Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  The Exchange Between Admiral Bristol and Doctor Barton  
First Page


Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems


Here is the letter written by Rear Admiral Marc L. Bristol that is a "big gun" for the Turkish side. This is the one that contains the often-repeated quote, "I see that reports are being freely circulated in the United States that the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in the Caucasus. Such reports are repeated so many times it makes my blood boil."

Naturally, the modus operandi of Armenians and Greeks is to viciously attack anybody who comes across as remotely supporting the nation they love to hate. Little did Admiral Bristol suspect that these many years later, his character would be in line for assassination from our Orthodox friends. 

Armenians and Greeks make the baseless claim that Bristol was pro-Turkish, because in their book anything that isn't vehemently anti-Turkish (as Bristol's predecessor-before-last, Ambassador Morgenthau) suddenly emerges as a lover of Turks. As if Admiral Bristol, growing up in the United States... a nation that almost always treats Turkey negatively, in its press.... would have had been exposed to reasons to love Turkey. 

The letter is very revealing... it shows Admiral Bristol to be critical of the Turks, when called for. Bristol did not choose sides... he made up his own mind after conducting his own investigation, and sided with the principles of truth and fairness. Something he should be lauded for.

You will notice the letter was written privately; this is one of the letters that Professor Levon Marashlian provided as an example of Bristol's wishing to "wipe the spot" (which you can check out at TAT's page for Bristol)... that is, to purposely conceal or whitewash the Turks' alleged criminality, in order to induce American business to look for money-making opportunities. The logic fails for two reasons: Historically, American business has gone to bed with many an unsavory government; American business traditionally follows one rule of ethics to make a buck.  Secondly, the only mind Bristol hoped to sway (in this letter) was that of Dr. Barton, who already thought along similar lines. Barton himself was aware the letter was meant to be private. ("I want again to say how deeply I appreciate your letter....  I understand that none of it is for publicity, although I may take the liberty of reading a few words from it at the meeting...") A private letter is a generally inefficient way to "wipe the spot." A better way of swaying minds would be to establish a propaganda network, sending falsified reports en masse to the influential Who's Who of society, the kind that had been in operation then and now to turn hearts and minds against Turkey.

Dr. Barton's reply follows. Both letters are preceded by a "foreword," as appeared in ATA-USA.


The acts of the Armenian army at Kars absolutely disgusted our Americans

ATA-USA October 1983

Rear Admiral Marc L. Bristol served as U.S. High Commissioner in the defeated Ottoman Empire between 1920 and 1924. (Holdwater adds: Bristol's term began in late 1919.) He became the first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey and served until 1928. Unlike Mr. Henry Morgenthau who was Ambassador during 1912-1915 and who never left Istanbul during his tenure, Admiral Bristol travelled extensively in the Eastern provinces and acquired first-hand knowledge about conditions there. Morgenthau is often quoted by those who want to discredit Turkey while Bristol is ignored. Morgenthau’s anti-Turkish views were largely the product of third-hand information conveyed to him by missionaries about Moslem cruelties. He was totally isolated from any exposure to cruelties perpetrated on Moslems.

Page One of the letter

This letter from Bristol to James L. Barton D.D., Secretary of the Foreign Department of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, is instructive in demonstrating how a man like Morgenthau, and indeed the entire Christian West, would develop anti-Turkish attitudes under an incessant barrage of anti-Turkish propaganda. In the next issue we will print Dr. Barton’s reply.


  I am sure that the mass of people at home believe the Armenians are Christians in action and morals, and that they are able to govern themselves. You and I, and others that know them, know that this is not the case.


On Board U.S.S. “ST. LOUIS”.
At Sea. En route from Island of Rhodes to
Constantinople, Turkey.


28 March, 1921
Dr. James L. Barton.
14 Beacon Street,
Boston, Mass.

Dear Doctor Barton:

Your letter of 14 of January was duly received. Shortly after receiving your letter I started on a cruise to Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Cilicia. I have been gone over a month and we are at the present time entering the Dardanelles, and will be in Constantinople tomorrow morning. Mrs. Bristol, with some other ladies, made the same trip by mail steamer and railway, so we had some very pleasant excursions, visiting the places of interest during our trip. It has been most interesting, instructive and enjoyable. I needed a change of scene and rest and have profited fully by this outing.

Admiral Bristol and his wife at the American

Admiral Bristol and his wife at the American
embassy in Istanbul, 1919

 During this trip I have had an opportunity to meet General Allenby, and our own representatives in Egypt, to have an audience with the Sultan of Egypt and meet some prominent Egyptians. This experience has given me a sidelight, from personal association, upon the affairs in Egypt.

In Palestine I came in personal contact with the new Jewish movement. I met Sir Herbert Samuels, Colonel Stores, and many others belonging to the Staff of the High Commissioner in Palestine. Colonel Deeds, who was with the British High Commissioner in Constantinople for some time, is the Chief Political Officer under Sir Herbert. Likewise, I was able to see our Delegate there, Consul Heiser, and his relief which arrived at the same time I did, Mr. Southard, who has just come from Aden. I had an opportunity to look over our different institutions at this place. I was surprised to find that the Near East Relief work at Jerusalem is practically a Jewish affair.

