This wonderful report by
Prof. Heath Lowry has long been sought after by TAT. Unfortunately, the
version below, made possible with great thanks to Sukru Aya, has errors and
omissions (including footnote placements; this is why the report has been
presented page-by-page, so that the reader can get a better idea as to where
the footnote placements belong). Some missing and/or incomplete words have
been filled in with best guesses, when possible. The reader is reminded
what follows is imperfect, and not meant to substitute for an authentic
Nevertheless, at least some semblance of the report is now available, probably
for the first time on the Internet, and the contents are exactly of the kind
that is valued on TAT. The reason is that "Richard G. Hovannisian on
Lieutenant. Robert Steed Dunn" targets and exposes the typically
shoddy and biased scholarship of "infamous" pro-Armenian academics
who have long been accepted by a lazy-thinking world as competent, and even
renowned. One reason why this debate is so lopsided is that genuine historians
have not performed their duty in exposing the typically propagandistic or
amateurish caliber of pro-Armenian scholars.
Thank you, Prof. Lowry, for daring to be the rare exception. It's one reason
why the slimy genocide industry ganged up on this excellent academician, to knock him out of the debate.
Unfortunately, the typically indifferent Turks left Lowry to be fed to the
Reading the following makes my "blood boil," in the famous words of Admiral Mark Bristol.
Not because we get another reminder of how agenda-ridden Richard Hovannisian is, and
of his making a mockery of the historian's dutiful role to write without bias
(Samuel Weems exposed Hovannisian's slanted "The Republic of
Armenia" in greater detail, in "Armenia — Secrets of a
'Christian' Terrorist State"); but because, as has been done with
Admiral Bristol, Hovannisian has attempted to blacken the reputation of
another American of high integrity, Lt. Robert Dunn. The professor has done so
mainly by relying on an unpublished work by someone who appears clearly
prejudiced against the Turks, and who can't tolerate accounts by the rare
Westerner of the period treating Armeno-Turkish matters with objectivity. In
typically underhanded fashion, the immoral genocide advocates must then go
after the messenger, instead of dealing with the message, as have been
performed in the cases of Bristol, Colby, and Lowry himself.
Excerpts from Lt. Dunn's book, "World Alive, A Personal Story"
have been featured on
RICHARD G. HOVANNISIAN ON LIEUTENANT ROBERT STEED DUNN
A Review Note
Heath W. Lowry
Institute of Turkish Studies, mc.
Offprint From THE JOURNAL OF OTTOMAN STUDIES Volume V. 1985.
The index to Richard Hovannisian's latest work: The Republic of Armenia, Volume II From
Versailles to London, 1919-1920, contains a single entry under: Dunn, Lieutenant Robert S.
To any one familiar with the role of Robert S. Dunn in Anatolian and Caucasian post World
War 1 affairs, this cursory treatment must come as a bit of a surprise. Throughout the
years 1919-1921, Dunn served as the U.S. High Commissioner, Admiral Mark L. Bristol’s
eyes and ears in this sensitive region, and it is no exaggeration to state that this U.S.
Naval intelligence Officer’s contacts with the Bolsheviks, Armenian and Turkish
Nationalist forces, and the reports he sent to Bristol based on them, were instrumental in
shaping American foreign policy vis-a-vis this region during and after the period dealt
with in the Hovannisian study. Specifically, in the eight months covered by Hovannisian 1
May 28, 1919 - February 1920], Dunn visited the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia on at least
two occasions On one of these visits he accompanied Admiral
1 Richard G. Huvannisian The Republic of Armenia, Volume Il: From
Versailles to London 1919-1920 Los Angeles, London : University of California Press,
1982). pp. XV 603, bibliography [ Hovannisian, 1982)
2 Hovannisian 1982 p. 585
3 The reports he submitted to Admiral Bristol during and after those visits are preserved
in the Library of Congress’ co of the Bristol Pa-
Bristol to Tiflis, where he participated in the Admiral’s meeting with Alexander
Khatisian, Premier of the new Armenian state.
Even more surprising than Hovannisian’s single index entry for Dunn are the actual
references he makes. In a section of his work dealing with the attitudes of Allied
officers in Istanbul, he writes:
pers. Dunns reports formed the basis for much of the reporting submitted
throughout this period by Bristol to the Department of State in Washington, DC. As such,
they are interspersed throughout the Bristol Papers. See in particular: Container 1 of the
Bristol War Diaries, covering the period of February 1919- May 1920; Containers 31-36 of
the series known as: l General Correspondence, covering the period of January 1919-Mareh
1922. As Bristol’s dual position of Admiral and High Commissioner meant that he reported
both to the Navy and to the Department of State, duplicate Copies of his reports abound.
Most, though not all of his reports are found in several different Record Groups of the
U.S. National Archives. Copies of Dunn reports are found in
a) Record Group J Naval Records Collection of the Office of’ Naval Records. See, in
particular Boxes 708-719
b) Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State. See, in particular, File
867.000 under the specific classification of: Internal Affairs of Turkey (1919-1921);
c) Record Group 81,: Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State. See,
in particular: U.S. Embassy-Turkey 1919-1921, Correspondence Volumes.
In addition to the above, a most valuable collection of Dunn Papers are preserved in the
Dartmouth College Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, as part of the Vilhjalmur Stefansson
Collection on the Polar Regions. Occupying approximately 6.5 linear feet, the Dunn papers
include numerous copies of the intelligence reports he filed from Anatolia and the
Caucasus between 1919 and 1921.
Details of his visits to the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia in 1919 are preserved in ail of
the above mentioned collections. In addition, his posthumously published autobiography,
World Alive, A Personal Story. New York (Crown Publishers), 1956. [ Dunn, 1956] contains
details on these visits. See: pp. 281-433.
4 Dunn, 1956: pp. 299-303; On the occasion of this visit, Dunn served as interpreter
during the Admiral’s discussion with Premier Khatisian. Reports of this meeting are
found in the L.C. Bristol Papers, in both the War Diaries (Container 1), and in the
General Correspondence (Box 31).
British regarded Admiral Bristol’s chief intelligence officer, Lieutenant Robert S.
Dunn, as an eccentric Armenophobe who insisted that whatever responsibility the United
States took in the Near East should be for the good of Turkey and the Turks and that it
did not matter if the Nationalists drew upon the old Ittihadist party».
In the footnote appended to this passage, Hovannisian adds his own assessment to that of
the unnamed British officials and states:
«Dunn had been a journalist and then a Buddhist monk in India before converting to Islam
in Turkey and assuming the name Mehmet Ali Bey. Until the State Department dismissed him
in 1922 he continued to file intelligence reports, subsequently described as being «the
result more of barroom gossip than of serious intelligence gathering».
As his source for this less than flattering portrait of Dunn the individual and Dunn the
intelligence officer, Hovannisian cites an unpublished Ph.D. dissertation entitled:
«Admiral Mark L. Bristol and Turkish-American Relations, 1919-1922» by Peter M. Buzanski,
together with a single document from Record Group 59 of the U.S. National Archives in
Washington, D.C: Notably missing from the sources cited are any references to the dozens
of intelligence reports actually filed by Dunn during the period in question, or to Dunn’s
autobiography, World Alive, A Personal Story, which provides extensive detail on Dunn’s
activities between May of 1919 and February of 1920.
