Legation de Danemark. Constantinople, 5 January 1917.
Mr. Foreign Minister,
As reported, the Turkish government is speculating in Turkey's export and in the suffering of the population; the new Austrian-Hungarian ban on the import of non-essential goods is therefore very inconvenient, while it is greeted with satisfaction by the population here.
This is because the ban affects the government's export of fruit (figs, dates, raisins, etc.), which the population cannot do without due to the shortage of sugar, and for which the prices have been raised enormously as a consequence of the export and of the increased domestic consumption.
A similar ban has been issued for silk, which, due to the lack of clothing material, has lately been the subject of an increased export, while cheap, locally manufactured silk fabrics have at the same time become necessities to large parts of the population.
In the local daily newspapers yesterday an interesting circular from the Turkish Ministry of Interior to the authorities in the Provinces was published.
It is stated in this circular that persons "who have come to the Ottoman Empire from the privileged provinces, such as Egypt and others, or from places where there are no military organizations, are not subjected to compulsory military service unless they have settled down in the country permanently".
What the Turkish government means by the expression "the privileged provinces" has not yet been made clear. If it means Tripolis, Tunis, Egypt, etc., then the significance of the circular is not great, but if the decision also extends to provinces such as Lebanon, which the Porte had granted certain privileges to accommodate the Great Powers, privileges that were revoked immediately after the outbreak of the war, the government would in this case show more political moderation than it has for a long time.
His Holiness the Armenian Catholic Patriarch [Boghos Bedros/Paul Peter Terzian XIII/13] says that 6 Armenian bishops have been killed during the latest massacres instigated by the Young Turk government, and when I asked if the authorities continue, he answered that the few surviving Armenians have been sent to faraway places where they die of hardship and suffering.
His Holiness believes that more than one million Armenians have been killed by the Turks.
With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully