Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Post-War: Humanitarian Aid and Relief

Humanitarian Aid & Relief

    At first, the Navy's primary mission in the Mediterranean and Near East was to support relief personnel and provide transportation for refugees. Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, the commander of the Navy's forces in Turkish waters and later the United States High Commissioner in Constantinople, emphasized this point, and his officers shared this view. Commerical interests quickly followed, but humanitarian ones often trumped trade in terms of the Navy's priorities. Aside from these two responsibilities, there was little need for an American naval presence in that region. While American relief efforts under the aegis of Herber Hoover spanned Europe, they were far more extensive in the Black Sea Region.

            Turkey entered the World War of 1914-1918 on the side of the Central Powers in the fall of 1914, and was the last nation to make peace with the Allies. The defeat of the Turks by the British in Mesopotamia, Arabia, Palestine, and Syria and the surrender of Bulgaria on the western border of Turkey forced her to sign an armistice on board the British battleship Agamemnon at the island of Kudros on October 30, 1918. As soon as the mine fields were cleared away, Allied forces occupied the forts on the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, and on November 10 the first British destroyer reached Constantinople. Three days later a large squadron of British, French, Italian, and Greek warships anchored off that place. Thus the Allies came into possession of the Straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, a highway which bad been a source of international rivalry and warfare for centuries. Rounding out her spheres of influence in the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain now marched into the Mosul oil fields in northern Mesopotamia and, after the collapse of the Russians on the Caucasus frontier, into Baku, taking over the railroad from that place to Batum on the Black Sea. No immediate steps were taken to effect a military occupation of Anatolia, the only portion of the old Ottoman Empire left to the Turks.

            The Allies also secured control of Russian ports on the northern shore of the Black Sea at the end of 1918. After fighting unsuccessfully on the side of the Allies, Russia had succumbed to an internal revolution which placed the Bolsheviks in power in November 1917. This government was not recognized by the Allies nor by the United States. They negotiated a separate treaty with the victorious Germans at Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 by which Russia was deprived of Ukraine in South Russia and the Armenian provinces of Kara, Ardahan, and Batum in the Caucasus. Formerly Turkish, the Armenian provinces ware occupied by the Turks but were lost in November 1918 to the British who moved out in the following year. The armistice of November 11, 1918 between the Allies and Germany provided for the withdrawal of German forces from all Black Sea ports. Following the occupation of Constantinople, the Allied fleet crossed the Black Sea and secured control of the Russian ports, which were used as bases of supply for Allied aid to the White Russian armies of Generals Denikin and Wrangel in their efforts to overthrow the Bolsheviks.

            The Allies set themselves up in power at Constantinople to enforce the terms of the armistice and to win whatever economic advantages they could from their position. Vice Admiral Alexander S. Gough-Calthorpe, who as commander of the Allied fleet in the eastern Mediterranean had negotiated the armistice of Kudros, became the British High Commissioner, taking up his residence at the British Embassy. Vice Admiral Amet represented the French, and other High Commissioners were appointed by the Italians and Greeks. Together the Allied representatives formed the Allied High Commission, on which the United States had no member. Both the British and the French had assistant High Commissioners, British and French generals commanded the troops garrisoning the fortifications in the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. Constantinople itself was occupied by military forces employed as embassy guards and as a depot for the Bosporus garrisons. The old Turkish government remained in existence under the Sultan, but it took orders from the Allied High Commission, particularly from the British in regard to Constantinople and the Straits. In Asiatic Turkey, however, the voice of the Government had little effect and disorder became rampant. The sanitary administration of Constantinople was taken over by the Allied High Commission which affected much improvement in conditions prior to its relinquishment of control to the Turkish National Government in November 1922.

After years of war the Near East was in a deplorable situation. Transportation and communication had broken down or practically broken down everywhere. Food and clothing were greatly in need in Turkey, Greece, and in South Russia.