In Syria I had a very pleasant association with Comte de Caix who is acting as High Commissioner because General Couraud is away. Comte de Caix, is, of course, the power behind the throne, and I was most pleasantly surprised at his ability, frankness and optimism. At the same time he has no illusions in regard to the difficult work that he has before him. It was from him I first learned that the French had come to an understanding with the Kemalists and would withdraw the French troops from Cilicia. Likewise, the boundary between Syria and Turkey will be established on lines that are much more sensible than the one provided in the Sevres treaty. He is very much opposed to any Armenian refugees from Cilicia being allowed to come into Syria. I quite agreed with him in regard to this, except that I do believe the French should guarantee the safety of the Armenians in Cilicia and should evacuate from Cilicia those Armenians that especially aided the French, and particularly the Armenians that were disbanded from the French Foreign Legion or were mustered out after serving in the French Army. If you can bring any influence to bear in Washington I would suggest that you work along these lines. I believe it would be a grave mistake for the Armenians to get in a panic and make a general exodus from Cilicia when the Turks return to power. I think it would be very much better for the Armenians to stay there and the Turks be compelled to grant them proper rights.

I visited Alexandretta and Mersine. I found out there that an armistice had been arranged between the French and the Kemalists from 19 of March for the period of one month. The result has been that the conditions have quieted down, although since the armistice began a French officer and some soldiers have been killed and the railway broken. But at Mersine, for instance, the fighting that had been going on almost continually day after day just outside the city has recently stopped. I had a talk with Dr. Chambers, Mr. Applebee, Head of the Near East Relief Unit, and Mr. Lee, the Head of the Y.M.C.A. Dr. Chambers agreed with me in regard to the Armenians not evacuating Cilicia, and using all influence with the Turks for the benefit of the Armenians. If the Armenians started to run away this would encourage the Turks to attack them, not only on account of the fear shown, but probably with the hope of driving the Armenians out of the country. However, if the Armenians remained in CiIicia and the moral influence at least of Europe and America was brought to bear on the Turks, I believe that the Armenians would be all right, except for individuals that have been active in opposition to the Turks during the past year. 

Page Four of Bristol's letter

When on a ship, one can write long 
letters... this is Page 4

I see that reports are being freely circulated in the United States that the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in the Caucasus. Such reports are repeated so many times it makes my blood boil. The Near East Relief have the reports from Yarrow and our own American people which show absolutely that such Armenian reports are absolutely false. The circulation of such false reports in the United States, without refutation, is an outrage and is certainly doing the Armenians more harm than good. I feel that we should discourage the Armenians in this kind of work, not only because it is wrong, but because they are injuring themselves. In addition to the reports from our own American Relief workers that were in Kars and Alexandrople, and reports from such men as Yarrow, I have reports from my own Intelligence Officer and know that the Armenian reports are not true. ls there not something that you and the Near East Relief Committee can do to stop the circulation of such false reports? I was surprised to see Dr. McCaIlum send through a report along this line from Constantinople. When I called attention to the report, it was stated that it came from the Armenians but the telegram did not state this, nor did it state that the Armenian reports were not confirmed by our own reports. I may be all wrong; but I can’t help feeling that I am not, because so many people out here who know the conditions agree with me that the Armenians and ourselves who lend ourselves to such exaggerated reports are doing the worst thing we possibly can for the Armenians. Why not tell the truth about the Armenians in every way? Let us come out and tell just what the Armenians are and then show our sympathy and do everything we can to make the future of these people what it should be for human beings. I am sure that the mass of people at home believe the Armenians are Christians in action and morals, and that they are able to govern themselves. You and I, and others that know them, know that this is not the case. We believe that they have been made what they are by the conditions they have been compelled to live under, and we want to get them out from under these conditions so they can become Christians and able to govern themselves. But I cannot believe that right is ever produced by wrong-doing. As I have stated to Dr. Peet and many others, I believe that so long as we don’t refute these false reports made by the Armenians, or don’t come out and state the true facts in regard to the Armenian question, we run the risk of being accused of being party to this information. Dr. Peet and I had a long talk about a year ago along this same line, and I think as a result of it he wrote to you. I don’t want to appear as being critical at all and you know that. But I do realize that we are human beings and when we realize the suffering of the Armenians our sentiments make us respond to our human instinct, and especially our American ideas of fair play, so that we forget, and even desire to conceal, the failings of the Armenians in order to obtain their release from the oppression of the Turkish rule. It may be that l am wrong in my idea that the best way to obtain this is by stating fully just what the Armenians are and what they are capable of and then tackling the whole job of cleaning up this Near Eastern mess.

We have already loaned Armenia over 50 million and that money is lost.

