1917-01-05-DE-011
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Source: DE/PA-AA/BoKon/174
Publication: DuA Dok. 311/312 (re. gk.)
Central register: 1917-A-00613
Embassy register: A53a/1916/3822
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Departure of telegram: 01/05/1917 05:15 PM
Arrival of telegram: 01/05/1917 08:37 PM
Date of entry in central register: 01/06/1917 a.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 17
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012


From the Chargé d’Affaires in Constantinople (Goeppert) to the Foreign Office

Telegraphic Report



No. 17
Pera, 5 January 1917

Reply to directive no. 1410.

Instructions carried out. Halil Bey promised to work towards immediately stopping the forced conversions. An immediate return to Christianity of those forced to convert is not opportune. This situation will probably be solved satisfactorily once peace has been made.


G[oeppert]


[Goeppert’s Memorandum dated 4 January]

Discussed with Halil Bey.

He requested permission to take the memorandum back with him as it had been agreed upon with Count Metternich that nothing would be left behind in writing concerning such discussions.

He promised to work on Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey towards immediately stopping the forced conversions. To facilitate a return to Christianity at this point for those who converted would probably not be feasible and not practical, because this could result in new deportations. This will be just as possible after the war, as it was after the persecution of the Armenians during the age of Abdul Hamid.


Enclosure

Péra, le 4 janvier 1917.

Le Gouvernement Allemand apprend de sources dignes de foi que, contrairement aux démentis officiels, on continue de forcer les Arméniens dans les provinces à renier la fois chrétienne et à embrasser l'islamisme. Les nouvelles de ces faits s'étant répandues en Allemagne les milieux chrétiens s'en sont émus à juste titre et ce n'est qu'à grande peine que le Gouvernement Allemand a réussi à empêcher, jusqu'à présent, la discussion publique de cette question; cepen-dant, il ne peut ne pas tenir compte des nombreuses démarches faites auprès de Mr. le chancelier de l'Empire et auprès du Département des affaires Etrangères à l'effet de faire cesser ces persécutions et de donner aux personnes converties de force la faculté de rentrer dans la foi chrétienne après le rétablissement de la paix.

Le Gouvernement Allemand, en sa qualité de puissance chrétienne, ne peut que regretter et désapprouver des actes de violence qui sont contraires aux principes de la liberté de conscience, principes qui ont été toujours observés en Turquie et qui, d'ailleurs, ont été consacrés dans un article spécial de la constitution Ottomane. De même, il est d'avis que les persécutions des Arméniens Chrétiens sont de nature à créer au Gouvernement Ottoman de sérieuses difficultés lors de la discussion des conditions de paix, et il prévoit que les puissances de l'entente en profiteront à l'avenir pour s'ingérer dans les affaires intérieures de l'Empire.

Le Gouvernement Allemand guidé par le sincère désir de contribuer à l'affermissement de l'indépendance nationale de l'Empire Ottoman, a cru de son devoir de communiquer au Gouvernement Ottoman sa manière de voir au sujet d'une question qui, dans ce sens, intéresse également les deux Gouvernements alliés, en même temps, il aime à espérer que le Gouvernement voudra bien prendre les mesures nécessaires mettre fin à des incidents qui ne peuvent être justifiés ni par les intérêts militaires ni par des motifs d'ordre public.

[Translation by George Shirinian]

Annex

Pera, 4 January 1917


The German Government has learned from trustworthy sources that, contrary to official denials, the Armenians in the provinces are continuing to be forced to renounce their Christian faith and to adopt Islam. The news of these events having spread through Germany, its Christian citizenry is justifiably upset, and it is only with great difficulty that the German Government has succeeded in preventing until now public discussion on this question; however, it cannot take into account the numerous representations made to the Imperial Chancellor and to the Department of Foreign Affairs to stop these persecutions and to give those forced into conversion the ability to return to their Christian faith after peace is reestablished.

The German government, as a Christian power, can only regret and disapprove of the acts of violence which are contrary to the principles of freedom of conscience, principles that were always observed in Turkey, and which were enshrined in a special article of the Ottoman constitution. Similarly, it generally felt that the persecutions of the Christian Armenians are such that they will create serious difficulties for the Ottoman Government during peace negotiations, and it foresees that the Entente Powers will take advantage of it in the future to interfere in the internal affairs of the Empire.

The German Government, guided by the sincere desire to contribute to the consolidation of the national independence of the Ottoman Empire, believed it to be its duty to communicate to the Ottoman government its point of view on this question, which, in this sense, interests both allied governments equally; at the same time, it hopes that the Government would willingly take the necessary measures to put an end to the incidents, which can be justified neither by military interests nor motives of public order.



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