A FIGHT FOR THREE THOUSAND CIVILIANS
On the second of May, 1915, Enver sent his aide to the American Embassy, bringing a message which he requested me to transmit to the French and British governments. About a week before this visit the Allies had landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. They had evidently concluded that a naval attack by itself could not destroy the defenses and open the road to Constantinople, and they had now adopted the alternative plan of despatching large bodies of troops, to be supported by the guns of their warships. Already many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders had entrenched themselves at the tip of the peninsula, and the excitement that prevailed in Constantinople was almost as great as that which had been caused by the appearance of the fleet two months before.
Enver now informed me that the Allied ships were bombarding in reckless fashion, and ignoring the well-established international rule that such bombardments should be directed only against fortified places; British and French shells, he said, were falling everywhere, destroying unprotected Moslem villages and killing hundreds of innocent non-combatants. Enver asked me to inform the Allied governments that such activities must immediately cease. He had decided to collect all the British and French citizens who were then living in Constantinople, take them down to the Gallipoli peninsula and scatter them in Moslem villages and towns. The Allied fleets would then be throwing their projectiles not only against peaceful and unprotected Moslems, but against their own countrymen. It was Enver's idea that this threat, communicated by the American Ambassador to the British and French governments, would soon put an end to "atrocities" of this kind. I was given a few days' respite to get the information to London and Paris.
At that time about 3,000 British and French citizens were living in Constantinople. The great majority belonged to the class known as Levantines; nearly all had been born in Turkey and in many cases their families had been domiciled in that country for two or more generations. The retention of their European citizenship is almost their only contact with the nation from which they have sprung. Not uncommonly we meet in the larger cities of Turkey men and women who are English by race and nationality, but who speak no English, French being the usual language of the Levantine. The great majority have never set foot in England, or any other European country; they have only one home, and that is Turkey. The fact that the Levantine usually retains citizenship in the nation of his origin was now apparently making him a fitting object for Turkish vengeance. Besides these Levantines, a large number of English and French were then living in Constantinople, as teachers in the schools, as missionaries, and as important business men and merchants. The Ottoman Government now proposed to assemble all these residents, both those who were immediately and those who were remotely connected with Great Britain and France, and to place them in exposed positions on the Gallipoli peninsula as targets for the Allied fleet.
Naturally my first question when I received this startling information was whether the warships were really bombarding defenseless towns. If they were murdering non-combatant men, women, and children in this reckless fashion, such an act of reprisal as Enver now proposed would probably have had some justification. It seemed to me incredible, however, that the English and French could commit such barbarities. I had already received many complaints of this kind from Turkish officials which, on investigation, had turned out to be untrue. Only a little while before Dr. Meyer, the first assistant to Suleyman Nouman, the Chief of the Medical Staff, had notified me that the British fleet had bombarded a Turkish hospital and killed 1,000 invalids. When I looked into the matter., I found that the building had been but slightly damaged, and only one man killed. I now naturally suspected that this latest tale of Allied barbarity rested on a similarly flimsy foundation. I soon discovered, indeed, that this was the case. The Allied fleet was not bombarding Moslem villages at all. A number of British warships had been stationed in the Gulf of Saros, an indentation of the Aegean Sea, on the western side of the peninsula, and from this vantage point they were throwing shells into the city of Gallipoli. All the "bombarding" of towns in which they were now engaging was limited to this one city. In doing this the British navy was not violating the rules of civilized warfare, for Gallipoli had long since been evacuated of its civilian population, and the Turks had established military headquarters in several of the houses, which had properly become the object of the Allied attack. I certainly knew of no rule of warfare which prohibited an attack upon a military headquarters. As to the stories of murdered civilians, men, women, and children, these proved to be gross exaggerations; as almost the entire civilian population had long since left, any casualties resulting from the bombardment must have been confined to the armed forces of the empire.
I now discussed the situation for some time with Mr. Ernest Weyl, who was generally recognized as the leading French citizen in Constantinople, and with Mr. Hoffman Philip, the Conseiller of the Embassy, and then decided that I would go immediately to the Sublime Porte and protest to Enver.
