Armenian Appeal By Bryce In Full -nyt19151010a

Jump to: navigation, search


Plea to America for Aid Made in Form of Letter to Aneurin Williams, M. P.


That Country Alone Check Turks' Atrocities --- Might Hood American Protest

OCTOBER 10, 1915

Special Correspondence of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

LONDON, SEPT. 20-- The Appeal to America by Viscount Bryce to try to stop the slaughter of Armenians by the Turks, extracts form which were cabled to the United states today for publication, was made in the form of a letter to Aneurin Williams, publicist, author, and member of Parliament. The full text of the letter follows:

Sept. 18, 1915.

Dear Mr. Williams:

You are right in thinking that the civilized world, and especially that of the American people, ought to know what horrors have been passing in Asiatic Turkey during the last few months, for if anything can stop the destroying band of the Turkish Government, it will be an expression of the opinion of neutral nations and chiefly of the judgment of humane America.

Soon after the war between Turkey and the Allies broke out, the Turkish Government formed, and has ever since been carrying out with relentless cruelty the plan of extirpating Christianity by killing off the Christians of Armenian race. The Armenian population, peaceable peasants and artisans in the Eastern provinces of Turkey, were remaining quiet. They had not rebelled. They were unarmed. Many of them were serving in the Turkish Army. But they were Christians, and the Government doubtless supposed that they were not in sympathy with rulers who had oppressed and robbed them for generations, and who in 1895-6, and again six or seven years ago, had massacred many thousands of them without provocation.

The massacres of this year have, however, gone far beyond even those of 1895-6. The accounts which have now found their way to Western Europe--accounts coming from different sources, but agreeing with one another, and as to whose truth there can be no doubt--prove that over the whole of Eastern and Northern Asia Minor and Armenia the whole Christian population is being deliberately exterminated. The men military age have been killed. The younger women have been seizes for Turkish harems, compelled to become Mohammedans, and kept sometimes with their children also forcibly converted, in virtual slavery.

The rest of the inhabitants, old men, women, and children, have been torn from their homes and driven away under convoys of Turkish soldiers, largely composed of released criminals, some into unhealthy parts of Asia Minor, some into the deserts between Syria and the Euphrates. Many die or are murdered on the way; all perish sooner or later. Lest any should, if they escaped, try to regain their homes, Moslems have been brought in from other places to occupy the houses and farms from which the Christians had been expelled.

No greater injury could be done to the country than to destroy the most intelligent and industrious and educated part of its population, but for that the reckless and ruthless men who now control Turkey do not care. In Trebizond, a city where the Armenians numbering more than 10,000 persons had dwelt in peace with their Moslem neighbors, orders came from Constantinople to seize all the Armenians. Many of these kindly neighbors tried to hide or protect them, but in vein. The troops hunted them all out, drove them to the shore, placed them in sailing boats, took them out to sea, threw them overboard and drowned them all--men, women and children. Resistance was impossible for the younger men had been carried off to the army and the rest were unarmed. This was seen and is described by the Italian Consul.

How many have perished over the whole country no one can tell. Some seem to have saved their lives by professing to accept Islam and about 250,000 are said to have escaped across the frontier into Russian territory. But a far greater number, perhaps 500,000 have been slaughtered or deported and the deported are all fast dying of ill-treatment disease, and starvation while the massacres stile go on.

Christianity after maintaining itself in Armenia for seventeen centuries against the attacks first of the Persian fire worshippers and then of Saracens and Turks is now being completely rooted out of these countries. The roads and hills, says one account, are strewn with corpses, the corpses of innocent peasants.

The story of these horrors must surely touch every American heart whatever ___ to racial origin whatever may be its sympathies with one or other party in the present war. No man in whom any ____lives can fail to feel for the helpless victims of the ferocity of their own Government. What can be done? We can all, of course, try to send aid to the miserable refugees now in Russian territory. But what can stop the massacres? Not the allied powers at war with Turkey. Only one power can take action for that purpose. It is Germany. Would not an expression of American public opinion, voicing the conscience of neutral nations, lead Germany to exert her influence to check the Turkish Government before their ghastly work is complete?

I am, faithfully yours, BRYCE Aneurin Williams, Esq., M. P.

A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922