            Black bread composed partly of sawdust and straw was being sold at exorbitant prices in Constantinople. Off in the interior the peasants had stores of wheat on hand, but they would not sell it because they could not get the clothing and equipment they needed. The armistice did not bring peace to this region, for fighting went on throughout most of the Near East between different factions or races or between the Allied forces and the people they were attempting to subdue. Conditions became worse before they got better. Yet the armistice was not long signed before Americans began trending into the Levant and South Russia.

            The United States had no part in the defeat and occupation of Turkey, which was largely a British show, a fact which resulted in the British assuming the upper hand in the Allied occupation of Constantinople. Upon the outbreak of war between the United States and Germany in April 1917, Turkey under German pressure severed diplomatic relations with the United States, but war was not declared between the two countries. The considerable investment of Americans in missionary, educational, philanthropic, and commercial enterprises in Turkey apparently influenced the decision of the United States Government in this connection. Scorpion, a converted yacht purchased for use during the Spanish War in 1898 which had been the American stationnaire at Constantinople for a number of years, was interned in 1917. On November 9, 1918 Scorpion was permitted to raise its flag and began to receive military equipment which had been removed by the Turks. A relief crew arrived on board Nahma on December 16, and two days later Commander Elmer W. Tod relieved Lieut. Herbert S. Babbitt in command of Scorpion.

            The question of a United States representative at Constantinople was taken up in Washington after the armistice. It was decided not to reestablish diplomatic relations with Turkey immediately, so early in December Lewis Heck, the former Turkish Secretary of the American Embassy at Constantinople, was ordered to return there as United States Commissioner. The Swedish Legation was to continue to handle our diplomatic affairs. In practice Heck carried on such business by word of mouth, formal written communications being handled by the Swedish Legation. Agreeing to the desires of the State Department, the Secretary of the Navy directed Admiral William S. Benson, the Chief of Naval Operations, then in London to detail an officer of rank from personnel abroad to duty in Constantinople, where a station ship was to be maintained. Heck readied the city on the Golden Horn on December 27, 1918 and took up his quarters in the American Embassy. The naval officer selected for the post at Constantinople by Admiral Benson and Admiral William S. Sims, Force Commander of the U. S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, whose headquarters was at London, was Rear Admiral Mark Lambert Bristol, a veteran of thirty-six years' service in the Navy. Pursuant to orders of December 30, 1918, he proceeded to London and received instructions from Admiral Sims. In Paris a few days later he conferred with the American officials assembled there for the peace conference, including Admiral Benson, Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Herbert Hoover of the Food Administration, Edward N. Hurley of the U. S. Shipping Board, and President Wilson. He was told to represent the United States Government in looking after American interests and to do what was right. On January 8, 1919 he was assigned to duty as Senior U. S. Naval Officer, Turkey.

            The U. S. Naval Detachment in Turkish waters came into existence on January 28 when Rear Admiral Bristol raised his flag on Scorpion. During the first few days, visits of ceremony were exchanged with the High Commissioners of Great Britain and France and the commanding naval officers of those countries and Italy and Greece. Bristol got the impression from Admiral Calthorpe that he considered himself in the position of chief authority in the occupying forces. Relations with the Allied officials and with those of Turkey were thereafter handled by Admiral Bristol as Senior Representative of the United States. The U. S. Commissioner, Lewis Heck, handled the ordinary diplomatic and consular matters. Cordial relations were immediately established between the two representatives, the Admiral being a much older man becoming the senior. Heck departed for the United States in April 1919 and was succeeded as Acting Commissioner by Gabriel Bie Ravndal who had recently resumed the post of Consul General which he held before the breaking of diplomatic relations with Turkey. Admiral Bristol concerned himself with natters pertaining to the armistice, military and naval affairs, relations between the United States and Turkey and with the representatives of all other countries.