5 Hovannisian, 1982: p353.
6 ibid., p. 353, footnote 109,
7 Peter A. Buzanski, «Admiral Mark L. Bristol and Turkish-American Relations,
1919-1922». Unpunished Ph.D. Dissertation: University of California at Berkeley, 1960
Berkeley, 1960 Hereafter: Buzanski, 1960.
8 The document cited by Hovannisian is in Record :::Group 59 of the U.S. National
Archives, where it is classified as: 867.00/1195. A copy of this document is given in
Appendix I of the present study.
9 Dunn, 1956. Hovannisian, 1982 has an extensive bibliography covering some forty-one
pages (see: pp. 531-5721 Noticeably absent from the hundreds of works cited is Dunn’s
autobiography. Likewise missing, is any reference to Dunn's article, entitled: Kernal, the
Key to India, The World’s Work. Volume XIAV., No. 1 ( May, 1922) pp. 57-67, in which the
author provides additional
At the outset it must be stated that neither of the two sources quoted by Hovannisian
contain any statement whatsoever in regard to how Dunn may have been viewed by the
British. Stated differently, the references Hovannisian cites as the source of his
statement on Dunn do not support his assessment.
An analysis of the above-quoted passage and footnote of Hovannisian postulates nine
premises in regard to Dunn. They are in order of presentation:
1) That the British regarded Dunn as eccentric;
2) That the British regarded Dunn as an Armenophobe;
3) That the British regarded Dunn as pro-Turkish;
4) That the British regarded Dunn as pro-Ittihadist;
5) That Dunn had been a journalist;
6) That Dunn had been a Buddhist monk in India;
7) That Dunn converted to Islam in Turkey and took the name Mehmet Ali Bey;
8) That Dunn was dismissed by the State Department in 1922;
9) That Dunn’s intelligence reports were described as being: «the result more of
barroom gossip than of serious intelligence gathering».
Having read the above the reader can not help but follow the author’s guidance and
conclude that Dunn was an unstable and indeed untrustworthy individual and that
Hovannisian must be justified in ignoring his numerous reports and autobiography. The only
problem with drawing this obvious conclusion is, that with the single exception of the
statement that «Dunn had been a journalist», each of the remaining eight statements
Hovannisian has made in regard to Dunn are false.
In the present study I have set myself the rather limited objective of analyzing the
Hovannisian portrait of Dunn in light of a variety of extant sources dealing with his life
and career (including those cited by Hovannisian in his footnote, the Buzanski
dissertation and the single document from Record Group 59). My detail on the scope of his
visits in Eastern Anatolia in the Spring and Summer of 1919
purpose in twofold : a) to correct the numerous historical inaccuracies set forth by
Hovannisian; and, b) to test a thesis advanced in two recent reviews of Hovannisian’s
work. Specifically, the opinion of Professor Firuz Kazemzadeh of Yale University,
who concludes his positive review of The Republic of Armenia. Volume II by stating:
Firuz Kazemzadeh, ca. 1970
But one cannot doubt Hovannisian’s
meticulous scholarship or his striving for objectivity. The history he tells in such
detail is too recent, the memories too fresh not to arouse passion. Yet Hovannisian
does not permit passion to becloud his judgment or guide his pen.
A similar sentiment is found in the review of Professor Roderic Davison of George
Washington University who uses expressions such as: «but the author never takes
sides», «Hovannisian stays very close to his evidence», and, «one finds a
careful objectivity», in describing the work in question.
Hovannisian’s first statement in regard to Dunn was that the British regarded him
as eccentric. As noted earlier, a careful reading of both the Buzanski dissertation
and the document cited by him, establishes that neither contain any direct or
implied references to the manner in which Dunn may have been viewed by the British.
We do, however, have two British assessments of Dunn, [both] made during the actual
period covered by the Hovannisian study, which have two points in common : a) They
are at odds with Hovannisian’s statement; and, b) neither was utilized by
The first such source is a passage in the work entitled: Adventures In the Near East
(1918-1922), by a representative of British
10 Firuz Kazernzadeh in a review of Richard G. Hovannisian’s The
Republic of Armenia, Vol. II., which appeared in the International Journal of Middle
East Studies Volume 1.6, No. 4 (November, 1984) pp. 581-582. (Hereafter : Kazemzadeh,
11 Roderic H. Davison in a review of, Richard G. Hovannisian’s The Republic of
Armenia, Vol. II., which appeared in The American Historical Review, Vo 88, No. 1
(October, 19831 p. 1032.
intelligence in Anatolia, Colonel Toby Rawlinson, who, while supervising the
disarmament of [Ottoman] soldiers in July of 1919, reports the following encounter
with Dunn near Erzurum
«We also received a visit from an American naval officer, Lieutenant Dunn, of the
American Intelligence Staff, attached to Admiral Bristol, the United States High
Commissioner at Constant. Our naval friend and ally was both bright and cheery, and
excellent company, finally [left?] us for Sivas, a good 300 miles to the westward,
on his way to Samsoun, mounted on a native pony, with a Kurdish saddle, accompanied
only by a native cart and several Turkish soldiers, and, to my great surprise,
wearing his blue cloth naval uniform and trousers (!), than which it would be hard
to conceive a more unsuitable costume for so an arduous journey. Neither this, nor
the fact that be had no stores at all, and only a most elementary knowledge of the
language, seemed, however, to cause him the slightest concern—a great contrast to
the attitude adopted by a senior French officer who visited us about the same time,
and who wanted everything from a motor car to an aeroplane»I.
Rawlinson might have added that he himself traveled with two Rolls Royces (disguised
to look like armored cars), thirty plus soldiers, and numerous porters.
Consequently, he often covered less than a mile a day in the rugged terrain of
eastern Anatolia. There is more than a little envy in Rawlinson’s description of
the «bright and cheery» American naval officer, Lieutenant Dunn.
A second contemporary British assessment of Dunn in contained in a transmission sent
by Vice-Admiral Sir J. de Ro to Earl Curzon. Here we ‘have the opinion of a
British intelligence officer, who, following a dinner in Constantinople with Dunn
«Lieutenant R. Dunn, United States Navy, dined with me on the evening of 4th
October. He is intelligence Officer to the American High Commissioner at
Constantinople. He has recently returned from Smyrna, having been with
12 A. Rawlinson, Adventures in the Near East 1918-1922. New York
(Dodd, Mead and Company),1924,p.183 (RawIinson, 1924).
13 Rawlinson, 1924: p. 183.
Admiral Bristol on the Commission of Enquiry, and was keen and communicative on
Turkish affairs generally. To my knowledge, since he has held his present position
at Constantinople, he has, other than his five weeks stay at Smyrna on duties with
the Commission, visited Tiflis, Trebizonde and Samsoun, via Batoum, to Which port he
made the voyage in H.M.S. «Gardenia». He arrived in Turkey about February of this
year, and it is his first visit and his only knowledge of Turkey and the East as far
as I am aware»”.
Here too, Dunn is praised by British Intelligence as «keen and communicative on
Turkish affairs generally». In short, the two extant British evaluations of Dunn
(both of which were made during the period covered in the Hovannisian study), during
his sojourn in Anatolia, are completely at odds with Hovanissian’s statement that
the «British regarded Dunn as eccentric». To the contrary, it is apparent that he
was held in some esteem by his counterparts in British intelligence.