The Council of Ministers was sitting at the time, but Enver came out. His manner was more demonstrative than usual. As he described the attack of the British fleet, he became extremely angry; it was not the imperturbable Enver with whom I had become so familiar. "These cowardly English! " he exclaimed." They tried for a long time to get through the Dardanelles, and we were too much for them! And see what kind of a revenge they are taking. Their ships sneak up into the outer bay, where our guns cannot reach them, and shoot over the hills at our little villages, killing harmless old men, women, and children, and bombarding our hospitals. Do you think we are going to let them do that? And what can we do? Our guns don't reach over the hills, so that we cannot meet them in battle. If we could, we would drive them off, just as we did at the straits a month ago. We have no fleet to send to England to bombard their unfortified towns as they are bombarding ours. So we have decided to move all the English and French we can find to Gallipoli. Let them kill their own people as well as ours."
I told him that, granted that the circumstances were as he had stated them, he had grounds for indignation. But I called his attention to the fact that he was wrong; that he was accusing the Allies of crimes which they were not committing.
"This is about the most barbarous thing that you have ever contemplated," I said. "The British have a perfect right to attack a military headquarters like Gallipoli."
But my argument did not move Enver. I became convinced that he had not decided on this step as a reprisal to protect his own countrymen, but that he and his associates were blindly venting their rage. The fact that the Australians and New Zealanders had successfully effected a landing had aroused their most barbarous instincts. Enver referred to this landing in our talk; though he professed to regard it lightly, and said that he would soon push the French and English into the sea, I saw that it was causing him much concern. The Turk, as I have said before, is psychologically primitive; to answer the British landing at Gallipoli by murdering hundreds of helpless British who were in his power would strike him as perfectly logical. As a result of this talk I gained only a few concessions. Enver agreed to postpone the deportation until Thursday---it was then Sunday; to exclude women and children from the order, and to take none of the British and French who were then connected with American institutions.
"All the rest will have to go," was his final word. "Moreover," he added, "we don't purpose to have the enemy submarines in the Marmora torpedo the transports we are sending to the Dardanelles. In the future we shall put a few Englishmen and Frenchmen on every ship we send down there as a protection to our own soldiers."
When I returned to our embassy I found that the news of the proposed deportation had been published. The amazement and despair that immediately resulted were unparalleled, even in that city of constant sensations. Europeans, by living for many years in the Levant, seem to acquire its emotions, particularly its susceptibility to fear and horror, and now, no longer having the protection of their embassies, these fears were intensified. A stream of frenzied people began to pour into the Embassy. From their tears and cries one would have thought that they were immediately to be taken out and shot, and that there was any possibility of being saved seemed hardly to occur to them. Yet all the time they insisted that I should get individual exemptions. One could not go because he had a dependent family; another had a sick child; another was ill himself. My ante-room was full of frantic mothers, asking me to secure exemption for their sons, and of wives, who sought special treatment for their husbands. They made all kinds of impossible suggestions: I should resign my ambassadorship as a protest; I should even threaten Turkey with war by the United States! They constantly besieged my wife, who spent hours listening to their stories and comforting them. In all this exciting mass there were many who faced the situation with more courage.
The day after my talk with Enver, Bedri, the Prefect of Police, began to arrest some of the victims.
The next morning one of my callers made what would ordinarily have seemed to be an obvious suggestion. This visitor was a German. He told me that Germany would suffer greatly in reputation if the Turks carried out their plan; the world would not possibly be convinced that Germans had not devised the whole scheme. He said that I should call upon the German and Austrian ambassadors; he was sure that they would support me in my pleas for decent treatment. As I had made appeals to Wangenheim several times before in behalf of foreigners, without success, I had hardly thought it worth while to ask his cooperation in this instance. Moreover, the plan of using non-combatants as a protective screen in warfare was such a familiar German device that I was not at all sure that the German Staff had not instigated the Turks. I decided, however, to adopt the advice of my German visitor and seek Wangenheim's assistance. I must admit that I did this as a forlorn hope, but at least I thought it only fair to Wangenheim. to give him a chance to help.
I called upon him in the evening at ten o'clock and stayed with him until eleven. I spent the larger part of this hour in a fruitless attempt to interest him in the plight of these non-combatants. Wangenheim said point blank that he would not assist me. "It is perfectly proper," he maintained, "for the Turks to establish a concentration camp at Gallipoli. It is also proper for them to put non-combatant English and French on their transports and thus insure them against attack. As I made repeated attempts to argue the matter, Wangenheim would deftly shift the conversation to other topics. According to my record of this talk, written out at the time, the German Ambassador discussed almost every subject except the one upon which I had called.
"This act of the Turks will greatly injure Germany," I would begin.