            The accommodations on board Scorpion were quite inadequate for business and entertainment purposes so it was necessary to establish headquarters on short. On his on authority, Admiral Bristol moved into the American Embassy, where the U. S. Commissioner was already located and which also provided office space for Howard Heinz, the representative of the U. S. Food Administration. As communication by cable was limited and expensive, a radio station was set up in the Embassy by means of which continuous and confidential communication was had with the naval vessels operating in the command and with Washington. The naval communication office served all American activities in the area, including relief organizations and business concerns. A newspaper containing intelligence received by radio was distributed in mimeographed form among American organizations and became so much in demand even among foreigners that the edition had to be enlarged.

            As Senior U. S. Representative in Turkey Admiral Bristol was the head of all the American agents in Constantinople and performed duties which were diplomatic in character. Agreeable working relations were established with Heck and Howard Heinz, the commissioner representing the Near Eastern Relief commission. For a time, until the appointment of a director, Admiral Bristol represented the U. S. Shipping Board in connection with operations of its ships in the district, and afterwards he took up matters for it with the Allied authorities. To successfully combat the competition of the European nations, who had the advantage of being on the Allied High Commission, it was realised that a smoothly running machine was necessary.

            The foremost task handled by the American officials in Constantinople in 1919-1920 was the administration of American relief. This had to be undertaken immediately, for naval cargo ships began arriving in February 1919. The American Committee for Relief in the Near East, more commonly known as the Near East Relief, originally organized in 1915 to alleviate the sufferings of the oppressed Armenians and Syrians, began pouring in supplies purchased from contributions taken up in the United States. Its managing director, Major Davis G. Arnold, was located at Constantinople. An appropriation of $100,000,000 was made by an act of Congress approved February 24, 1919 for the relief of the non-enemy countries of Europe but not excluding the Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, and other Christian and Jewish population of Asia Minor. Under the terms of this act the President appointed Herbert Hoover Director General of the American Relief Administration and authorized the employment of the Food Administration Grain Corporation to purchase, transport, and distribute foodstuffs and supplies to countries requiring relief. The Constantinople office under Heinz controlled activities of the American Relief Administration in Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and the Caucasus. Hundreds of agents of these organizations began working throughout the Near East and South Russia. The American Red Cross, a branch of which had been established in Turkey in 1911, opened a headquarters for southeastern Europe in Constantinople in January 1920 and engaged in relief activities among Russian refugees in Constantinople, Greece, Bulgaria, and South Russia. Proti, an island of the Prinkipo group, was used by the Red Cross in the operations carried on at Constantinople. Large numbers of American missionaries who returned to the region after the war worked with these agencies, besides carrying on their missions and schools.

            After his appointment as High Commissioner in February 1919, Admiral Bristol maintained both a diplomatic and a naval staff in the American Embassy. To the former several secretaries, a commercial attaché, and a military attaché were attached. A counsellor was later added to this staff. Separate files were kept for the two staffs, so that in case the Admiral should be relieved of his diplomatic post no difficulty would be experienced and the Embassy files could be left intact. In 1920 the consular section of the High Commission was removed from the Embassy, much to the relief of the remainder of the staff which had became crowded.

            The settlement with Turkey was taken up by the Allied peace conference at Paris in 1919-1920, but it got nowhere because of events in Turkey, which were partly the result of the action of the conference. Secret agreements made during the war among the Allies provided for the partitioning of the domains of the old Ottoman Empire. During a temporary withdrawal of the Italians from the peace conference the Greeks pressed a claim to Asia Minor, and with the authorization of the Allied Supreme Council they prepared to occupy Smyrna. Forces from British, French, Italian, and Greek warships occupied the harbor forts on May 14; these were later turned over to the Greeks, who occupied the city on the following day. By order of President Wilson, who was a member of the Allied Supreme Council, the United States battleship Arizona, Capt. J. H. Dayton commanding, and the destroyers Dyer, Gregory, Luce, and Manley reached Smyrna on May 11. Rear Admiral Bristol had reached there the day before on the return from a trip to Beirut in Nahma. The captain and the admiral conferred, and on the 12th, pursuant to orders from Vice Admiral Knapp, Bristol steamed away for Constantinople accompanied by Luce, Gregory and Stribling which had been at Smyrna on special duty.

