With reference to directive number 913 from 29 November [A 33278, enclosed.]
Today I had very serious discussions with the Grand Vizier concerning the Armenian question and have called his attention to the fact that the Turkish Government, through its persecution of the Armenians, is risking the support which it enjoys within well-disposed foreign countries. Moreover, that indignation is increasing in Germany and the Imperial Chancellor is being besieged with letters requesting that he intercede with the friendly and allied Turkish government on behalf of the Armenians. I again also pointed out that although conspirators threatening the security of the state must be severely punished, the ignominious expulsion of hundreds of thousands of the old, children and women will cast a long dark shadow over the Young Turkish history.
On this occasion I intentionally raised official protests with the Grand Vizier and not with a member of the triumvirate as it is known to me that he disapproves of the Armenian persecutions. Although he does not possess the power to stop them, it would be very welcoming for him to utilise my protests in his dealings with his colleagues.
In conclusion, I spoke about the impropriety, which can be blamed upon low-ranking Turkish civil servants, of making the false assertion, that the Germans are aiding and abetting the Armenian persecutions. This slander, as I know irrefutably from travellers and other sources, is extremely widespread in Anatolia. We are not of a mind to share the responsibility for the Turkish government’s Armenian policies. Therefore, I requested that he take vigorous action to counter these rumours.
The Grand Vizier was unaware of such rumours. He promised quite emphatically to have them denied. Moreover, he informed me that the Armenians had been victims of foreign agitators, especial by Russian ones. Entire districts had been organised for an uprising and supplied with weapons. It was not about the uprising of individuals, but of entire areas, which is the reason why, not just individuals could be singled out for punishment. Furthermore, he stated that he had not been in agreement with the treatment which the Armenian population had received. I remarked that, as he knew, the experience of history shows that revolutions are the result of poor government and that the persecution and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of innocent people cannot constitute a legitimate defence measure of a state.
When I have something unpleasant to relate to the Turks, I do so with great calm, and they tolerate it. Even though there are no longer monarchists in control, there are still people who are ashamed of the Armenian persecutions among the older Turks.
I would like to believe that my protests have not been entirely in vain. Djemal Pasha demanded certain concessions for the Armenians: namely that the Armenians who are still in Aleppo should be allowed to stay nearby, instead of being deported to Der-el-Zor on the edge of the desert where they would have died; that those Armenians (engineers, management personal, and labours) who had already been deported, should be called back; and that the artisans who have been sent into exile may now be employed again for army purposes. Djemal Pasha, who also belongs to those Turks who are ashamed, had up until now met with resistance in the Committee to the fulfilment of his wishes. Recently, however, as has been communicated to me by his Chief of Staff, Colonel von Kress, they have now been granted. He credits this to my intervention. The Colonel told me that the memory of the ghastly images of the Armenian misery will stay with him throughout his life.