 I certainly was surprised to hear, from your letter, that there was a movement on foot to loan money to Armenia. I don’t think that the question of money, or the amount of money, should enter into the question of assistance to the Armenians, but I do think that any money loaned to the Armenians under the present conditions is wrong. I do not believe in the loan to Armenia to be used under an American Commission unless the United States is prepared to furnish the troops and the means to maintain Armenia as a country and protect it against all aggression from outside. We have already loaned Armenia over 50 million and that money is lost. I recommended against this loan at the time. Another loan would be simply putting good money after bad.

As long ago as last July I reported officially to the Department that there were strong Bolshevik feelings amongst the Armenians and that many of the Army officers were Bolshevik in sentiment. I stated then it was only a question of time when Armenia would go Bolshevik. Armenia did turn Bolshevik and was not compelled to do so by the Russians, although they may have been influenced by Russian propaganda. The Bolshevik leaders represent one party, the Dashnak represent another, and the National Democratic Party of Armenia represents another party. As far as I am concerned I can find very little difference between the party leaders of these different parties. While the Dashnaks were in power they did everything in the world to keep the pot boiling by attacking Kurds, Turks and Tartars; by committing outrages against the Moslems; by giving no representation whatever to the Molokans which are a large factor in the population of the Caucasus Armenia; by massacring the Moslems; and robbing and destroying their homes; and finally by starting an attack against the Turks which resulted in a counter attack by the Turks, and then the Armenians deserted and ran away and even would not stand and defend their women and children. The acts of the Armenian army at Kars absolutely disgusted our Americans, including Yarrow. During the last two years the Armenians in Russian Caucasus have shown no ability to govern themselves and especially no ability to govern or handle other races under their power.

During over two years that I have been here in Constantinople I have had occasion to see nearly everyone of our Americans that have gone to, or returned from, the Caucasus, and I think I am safe in stating that I have never had one of them that believed the Armenians had any ability to govern themselves, and most of these Americans that have been working with the Armenians have come away disgusted.

I am not disgusted with the Armenians, and I pity them; but I cannot believe in the idea of the establishment of an independent Armenia in a country where not 25% of the people are Armenians. I do not believe the Armenians are able to govern themselves, and especially should not be allowed to govern other people; and certainly, if any of the other races here in this part of the country are under the Armenians, they are going to be submitted to oppression and outrage. I believe in helping the Armenians, but not in this way. I believe that if we come out and state all the facts regarding the Armenian question, and all combine, we can get the United States to help them. However, so long as we proceed along the present line I do not believe we will succeed because I don’t believe it is right.

Armenia turned Bolshevik and repudiated all her debts; and one of these debts was for the flour we had furnished on their word of honor to repay, because they certainly had no security to offer. It was a sentimental loan ... and they have gone back on us.

 In regard to loaning the Armenians money without Armenia being under a mandate, I believe this is an unjustifiable waste of money. For two years we have expended money in relief work for the Armenians and we supplied them flour on a loan covering over 50 million dollars. What is there to show for all this vast expenditure? There is nothing to show except ingratitude, and when an emergency arose one of the greatest friends Armenia ever had, and the one that had been working and giving his best efforts for relief work amongst them had to depend upon the Turks for his own personal protection. It is a well known fact that in the beginning of our relief work flour and provisions turned over to the Armenian Government for the starving were taken by the high officials of the Government and sold for their own benefit. Then finally Armenia turned Bolshevik and repudiated all her debts; and one of these debts was for the flour we had furnished on their word of honor to repay, because they certainly had no security to offer. It was a sentimental loan based on faith in a people, and they have gone back on us.

You write that if the United States had loaned Armenia money for her rehabilitation and for her protection of the boundary fixed by President Wilson the countries of Europe would be requested to protect Armenia from attacks from without. I am afraid you have more faith in European countries than I have. Thus far the European countries have protected none of the races in this part of the world. The fact is, in my opinion, the plans that they have been carrying out have resulted in greater harm to the so-called Christian races than if nothing at all had been done. I cannot imagine anyone believing that the European countries would do anything to protect the boundary of Armenia fixed by Mr. Wilson unless it was to their selfish interests to do so, and I do not see what selfish interests would be involved by our loaning money to Armenia. As regards the United States guaranteeing the protection of that boundary from within, I cannot imagine the United States ever consenting doing this. Such an undertaking would certainly be the best possible way of involving America in European entanglements; and still more, in my opinion such entanglements would not be justified. The boundary laid down by Mr. Wilson was certainly an arbitrary boundary and it was so stated in the report defining this boundary.

I note that you state Armenia at that time was an established fact so far as political recognition was concerned. I cannot understand this point of view because the Sevres treaty was ratified by no one and there was no possible hope of anybody ratifying this treaty. The determination of the boundary of Armenia was based upon a ratification of the treaty and in my opinion should not have been made until after the treaty was ratified. Probably there is no doubt that the fixing of this boundary brought about the attack upon Armenia by the Turkish Nationalists. Thus again Armenia was injured by the best intentions in the world. You will note that at the present conference in London the Armenians are being given practically no consideration. Another example of this is the withdrawal of French troops from Cilicia. You will see that in the end European Powers are going to do little or nothing for the Armenians. Therefore, I believe that we should not try to dicker with the European Powers, but come out in America with a fixed policy for the good of all races in the Near East. If we had adopted such a policy two years ago and worked steadily for it I feel certain we could have accomplished something. I haven’t yet given up hope because I think it is too late. It is never too late.