            Arizona, escorted by Barney and Hazelwood left Smyrna on June 9 for Constantinople, where it remained only a short time before returning to the United States. Admiral Bristol regarded the Greek occupation as impolitic and unnecessary and reported that American participation, limited though it was, had a damaging effect on our influence with the Turks. Less willingly, the Allies finally consented in March 1920 to the Greek occupation of eastern Thrace. The harsh methods employed by the Greeks led to the appointment in August 1919 of an International Commission of Inquiry into the Greek Occupation of Smyrna of which Admiral Bristol was United States member and president, but nothing was done with its report. In dispatches to the United States the Admiral advised against the dismemberment of Turkey as this would create a new Balkan situation; instead he believed the solution of the Near East problem lay in the development of good government for all races, freedom of religion, and universal education. He was friendly to the Nationalists because he believed they would provide these things. The withdrawal of the United States from the peace conference, in which President Wilson had succeeded in getting recognition of the mandate principle, was the signal for the European countries to attempt the execution of their secret agreements. Accordingly, French forces replaced the British in Syria and northwest thereof in Cilicia in the fall of 1919. The Treaty of Sevres of August 10, 1920 reduced Turkey to the Units of Anatolia.

            While the Allies were disposing of the affairs of Turkey at Paris, the Turks were effectuating their own plans. Led by an army officer, Mustapha Kemal, the nationalists held meetings at Erzurum and Sivas in the summer of 1919 and secured control of the Parliament which met at Constantinople in the winter of 1919-1920. The Parliament adopted a national pact declaring for the independence and sovereignty of Turkey. The answer of the Allies to this was to cause the Sultan to dissolve the Parliament, to occupy Constantinople with military forces on March 15, 1920, and to arrest as many Nationalist leaders as could be found. This opportunity was seized by the Nationalists to set up their own government under Mustapha Kemal at Angora in Anatolia. By early summer Nationalist armies were in the field to drive the Greeks from Smyrna, the French from Cilicia, and the British from Isnid. The national pact and the Treaty of Sevres were quite opposed in terms. The Turks chose war to submission.

            A further problem in the Near Eastern situation was the question of Armenia, whose people had been oppressed by the Turks for many years. There was considerable sentiment in the United States for the establishment of an independent Armenia. Admiral Bristol returned from a trip to the Caucasus early in the summer of 1919 strongly convinced that the republics which had been set up there during the war should remain part of Turkey and that from the national point of view there was no such thing as Armenia. An American army officer, Colonel Haskell, was appointed Allied High Commissioner to Armenia that summer. This was an entering wedge, believed the Admiral, for an American mandate over Armenia, which would get the United States involved politically in the situation in the Near East. To keep open communication with Colonel Haskell, a radio traffic ship was stationed at Batum on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. The advance of the Bolsheviks forced the evacuation of the personnel of the High Commission and the Near East Relief from Armenia and the Caucasus in May 1920. This was effected by Pittsburgh, flagship of Vice Admiral Harry S. Knapp, then on a cruise in the Black Sea, and the destroyer Cole. Following an agreement with the Bolsheviks, the Turks in the fall of 1920 reoccupied Armenia.