This assessment is strengthened when one reads Dunn’s autobiography. There, in
regard to his relations with the British intelligence in Constantinople, he
«But most nights I listened. A local build-up had mc mayor of Pera, skillful at
plying uniforms in bars, drink for drink, egging on an officer to talk beyond
knowing what he said. I mightn’t know either, but next day my memory became clear.
The Royal Navy sent its ships a secret notice billing me as dangerous— «avoid his
confidence». Later a British Intelligence captain at Tiflis wired ahead to say I
was a dangerous character. Of course I was; my job was to be one. Such warnings
stirred curiosity and made me more friends»
As for Hovannisian’s claim that the British regarded Dunn as «an Armenophobe»,
it too, finds no support in either of the references cited by the author : neither
the Buzanski dissertation or
14 This document, which s located in the British Public Records
Office, where it is catalogued as: F.O. 406/41. pp. 296-298, No. 140/3, is reprinted
Bil Simsir’s Ingiliz Beigelerinde Atatürl (1919-1938). Volume 1 (April 1919-
March 1920). Ankara (Turkish Historical Association), 1973. pp. 161-169.
13 Dunn, 1956: p. 293.
the Record Group 59 document he footnotes contain anything to indicate what Dunn’s
attitude towards the Armenians may have been.
Dunn’s posthumously published autobiography: World Alive, A Personal Story,
contains a wealth of material, which, had Hovannisian utilized it, should have
dispelled his notion that Dunn was «an Armenophobe». Two passages from this work
will serve to illustrate this point. The first relates a discussion Dunn held with a
group of Greeks and Armenians in Erzincan on President Wilson’s Fourteen Points.
In response to the statement that: «America must free us. It’s a country of
Christians», Dunn replied, «Well I’m not one». He then continued:
«Jaws dropped, eyes clouded. Moslem I couldn’t be, yet one must be a freak from
the moon to have no religion. For three years in Turkey I stuck to my agnostic guns,
treated every race or belief alike, and honestly, because I felt the same toward
each. This helped no end in talk of justice and those Fourteen Points, so that upon
long duties in the wild I got on fine with everyone’.
Indeed, it was Dunn’s ability to «treat every race or belief alike», that makes
his numerous intelligence reports submitted to Admiral Bristol such an important
source for the history of the period Hovannisian writes on. His dispassionate
even-handedness in this regard is always evident, as in the following passage in his
auto biography in which be describes a visit to Ereven, which coincided with the
second anniversary of the Armenian Republic
«‘Claims as to Armenian intelligence and energy are true’, the Admiral cabled
the Secretary of State in summary of my report. ‘But despite reputed ability for
self-rule and some able and honest men, weak and stupid politicians are making a
failure of the government’.
Next year when one of those quizzes from Harvard wanted my list of personages met in
order of ability, after my own admiral and ahead of Mustafa Kemal, Sims and
Pershing, I put Dro»’
16 Ibid., pp. 313-314 [Italics are mine].
17 Ibid., p. 365.
(Dro being the Armenian
general, with whose army Dunn travelled on several occasions in the Caucasus).
In short the charge that Dunn was «an Armenophobe» finds no more support in his
autobiography or intelligence reports than it did in the sources cited by Hovannisian.
As for the claim that the British viewed Dunn as «pro-Turkish», once again, neither of
the sources quoted by Hovannisian contain any indication of how the British may have
viewed Dunn in this regard. However, Buzanski, the author of the unpublished dissertation
cited by Hovannisian, leaves no doubt that in his own mind Dunn was «pro-Turkish». In a
passage describing the make-up of the «Smyrna Commission of Inquiry» he writes that
among the members of Bristol’s staff was «the ubiquitous Turcophile, Lieutenant Robert
S. Dunn». This view is embellished in a later passage, where Buzanski writes: «Dunn was
a Turcophile. He also had no love for the Greeks or the other Allies» Unfortunately,
Buzanski writing in 1960, resembles Hovannisian writing in 1982, in his failure to
document his charges against Dunn. None of his comments on Dunn as a «Turcophile» are
footnoted, and indeed, any serious scholar who studied the full extent of Dunn’s reports
su throughout this period would have a difficult time sustaining the Buzanski assessment.
As for the Hovannisian statement that the British regarded Dunn as pro-Ittihadist, not
only is it totally unsupported by the sources he cites, there is nothing to support this
view in any of Dunn’s intelligence reports or other writings.
18 in an earlier study entitled: «American Observers in Anatolia ca. 1920:
«The Bristol Papers», Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (1912-1926).
Istanbul, 1984. pp. 42-70. Hereafter: Lowry, 198J. I published a lengthy extract from an
intelligence report submitted by Dunn to Bristol on December 25, 1920. In it Dunn
describes in a totally dispassionate manner the events leading up to the fall of Kars to
the Turkish Nationalists on October 30, 1920 (see: Appendix ilI of the aforementioned
study: pp. 66-70). The tone of this report, typical of those submitted by Dunn throughout
this period, is that of an impartial observer, reflecting his training as an investigative
19 Buzanski, 1960: p. 54.
20 Ibid., p. 72.
While each of the statements regarding the British view of Dunn, which Hovannisian makes
in the text of his book, (that they viewed him as eccentric, an Armenophobe, pro-Turkish,
and pro Ittihadist), are, as we have seen, unsupported by his sources, and likewise not in
keeping with the facts as demonstrated by the examples I have given, his first statement
in the accompanying footnote is noteworthy as an exception to this general tendency. When
Hovannisian writes that «Dunn had been a journalist», he puts a temporary halt to the
string of inaccuracies which have so far characterized his portrayal of Dunn. Dunn had
indeed been a journalist, and a rather distinguished one at that. Between 1901 and 1917,
he had covered most of the important international conflicts as a war correspondent.
Interspersed among his stints as a correspondent he had established an international
reputation as anarchic explorer in Siberia, Alaska (where he discovered, climbed and named
Mount Hunter), and the Aleutians. Likewise, he had accompanied Cook on his first attempt
to climb Mount McKinley, and subsequently published a book entitled : Shameless Diary of
an Explorer, in which he destroyed Cook’s claim to having succeeded in this feat.
As a novice reporter following his graduation from Harvard, he had so impressed his
employer that four pages of The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens are devoted to the
fledgling reporter, R. Dunn. Among Steffen’s comments on Dunn we read the following
assessment of his veracity:
«Dunn simply could not lie. I used to assign him to report reform meetings; most of my
men so disliked reformers that
21 Dunn’s career as an arctic explorer is dealt with at length in his
autobiography ; likewise, see his Shameless Diary of an Explorer. New York, 1907.
Additional details are provided in various editions of the Who’s Who in America., see
particularly: Volume XXVIII, Chicago 1954-5. p. 751. When Dunn died on December 24, 1955,
The New York Times published a Iengthy obituary listing in full his accomplishments as an
explorer (See: The New York Times: December 25, 1955. p. 48).