I believe in starting a campaign and placing the Armenian and Greek situation before our people in the United States squarely and fairly, telling both sides of the story. The Greek propaganda in the United States has given our people a wrong idea entirely in regard to the Greek question. The European countries lend themselves to this misleading propaganda. The difficult situation that the European Powers have got into in the Near East is due in my opinion to basing their action upon wrong-doing. There was no justification for putting the Greeks in Smyrna and this was borne out by a report of investigation which was as fair and square an investigation as was ever made. This report is in the State Department. The Greeks keep contending they have got a majority of population in the parts of Asia Minor that they occupy. You know, and we all know this is not true. Those who know the Greeks out here know that they are not in any way representative of the ancient Greeks that we all admire. In fact, they are just the opposite. I don’t believe there is a single representative of a European Country in Constantinople that does not deprecate the occupation of Asia Minor by the Greeks. There is no doubt in the world that the support of this is simply upon the old principle of maintaining a balance of power in the Near East. I don’t think there is any doubt in the world that if our people at home were made to realize this that they would rise up against any support of Greece by money or moral influence.

The charge made by the Armenians in their papers that our relief organization was using 80% of all the receipts for work with the Turks and Kurds, is, I am sure you will admit, in keeping with the accuracy of the statements that the Armenians are given to making.


There is another fact that should be brought out and that is that the administration of Turkish law by the old Turkish Government and the Turkish Government that has existed for many centuries is a vile administration. This administration should never be allowed to continue and yet European countries are proposing to reestablish a part of this country under Turkish rule with practically no guarantees for the minorities. The mass of the Turks are ruled by a few intriguing Turks that represent in Turkey, more nearly than anything else, the Manchus that were overthrown in China. These few Turks have a spattering of education and a moral character developed by intriguing and deceit. They have unlimited power which has debilitated their moral character so that they are not fit to administer any law. It is my opinion that America should come out against this horrible outrage of placing these people in power to administer the Turkish law over anybody. (Holdwater: Doesn't sound very "pro-Turk" here!)

The Near East is a cesspool that should be drained and cleaned out without any half-way measures. The idea of establishing an independent Armenia and placing the Greeks over a part of the territory is only creating what, with the new Turkey that would be established, three cesspools, instead of one. Therefore I beg you to use your influence and that of all those with you that I know have much influence in America to have our people in the United States fully informed regarding the Near Eastern question. Let us adopt a big policy and stand for it and do our best to get this policy carried out. I know that sometimes it is a good thing to take less than the ideal when that is all you can get. But I do believe in placing our ideal in full light of the day so that when you accept less than the ideal it is done with a full knowledge. I am not certain that America if she fully realized the big task in the Near East and at the same time could be made to see what a big opportunity there was for America to do, probably the biggest thing in the world for future peace, would not tackle the job. Our people like to do big things. Then too, I believe if they would take a mandate for the whole of the old Ottoman Empire it would not involve us in the European affairs as much as we are bound to be involved in the future if this Near Eastern question is not properly settled at this time. Still further, I am absolutely certain that any assumption of responsibility for a part of the old Ottoman Empire, like an independent Armenia, is bound to get us involved in European affairs and involved in a way that we could not justify our action because such a procedure is not based upon what is right and just. I agree with you that it would be more difficult for America to take hold now than it was before because we have been contaminated by this advocacy of Greek and Armenian claims and, in a measure, our reputation has been destroyed by the belief that we are working with the Allies of Europe, or at least supporting them in the schemes that they have been carrying out in the Near East.

I certainly am glad that you did not resign from the Near East Relief. Likewise, that Mr. Dodge is going to hold on. However, I hope you adopt as a policy relief work for all orphans and destitute women, without any regard for sect or religion. (Holdwater: see note below*) I have just been to Beirut where they have started a relief work for orphans to extend over ten years, so as to bring these children up to be self-supporting and at the same time not to educate them beyond the position that they will be required to hold in their own country. At the present time the French seem very friendly to American institutions in Syria, but on general principles I would warn against counting on this attitude after the French have obtained the mandate for Syria and are fully established beyond dispute. I do not believe the French are going to give up the idea that we Americans are not carrying on our institutions to undermine the French influence. We must do everything in the world to destroy this impression by assuming a most neutral attitude regarding politics and religion in carrying on our work. This is not only for the sake of French good-will, but in order, as you agree I know, to continue the reputation that our institutions have.

In regard to the Custer case I am afraid no one is to blame but Custer himself, and I do not believe his act is going to hurt the other Americans. He can undoubtedly thank Miss Graffam for his liberty. Such acts as drawing a revolver on a policeman is not countenanced in any country, especially when it is not justified, and the policeman was carrying out his duty. On the whole our Americans are being treated very courteously by the Turks in the interior and I believe we will continue to have this treatment so long as we play perfectly fair and square and don’t take up sides with anyone, and especially if we will carry out the relief work on the broad principle of giving relief to anyone that may require it.