            On the northern shore of the Black Sea the straggle between the White Russians and the Bolsheviks went on until the end of 1920. After the defeat of the former under General Denikin at the end of 1919 and his flight to Constantinople, the command was taken over by General Wrangel. Apparently at the suggestion of Admiral Bristol, Rear Admiral Newton A. McCully, U. S. N. and a party of officers and enlisted men of the U. S. Navy, including Lt. Comdr. H. W. Koehler, were sent into South Russia early in 1920 on a special mission for the State Department for the purpose of keeping the government informed of developments in that region. Transportation was furnished the mission by vessels of Bristol’s detachment, and a destroyer was stationed on the coast of South Russia to assist it. Mail and radio communication was continuously maintained with Admiral McCully. Lt. Comdr. Hamilton V. Bryan was detached by Admiral Bristol to serve as McCully's agent at Odessa; he was also to keep Bristol informed of happenings. When General Wrangel’s defeat threatened in the Crimea in November 1920, Overton was at Sevastopol. Upon receiving a message from McCully, Admiral Bristol sent the destroyers John D. Edwards, Humphreys, Fox, and Whipple from other places in the Black Sea to the Crimea for possible use in evacuation, these vessels and St. Louis and Long, which were sent upon receiving news of the continued advance of the Bolsheviks, took part with the American steamships Faraby and Navahoe in the evacuation of all Americans authorized by McCully. From Odessa, Sevastopol, and Novorossiysk ware evacuated, besides McCully's party, the American consuls, and their archives; representatives of the American Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A.; relief workers; American citizens; and Russian refugees. Large numbers of Russian soldiers and civilian refugees, who could expect no mercy from the Bolsheviks, were moved out on Russian warships and merchant ships. Following the evacuation, the U. S. Navy under the immediate supervision of Lt. Comdr. Bryan assisted in caring for over 100,000 Russian refugees on board eighty Russian ships in the harbor at Constantinople. By the end of the year many of these pitiable people had been transported to the warmer climate of Bizerte, Tunis, where the warships which were part of the old imperial Russian Navy were laid up for years.

            From its base in Constantinople the vessels of the detachment were dispatched throughout the station to cope with the conditions which developed following the armistice and the occupation of Turkey. After June 1919, when the detachment had been increased to a strength which permitted the establishment of regular patrolling, destroyers were distributed on the coasts of Syria and Palestine (Mersina and Beirut), South Russia (Sevastopol), Caucasus (Batum), the north coast of Asia Minor (Samsun), while sub-chasers covered the Gulf of Ismid and the south coast of the Sea of Marmora (Mudania).

            Another destroyer was maintained at Constanza or Varna on the western coast of the Black Sea as a radio relay ship to communicate with Europe and the United States and with the vessels operating in the Black Sea. These vessels were relieved periodically by the different ships changing stations, a practice which gave the men an opportunity to visit new places and thus kept up their morale. A reinforcement consisting of the destroyers DupontTattnallCole, and Biddle reached Constantinople in August 1919. The vessels assigned to the detachment remained with it only a few months when they were ordered to some other station according to the system then followed by the Navy Department. In the summer of 1920 the naval force in the Near East was increased to a total of twelve destroyers. Present in October were the ChattanoogaScorpion, nine destroyers, and two sub-chasers, while the St. Louis and three more destroyers were on the way to Constantinople. The St. Louis arrived on October 19 and served with the detachment for almost a year, nearly half of the period under the command of Capt. William D. Leahy. Early in 1921 after the Bolsheviks had successfully liquidated the White Russians from South Russia the Navy Department wanted to reduce the naval force in the Near East, but the State Department did not feel it was the psychological moment for a reduction since conditions there were still confused and the Supreme Council of the Allies was about to meet.

            In the fall of 1921 vessels of the detachment resumed visits to Russian Black Sea ports when the American Relief Administration again went to the assistance of starving Russians. A severe drought ruined the crops in the Volga region and in the districts to the east, causing a disastrous famine which finally forced the Soviet to appeal for help from Europe and the United States. According to an agreement of August 20, 1921 between the Soviet government and the American Relief Administration, the distribution of the foodstuffs and other relief supplies was to be handled by the A. R. A., so 200 Americans were placed in charge of districts into which the famine zone was divided. Colonel William N. Haskell was placed at the head of the organization which distributed in all $63,000,000 worth of relief supplies. As in the period immediately following the war, the assistance of vessels of the detachment operating under Admiral Bristol was afforded for transportation, mail, and communication purposes. Because the United States had not recognized the Soviet government, the State Department opined that as a general rule American naval vessels should not appear in Soviet ports, but suggested that in cases of extraordinary emergency relief workers could be transported in naval vassals. Is September Gi1mer carried A. R. A. workers to Novorossiysk to investigate facilities there for handling relief supplies, and similar investigations were made at Odessa, Theodosia, and Sevastopol.