22 Robert Dunn, The Shameless Diary of an Explorer. New York (The Outing Publishing
23 The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. New York (Grosset & Dunlap), 1974. pp.
322-326. Steffens, 197
they could not write fairly about anything they said or did. Dunn was the most prejudiced
and always threatened to ridicule such a meeting; he meant it, too, but, pencil in hand,
this born artist had to report things as they were»
To anyone who takes the time to read the voluminous reports submitted to Admiral Bristol
by Dunn in the course of his extensive travels in Anatolia and the Caucasus, it becomes
immediately apparent that his character in this regard had not changed since his stint
under Lincoln Steffens, he still «had to report things as they were».
Hovannisian’s brief (and as we shall see single) interlude with veracity comes to an end
when he continues by stating that «Dunn had been a Buddhist monk in India» Here he is
apparently led astray by his reliance on the unpublished Buzanski Ph.D dissertation. where
we read: «Dunn was a journalist who had, at one time, gone to India and become a
Buddhist» Hovannisian’s sole emendation to Buzanski’s comment is to add the word
«monk» to «Buddhist». Contrary to the Buzanski-Hovannisian assertion, Dunn never set
foot in India, nor, needless to say, was he ever a Buddhist or Buddhist monk there, or
anywhere else for that matter.
Equally ludicrous is Hovannisian’s next ciaim that «Dunn converted to Islam in Turkey
and assumed the name Mehmet Ali Bey»: . Here too, Hovannisian is relying on Buzanski, and
he is also supported by Buzanski’s source, a document from Record Group 59: 867.00 1442
V. Thin document, a State Department interoffice memo, reports a variety of rumours
regarding Dunn, one of which reads
21 Steffens. 797/, pp 325-326.
25 Hovannisian, 19f2: p585.
26 Buzanski, 1960: p. 11.
27 Hovannisian, /982: p. 585.
28 Buzanski. 1960: p. 1-1 7 footnote 69. As his o for this statement, Buzaneki cites: :
comments by War Robbins of the Near Eastern Division of the State Department on a dispatch
written hy Dunn, MLB to Secretary of State, 22 August 1921 867.OO/1 A section of this
document is appended Le the present tudy t See Appendix II)
«For it appears from what Cumberland says, corroborated by Mears of Commerce, that the
Admiral’s intelligence officer has turned Turk, being known in Islam as Mehmet Ali Bey»
The only problem with this interoffice gossip, emanating from the State Department’s
Division of Near Eastern Affairs, and typical of a large number of similar reports
intended to cast doubt on the judgment of the non-State Department Admiral serving in
Istanbul as the U.S. High Commissioner, and de facto Ambassador, is that it simply wasn’t
true. As noted earlier, Dunn, was a life long agnostic This fact becomes immediately
apparent to anyone who reads his autobiography, as does the source of the gossip that he
«had turned Turk». Dunn writes:
That spring brought point-to-point races over Bosporus environs. One afternoon at the
race-course bar, I met two Arabs in flowing white robes and headgear of sticks at right
angles. Both spoke proper English and liked whiskey, over which I told my habit of
professing the religion of any country I lived in.
29 The actual source of the quote attributed by Buzanski in footnote 28
above, to Warren Robbins, was an interoffice memo addressed to Robbins from HGD (Harry G.
Dwight), an employee in the Near Eastern Division of the Department of State. This
document is housed in the National Archives, Record Group 59 as: 867.00/1495.
30 Dunn, 1956: p. 314. This fact was recently confirmed for me hy Cornelius H. van Engert,
who served together with Dunn as a member of Bristol’s Istanbul staff in 1919-1920. On
January 18, 1984 I interviewed van Engert (today a hale ninety-six year old), on his
recollections of Robert Dunn from those years: Lowry: «Do you recall a Robert Dunn from
the period you were working with Admiral Bristol in Constantinople?»: Van Engert:
Certainly I knew Dunn, he was in the Navy then»; Lowry: «I am interested in the
reputation Dunn had during this period. How would you characterize him ?»; Van Engert:
«Dunn was a bit of an odd fish He was very bright and very alert»; Lowry: «A recent
book dealing with this period claims that he converted to Islam during his sojourn in
Turkey, do you recollect this ?» Van Engert: «Definitely not. It didn’t fit his
character. I certainly never heard anything like that at all»; Lowry: «From his
published memoirs it appears that Dunn was an agnostic, was that your impression?»; Van
Engert: «Yes, I would imagine so. That sounds like him. So he published his memoirs, did
he? I didn’t know that.»
The taller brother lost no time. «Raise your right hand and repeat after me. ‘I
believe in one God, and Mohammed is his prophet. ‘»
Putting down my glass I obeyed.
«Now you are in Islam», said the other. «One of the faithful, and no fooling».
The Sikh harman set up a round on the house. But I doubted these brothers’ right
to convert me, and also remembered that there was an operation which Moslems, like
Jews, must have.
«Your circumcision», the first, intuitive, said with a grin, «will be waived».
«We are emirs and have the authority», the brother added, «sons of the Prophet,
direct through Ali».
Now I placed them. The Husseins, who lived in Chichli, were Mohamrned’s blood
descendants. Wasn’t their cousin King Feisal of Iraq?
«Oh, he is a junior branch», said the elder. «We are seniors in the calipua But
Britain could never put me on the Hejaz throne».
«The hell Why not?»
«Because», the younger explained, «that would make us royalty, which would never
do. For we are also the sons of an English governess».
This conversation turned out to have been graver than I thought. Later one brother
wrote, giving me a new name, as rite required. But—a big advantage over
Christianity—you hadn’t to renounce any former faith. I was now Ali, free to
choose any handle to that, so I picked Mohammed. After that giaour wags addressed
chits to Mohammed Ali Bey that would make us royalty. Here, once again, both
Buzanski writing in 1960, and Hovannisian in 1982, could have benefited from reading
Dunn’s autobiography published in 1956.
Hovannisian’s next charge, that «Dunn was dismissed by the State Department in
1922», also originated in the Buzanski dissertation. Were it true it would mark the
first and only time in United States history that the Department of State was able
31 Dunn, 1956: pp. 313-314.
an officer in the United States Navy. Common logic should have warned both Buzanski
and Hovannisian of the falseness of this statement. It didn’t. In point of fact,
Dunn, as the Register of the Command and Warrant Officers of the U.S. Navy, the
so-called Navy Lists, makes a clear in it 1919 through 1922 issues, was the holder
of a temporary wartime naval commission as Lieutenant Junior Grade. He served out
this commission which expired on December 31, 1921.
Buzanski, and Hovannisian after him, were misled by a passage in a State Department
note from Robbins to Bliss, which reads
«I have just received a very unfavorable report of him from from one of the
representatives of a large American concern at Constantinople. If you see fit I
should like to suggest to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy that Mr. Dunn be
Buzanski has posited a causal relationship between this note and the known fact that
Dunn left Turkey early in 1922, and concluded erronuously that «eventually the
State Department was responsible for removing Dunn from Bristol’s staff»
Hovannisian goes one step further than his source (Buzanski) and writes «until the
State Department dismissed him in 1922»
Contrary to both these interpretations, Dunn continued to serve as a reserve naval
officer, and, in 1941, following the entry
32 Dunn is listed in the Register of the Command and Warrant Officers
of the U.S. Navy for the following years: 1919 - p. 140 8c p. 981; 1920 - p. 94 8 p.