I do not agree with Lloyd George that Mustapha Kemal has mutinied and is a rebel. He may be a rebel in the strict and technical sense, but it was the action of the Allies that drove the Turks to rebel. I do not justify the Turks in their acts but, knowing the Turks, if you want to control them don’t goad them like you would a wild bull in a bull ring.

In regard to the policy of the Near East Relief, I am sure that the workers in the field do not understand the instructions that there should not be any discrimination in matters of religion in applying relief. At the assembly of workers here in Constantinople last Autumn this question was taken up and was very heatedly discussed. Mr. Vickrey himself told me that you had changed your policy, but that is neither here nor there. There is no doubt whatever a policy was carried out of giving relief only to Armenians, except in cases like Miss Cushman and Miss Graffam and Miss Allen, and some others that I might mention who know the way to establish good will in the country and therefore assist the Turks. The charge made by the Armenians in their papers that our relief organization was using 80% of all the receipts for work with the Turks and Kurds, is, I am sure you will admit, in keeping with the accuracy of the statements that the Armenians are given to making. Don’t you think that we can stand any of the accusations made by any of the races in this part of the country? I am very proud of the work that our people have done in this part of the world and it doesn’t make much difference what anyone says about the work. I would suggest that it would be well if the workers in the field clearly understood that the relief work was to be carried on without any discrimination as regards race or religion. I know that they do not understand that now, even after the assembly at Constantinople last Autumn. Yes, I did know the Red Cross made large contributions to the Near East Relief work and therefore feel that it was not right to expend the funds, especially the Red Cross funds, for any particular race or sect. And again, I know that lots of the workers did not and that the Red Cross funds were a part of the contributions.

I have dictated this letter as I have felt because I feel deeply. Still further, I have an impression that since things have been going steadily from bad to worse in this part of the world, and this has been brought about by following a policy that I have never been in sympathy with, it may be that I have not done all that I could to improve conditions in the Near East and that I should make greater effort. I appreciate that this may sound to you, and to others, in some parts like criticism, but I do not intend it in that way because I do not want to arouse opposition, but only to establish a new policy that I believe is right. I believe you will forgive me for anything stated herein if you believe that my sole intention is simply to do what I think is right. I simply want to get us all to work together. I want to work with you because I know that your aims are just as sincere as mine. However, I am sure you will agree that our ideas frequently change, and if this will bring from you a reply that will change my ideas, I am only too ready to grasp the opportunity.

I thank you very much for your good wishes, and reciprocate, hoping that your efforts there have continued for so many years for the good of this part of the world will meet with success, and that I may be able to help you in your work.

The last page of Admiral Bristol's letter to Dr. Barton


With best regards,
Sincerely yours,

Marc L. Bristol
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy



(*Quick note: Unfortunately, Admiral Bristol's noble intention to lend a hand to all suffering parties was rarely given serious thought among American humanitarians. "Edward Fox, the American District Commander at Kars, in a telegram, dated October 31, 1920, (7) to Admiral Bristol, the U.S. High Commissioner in Istanbul, wrote that the Americans were continuing their work of looking after the Armenian children as before, that the Turkish soldiers were well-disciplined and that there had not been any massacres. Such missionary and philanthropic establishments protected only the children of Armenians, and never the thousands of Turkish children, who had become orphans mainly on account of Armenian massacres of their parents and families." Here's the source.)



May 6, 1921

In our last issue, we presented a letter written in 1921 by Rear Admiral Marc L. Bristol who was the U.S. High Commissioner in the defeated Ottoman Empire between 1920 and 1924. Admiral Bristol was later to become the first U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey. The letter was written on board U.S.S. St. Louis the day before the ship arrived in Istanbul from Rhodes. It was undoubtedly mailed from Istanbul and it was addressed to Dr. James L. Barton, Secretary of the Foreign Department of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

We are now offering Dr. Barton’s reply. It is encouraging to discover that there were men like Bristol and Barton who were able to see through the thick fog created by the intense disinformation campaign conducted against the Turks by Armenian extremists.

The disinformation campaign continues unabated 63 years later. Starting in the mid-seventies, the disinformation campaign took on a particularly savage face when young terrorists, having been carefully trained and worked into a frenzy, began murdering Turkish Diplomats systematically all over the world.

We need people like Bristol and Barton today perhaps even more than they were needed back in

  Cardashian came out with a pamphlet in which he charged the Near East Relief and the American missionaries as being the greatest enemies Armenia has ever had, claiming that they, in cooperation with President Wilson, had crucified Armenia...

 The Reply
American Board of Commissioners
For Foreign Missions

Dr. Barton's reply to Admiral Bristol

May 6, 1921.

