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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Turkey,   pp. 810-889 PDF (28.6 MB)

Page 867

The naval establishment should consist of a station ship for the
capital, and probably one each for Smyrna, Mersina, Batum and
Baku, to meet local needs in quick transportation of troops. A trans-
port of light draft capable of carrying a complete regiment should
be permanently on station at the capital. Four to six destroyers
would be needed for communication and moral effect. Collier,
repair and hospital service afloat should be in proportion. Old
ships of obsolete type would probably answer for all except the
station ship at the capital and the destroyers. Some ships of the
Turkish Navy, of which there are over thirty, could doubtless be
used with American crews soon to be replaced by natives.
The naval establishment might not entail any additional Federal
appropriations. Ships and personnel could probably be drawn from
existing establishment; the only additional expense would probably
be the difference in cost of maintenance in Near Eastern and home
It is very important that a proper military and naval setting be
given the mandatory government at the beginning. In no part of
the world is prestige so important, and in no region have people been
so continuously governed by force. The mandatory could at the
outset afford to take no unnecessary risks among such a population
in densest ignorance as to our resources and our national traits.
This Mission has had constantly in mind the moral effect to be
exercised by its inquiry in the region visited. Very alarming reports
had been received from Transcaucasia for several months before its
departure from France, particularly as to organized attacks by the
Turkish Army impending along the old international border between
Turkey and Russia. The itinerary of the Mission through Turkey
was planned with those reports before it and with the intention of
observing as to their truth and if possible to exert a restraining
influence. We practically covered the frontier of Turkey from the
Black Sea to Persia, and found nothing to justify the reports. The
Turkish Army is not massed along the border; their organizations
are reduced to skeletons; and the country shows an appalling lack of
people, either military or civilian. At every principal town through
which we passed the Chief of the Mission held a conference with the
Turkish officials. Inquiry was made as to the Christian community,
some members of which were always interviewed; the interest of
America in its own missionaries and in the native Christians was
invariably emphasized; the Armenian deportations, the massacres
and the return of the survivors were discussed on each occasion, as
well as other matters intended to convince Turkish officials that their
country is on trial before the world. The visit of the Mission has

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