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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1918-03-02-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14099
Publication: DuA Dok. 372
Central register: 1918-A-09444
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 03/02/1918
Embassy/consular serial number:
Translated by: Linda Struck (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Undersecretary of State in the Foreign Office (Bussche-Haddenhausen) to the Ambassador in Constantinople (Bernstorff)


Berlin, 2 March 1918

In future peace negotiations with the Western allies these will without doubt bring up the Armenian issue and try to enforce as extensive an autonomy as possible for the East Anatolian Vilayets. In the face of such attempts, the position of Turkey will be much more favourable if it has presented tangible evidence before entering the negotiations that it intends to provide the Christian as well as the Muslim citizens of this province with equal, mild and fair treatment and to help them with the restoration of everything that has been destroyed by the events of the war.

The re-occupation of the area is being accomplished unexpectedly quickly. According to telegram No. 287 - 8961 - the seizure of Erzurum can be expected soon. As soon as this has taken place, the time will have arrived to demand that the Armenians who are still carrying weapons submit themselves voluntarily and to grant them in this case impunity and free return to their homes. Apart from the fact that this could lead to the avoidance of possible further difficult battles, a start can only be made in this way to educating the local Armenians, who represent an essential, valuable element of the population of these provinces, to become loyal subjects of Turkey once again. Furthermore, the planned financial assistance for the restoration of the villages and for the economic reconstruction of the Vilayets should be distributed equally among Christians and Muslims. It would also be desirable to consider fetching back the Armenian inhabitants who have been banned to the heart of the empire.

Apart from this, it would have a favourable effect on the general atmosphere among broad and influential circles if the Turkish government were willing to allow the German missions who formerly concerned themselves with the Armenians to send out representatives to spread charity to the local people, irrespective of their religion.

Almost as important as the treatment of the Armenians is that of the Greeks. In the current situation there is no longer any reason to keep the Greek population deported from the coastal areas by the Black Sea away from there. Their speedy return should be arranged.

I request Your Excellency, in your talks with the Grand Vizier, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and also with Enver Pasha, to develop this concept and to report on their response to your ideas.


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