Admiral Mark L. Bristol
United States High Commissioner
Constantinople, Turkey

My dear Admiral Bristol:

I want to express my high appreciation of your letter of the 28th of March, just received, discussing with such thoroughness those fundamental questions which lie so near to the hearts of both of us and to a great multitude beside, namely, the Near Eastern question as relates to Turkey and Armenia. I was especially interested in the results of your observations on your important trip to Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and particularly your observation of the attitude of the French in Syria toward the American institutions. I have recently received a communication from the Acting President of Beirut University, who takes practically the same position that you take, namely, that at present the French seem very friendly and cordial, but fearing that when they have thoroughly established themselves in Syria they will not favor an American institution of the power and influence that Beirut University has over the people of that country. Even if they do not fear that the influence of the University will be used against French administration, they would naturally be jealous of an institution that was so intrenched in the affection and confidence and heart of the people.

Right in that connection my attention has today been called to certain stipulations of the Peace Treaty, namely, that “only nationals of countries that are members of the League of Nations can be used as missionaries in possessions under their mandates.” I am quoting the statement as it came to me. I have not the exact terms before me. It raises at once the question whether the United States will accept such a decision which might rule all American missionaries out of mandatory countries, and this might become a precedent for the application of the same principle to missionaries already working in countries within the League, as India, Ceylon, South Africa, etc.

But to return. Our missionaries in Constantinople and throughout the interior have repeatedly referred to the great help you are to them in dealing with local questions, of which there are many and many of which are complicated. I have spoken of this before, but it is impossible to write you without referring to it again. Dr. White and Mr. Riggs have just written quite at length on the subject.

Cardashian... is constantly reporting atrocities which never occurred and giving endless misinformation with regard to the situation in Armenia and in Turkey.

 With reference to the false reports that come through reporting massacres of the Armenians by the Turks, there is no one who can deprecate this more than I do. But there is a situation over here which is hard to describe. There is a brilliant young Armenian, a graduate of Yale University, by the name of Cardashian. He is a lawyer, with office down in Wall Street, I believe. He has organized a committee, so-called, which has never met and is never consulted, with Mr. Gerard as Chairman. Cardashian is the whole thing. He has set up what he calls an Armenian publicity bureau or something of that kind, and has a letterhead printed. Gerard signs anything that Cardashian writes. He told me this himself one time, Cardashian is out with his own people and with everybody else, except Gerard and perhaps one other leading Armenian who was in London a month ago, Pasdermadjian. Not long since Cardashian came out with a pamphlet in which he charged the Near East Relief and the American missionaries as being the greatest enemies Armenia has ever had, claiming that they, in cooperation with President Wilson, had crucified Armenia, and a lot of other matter of this character. He claims to have the latest and fullest information out from Armenia and keeps in pretty close touch with Senator Lodge, the President, the State Department, and others in Washington. He has Gerard’s backing. We have had many a conference with Armenian leaders as to what can be done to stop this vicious propaganda carried on by Cardashian. He is constantly reporting atrocities which never occurred and giving endless misinformation with regard to the situation in Armenia and in Turkey. We do not like to come out and attack him in public. That would injure the whole cause we are all trying to serve, because people would say that we are quarreling among ourselves and would lose confidence in the whole concern. We have tried in the New York office to give publicity to nothing we did not have every reason to believe to be correct. We are therefore trying to keep controversial matters out and only keep before the public the actual needs in Armenia.

Our Committee itself is hampered by the attitude taken by the Executive that we must not do anything that could be called political. In the literature we have given out we have never suggested that America should take a mandate of Armenia or of any part of Turkey. That is politics. We have simply spoken need and have tried to interest the American people in the need there in the country. I am to have a meeting of the Executive next week called to consider whether the time has not come for us to go a step further. People are saying, “For years you have kept these suffering people alive, while on the other hand political conditions have prevented their being restored to their homes and have contributed to increasing the number of refugees and orphans. Why do you not do something to remove the cause of the trouble?” Our answer has been, “That is politics. We are a relief organization.” At the same time they come back at us and say, “What better relief or more effective can be caron than to remove the cause and let these people go back to their homes in peace and quiet and there become self-supporting.” I do not know what attitude the Executive will take. If they are favorable, we shall prepare a statement and send it through our organizations all over the country and to the newspapers of the country, trying to get pressure brought to bear upon Washington to do exactly what you so fully outline in your letter,—take a hand in the settlement of affairs in the Near ned East.

When I was in London a little over a month ago, several of the leaders like Lord Bryce expressed their conviction that if the United States would be willing to loan money that some European nation would step in and take a mandate over some section of the Turkish Empire into which the Armenians could be gathered and thus establish a safety zone. There is no doubt that now with the temper of the Turk stirred up by the fact that the Armenians fought with the French in Cilicia against the Turk is a very severe threat to the Armenians. Many of the Armenians are still full of revolutionary spirit and I cannot but believe that in Cilicia we have all of the elements which might precipitate another series of atrocities on both sides, for I know that the Armenians have not refrained from acts of atrocity when they had the power in their hands, and that is one of the reasons why the Turks are so incensed at the present time. Dr. Martin in Aintab has recently written that the Turks in the market place have threatened that when they come back into power, as they expect soon to do, they will rebuild the destroyed mosques and minarets with Armenian skulls. I fear that while we are waiting to get the United States to take a large view of the Near Eastern situation and a large part in its solution the Armenian element may be largely, if not wholly, eliminated.

