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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1916-05-30-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14092
Publication: DuA Dok. 275 (gk.)
Central register: 1916-A-16612
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 06/23/1916 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: J. Nr. 384/.
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Consul in Damascus (Loytved Hardegg) to the Embassy in Constantinople


Damascus, 30 May 1916

Copy [Presented in copy by Metternich on 19 June (No. 311) to the Reichskanzler.]

As I had the honour of reporting telegraphically in March of this year, Djemal Pasha organised a relief organisation for the Armenians who had been deported to this area which has been running for about six weeks. The former Vali of Salonik and Aleppo, Hussein Kasim Bey, is at the head of this organisation, a man who is generally held in high esteem as having an upright character and being active. He is assisted by two higher officials who are off duty and the deputy Vali from Damascus. These three members of the committee also have a good reputation.

Since last month, Hussein Kasim Bey has been travelling through the areas in and south of the Hauran in which the Armenians are located. In Dera, he first had bread distributed to the Armenians and set up a public delousing station and swimming bath with a hospital. Once cleansed, many Armenians were sent from there to different towns in which they were able to find work. Approximately seven hundred widows and orphans went to Hama where they have begun working in a weaving factory.

On the occasion of a dinner given by Djemal Pasha the day before yesterday I met Hussein Kasim Bey. When he saw me he told me that he needed to speak to me urgently. In a very excited voice he told me that he wanted to resign from his post as chairman of the Armenian Committee because he was no longer able to work. Not only were his measures not carried out, but the authorities were doing exactly the opposite. The Armenians whom he sent from Dera to Damascus in accordance with the programme were being sent back by the local municipal authorities. The government was not giving him sufficient financial means with which to take effective action against the Armenians’ great deprivation. He was very disheartened and no longer believed at all in the Turkish government’s serious intention to assist the expelled Armenians. He was even afraid that they were to be systematically exterminated. He had heard that those Armenians who had been escorted to Aleppo were once again being brought to the east in the direction of Mosul and Der-el-Sor, probably to fall prey to the Bedouins. This cruel policy of extermination was a disgrace to Turkey and would greatly harm Turkey after peace had been achieved, and also cause Germany embarrassment, because the world would accuse it of not having acted more effectively on behalf of the Armenians. He saw no other solution, but that Germany work towards sending all the Armenians to some other country (he meant South America) as quickly as possible. Turkey and the Armenians would be best assisted in this way.

I pointed out the anti-Armenian atmosphere among the leading committee members in Constantinople, against which even Djemal Pasha was seemingly no match. I pointed out to him that Germany, insofar as the present situation permitted, was helping the Armenians as far as possible, and asked him not to resign his post in the interest of the cause and to continue working despite all the countercurrents. As soon as Djemal Pasha returns in a few days from Aleppo, he will continue to negotiate with him and, if he is not given more absolute power and financial means, he will relinquish his honorary post. According to his estimation there are 60000 Armenians between Aleppo and the Hezaz. Should the Swiss relief organisation wish to provide financial means for the local Armenians, I would recommend giving money secretly through the consulate to Hussein Kasim Bey, whom I trust completely, for the purpose in mind. Haste appears to be of the essence, because the need is great.

Hussein Kasim Bey requested that I treat this discussion as strictly confidential.

[Loytved Hardegg]

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