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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-08-12-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14087
Publication: DuA Dok. 136
Central register: 1915-A-24507
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 08/20/1915 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: Nr. 501
Translated by: Linda Struck (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Ambassador in Extraordinary Mission in Constantinople (Hohenlohe-Langenburg) to the Reichskanzler (Bethmann Hollweg)


No. 501
Pera, 12 August 1915

1 Enclosure

The systematic slaughter of the Armenian people who had been deported from their homes had taken on such an extent over the past few weeks that a renewed, forcible representation on our part against this coarse action, which the government not only tolerated but apparently supported, appeared to be imperative, particularly as in various places the Christians of other races and confessions were also no longer being spared. In addition, the authorities had recently begun resettling the Armenian inhabitants of various locations in the area surrounding Ismid (Nikomedia), i.e. in the immediate vicinity of the capital, because they allegedly wanted to support a Russian landing on the mouth of the Sakaria. This measure evoked serious concern among the local Armenian people and rumours were going around that after the end of the Bairam festival, which begins today, the local Armenians would also be expelled. In view of the large number of Armenians living here (according to the latest estimates a minimum of 80,000 people), the realisation of these plans would not only lead to severe disruptions in trade and commerce, but would also seriously endanger the lives and possessions of the non-Muslim population, not excluding foreigners.

Therefore, following the memorandum dated 4 July, I handed the memorandum, of which I enclose a copy, to the Sublime Porte on 11th inst. Talaat Bey, who received it in the absence of the Grand Vizier, promised to solve the problem as far as possible and assured me upon my enquiry that there was no intention of deporting the Armenians living in Constantinople.

The President of the Chamber, Halil Bey, who was present at the Porte and who appears not to approve of the way the government is proceeding against the Armenians, maintained that the massacres and other atrocities were not approved by the government, but the government was not always in a position to prevent the excesses of the masses, also that the subordinated authorities had made mistakes in carrying out the deportation measures.

In addition to the above it should be mentioned that among the Turkish population of the Interior many believe that the German government is in agreement with the extermination of the Armenians and was even the instigator of it. I have therefore instructed the Imperial Consulates in Anatolia to vehemently deny such ideas which are incriminating for us and which are even being openly pronounced by officers, clergymen and other personalities of the better classes. I would like to leave it to Your Excellency’s discretion as to whether it is not recommendable to point out also in the German press at a suitable point in time that we without doubt do not approve of the enforced measures taken by the Turkish government against the Armenians and are therefore not responsible for the arising excesses, to which we can only object and for which we express our regret.

Finally, it seems to be desired in support of the steps taken here that we draw the attention of the new Ottoman ambassador there to the possible consequences of his government’s Armenian policy and our point of view on this issue.




Péra, le 9 août 1915.

Par son mémorandum du 4 Juillet l'Ambassade d'Allemagne a eu l'honneur de faire connaître à la Sublime Porte la manière de voir du Gouvernement Impérial Allemand au sujet de l'expatriation des habitants arméniens des provinces Anatoliennes, et d'attirer son attention sur le fait que cette mesure avait été accompagnée en plusieurs endroits par des actes de violence, tels que massacres et pillages qui ne pouvaient pas être justifiés par le but que le Gouvernement Impérial Ottoman poursuivait.

L'Ambassade d'Allemagne regrette de devoir constater que, d'après les renseignements qu'elle a reçus depuis lors de sources impartiales et dignes de foi les incidents de ce genre, au lieu d'être empêchés par les autorités locales, ont régulièrement suivi l'expulsion des Armeniens de sorte que la plupart d'eux ont péri avant même d'arriver au lieu de leur destination. Ce sont surtout les provinces de Trébizonde, de Diarbékir et d'Erzéroum d'où ces faits sont signalés; en certains endroits, comme à Mardine, tous les Chrétiens sans distinction de race ou de confession ont subi le même sort.

En même temps le Gouvernement Impérial Ottoman a cru devoir étendre la mesure d'expatriation aux autres provinces de l'Asie Mineure et tout dernièrement les villages arméniens des distrits d'Ismid à proximité de la capitale ont été évacués de leurs habitants dans des conditions pareilles.

En présence de ces événements l'Ambassade d'Allemagne par ordre de son Gouvernement, est obligée de remontrer encore une fois contre ces actes d'horreur et de décliner toute responsabilité des conséquences qui en pourraient résulter. Elle se voit forcée à attirer l'attention du Gouvernement Ottoman sur ce point d'autant plus que l'opinion publique est déjà portée à croire que l'Allemagne en sa qualité de puissance amie et alliée de la Turquie aurait approuvé ou même inspiré ces actions de violence.


Péra, 9 August 1915.

In its memorandum dated 4 July, the German Embassy had the honour of informing the Sublime Porte which view the Imperial German government takes on the topic of the deportation of the Armenian inhabitants of the Anatolian provinces and of drawing its attention to the fact that these measures have been accompanied in several places by acts of violence such as massacres and pillaging which could not be justified by the course taken by the Imperial Ottoman government.

The German Ambassador regrets having to determine that according to information he has received from impartial and undoubtedly reliable sources, incidents of this nature, instead of being prevented by the local authorities, regularly accompanied the expulsion of the Armenians in such a way that most of them perished before they reached their destination. This refers in particular to the provinces of Trebizond, Diyarbekir and Erzurum where the occurrences came to light; in certain places such as Mardin, all Christians, irrespective of their race or confession, have suffered the same fate.

At the same time the Imperial Ottoman government deemed it necessary to extend the expulsion measures to other provinces in Asia Minor. Most recently the inhabitants of the Armenian villages in the districts of Ismid near the capital have been evacuated under similar circumstances.

In view of these events, the German Embassy, upon instruction by its government, feels obliged to issue new warnings against these acts of violence and to renounce any responsibility for the consequences that could arise from them. It feels even more obliged than ever to draw the attention of the Ottoman government to this point, as public opinion tends to believe that Germany in its capacity as a friend and ally of Turkey approved of these acts of violence or even instigated them.

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