407; 1921 - p. 90 S p. 433; and, 1922 - p. 331. Throughout these years he held the
rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.
33 National Archives, Record Group 59: 867.00/1495.
34 Buzanski, 1960: p. 41 S footnote 72.
35 Hovannisian, 1982: p. 585. This is another example of Hovannisian going beyond
the Ph.D. dissertation which serves as his source, and adding additional
interpretations of his own, each of which is damaging to Dunn’s reputation.
Earlier, (see: footnotes 25 26 above) while Buzanski erroneously claimed that Dunn
had been a Buddhlst, Hovannisian claimed that he had been a Buddhist monk. Now,
where his source states that the State Department was responsible for removing Dunn
from Bristol’s staff, Hovannisian alters Buzanski’s statement and claims that
the State Department «dismissed» Dunn in 1922.
of the United States into World War II, was reactivated at the age of sixty-four,
and sent back to Turkey as the Assistant Naval A at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, a
position he held for the next two years.
Hovannisian’s final volley in the barrage of inaccurate charges he fires at Dunn,
is, on the surface, the most damning. He writes «Dunn’s intelligence reports were
described as being: ‘the result more of barroom gossip than of serious
intelligence gathering.’» What Hovannisian fails to state is the identity of the
individual doing the [describing]. His source is none other than Buzanski, who once
again in keeping with he pattern seen earlier, goes beyond his source (R.G. 59:
867.00/1495) in arriving at a conclusion not supported by the citation in his
footnote. In point of fact, no statement could be further from the truth. Dunn’s
36 Dunn, 1956: pp. 457-470 describes Dunn’s second stint in Turkey.
A retired naval Officer, Captain Packard, who is writing a history of the Office of
Naval Intelligence, has kindly shared his encyclopaedic knowledge with me. He
reports that Dunn was stationed in Ankara from February of 1942 through September of
1941, with U rank of Lieut Comrnander, and title of Assistant Naval Attache. Frorn
Dunn’s autobiography, we Iearn that during his stay in Ankara he shared a house
with a Lieutenant George Miles (the same Miles who later was to gain distinction as
an Islamic numismatist). In a letter of March 22, 1984, the well known New York
Times reporter, Farnsworth Fowl[er], who was also in Ankara during the war, writes:
«Your inquiry whether I knew Robert Dunn started something. Early in 1942 he and
George Miles, whom you surely know, and who actually edited Bobby’s posthumous
memoir WorId Alive, rented a bungalow in the yard of a Russian-emigrant lady over
whom Ray Bro[c]k of the Times and I had an apartment. His name had meant something
to me since 1931, when I read the Steffens autobiography that inclined me toward
journalism, 50 I greatly enjoyed his hac ieo noclasms.
37 Hovannisian, 1982: p. 585.
38 Buzanski, 1960: p. 41 S Footnote 72, where he quotes National Archives, Record
Group 59: 867.00/1442 as his source for the opinion that Dunn’s intelligence
reports were the result more of barroom gossip than of serious intelligence
gathering.. The document in question, the same interoffice memo discussed earlier
actually states (Dwight to Robbins): «For myself I have never been impressed by Lt.
Dunn’s reports. They are too yellow journalistic to suit me, and they sound too
much ilke Levantine coffee-house gossip». Buzanski’s bias against Dunn stems from
the fact that he tends to idealize
were to say the least well-balanced, often brilliant analyses, written under the
most difficult of circumstances.
As a case in point, let me cite the hitherto unpublished report he submitted to
Bristol following one of his numerous travels, a six-week 1,300 kilometer journey
throughout Nationalist Turkish territory, which included a two week visit to Ankara
between June 24th and July 9th, in 1921. During his stay in Ankara, Dunn was
accompanied by a remarkable American missionary, Miss. Annie T. Allen, who, in
addition to her official position as Near East Relief Representative to the Ankara
Government, incidentally served as one of Dunn’s chief agents in Anatolia.
I have chosen the document in question (See: Appendix II) for a variety of reasons.
First, it is typical of the type of reporting which marked Dunn’s tenure in
Turkey; second, it is specifically referred to in a negative fashion in the
interoffice State Department memo cited by Buzanski and Hovannisian (R.G. 59:
867.000/ 1495); and, finally, while hitherto unnoticed, it is of extreme importance
in its own right as one of the most detailed accounts of Admiral Bristol, the
subject of his dissertation. Consequently, whenever hc encountered something in
Bristol’s actions of reports which he found out of character, he ascribes it to
Dunn (See for example: Buzanski, 1960: pp. 54, 71-75).
39 Dunn, 1956: Like Dunn, Annie T. Allen is a fascinating and not
unimportant character in the events of post-World War I Anatolian history. Dunn’s
autobiography, contains a wealth of information on the life and activities of th
spinster American missionary, who died of typhus in Harput, the city of her birth,
in 1923. See: Dunn, 1956: pp. 340-346, 8c 406-411. Of her activities as a conduit
for information between the American Embassy in Istanbul and the nascent Nationalist
Government in Ankara, Dunn wrote:
«Allied intelligence officers at Constantinople regarded her as an official
American agent, charged to effect what the statesmen and conferences had so
scandalously failed in, peace in the endless and sordid war between Greeks and
Turks. She was indeed a power toward that end, though never officially. A year after
I first met her she was stationed permanently at Angora to represent, for the new
government, all American relief work in Anatolia. She was also an unofficial
delegate of the American High Commission at Constantinople and thus of the United
States. She was still the sole westerner, aside from spies or prisoners, at the
heart of Islam in its fight for independence». (Dunn, 1956: p. 345).
early contacts between the American Embassy in Istanbul and the Nationalist
government comprising, as it does, detailed minutes on Dunn’s meetings with a wide
variety of Nationalist leaders, including (chronologically): Adnan Bey, the Vice
President and Presiding Officer of the Nationalist Parliament; Halide Edib (wife of
Adnan Bey); Yusuf Kemal Bey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mustafa Kemal Pasha;
Fevzi Pasha, the Minister of War; and Rafet Pasha, the Minister of the Interior, the
reader should be able to evaluate for himself the inaccuracy of the Buzanski
characterization of Dunn’s intelligence reports as «the result more of barroom
gossip than of serious intelligence gathering».
Having dealt at some length with the first of the o outlined at the beginning of
this paper, namely, an analysis of the inaccuracies set forth in regard to Dunn by
Hovannisian, we must now turn to an examination of the thesis set forth in the
Kazemzadeh and Davison reviews of Hovannisian’s study, to wit their portrayal of
Hovannisian as an impartial, passionless, and objective scholar.
While one can not help but be impressed by the massive amount of primary research
Hovannisian has accomplished in piecing together the complex history of the Republic
of Armenia in this eight
40 The document in question: NA: Record Group 59: 867.00/1442, while
referred to in notes appended to 867.00/1495 (the Buzanski-Hovannisian source), is
missing from the microfilms covering Record Group 59. I was fortunate to find a copy
of this report in Record Group 84: Correspondence, U.S. Embassy - Turkey, 1921.
