811.4061 Musa Dagh/25
The Turkish Ambassador (Münir) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 13.]
Excellency: I have already had several occasions to discuss with the Department of State the projected filming of Franz Werfel’s novel, “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Company of New York.
The representative of the said company upon the recommendations of the State Department came into contact with this Embassy to have the views of the Turkish Government on the matter. It was duly explained to them at that time that the fiction of Franz Werfel, presumably, influenced by Armenian circles, is full of arbitrary calumnies and contempt against the Turkish people and that the filming of such a story, besides giving an utterly false conception of Turkey to the American public, would greatly hurt the Turkish nation. It [Page 1054] was also made clear to the company that it would certainly not be of a nature to promote the existing friendly feelings between the two peoples.
The company, thereupon, had suggested to make some changes in the story with a view to neutralizing the objectionable features of the scenario. To that, the Embassy had observed that the whole story being written with a definite political purpose pervading it throughout, it would not be possible to change this character by any alteration. The representative of the company has, however, insisted that a trial examination of a draft scenario be made to ascertain the practicability of eventual suggestions. The Embassy has later on received the draft scenario, which it immediately submitted to the proper Departments in Turkey, who have attempted, to find the possibility of complying with the request of the company. However, the result of these attempts have been utterly negative, any alteration proving inefficient in erasing the original traits of the novel.
The Turkish Government, who has reasons to believe that this novel, if filmed, would not find a market either in Turkey or in several other European countries, feels sure that it will not also be looked upon sympathetically by the United States Government.
Having already communicated to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Company the result, I have the honor of requesting your Excellency, upon the instruction of my Government, to kindly exert your high influence with a view to precluding the carrying out of this project which is so detrimental to the cordial feelings between the two peoples.