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Source: DK/RA-UM/UM, 2-0355, ”Konstantinopel/Istanbul, diplomatisk repræsentation”, ”Noter og indberetninger om den politiske udvikling, 1914-1922”, ”Verdenskrigen. Rapporter fra Smyrna. Nov. 1914-marts 1916”
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 09/02/1915
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 19/No. 398
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

Konsul i Smyrna (Alfred van der Zee) til Legationen i Konstantinopel (Carl Ellis Wandel)


No. 19 / No. 398 [report written in English]
Consulat Royal de Danemark. Smyrne, 2nd. September 1915.


Confirming my despatch of the 17th. July I now have the honour to report as follows:

HOSTILITIES.- With the exception of a few shells thrown at different places along the coast with the object of destroying shipping or the purpose of discovering new entranchements [sic] the allied fleets have displayed no marked activity, and only twice during this time have aeroplanes come over this town.-

EXTENSION of SPHERE of BLOCKADE.- The only important development was the notification that an effective blockade had been declared of all the coast of Asia Minor from Castellorizzo on the South to the Entrance of the Dardanelles on the North which was made on Sunday the 22nd. August last [sic] when a British Cruiser approached Kuluk lowered a boat under the white flag & handed a communication to that effect to the local Governor for transmission to the Governor General of this province.-

NEW WORKS.- It is noteworthy that since the declaration of war by Italy a feverish activity prevails in military circles & that new defence works are being rapidly put up in this province, the belief gaining round [sic] that an attack is probable. Further a great many factories have since been seized by the military authorities together with all machinery motor-engines &c., and all copper in this place and province is being requisitioned. The rumour is spreading that [the] government intends manufacturing ammunition locally.-

STATE of COUNTRY.- While these preparations are going on the people in the interior are beginning to starve - true enough their crops have just been collected but they cannot sell their figs or raisins as no one will buy these. To give an example whereas about 3,000 loads of figs had been brought on market at this date last year only 40 have been brought so far and the same proportion holds good for all produce. The Governor General is indeed attempting to obtain leave from the allies to allow the exportation of figs & raisins in neutral bottoms [sic] and from what he tells me Mr. Morgenthau, U. S. Ambassador, has promised Enver Pacha to get it, but notwithstanding his assurance to traders that it will be obtained no one will buy goods before the question is definitely settled.-

DESERTERS.- To add to the misery that prevails, bands of deserters are scouring the country and levying blackmail on the wretched inhabitants.-

ARMENIAN QUESTION.- The only bright feature on this darkened horizon is the fact that there has been so far no persecution of the Armenians owing to the absolute refusal of Rahmy Bey, Governor General, to carry out the orders sent him.-

I am Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Alfred van der Zee

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