Volume 16 - 800 Turkey. Consisting of a six-page typed cover-letter from Admiral
Bristol to the Secretary of State, and eight enclosures, Dunn’s reports on his
meetings with various Nationalist officials (comprising 29 single-spaced typed
pages), this hitherto unpublished document is a very important source for the
history of relations between the United States and the Turkish Nationalist
Government in Ankara,
While its length precludes publishing the entire document as an appendix to this
article, I have included its Enclosures 1-4, as a sample of Dunn’s intelligence
reporting See: Appendix Il. My choice of this particular report is predicated on two
facts, first, the importance of the document itself; and, second, the fact that this
is the report singled out in the State department memo from Dwight to Robbins (NA:
Record Group 59: 867.00/1495 - See Appendix 1.) as the basis for Dwight’s opinion
that Dunn’s reports «sound too much like Levantine coffee-house gossip».
month span, his treatment of Lieutenant Robert S, Dunn, a player of some importance
in Armenian affairs during this eight month period, raises some fundamental
questions in regard to both his impartiality and objectivity, not to mention the
passion or the lack thereof with which he treats his topic.
Heath Lowry, in younger days
facts are clear from the analysis I have presented of the Hovannisian passage and
accompanying footnote on Dunn. Most of the statements made by Hovannisian in regard
to Dunn are unsupported by the sources in his footnote; and, Hovannisian clearly has
not consulted the primary sources on Dunn, his reports and autobiography.
Further, the reader is left with the unmistakable impression, that by labeling Dunn
as eccentric, an Armenophobe, pro-Turkish, pro-Ittihadist, a one-time Buddhist monk,
a convert to Islam, and a totally unfit intelligence officer, Hovannisian is neither
impartial, passionless, nor objective. To the contrary, his treatment of Dunn is
obviously partial and subjective.
We are left with two obvious questions: 1) How to account for Hovannisian’s
obvious bias toward Dunn; and, 2) How typical is his handling of Dunn, i.e., to what
extent may we generalize from Hovannisian’s less than objective treatment of Dunn
in forming an opinion of the overall quality of his work?
As regards the bias, we must not lose sight of the fact that in spite of Hovannisian’s
claim that it was the British who viewed Dunn as an Armenophobe and pro-Turkish, his
sources do not support this charge; it is actually Hovannisian who is making this
assessment. A careful reading of Buzanski, clearly Hovannisian’s primary source on
Dunn, shows only that this author has labeled Dunn a «Turcophile». From this
altogether unjustified label, Hovannisian has concluded that Dunn must therefore
have been an «Armenophobe». This is not the first occasion on which Hovannisian
has lumped to such a conclusion. In an earlier study on Admiral Bristol, I have
show[n] that Hovannisian had mistakenly interpreted Bristol’s evenhandedness in
dealing with ali the peoples of the
41 L 1984: pp. 44-46.
region, as resulting from a pro-Turkishness, and likewise had concluded that Dunn’s
employer was a master of manipulation, Bristol selected excerpts from reports which
would sustain his contentions even in the face of strong counter-evidence 2
This blanket condemnation of Bristol is hardly sustainable in light of his actual
reporting. Indeed, Hovannisian’s characterization of Bristol could weil be used to
describe his own treatment of Robert S. Dunn, as the present study has frequently
In short, given the less than positive impression Hovannisian obviously has of
Bristol, the treatment of his employee, Dunn, is not difficult to understand. As
Bristol’s chief intelligence agent in Anatolia and the Caucasus, Dunn must have
‘been at least partially responsible for helping shape the Admiral’s views
vis-a-vis the peoples who inhabited these areas, ergo, as a tool of the «master of
manipulation», he obviously had to be eccentric, an Armenophobe, pro-Turkish,
pro-Ittihiadist, i.e., all the labels with which Hovannisian, without benefit of
source, brands Dunn.
To what extent does Hovannisian’s anti-Bristol/Dunn bias affect the overall
reliability of his work? While a comprehensive answer to this query would require
the complete reworking of all the material utilized by Hovannisian, hardiy a project
for an Ottomanist given the relative unimportance of the Armenian Republic to the
full span of 600 years of Ottoman history, one example will suffice to illustrate
the degree to which his work suffers from its failure to adequately utilize the
Bristol/Dunn reports among its sources.
In June of 1919, Admiral Bristol, accompanied by Lieutenant Robert Steed Dunn,
traveled to Tiflis in Georgia for, among other purposes, face to face meetings with
the new Premier of the Armenian Republic, Alexander Khatisian. In the course of this
visit, the first by a high-level representative of any of the major world
42 Hovannisian, 19S2: p. 91.
powers, Bristol held a two-hour discussion with Khatisian. As the two men had no
common language, Dunn participated in the meeting as interpreter between French and
English. It was as a result of the impressions be gained in this discussion that
Bristol developed his opinion that the Armenian state as constituted was not a
viable political entity.
A careful reading of the three book-length studies Hovannisian has published on this
period, Armenia On The Road To Independence The Republic of Armenia. Volume 1. The
First Year, 1918-1919 and, The Republic of Armenia. Volume II. From Versailles to
London, 1919 comprising a total of over 1,500 printed pages, establishes that he
never discusses the nature of the bi-lateral talks held between Bristol and
Kihatisian in Tiflis.
There is [no] way Hovannisian could be unaware of this historic meeting. Aside from
the official reports filed by Bristol, his correspondence from this period is filled
with references to these talks
43 Dunn, 1956: p. 301. See also: Library
of Congress: Bristol, General Correspondence - Container 31 (Bristol to Smith letter
of 6/28/1919 Sc Bristol to Dr. White letter of 7/3/1919); Bristol, ‘Subject Files’
- Container 77 (Bristol telegrams of 6/25/1919 8c 8/4/1919). Likewise, the items
cited in Footnote 4 above.
44 Richard G. Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918. (Berkeley, Los
Angeles, London: University of California Press), 1967, viii + 316, bibliography. In
addition to a general introduction, this work covers the period from March 1917 -
October 1918 in detail. Overall, the most objective of the three studies so far
published by Hovannisian, this work chronologically predates the arrival of either
Admiral Bristol or Lieutenant Dunn to Anatolia.
45 Richard G. Hovannisian, The Republic of Armenia, Volume 1: The First Year,
1918-1919. (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1971),
pp. xxiii + 478, bibliography S index [ Hovannisian, 1971].
46 Hovannisian, 1982.
47 Two footnotes in Hovannisian, 1971: p. 299 - Fn. 24 8 pp. 329-330 - Fn. 127
respectively, leave no doubt that the author is in fact fully aware of Bristol’s
meeting with Khatiisian in Tiflis. In the first of these passages (p. 299 - Fn. 24),
Hovannisian quotes from a Bristol report on this meeting with no indication of when
or where it may have occurred; whereas in the second (pp. 329-330 - Fn. 127), he
mentions that Bristol made a «tour of Batum, Tiflis and Baku in June», with no
mention of the fact that said «tour» was highlighted by a
Nor is it likely, given the importance of American support for the fledgiing
Armenian Republic, that the Armenian archives for this period neglect to mention
such an important encounter. Indeed, the only account of this meeting which clearly
Hovannisian had not seen at the time of his writing, was that contained in the Dunn
How then do we account for Hovannisian’s silence in regard to this important event
in this crucial period of the Republic’s history? I would submit, in contrast to
Kazemzadeh/Davison, that it stems from an obvious lack of objectivity in his
approach. Having two-hour meeting with the t of the Republic of Armenia, Khatisian
in both instances, the intent of the footnote references is simpiy to indicate
Bristol’s opposition to United States involvement in the Caucasus.