  (Armenians) are a peculiar people. They have a great faculty of making themselves disliked wherever they go...


I probably have suffered as much from the lack of appreciation on the part of Armenians as anyone. For twenty-five years I have worked for them, I doubt if there is anyone in the country that has been more frequently attacked than have I, from Cardashian down. Some — and this number is not a few — have remained absolutely loyal and appreciative. But they are a peculiar people. They have a great faculty of making themselves disliked wherever they go and by most people who move among them, and yet we must remember they are human beings with capacity for education, development and reform. I feel intensely sorry for them and am ready to work on. I would not be in favor of putting the Armenians into power anywhere without having some restraining influence among them that would prevent their ill treatment of any subject races under them.

In my previous letter to you I spoke of Armenia at the time when the loan was considered an established fact. I referred of course only to the Armenia in Russia which had been recognized in Washington to the extent that it was willing to accept the signature of its officials as guarantee for the repayment of a loan, I think the same was true in England. I was not, of course, referring to any Armenia in Turkey outlined by the President.

I am sending you under another cover a copy of the May number of the Missionary Herald with an article by me which may interest you. I have had this reprinted and am sending copies to officials in Washington and to the members of the Foreign Relations Committee of both the Senate and the House. There has got to be a system of far-reaching education in this country before Congress will be brought to take any action whatever with reference to the Near East or its relation to an association of nations. Senator Lodge and his group are absolutely and irrevocably opposed to America’s taking any kind of a mandate anywhere.

I have about the same feeling for the Greeks that you have. They have, however, one of the best publicity bureaus in the world and are working it to the limit here in the United States.

Mr. Dodge and I are planning to stand by the Near East Relief through this year, but we do hope that before another twelve months rolls around something will be done that will make the sending of continuous relief into that country unnecessary, apart from the care of the orphans.

You refer again to the subject of caring for the children and of giving relief to others than Armenians. In the reports that I see from all over the field that seems to be what is being done. The Red Cross people have seemed to be fully satisfied with the way their contributions have been used in this respect. The most dissatisfied people we deal with are the Armenians who say that we are diverting money intended for them.

But I did not mean to run on at such length. I want again to say how deeply I appreciate your letter. I am letting others in the Rooms read it. I understand that none of it is for publicity, although I may take the liberty of reading a few words from it at the meeting of the Twentieth Century Club where I speak tomorrow afternoon.

Please remember me most kindly to Mrs. Bristol, and believe me, my dear Admiral Bristol.

Very faithfully yours,

James L. Barton

A few thoughts from your pal, Holdwater


I'm still in the process of learning more about Dr. Barton. There are reports I have come across that clearly put him in the anti-Turkish camp. Here is what I think has happened... as this letter of his provides much insight. The Near East Relief drive began as a response to all the horrible tales of massacres and atrocities committed by the Turks, as reported in the prejudiced American press. The good Christians in America decided to do something to help their fellow Christians who have so suffered under the sword of the terrible Moslem Turks. Dr. Barton entered these waters, fully in support of these notions.

And he still has a devotion to the "cause"... note Admiral Bristol mildly rebuking Dr. Barton by saying, "I note that you state Armenia at that time was an established fact so far as political recognition was concerned. I cannot understand this point of view because the Sevres treaty was ratified by no one..." Dr. Barton himself writes, after noting his outrage over Armenian Propagandist Cardashian's lies: "We do not like to come out and attack him in public. That would injure the whole cause we are all trying to serve..." Well, wasn't that cause already severely compromised, now that the facts were in place, regarding why the cause got started in the first place? (That is: Armenian lies.)

So here we have a man whom I believe had a deeply-rooted belief system, like so many of his fellow Americans of the period: Turks were evil, and Armenians were angels. (Hmmm. The same could be said about our period, too.)

What could be sadder than having such a firmly established foundation shaken to its very roots?

Dr. Barton, like Armenian sympathizers Niles and Sutherland, had his eyes opened the more he discovered how Armenians really were. It's pretty heartbreaking to learn that this man gave nearly selflessly to the Armenian cause for a whole quarter-century, and now he was justly and obviously hurt that almost all he had to show for it was Armenian ingratitude. "I  probably have suffered as much from the lack of appreciation on the part of Armenians as anyone... I doubt if there is anyone in the country that has been more frequently attacked than have I..." That is HORRIBLE!

"The pride of race brings about many singularities and prompts the Armenians to prey on missionaries, Jesuits, consuls and European traveler with rapacity and ingratitude. The poor Armenians will demand assistance in a loud tone, yet will seldom give thanks for a donation. Abuse of Consular officers and missionaries is only a part of the stock-in-trade of the extra-Armenian press."Mark Sykes, "The Caliph’s Last Heritage" (London, 1915)

Loyalty is a foreign concept to Armenians... recorded as early as the days of ancient Rome. Ara Baliozian has written: ". . . Our past is filled with countless instances of betrayal and treachery.. ." Edward Tashji, who is half-Armenian, comments: "This last quotation, like no other statement is an inescapable and irrefutable commentary of the Armenians, not only of Ottoman Turkey, but to this very day in the United States."