"Do you know that the English soldiers at Gaba Tepe are without food and drink?" he would reply. " They made an attack to capture a well and were repulsed. The English have taken their ships away so as to prevent their soldiers from retreating---"
" But about this Gallipoli business," I interrupted. "Germans themselves here in Constantinople have said that Germany should stop it---"
"The Allies landed 45,000 men on the peninsula," Wangenheim answered, "and of these 10,000 were killed. In a few days we shall attack the rest and destroy them."
When I attempted to approach the subject from another angle, this master diplomatist would begin discussing Rumania and the possibility of obtaining ammunition by way of that country.
"Your Secretary Bryan,"' he said, "has just issued a statement showing that it would be unneutral for the United States to refuse to sell ammunition to the Allies. So we have used this same argument with the Rumanians; if it is unneutral not to sell ammunition, it is certainly unneutral to refuse to-transport it!"
The humorous aspects of this argument appealed to Wangenheim, but I reminded him that I was there to discuss the lives of between 2,000 and 3,000 non-combatants. As I touched upon this subject again, Wangenheim replied that the United States would not be acceptable to Germany as a peacemaker now, because we were so friendly to the Entente. He insisted on giving me all the details of recent German successes in the Carpathians and the latest news on the Italian situation.
"We would rather fight Italy than have her for our ally," he said.
At another time all this would have greatly entertained me, but not then. It was quite apparent that Wangenheim would not discuss the proposed deportation further than to say that the Turks were justified. His statement that it was planned to establish a "concentration camp" at Gallipoli unfolded his whole attitude. Up to this time the Turks had not established concentration camps for enemy aliens anywhere. I had earnestly advised them not to establish such camps, thus far with success. On the other hand, the Germans were protesting that Turkey was "too lenient" and urging the establishment of such camps in the interior. Wangenheim's use of the words "concentration camps in Gallipoli" showed that the German view was at last prevailing and that I was losing my battle for the foreigners. An internment camp is a distressing place under the most favourable circumstances, but who, except a German or a Turk, ever conceived of establishing one right in the field of battle? Let us suppose that the English and the French should assemble all their enemy aliens, march them to the front, and place them in a camp in No Man's Land, directly in the fire of both armies. That was precisely the kind of a "concentration camp" which the Turks and Germans now intended to establish for the resident aliens of Constantinople---for my talk with Wangenheim left no doubt in my mind that the Germans were parties to the plot.
Fig. 35. TURKISH QUARTERS AT THE DARDANELLES. These dugouts, for the most part, were well protected. The Turks defended their batteries with great heroism and skill
They feared that the land attack on the Dardanelles would succeed, just as they had feared that the naval attack would succeed, and they were prepared to use any weapon, even the lives of several thousand non-combatants, in their efforts to make it a failure.
My talk with Wangenheim produced no results, so far as enlisting his support was concerned, but it stiffened my determination to defeat this enterprise. I also called upon Pallavicini, the Austrian Ambassador. He at once declared that the proposed deportation was "inhuman."
"I will take up the matter with the Grand Vizier," he said, "and see if I can't stop it."
"But you know that is perfectly useless," I answered. "The Grand Vizier has no power---he is only a figurehead. Only one man can stop this, that is Enver."
Pallavicini had far finer sensibilities and a tenderer conscience than Wangenheim, and I had no doubt that he was entirely sincere in his desire to prevent this crime. But he was a diplomat of the old Austrian school. Nothing in his eyes was so important as diplomatic etiquette. As the representative of his emperor, propriety demanded that he should conduct all his negotiations with the Grand Vizier, who was also at that time Minister for Foreign Affairs. He never discussed state matters with Talaat and Enver---indeed, he had only limited official relations with these men, the real rulers of Turkey. And now the saving of 3,000 lives was not, in Pallavicini's eyes, any reason why he should disregard the traditional routine of diplomatic intercourse.
"I must go strictly according to rules in this matter," he said. And, in the goodness of his heart, he did speak to Saïd Halim. Following this example Wangenheim also spoke to the Grand Vizier. In Wangenheim's case, however, the protest was merely intended for the official record.
"You may fool some people," I told the German Ambassador, "but you know that speaking to the Grand Vizier in this matter is of about as much use as shouting in the air."
However, there was one member of the diplomatic corps who worked whole-heartedly in behalf of the threatened foreigners. This was M. Koloucheff, the Bulgarian Minister. As soon as he heard of this latest Turco-German outrage, he immediately came to me with offers of assistance. He did not propose to waste his time by a protest to the Grand Vizier, but announced his intention of going immediately to the source of authority, Enver himself. Koloucheff was an extremely important man at that particular time, for Bulgaria was then neutral and both sides were angling for her support.
