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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. N. 3., "Syrien"
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 02/05/1917
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 28
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 28

Constantinople, 5 February 1917. 1 enclosue [enclosure is missing].

Mr. Foreign Minister,

I have already several times had the honor to mention in my reports how the Turkish government has seized the opportunity during the war to deprive Lebanon of its self-government and turn it into a regular Turkish province under a Mohammedan governor in order to nationalize and Mohammedanize the population whose religion and French sympathies have long been a thorn in its flesh.

Lebanon is therefore now being represented in the Ottoman Parliament, and the new deputies, Emir Hariss Chehab Bey, Emir Adil Arslan Bey, and Rechid Rami Bey for the sandjak Lebanon, and Emir Chekib Arslan Bey, who has been appointed for Hauran, have already arrived in Constantinople where they were received at the railway station by several of the leading Young Turk politicians and invited for lunch at the "Union and Progress" club in Kadikeuy [Kadikoy; Chalcedon].

It is now being said that one of the reasons for the cabinet crisis yesterday was a demand from Germany that due to security reasons German officers were to be employed in the gendarmerie and the police, but this rumour is being denied by the German embassy.

According to another interesting version, the now retired Grand Vizier Saïd Halim, who was the leader of the government by name only and who had no knowledge of what the government did, is to be made a scapegoat so that he will pay for the mistakes which the government has made if the government's German-friendly policy does not lead to the desired results.

This version finds support in the wording of a letter which His Majesty the Sultan has sent to the Prince today, and of which I enclose a French translation as it appears in the papers [this text is not enclosed with the document].

The letter is supposedly written by Talaat Pasha, and it maintains that it is Prince Saïd Halim that Turkey has to thank for the solution to the Adrianople Question and the alliance treaty with the Central Powers.

It is being said that Talaat Pasha is thinking of the possibility that there may come a time when these services to the Fatherland will have less of a value than they have now, and that he out of consideration for his own political future has therefore thought it best to give Prince Saïd Halim the credit for them, even though said person has hardly known of them before they were already a fait accompli.

This way Talaat Pasha makes it appear as if he has only inherited the alliance with Germany from his predecessor.

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully


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