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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. N. 1, ”Armenien”
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 04/27/1916
Arrival of telegram: 05/15/1916
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 98
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

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


Constantinople, 27 April 1916.


Mr. Foreign Minister,

Yesterday the Papal delegate [Angelo Maria Dolci] turned up in the local Spanish legation [in Constantinople] accompanied by a German Catholic priest who had arrived here from the Turkish Vilayet Angora in Asia Minor, where he has witnessed the treatment that has befallen the local Armenian Catholic congregation, and which he introduced to the [Spanish] minister [Julian del Arroyo], whom they asked to intervene and protest to the Porte in the name of Catholic Spain.

The reason for their turning to the Spanish legation, they said, was because the German and Austrian embassies had such a relationship with the Turkish government that they, in order not to [offend] it, had to show so much consideration that they really could not energetically plead the cause of the Armenians.

When one bears in mind that the two embassies in mention represent 24 and 34 million Catholics respectively, and that the leader of the Catholic Centrum of the German Reichstag [Matthias Erzberger] in these very days is here in Constantinople on an official visit as a guest of the Turkish government, and that the local German ambassador, Count Metternich, himself is a Catholic, one can conclude by this request how careful the German diplomacy in Turkey is now acting, and the extent to which it weighs Germany’s political considerations over all other considerations.

Even though, as it appears from my report No. CXIII [113] of 4 September last year, 13 of the 16 Catholic congregations that existed among the Armenians in Turkey outside of Constantinople have disappeared completely, without anyone having knowledge of what has happened to all of the clergy, the Catholic Centrum of the German Reichstag does not seem to dare to attempt any forceful intervention on behalf of its unfortunate, persecuted co-religionists.

While describing the state of things, I shall not refrain from adding that it is very possible that even a vigorous German diplomatic intervention on behalf of the Armenians would not move the Turkish government to refrain from its project, because the great effort that the local American embassy, which does not have to show the same kind of consideration as the German and Austrian embassy, has done to save the Armenians, has, the American Chargé d’Affaires [Phillips] tells me, been fruitless, and this has in all probability, after what I only later have learned, also been one of the contributing factors to the departure of the American ambassador [Henry Morgenthau].

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


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