bey, Nafi Atouf Bey, Rouschen Eshref Bey, Hakki Tarik Bey, Mahmoud Bey and Yacoub Kadri Bey.

I am further advised that Noureddin Bey, General Director of Primary Instruction in the Ministry of Public Instruction, recently stated to my informant that it would be a blessing both for the Turks and American educators in this country if the latter could co-operate with the Ministry of Public Instruction in its desire to introduce technical rather than cultural and religious subjects in their schools. He said he had gone so far as to write to the American School in Mersifoun along this line and had even drawn up a circular indicative of the character of technical instruction approved by the Ministry. This course of study included, among other subjects, the following: [Page 812] millinery, sewing, hygiene and home economics, care of infants, nursing, conservation of fruits and vegetables, carpentry and rug-weaving. I expect to discuss these various matters with Mr. Goodsell, who is now absent, on his return to Constantinople and shall report further to the Department in due course.

I have [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew

The American Ambassador ( Grew ) to the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Tewfik Rouschdy )

My Dear Minister: In reply to your letter of November 13, 1927, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the American Board is prepared to send a representative to Angora to discuss with the Ministry of Public Instruction the question of re-opening certain American schools in Turkey and the sale to the Turkish Government of certain school properties in Anatolia. If the Ministry of Public Instruction will kindly designate a specific date for the interview, arrangements will be made for the representative to be in Angora on the day indicated.

The records of the American Board reveal that inquiries have been made on behalf of the Turkish Government looking to the acquisition by purchase of school properties in Mersifoun, Sivas and Kharput only. Since the American Board in its application of March 1927 did not ask for a permit to re-open schools in these three places, it is hoped that the question of granting permits may be treated separately from the question of the sale of property. The American Board hopes therefore that permits will be issued as requested in its application and especially at Talas and Marash where the personnel is ready and waiting to re-open the schools.

I venture to express my own as well as the Board’s appreciation of Your Excellency’s kind co-operation both in arranging an early date for the meeting suggested by the Ministry of Public Instruction and in obtaining sympathetic consideration by the Ministry of the application of the American Board of March last.57

I am [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
  1. In telegram No. 25, Feb. 26, 1928 (not printed), the Embassy reported that the Minister of Public Instruction had authorized the addition of a technical section to the American school at Mersifoun and the reopening of the boys’ school at Sivas (file No. 367.1164/108).