Meanwhile, Bedri and his minions were busy arresting some of the doomed English and French. The deportation was arranged to take place Thursday morning. On Wednesday, the excitement reached the hysterical stage. It seemed as if the whole foreign population of Constantinople had gathered at the American Embassy. Scores of weeping women and haggard men assembled in front and at the side of the building; more than three hundred gained personal access to my office, hanging desperately upon the Ambassador and his staff. Many almost seemed to think that I personally held their fates in my hand; in their agony of spirit some even denounced me, insisting that I was not exerting all my powers in their behalf. Whenever I left my office and passed into the hall I was almost mobbed by scores of terror-stricken and dishevelled mothers and wives. The nervous tension was frightful; I seized the telephone, called up Enver, and demanded an interview.
He replied that he would be happy to receive me on Thursday. By this time, however, the prisoners would already have been on their way to Gallipoli.
"No," I replied, "I must see you this afternoon."
Enver made all kinds of excuses; he was busy, he had appointments scheduled for the whole day.
"I presume you want to see me about the English and French," he said. "If that is so, I can tell you now that it will be useless. Our minds are made up. Orders have been issued to the police to gather them all by to-night and to ship them down to-morrow morning."
I still insisted that I must see him that afternoon and he still attempted to dodge the interview.
"My time is all taken," he said. "The Council of Ministers sits at four o'clock and the meeting is to be a very important one. I can't absent myself."
Emboldened by the thought of the crowds of women that were flooding the whole Embassy I decided on an altogether unprecedented move.
"I shall not be denied an interview," I replied. "I shall come up to the cabinet room at four o'clock. If you refuse to receive me then, I shall insist on going into the council room and discussing the matter with the whole Cabinet. I shall be interested to learn whether the Turkish Cabinet will refuse to receive the American Ambassador."
It seemed to me that I could almost hear Enver gasp over the telephone. I presume few responsible ministers of any country have ever had such an astounding proposition made to them.
"If you will meet me at the Sublime Porte at 3:30," he answered, after a considerable pause, "I shall arrange to see you."
When I reached the Sublime Porte I was told that the Bulgarian Minister was having a protracted conference with Enver. Naturally I was willing to wait, for I knew what the two men were discussing. Presently M. Koloucheff came out; his face was tense and anxious, clearly revealing the ordeal through which he had just passed.
"It is perfectly hopeless," he said to me. "Nothing will move Enver: he is absolutely determined that this thing shall go through. I cannot wish you good luck, for you will have none."
Fig. 36. LOOKING NORTH TO THE CITY OF GALLIPOLI. This part of the Dardanelles is practically unfortified
The meeting which followed between Enver and myself was the most momentous I had had up to that time. We discussed the fate of the foreigners for nearly an hour. I found Enver in one of his most polite but most unyielding moods. He told me before I began that it was useless to talk---that the matter was a closed issue. But I insisted on telling him what a splendid impression Turkey's treatment of her enemies had made on the outside world. "Your record in this matter is better than that of any other belligerent country," I said. "You have not put them into concentration camps, you have let them stay here and continue their ordinary business, just as before. You have done this in spite of strong pressure to act otherwise. Why do you destroy all the good effect this has produced by now making such a fatal mistake as you, propose?
But Enver insisted that the Allied fleets were bombarding unfortified towns, killing women, children, and wounded men.
"We have warned them through you that they must not do this," he said, "but they don't stop."
This statement, of course, was not true, but I could not persuade Enver that he was wrong. He expressed great appreciation for all that I had done, and regretted for my sake that he could not accept my advice. I told him that the foreigners had suggested that I threaten to give up the care of British and French interests.
"Nothing would suit us better," he quickly replied.
The only difficulty we have with you is when you come around and bother us with English and French affairs."
I asked him if I had ever given him any advice that had led them into trouble. He graciously replied that they had never yet made a mistake by following my suggestions.
"Very well, take my advice in this case, too," I replied. "You will find later that you have made no mistake by doing so. I tell you that it is my positive opinion that your cabinet is committing a terrible error by taking this step."
"But I have given orders to this effect," Enver answered. "I cannot countermand them. If I did, my whole influence with the army would go. Once having given an order I never change it. My own wife asked me to have her servants exempted from military service and I refused. The Grand Vizier asked exemption for his secretary, and I refused him, because I had given orders. I never revoke orders and I shall not do it in this case. If you can show me some way in which this order can be carried out and your protégés still saved, I shall be glad to listen."
