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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1, ”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 2, fra Jan. 1917 – 1. Jan. 1919
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 01/06/1917
Arrival of telegram: 01/25/1917
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 4
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 4

Constantinople 6 January 1917.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

The Directors for the Security Police and for the Political Department of the Ottoman State Police, Aziz Bey and Réchad Bey, have returned to Constantinople after having made an official journey that has lasted for 2 1/2 months, a journey which they have undertaken in order to inquire about to what extent the exiled Ottoman Arabs, Armenians, Liberals, Syrians, etc. in Switzerland and elsewhere have succeeded in making propaganda and create a favorable attitude in order to bring about a general condemnation of the radical way which the government here has tried to create a "Turkey for the Turks" during the war, and I hear that they have reported that the popular opinion in Europe about the present Young Turk regime is far worse than was imagined here.

Even though the Turkism and the lust for persecution in the Committee is greater than ever, it does seem like the reports of these gentlemen, in connection with the fear that the Entente Powers will not negotiate with Talaat Bey and his colleagues, have brought the Committee to think better of it and that it has begun to realize that it is timely that the Young Turk government shows more moderation toward the various non-Turkish peoples in Turkey, because I have been told that there was at their meeting last Tuesday an unusually strong sentiment against the policy that the government has led up till now, and it is believed that Talaat Bey will now have the chance to change that policy little by little.

One will hardly be able to speak of any real moderation in the Committee which consists of ultras [sic], but at most about an understanding that it is too dangerous to further overreach themselves, an understanding that Talaat Bey has not up until now dared to calculate with and which it is very possible that he himself has secretly worked to bring about as he is without doubt such a significant politician that one may easily assume that the initiative to the Turkish government's many politically unwise acts during the war lies with the Committee and not with him.

The chairman, Hadji Adil Bey, and first vice-chairman, Hussein Djahid Bey, of the Ottoman Chamber of Deputies will, I am told by a member of the Senate, travel to a meeting in Berlin with their Bulgarian, German, and Austrian-Hungarian colleagues, but my informant does not know yet what the purpose of this meeting is.

I was told today by a second hand source that a member of the Turkish ad hoc mission which has been negotiating the 4 Turkish-German treaties in Berlin, and which is presently in Vienna, has written to a friend in the Foreign Ministry here that he now doubts if Germany will sign these treaties. It will perhaps also be difficult in this case for the Turkish government to have its way in Berlin while at the same time demanding a new loan of 40 million Ltq.

The Turkish officials are now starting to admit that large parts of the population in Asia Minor perish from hardship and misery.

Thus, in a private conversation the other day a police section chief admitted that more than 50.000 people in Lebanon have died of starvation.

The American steamer "Caesar" that has, as mentioned in my earlier report, left America with provisions to relieve the famine in Syria, has arrived in Cadiz, which means that it can be expected to arrive in Beyrouth [Beirut] in about a week, and in the Spanish legation here it is believed that His Majesty the Spanish King [Alfonso XIII/13] will also send a ship with provisions.

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully


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