The Ambassador in Turkey ( Grew ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 24, 1928.]
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.]
- 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).↩