In short, despite having devoted whole chapters in these works to the question of
United States policy and support or the lack thereof for the Armenian Republic (see
for example: Hovannisian, 1982: 316-403), Hovannisian has chosen to make no mention
of the visit of this country’s senior military and diplomatic representative in
the region, and his discussions with the Premier of the Armenian Republic. Had he
done so, he would have had to note the fact that Bristol’s opinions vis-a-vis the
dangers of American involvement in the Caucasus, were based on informed first-hand
observation, rather than some kind of pro-Turkish bi[as].
Equally interesting, is his fauilure to mention what Khatisian and his government’s
response to this Bristol visit may have been.
48 Dunn, 1956: p. 301 provides the following detail on one topic
covered in the talks
«Mark’s French was shaky so he sent down to me to interpret their talk. 'Tell him’,
the admiral said, ‘that any small, weak country in these parts must in time be
taken over by the strongest neighbor. In his case, Russia’.
‘Non, oan. said I shocked.
He must see that in a couple of years his Armenian republic will be under Moscow,
whether it is Red or White by then. Say 1m sorry, but that’s the truth’.
Th[is] angered the President. Warned that Azerbaidzhan and Georgia faced the same
fate, un couldn’t lake it. We left him ellenI and euliky [sulky?]».
This passage, which illustrates Bristol’s facility for focusing on the forest
rather than the trees (the very faculty which made him such an excellent U.S. envoy
1, while obviously not appreciated by Khatisian in June of 1919 in Tiflis, looked
better when he met a second time with Bristol a year later in IsI nobel ece:
Footnote 50 below
determined to his own satisfaction that Bristol was a pro-Turkish «master of
manipulation», and that Dunn was an who, like his employer, suffered from the additional onus of being pro-Turkish,
Hovannisian simply chose to ignore their testimony on this issue. It hardly fits his
thesis of Bristol as a bigoted Turcophile, to cite evidence which establishes that
the Admiral formed his opinions on the basis of first-hand observation.
To any serious student of the Bristol papers, it is obvious that it was Bristol’s
impressions generated in the course of his discussions with Khatisian that shaped
his attitude towards the Armenian state. In a letter of July 3, 1919 to Dr. White,
Bristol sums up his attitude in this regard. as follows
«I got back from my trip to the Caucasus about ten days ago. I was gone about two
weeks and visited Baku and Tiflis. I arranged to have a long personal conference
with the President of Arrnenia at Tiflis. This conference was very instructive, but
it t disgusted me because I found that this man had only political aspirations and
was very little concerned regarding the starving refugees in his country except to
get rid of them and get them back into Turkey. He did not seern to care what
happened if this could be done as it was especially desirable that the Armenians
should not lose political control in Turkey. These ideas are not rny impression for
he almost said as much in so many words. I am more than ever convinced that this
country should not be divided up and it should be kept together under one mandatory
and given good government and universal education and then let the people carry out
An interesting footnote to this conversation occurred airnost one year later, when
Khatisian, now the ex-Premier of the Armenian Republic visited Bristol in
Constantinople. As Cornelius van Engert, the State Department official present at
this second encounter reported in his minutes of this June 30, 1920 meeting
«Mr. Khatissian stated that since his last conversation with the High Commissioner
a year ago, he had come to the
49 See: Library of Congress - Bristol General Correspondence: Container 31 (31 June
- August 1919). This quote is taken from a Bristol letter of July 3, 1919 to Dr.
conclusion that Admiral Bristol, although very pessimistic, at the time had had a more
correct appreciation of the situation than he [ himself. He informed Admiral Bristol that
he had no illusions left as to the readiness of the Great Powers to assist Armenia. He had
come to call on the High Commissioner to get the latter’s views as to the present
possibility of saving Armenia»
In conclusion, this reviewer must beg to differ from the confidence in Hovannisian’s
work expressed by Kazemzadeh and Davison, to wit, their assessment of this author as an
impartial, passionless and objective scholar.
50 See: National Archives - Record Group 15: Box 711 for a memorandum from
Bristol to the Secretary of the Navy containing his evaluation of a talk with now
ex-Premier Khatisian on June 30, 1920. In this memorandum Bristol evaluates the
differences between what Khatisian said in June of 1919 and what he was currently saying
in 1920. Attached as an Enclosure to this memorandum are minutes of the June 30th
Bristol/Khatisian talk, as recorded by CE (Cornelius van Engert). Also present at the
Istanbul meeting was Mr. F. T:hladjian, the representative of the Armenian Republic in
NOTE : This Appendix consists of sections from a report filed by Dunn following his visit
to the Nationalist capital of Ankara in June and July of 1921. As such, it is the document
referred to in Appendix 1 as NA: Record Group 59 - 867.00/1442, i.e., that which provided
the impetus for Dwight’s negative opinion of Dunn’s intelligence skills. As
867.00/1442 is missing from Record Group 59, I have utilized a second copy of this
document, which is preserved in: NA: Record Group 84: Correspondence, U.S. Em - Turkey,
1921. Volume 16 - 800 Turkey. The actual document consists of a lengthy letter/report from
Admiral Bristol to the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. (dated: August 22, 1921),
and eight enclosures (the actual reports submitted to Bristol by Dunn following his trip
In the present Appendix, I have given Numbers 1-4 of Dunn’s enclosures. Tihey consist of
the following items
ENCLOSURE No. 1 : Dunn’s interview with Mustafa Kemal Pasha on July 1, 1921 (4 pages);
ENCLOSURE No. 2 : A series of fourteen questions submitted :by Dunn to Mustafa Kemal in
the course of their July 1, 1921 meeting (2 pages);
ENCLOSURE No. 3 : Mustafa Kemal’s answers to Dunn’s questions in Enclosure 2, together
with addi tional answers provided by Yusuf Kemal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (3
ENCLOSURE No. 4 is: Copy of a telegram Dunn sent to Bristol from Samsoun on July 15, 1921,
in which he summarizes his impressions based on his Ankara meetings with Mustafa Kemal and
other mem[bers] of the Nationalist Government (2 pages).
INTERVIEW WITH MUSTAPHA KEMAL PASHA AND SUBMISSION OF FORMAL QUESTIONS TO HIM
July 1, 1921
I met the Nationalist leader by appointment at 4 P.M., in «Winter Palace» at the railway
station. Mr. Heck had seen him in the morning and reported him cold and irresponsive, with
the attitude that no business could be done with the Nationalists with[out] establishing a
political appui first. He had made Heck talk with him in Turkish and only smiled once
during the interview. It was [un]satisfactory.
I went with Miss Allen to interpret. All sorts of civil and uniformed functionaries lined
the way from the gate to the council room upstairs in the little stone house under the
lime trees. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was waiting in a large room with a baize covered council
table, many chairs, a sofa and an alcove. He met me standing just inside the door,
nervously dangling a chain of pink coral conversation beads with a pink stassel. He seemed
to have been waiting for me rather nervously. He wore a dark slate blue lounge suit, very
natty and evidently not made in Angora or even Turkey, a white pique shirt with soft
front, and a small black bow tie with soft collar. I did not notice his feet or cuff
buttons. He wore no fez or kaipac, and his thinnish light hair was brushed straight back
like a college student’s.