I had already discovered one of the most conspicuous traits in the Turkish character: its tendency to compromise and to bargain. Enver's request for a suggestion now gave me an opportunity to play on this characteristic.
"All right," I said. "I think I can. I should think you could still carry out your orders without sending all the French and English residents down. If you would send only a few, you would still win your point. You could still maintain discipline in the army, and these few would be as strong a deterrent to the Allied fleet as sending all."
It seemed to me that Enver almost eagerly seized upon this suggestion as a way out of his dilemma.
"How many will you let me send?" he asked quickly. The moment he put this question I knew that I had carried my point.
"I would suggest that you take twenty English and twenty French---forty in all."
"Let me have fifty," he said.
"All right---we won't haggle over ten," I answered. "But you must make another concession. Let me pick out the fifty who are to go."
This agreement had relieved the tension, and now the gracious side of Enver's nature began to show itself again.
"No, Mr. Ambassador," he replied. "You have prevented me from making a mistake this afternoon; now let me prevent you from making one. If you select the fifty men who are to go, you will simply make fifty enemies. I think too much of you to let you do that. I will prove to you that I am your real friend. Can't you make some other suggestion?"
"Why not take the youngest? They can stand the fatigue best."
"That is fair," answered Enver. He said that Bedri, who was in the building at that moment, would select the "victims." This caused me some uneasiness; I knew that Enver's modification of his order would displease Bedri, whose hatred of the foreigners had shown itself on many occasions, and that the head of the police would do his best to find some way of evading it. So I asked Enver to send for Bedri and give him his new orders in my presence. Bedri came in, and, as I had suspected, he did not like the new arrangement at all. As soon as he heard that he was to take only fifty and the youngest he threw up his hands and began to walk up and down the room.
"No, no, this will never do!" he said. "I don't want the youngest, I must have notables! "
But Enver stuck to the arrangement and gave Bedri orders to take only the youngest men. It was quite apparent that Bedri needed humouring, so I asked him to ride with me to the American Embassy, where we would have tea and arrange all the details. This invitation had an instantaneous effect which the American mind will have difficulty in comprehending. An American would regard it as nothing wonderful to be seen publicly riding with an ambassador, or to take tea at an embassy. But this is a distinction which never comes to a minor functionary, such as a Prefect of Police, in the Turkish capital. Possibly I lowered the dignity of my office in extending this invitation to Bedri; Pallavicini would probably have thought so; but it certainly paid, for it made Bedri more pliable than he would otherwise have been.
When we reached the Embassy, we found the crowds stiff there, awaiting the results of my intercession. When I told the besiegers that only fifty had to go and these the youngest, they seemed momentarily stupefied. They could not understand it at first; they believed that I might obtain some modification of the order, but nothing like this. Then, as the truth dawned upon them, I found myself in the centre of a crowd that had apparently gone momentarily insane, this time not from grief, but from joy. Women, the tears streaming down their faces, insisted on throwing themselves on their knees, seizing both my hands, and covering them with kisses. Mature men, despite my violent protestations, persisted in hugging me and kissing me on both cheeks. For several minutes I struggled with this crowd, embarrassed by its demonstrations of gratitude, but finally I succeeded in breaking away and secreting myself and Bedri in an inner room.
"Can't I have a few notables? " he asked.
"I'll give you just one," I replied.
"Can't I have three? " he asked again.
"You can have all who are under fifty," I answered.
But that did not satisfy him, as there was not a solitary person of distinction under that-age limit. Bedri really had his eye on Messieurs Weyl, Rey, and Dr. Frew. But I had one "notable" up my sleeve whom I was willing to concede. Dr. Wigram, an Anglican clergyman, one of the most prominent men in the foreign colony, had pleaded with me, asking that he might be permitted to go with the hostages and furnish them such consolation as religion could give them. I knew that nothing would delight Dr. Wigram, more than to be thrown as a sop to Bedri's passion for "notables."
"Dr. Wigram is the only notable you can have," I said to Bedri. So he accepted him as the best that he could do in that line.
