1916-11-18-DE-003
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Source: DE/PA-AA/R14094
Central register: 1916-A-31836
Embassy register: A53a/1916/3391
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 11/24/1916 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: S. Nr. 108/Nr. 2087
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 03/23/2012


From the Consul General in Smyrna (Spee) to the Chargé d'Affairs at the Embassy in Constantinople (Radowitz)

Report



S. No. 108 / No. 2087
Smyrna, 18 November 1916
As you already know, on 8 November a number of Armenians were arrested, followed that night by their families, all of which were deported the following morning by railway to the interior. The remaining Armenians were threatened with deportation.

An extensive summary of a speech held by the Governor General to the 12 most outstanding members of the Armenian community in his house on the evening of the 9th shows the entire interrelation. I have been informed in confidence that the following is the contents of this speech.


A number of discussions took place in the Armenian community; a box for notes was hung up in the Armenian cathedral; an appeal was made to all Armenians, asking that people who could be dangerous for the community be named anonymously and that these names be placed in the box mentioned. The Armenian bishop, who proclaimed this from the pulpit on Sunday, also announced that the rumour concerning a North American intervention was completely wrong, and that if the necessary information had not been given by Tuesday the entire community and he, the bishop, himself would be deported. On Monday he announced that the Vali was actually well disposed towards the Armenians and that they should be thankful solely to the Turkish government for all the leniency that had been given during the course of the matter.

On Tuesday, 14 November, the Vali was given a list with about 30 names, and this with the remark that the community had examined the names with the greatest care and conscientiousness, that it had to regard the people named as being dubious and, thus, was passing on these names for the purpose of their being determined more closely and examined further. The Governor General became indignant over this answer and remarked that the community should either state that it considers these people to be dangerous or say that it was not in a position to do so, that the answer that it had given did not meet his requirements. On the afternoon of the same day the list with all the names was given to the Vali with the remark that after a conscientious examination the community felt obliged to inform the Vilayet government that the people named were dubious and that, for this reason, they felt obliged to inform the Vilayet government that those named could be dangerous for the community. The bishop supposedly said the following, "If you ask me whether the people named are wrongdoers, I cannot give you a conclusive explanation. Although the people's past is not clean, I must add that during the past year almost all of them lived very quietly."

The Vali appeared to be satisfied with this result. The Vali informed me today that for the first time he had succeeded in getting the Armenians to name the dangerous people themselves; these would be deported and the other innocent people already deported would be brought back.

I learned in confidence that the central government had ordered the further transportation of those deported on the 9th, but that the Governor General gave the opposite order and reported this to the central government.

Thus, for the time being, the Armenian question appears to be settled in Smyrna.

The conditions at the beginning of this month were particularly alarming for Germany's reputation, because the highest military command forces, those of the 5th Army and the 17th Corps, are in German hands, and both holders were in Smyrna during the deportation. The news spread fast that the Germans wanted to rid themselves in this way of the Armenian trade competition. The notification of the Governor General by army leader Marshal Liman von Sanders, already been reported elsewhere, that such arrests and deportations influenced the military situation and, therefore, the military command could not tolerate them, did not become public knowledge, but the numerous meetings on these days gave the population the definite impression that German circles had intervened against the procedures carried out against the Armenians.


L. Spee
[Note from the Embassy in Constantinople, 20 November]

Original respectfully presented to His Excellency the Reichskanzler, Mr. von Bethmann Hollweg.



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