Armenians even attacked their greatest friend, President Woodrow Wilson, for not going to bat all the way for them. 

All the Armenians do is take. Look at the fifty million dollars America lent them on good faith (which Admiral Bristol somewhat bitterly reports on, above), and they just turned their backs on their responsibilities. (This was in addition to the fifty million they received from charitable organizations.) A people with honor would have repaid their debts... and that should have been the first order of business, once Armenia regained her freedom after the fall of the Soviet Union. Instead of giving, their lobby in the USA has been at work to take more money from American taxpayers... more than a billion bucks, to date. Peter Balakian speaks of a " double killing"... As a Turkish-American, I now introduce the concept of a double enraging. I am mad at the Armenians for their lies and slanders against Turkey.... but I am also mad as an American for the way Armenians have totally used my country, with the help of Armenian butt-kissing American politicians. (Such as Republican James E. Rogan.)


(Holdwater continues: After writing the above, I came across these interesting passages on the organization Dr. Barton headed, and the man himself; looks like, in his earlier days at least, he provided the kind of false propaganda he accuses Cardashian of, above. I guess, like historian Arnold Toynbee, he "reformed" a bit... especially after he kept getting stabbed in the back by the Armenians he so loved and helped.)

The Relief Organization engaged in an eight-year policy of vilifying Turks, from 1915 to 1923. It is interesting that in 1923, once the Turks had won and the Mission obviously would not survive unless they got along with the Turks, suddenly all changed. Suddenly Turks were being praised by missionaries. But until then, the Turks were evil. To build their missionary organization was one of their purposes, but their main purpose was a good one. Their main purpose was to collect money for what indeed were starving Armenian and Syrian (Assyrian) Christians, to try to make sure that these people had food and the orphans had shelter. It was a good purpose. They used a not-so-good means to get the money, which was to vilify the Turks in every way, because there is nothing that draws in funds like portraying a horrible enemy that is oppressing these people and will succeed unless you help, unless you contribute. Which is what they did.

From Dr. Justin McCarthy's 2001 presentation on British Propaganda.

Dr. Barton is described:

The missionary establishment leaders most involved in providing propaganda to Toynbee (Holdwater: The historian who headed the notorious British propaganda machinery, Wellington House, in his youth; as he got older, he became more credible) were James Barton and William Rockwell. Barton had been a missionary in Anatolia. He was a Congregational minister and the head of the American Board of Commissioners For Foreign Missions, the largest of the American missionary groups. He had become the head of the main relief organization, the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief.

Dr. Barton is quoted:

The main Protestant missionary propaganda was, or course, religious. James Levi Barton, the leader of the relief organization, wrote "[Armenians] are suffering for no fault of their own, but because their lot was cast in a land where no Christian power was able to protect and because, forsooth, they would not remove the Lord Jesus Christ from their altars and put Mohammed in his place."


Dr. Barton was also instrumental in spearheading the American financial campaign helping to organize and train the French Armenian Legion, along with retired President Theodore Roosevelt. (John D. Rockefeller led the donors with a gift of $25,000.) Along with similar subscription campaigns in Great Britain meant nominally to feed "starving Armenians," these funds were largely used to mount terrorist attacks against Turks once the Allies occupied the defeated nation. The Armenian Legion (led by French General Louis Romieu, and consisting of four battalions of 4368 soldiers and 66 officers, all wearing French uniforms) disgusted the few French officers who were present, with their shocking brutalities... not that the French were innocent of helping to commit atrocities in areas like Adana, Marash and Antep. (Source: "The Armenian Legion and Its Destruction of the Armenian Community in Cilicia," Prof. Stanford Shaw, from the book, "The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period.")



I don't understand how these missionaries could be so two-faced. I always believed Dr. Barton was the rare, "good" missionary, with integrity, just like Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, the co-founder of Robert College. Dr. Hamlin, for example, wrote things that made him understand the extent of the wrongful propaganda and slandering of the Turks. Yet, just before he died (as I learned from Professor Dennis Papazian), he wrote an article supportive of the propaganda. Similarly, Dr. Barton sounds like such a clear-headed man of integrity in his response to Admiral Bristol, above... and then I discover the reverend came up with a volume entitled, "Turkish Atrocities," after having asked missionaries in 1918 to file their detailed reports. (Motivated by the fear that 'Even Lord Bryce's book upon the subject is seriously questioned in some quarters.' Granted, Dr. Barton made this move before the writing of the letter you've just read... so his eyes might have only opened to the truth in the subsequent three years.)

Either it's one way, or the other... they can't have it both ways. There is something that compelled these missionaries to support a cause they knew couldn't be true... just like the bulk of Armenians! No wonder they worked so well together in their massive defamation campaign against the Turks, in the days of the "Genocide," and beyond.




"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


This Site