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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1919-06-28-DE-002
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14106
Central register: 1919-A-18715
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 06/29/1919 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number:
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 03/23/2012

From the German Foreign Office to Johannes Lepsius


Berlin, 28 June 1919

Dear Doctor Lepsius,

Your book on “Germany and Armenia” has not yet been published. I do not know whether this is due to typographical difficulties or to an order from you. I myself favour this delay and would like to ask you to consider whether publication under the present circumstances should not be delayed even longer.

As you know, the Entente intervened forcefully in the proceedings against the members of the “Unity and Progress” Committee and had the defendants taken to Malta. It is now certain that sentencing will be carried out by an inter-alliance court which, naturally, can only meet in several weeks or even months. Therefore, should your book come out now, we would have to expect that our enemies would make use of it during the proceedings. The Public Prosecutor would certainly not pass up the chance to make use of one strong word or another uttered by the German ambassadors and consuls in his requisition. It is an embarrassing thought that in this way we would be supplying our enemies with weapons against our former friends. This does not serve justice. In any case, there is enough material with which to determine the actual course of events. It is questionable, therefore, whether the purpose of all this publication makes it necessary that the book is in everyone’s hands at the time when the question of responsibility for the Armenians murders is being determined in court. I believe this question can be answered with a “no”. It is the task of the inter-alliance court to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendants. It does not have to determine whether, for example, the German government has a joint responsibility. Naturally, the prosecutor and the judges will not miss the opportunity to make hostile attacks against Germany, German diplomats and officers. But we will also be exposed to this if they are familiar with the book. In this case, your naturally biased criticism of Germany’s position, as is made clear in the book, will be dangerous for us, because the entire world will become aware of it, while our reply would be more or less swept under the carpet. We must tell ourselves that we will really have only one chance to speak out in public. That will be when your book is published. I would consider it a good thing if, at the same time, this publication would be the answer to the criticism concerning Germany’s attitude that, without doubt, will be given in the proceedings.

You, my dear Doctor, have far greater experience than I in matters concerning the press and the effect of propaganda, but I did not want to refrain from informing you of my opinion in this matter which, naturally, you alone must decide upon.


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