Fig. 37. THE BRITISH SHIP "ALBION". Shelling the fortifications at the Inner Strait. The splashes near the ship show that the Turks are replying vigorously
Mr. Hoffman Philip, the Conseiller of the American Embassy---now American Minister to Colombia---had already expressed a desire to accompany the hostages, so that he might minister to their comfort. This manifestation of a fine humanitarian spirit was nothing new in Mr. Philip. Although not in good health, he had returned to Constantinople after Turkey had entered the war, in order that he might assist me in the work of caring for the foreign residents. Through all that arduous period he constantly displayed that sympathy for the unfortunate, the sick, and the poor, which is innate in his character. Though it was somewhat irregular for a representative of the Embassy to engage in such a hazardous enterprise as this one, Mr. Philip pleaded so earnestly that finally I reluctantly gave my consent. I also obtained permission for Air. Arthur Ruhl of Collier's and Mr. Henry West Suydam, of the Brooklyn Eagle, to accompany the party.
At the end Bedri had to have his little joke. Though the fifty were informed that the boat for Gallipoli would leave the next morning at six o'clock, he, with his police, visited their houses at midnight, and routed them all out of bed. The crowd that assembled at the dock the next morning looked somewhat weather-beaten and worse for wear. Bedri was there, superintending the whole proceeding, and when he came up to me, he good-naturedly reproached me again for letting him have only one "notable." In the main, he behaved very decently, though he could not refrain from telling the hostages that the British airplanes were dropping bombs on Gallipoli! Of the twenty-five "Englishmen" assembled there were only two who had been born in England, and of the twenty-five "Frenchmen" only two who had been born in France. They carried satchels containing food and other essentials, their assembled relatives had additional bundles, and Mrs. Morgenthau. sent several large cases of food to the ship. The parting of these young men with their families was affecting, but they all stood it bravely.
Fig. 38. THE DARDANELLES AS IT WAS MARCH 16, 1915. When Ambassador Morgenthau, at the invitation of the Turkish Government, visited all the batteries. He found the batteries well defended, but short of ammunition and completely outranged by the guns of the Allied fleets. On March 19th the Germans and Turks were prepared to retreat to Anatolia and leave Constantinople at the mercy of the British. The Allies abandoned the attack at the precise moment when complete victory was in their grasp
I returned to the Embassy, somewhat wearied by the excitement of the last few days and in no particularly gracious humour for the honour which now awaited me. For I had been there only a few minutes when His Excellency, the German Ambassador, was announced. Wangenheim discussed commonplaces for a few minutes and then approached the real object of his call. He asked me to telegraph to Washington that he had been "helpful" in getting the number of the Gallipoli hostages reduced to fifty! In view of the actual happenings this request was so preposterous that I could scarcely maintain my composure. I had known that, in going through the form of speaking to the Grand Vizier, Wangenheim had been manufacturing his protest for future use, but I had not expected him to fall back upon it so soon.
"Well," said Wangenheim, "at least telegraph your government that I didn't 'hetz' the Turks in this matter."
The German verb "hetzen" means about the same as the English "sic," in the sense of inciting a dog. I was in no mood to give Wangenheim. a clean bill of health, and told him so. In fact, I specifically reported to Washington that he had refused to help me. A day or two afterward Wangenheim called me on the telephone and began to talk in an excited and angry tone. His government had wired him about my telegram to Washington. I told him that if he desired credit for assistance in matters of this kind, he should really exert himself and do something.
The hostages had an uncomfortable time at Gallipoli; they were put into two wooden houses with no beds and no food except that which they had brought themselves. The days and nights were made wretched by the abundant vermin that is a commonplace in Turkey. Had Mr. Philip not gone with them, they would have suffered seriously. After the unfortunates had been there for a few days I began work with Enver again to get them back. Sir Edward Grey, then British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, had requested our State Department to send me a message with the request that I present it to Enver and his fellow ministers; its purport was that the British Government would hold them personally responsible for any injury to the hostages. I presented this message to Enver on May 9th. I had seen Enver in many moods, but the unbridled rage which Sir Edward's admonition now caused was something entirely new. As I read the telegram his face became livid, and he absolutely lost control of himself. The European polish which Enver had sedulously acquired dropped like a mask; I now saw him for what he really was---a savage, bloodthirsty Turk.
"They will not come back!" he shouted. "I shall let them stay there until they rot! "
"I would like to see those English touch me!" he continued.
I saw that the method which I had always used with Enver, that of persuasion., was the only possible way of handling him. I tried to soothe the Minister now, and, after a while, he quieted down.
"But don't ever threaten me again!" he said.
After spending a week at Gallipoli, the party returned. The Turks had moved their military headquarters from Gallipoli and the English fleet, therefore, ceased to bombard it. All came back in good condition and were welcomed home with great enthusiasm.
Chapter Twenty: More adventures of the foreign residents