            The subsequent arrival of the first relief cargo was received by the Soviets with cordiality Relief shipments began late in 1921, reached a peak in July 1922 and gradually declined thereafter. Throughout this period destroyers of the detachment made regular tours of the Black Sea, touching at Varna, Constanza, Odessa, Theodosia, Novorossiysk, Baton, Trebizond, and Samsun. In the early part of the year the vessels engaged on this duty included Childs, Fox, Overton, Sturtevant, and Williamson, and after July Bulmer, Goff, King, Lawrence, Litchfield, Parrott, and Simpson. In the Caucasus the supplies were distributed by the Near East Relief which was still active in that region. The A. R. A. ceased its operations in September and in consequence the visits by naval vessels were discontinued in November.

            The Greek occupation of Smyrna resulted in a full scale war between Greece and Turkey in which the former succeeded during 1920-1921 in conquering a considerable part of Anatolia. Falling in their attempt to capture Angora in the summer of 1921, the Greeks were thereafter forced to retreat gradually to the coast. Not long afterwards the French, weary of waging a difficult war and jealous of the British, made a separate peace treaty with the Turks, withdrew from Cilicia end changed the northern border of Syria in favor of Turkey. In August 1922 the Turks undertook an offensive against the Greeks, routed them, drove many into the sea, and captured the rest. The destroyers serving under Admiral Bristol were kept so occupied during each of 1922 in connection with Russian relief activities that visits could be made only at irregular intervals to Mediterranean ports. Through contacts at Mersina and Beirut and from other sources the Admiral kept informed of the progress of the Greco-Turkish war. American warships were not visiting Greek ports any core since the United States had not recognized the return of King Constantine to the throne of Greece.

            Apprised of the likelihood of a serious situation developing at Smyrna towards which Greek soldiers and refugees were fleeing, Admiral Bristol ordered Litchfield and Simpson to that port early in September 1922 and shortly afterwards Lawrence with relief workers, supplies, and his chief of staff, Captain Hepburn, on board. Through the Admiral’s efforts s disaster relief committee was formed by American relief and benevolent institutions in Constantinople, and a representative with a medical unit was sent to Smyrna. American sailors were landed at Smyrna on September 6 to protect American lives and property. The Turkish army entered the city on the 9th, and through what Bristol regarded as insufficient policing allowed a disastrous fire to begin on September 13. Under the command of Captain Hepburn the evacuation of Americans from the stricken city was undertaken by the naval forces. They were removed to Athens on board the Simpson and a Shipping Board vessel. There remained the tremendous job of evacuating 250,000 Greek refugees, who during the course of the fire were herded onto the quay by American sailors. These people could not be left there, for their homes had been destroyed by retreating Greek soldiers and the Turks wanted them out. After conferences by Allied naval officers present, initiated by Captain Hepburn, it was decided that the only solution was evacuation. Through negotiations by Captain Hepburn, who as an American naval officer was less unpopular with the Turks than the naval officers of the European powers who were also on hand to remove their nationals, arrangements were made with Turkish authorities for the evacuation of the refugees, and permission was obtained for using Greek vessels which were available at nearby island ports for this purpose. These were operated under the direction of American naval officers, senior of whom after September 16 was Comdr. Halsey Powell of the Edsall. In addition to the destroyers already mentioned, Edsall, Parrott, and McLeish shared the task of evacuation, guarding American institutions, and maintaining a shore patrol. Their activities extended to other ports of Asia Minor in which, refugees were also crowded and continued for weeks. The migration of the Greeks and Armenians from Asia Minor was one of the greatest folk movements in the world's history. The sustenance of several hundred thousand people while crowded in ports awaiting transportation to Greece and thereafter until they could be absorbed into the life of that country presented a relief problem which was participated in by the Near East Relief, the American Relief Administration, the American Red Cross, and the U. S. Navy.

