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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, Senior Naval Officer Present, and United States High Commissioner, Turkey, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

2-ADG.                                 “B”            571.

                   Constantinople.         

Dated May 28, 1919.     

Rec’d 29th, 9:30 p.m.   

Ammission,

     Paris.

     571. PRIORITY. For Benson.

     Armenian Patriarch1 applied personally to me for American protection of Armenians. He states that reports received indicated probability of outbreak Turks against Armenians because feeling stirred up by occupation of Smyrna. He added, when same application made General D’Esperey,2 latter said that proper ones apply to were Americans because they were going to have special interest Armenia. Above request protection for not only so called Armenia, but also districts around Sea of Marmora. Patriarch was requested furnish copy report he had received and was assured all possible would be done for sake of humanity through good office of Allied High Commission and Turkish Government. Your attention invited state of war existing here and Allied Commissions responsible condition. Organized or general disturbances against Christian race especially Armenians not considered probable pending further decisions Peace Conference, but any decisions similar occupation Smyrna without full military control countries by Allied troops might lead to outbreaks. Crown Council meeting 26th formal, indecisive, pro-British character. 17528. 571.

BRISTOL.               

Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Zaven I Der Yeghiayan of Constantinople.

Footnote 2: Gen. Louis Franchet d’Espèrey, Commander, Allied Army of the Orient. During the peace negotiations and Allied occupation of Constantinople, d’Espèrey served as the French High Commissioner from November 1918 until January 1919.