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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1, ”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 1, til 31 Dec. 1916
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 10/03/1915
Arrival of telegram: 10/18/1915
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 138
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

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


No. 138

Constantinople, 3 October 1915. 2 enclosures.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

I have the honor to send with this report an attachment with a translation into French, published in the daily papers, of the temporary law concerning the possessions, debts, and claims of the deported which was mentioned in my report No. CXXXIV [134] of 30 September this year, and which was issued the day before the Turkish parliament was convoked.

The law is connected to the temporary law of 27 May 1915, of which a translation is also forwarded here as an attachment, a law which authorises certain military authorities to, in order to maintain law and order during conditions of war, destroy through military force any resistance and to root out any resistance, as well as to transfer in whole or in part the populations of villages and towns to other parts of the country for reasons of urgent military necessity or if espionage or treason is sensed.

The new temporary law stipulates that the possessions of the population that has been deported according to the mentioned law of 27 May shall be taken over by the public authorities. According to Art. I, II, III of the law it will be possible to confiscate all the possessions of the deported Armenians, as well as the Armenian churches and schools. It is clear that the forced sale of the properties, head over heels and under the current conditions, will not come close to covering the actual value of the properties.

The liquidation commission mentioned in the law can act completely arbitrarily. It has been given authority to annul any claims of the deported without consulting said persons, and to hand over property to other claimants without giving the deported any right or possibility to set aside such a decision. Any surplus generated by the liquidation of the possessions of the deported will, after deduction of expenses, be deposited in the Ministry of Finance, without any mention of when it is supposed to be paid back to the owners.

Considering that the law of 27 May 1915 has laid the legal foundation for the great deportations of the Armenians and for the connected persecutions, one can easily imagine the far-reaching consequences of an arbitrary execution of the provisions of the new law, which could practically lead to complete ruin for the Armenians of Asia Minor.

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


[Enclosure 1:]

Enclosure to copy of Leg. No. CXXXVIII [138] of 3.10.1915. "Hilal" 29.9.1915.

[See 1915-10-07-DE-002 for the full text in French of the 26 September 1915 Temporary Law, a text which is identical with the text brought in "Hilal" 29. september 1915.]

[Enclosure 2:]

Enclosure to copy of Leg. No. CXXXVIII [138] of 3-10-1915.

Loi provisoire du 14. mai 1331 (27. mai 1915).

En temps de guerre, si les commandants d'armées et de divisions, ou leurs représentants, ainsi que les commandants de places indépendantes, voient, de la part de la population, et de n'importe de quelle façon, une opposition contre les ordres du Gouvernement et les actions et mesures relatives à la défense du pays et au maintien la tranquillité, et une agression et une résistance à main armée, ils sont autorisés et obligés à faire immédiatement les répressions les plus violentes au moyen de la force militaire, et à annihiler de leurs fondements mêmes l'agression et la résistance.

Les commandants d'armées et des corps d'armées et divisions indépendants peuvent, par suite d'exigences militaires, ou s'ils sentent de l'espionnage et de la traitrise de leur part, éloigner et faire habiter en d'autres endroits, individuellement ou en masses, les populations des villages et des bourgs.

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