            The Treaty of Lausanne, signed 24 July 192,3 and supplementary conversations at last effected a peace settlement with Turkey. Territorially she fared somewhat better than in the Treaty of Sevres, securing eastern Thrace and a confirmation of the Syrian frontier agreed upon with France in 1921. Mesopotamia (Iraq), Arabia, Syria, and Palestine were recognized as independent of Turkey, while Libya, Egypt, the Sudan, and Cyprus were renounced.

            Throughout most of the negotiations at Lausanne the force of twenty American destroyers was maintained in Turkish waters, although, as the Chief of Naval Operations pointed out, the maintenance of so many there was a serious strain on the resources of the home fleet. Nevertheless, the discretion of the officer in command of the station and the opinion of the State Department was allowed to govern the size of the force, as in previous years. Admiral Long reported the situation still delicate at the end of November 1922 and likely to become serious if a break should occur in the conference at Lausanne. The conference did break up at the beginning of February, and Admiral Bristol returned to Constantinople, but negotiations were resumed at Lausanne in April, the Admiral not returning.

            As a result of the Treaty of Lausanne, Constantinople was to be restored to Turkey, the Straits were to be demilitarized and opened to all nations, according to the Lausanne conventions. The evacuation of Constantinople began on August 4, 1923, the day following the receipt of the news of the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne by the Turkish Grand National Assembly at Angora, and was completed without disturbance on October 2 upon the departure of General Harrington, the Allied commander-in-chief, and the last of the Allied troops. Before the completion of the Allied withdrawal, Dr. Adnan Bey, the representative in Constantinople of the Turkish minister of foreign affairs, indicated to Admiral Bristol that it was expected that the American naval vessels would be sent away. On 4 October two days before the Turks were to enter the city, the lost of the vessels were ordered sway, the two destroyers being sent to report to the Commander, Naval Forces, Europe.

            Thereafter, out of respect for the feelings of the Turks, our naval activities at Constantinople were greatly reduced. Following a recommendation communicated by Admiral Bristol towards the end of October that the use of the naval base at Constantinople be discontinued, a conference occurred between representatives of the Navy Department and the State Department in which it was decided that a detachment of six destroyers, a subchaser, and Scorpion would be continued in the region as the U. S. Naval Detachment, Eastern Mediterranean, and that the situation would be reviewed in six months. In desiring the continuance of naval vessels to the eastern Mediterranean the State Department was influenced by conditions in Greece, Egypt, and the mandated territories. The U. S. Naval Detachment, Eastern Mediterranean was established as such on November 6.

            For over three years longer Admiral Bristol regained at Constantinople as U. S. High Commissioner, performing diplomatic duties. Had the treaty with Turkey of 1923 been ratified, he would have been replaced by on ambassador. In December 1923 the Admiral negotiated on agreement with Turkey for the settlement of claims. In 1925 the State Department was willing to part with his services, but President Coolidge requested him to continue, believing that his influence and experience would be helpful to American interests. Later that year he made his only visit to the United States while serving it in Constantinople. Vice Admiral Roger Welles during a visit to that place in 1926 found Admiral Bristol to be popular among both the foreign representatives and the Turkish officials and exercising among the latter an influence second to none. In August 1926 Lt. Comdr. Webb Trammell, who had been an aide to the Admiral for two years, was assigned to his diplomatic staff as naval attache to Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. Under instructions from the State Department Admiral Bristol arranged in February 1927 for the exchange of notes providing for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. At last he was relieved from his post at Constantinople in the following month and allowed to complete his naval career in an appropriate manner. The assignment which he had expected to endure for only a few months had been lengthened by conditions in the Near East to a period of over eight years. His successor in Turkey was Ambassador Joseph C. Grew.

            Of Admiral Bristol's services Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, wrote: "The success and achievements of Admiral Bristol in representing American interests in Turkey through a long and difficult period have been signal and it is a pleasure for me to confirm what must already be well known to your Department, namely that the distinguished naval officer has served as a diplomat with equal distinction."

 

 

 
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