His youthfulness struck you: the high cheek bones, somewhat hollow cheeks, small reddish
and very trim mustashe, steel blue eyes, His face was immobile - and he always tried to
kes it so - suggesting, oddly, that of a weil-trained and very superior waiter. The key to
the man was his brow, above very narrow slitted eyes, which kept giving quick, furtive
glances. As if almost against his
will the waiter-like face would leap into that of a clever, ugly customer. Throughout he
tried to conceal this sensitive automatic facial expression, but succeeded in only
limiting it to raising and lowering his straight ey[ebrows]
These were very straight and grew close to the narrow eye cavities. With his out-sloping,
sharp pointed temples they were the main features of his remarkable brow: not intellectual
but subtle and mercuric. He had two small nubs just above his nose. He raised or lowered
his ey[ebrows] in either direction to express amusement or disapproval. You could not tell
which was intended until you noticed whether the corners of the straight slits of his
mouth were slightly drawn up or not. The chin was pointed and prominent, although small.
His facial motions gave you the impression of fluttering, although his eyelids hardly
moved. You got a sense of concentration in the brain behind, with immense possibilities of
inexorability, cruelty even, yet of complete realization of all points at issue and a
I said I had called on him immediately on arriving in Angora and had been here a week
without his even acknowledging the visit. I purposely gave the impression that I
considered that his manners had been at fault. He expressed conventional surprise, but
made no apologies. As an opening, I told him of having passed him in 1919 between Erzerum
and Erzinjan, when I met his staff in an automobile on the road while he was on horseback
in the hills. His face expressed incredulity; and seemed to express almost annoyance when
I told a my trip from Batoum to Kars last Winter and dwelt on my personal intimacy wit’h
Kasim Kara Pasha and Bekir Sami Bey. I detaiied my arrest by Armenian Bolsheviks at
Karaklis and he almost laughed when I quoted a slurring remark of Bekir Sami Bey’s about
Moscow. It was easy at anytime to change his grimacing into a veiled smile, but to do so
you always had to switch quickly from the serious subject in hand to a lighter one.
Youssouf Kemal Bey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, carne in evidently by appointment. He
wore a black kalpac and sat at the long table. There was a pause, neither of them
introduced the object of my visit, or led the conversation toward it; so I was forced to
myself, rather abruptly. (See statement with memorandum attached). I went into further
details, in re[gards to] the breaking of relations between Turkey and the United States,
how no state of war, even existed, that we could not distinguish between the
Constantinople and Angora governments; that I was here unofficially to look the ground
over and considered personally that any initiative in re establishing political relations
must come from his government rather than ours. I even suggested that their parliament
might pass a resolution declaring the Constantinople act severing relations with the U.S.
as void. .Both Youssouf and Mustapha Kemal appeared struck and pleased by this, nodded and
signified «it could be done», as at a happy thought breaking upon a situation, before
wholly unrealized and obscure to them.
Throughout, their interest and questions centered on the attitude of Washington toward
resuming political relations. This kept me constantly emphasizing two points (1), the
general lack of interest in the U.S. toward the Near East owing to distance etc., (2) that
we in Constantinople had no expression on or opinion from the government regarding the
resumption of relations, and that in order to get any such expression, we considered it
our duty and initiative to send Washington the true facts regarding the situation in the
Near East, in order to stimulate their attention. The attitude of the pair continued very
formal. By now I saw that conversation and oral questions could not break their
inscrutable air, so I produced the written memorandum enclosed, which I had prepared for
such a necessity. They at once seized on this method of conference, as if they had been
about to suggest it themselves. Miss Allen and Youssouf Kemal together orally translated
the questions and statements into Turkish for the Pasha. I reminded them that some of the
questions might seem impertinent but that I would not resent their refusal to answer any
Several of the questions were informally discussed after being read. Regarding the anti -
Near East Relief propaganda I agreed that much of it as printed was too true for me to
deny, thus stealing the fire of any argument which they might make; but I insisted t[hat]
this propaganda was not news and it seemed to me ill-timed and undiplomatic to allow it to
be printed in newspapers.
Regarding Bouillon, I related how General Gourard’s representative at Constantinople had
told me confidentially about Bouillon’s visit to Angora, and that I was sure that now
the visit was ended, I would be given the facts about it, were I in Constantinople. Both
Youssouf and the Pasha smiled and nodded grimly but did no enlightening. They agreed to
answer all my questions in writing, but called attention to how searching they were, and
how «Unusual» it was to present them. I remarked that one never gets results without
[going] to the limit of his demands. Also that I could expect in return nothing worse than
a ‘No’, which was often quite as satisfactory as admissions. The inscrutable smile
broke forth on the Pasha’s face.
Immediately two points were made, the first by the Pasha, that he would like equally to
submit to me similar political questions regarding America. I eagerly acceded to this,
saying I would answer all of them within my knowledge as we had nothing to conceal (No
such questions were submitted to me during the ten days more that I stayed at Angora). The
second, Youssouf Kemal said that whereas I might speak to him unofficially, anything that
Mustapha Kemal Pasha said or wrote would be considered as official. I did not agree to
this point of view, but stated that I considered that any response to statements made
unofficiaily by me should be considered as equally unofficial but no less reliable.
Youssouf Kemal may not have the subtler mind of the two, but he expressed himself more
keenly than did the Pasha and continuously dove deep to fish up the logical and sticky
Refreshments were being served by an attendant who always backed out of the room, first
coffee, then purple fruit ices, and last iran. Both the Pasha’s and my ices melted
before we got around to eating them.
Every lead in the talk as usual led up to the so-called «National
Pact». Several references were made to the report of the Harbord Commission and the Pasha
was interested to know whether it had been placed before Congress. I said I supposed that
it had been submitted to the War and State Departments, but could not say if the Foreign
Reiations or Military Committee of Congress had seen or acted on it. The Pasha spoke as if
Harbord had made promises
to him when they met at Sivas in 1919, which have not been carried out. I got the same
impression from Miss Graffam at Sivas.
The Pasha’s chief interest was in our relations with the Entente Powers at
Constantinople, and I went into great detail in explaining them:
how we were not parties to the armistice and that the American High Commissioner did not
attend the meeting of the European High Commissioners; how our relations were very
friendly personality but officially not confidential. I remarked that once some British
officers had reproached us for not backing their policies in the Near East, to which I
replied that Americans could not be expected to back policies of which they disapproved. I
also explained at his request our relations with the Constantinople government, for he
seemed to have an idea that we dealt with them directly. I told him that we did deal with
some Turkish officials directly but quite unofficially as we did also with the Allied High
Commissioners, this being one advantage of a Military High Commission. I dwelt
particularly on our rather anomalous position of not being at war with Turkey or even
having been in a state of war, as Greece was during the Great War when Turkish and Greek
forces were close to one another in the field. Miss Allen stated later that she considered
the interview, which lasted exactly one hour, a great success. She said that it was a
great concession that the Pasha should have so willingly consented to answer my submitted
questions at all. She has conferred with him several times before and had often found his
manner much more cold and reserved than he was with me.
ENCLOSURE NO. 2 (Note: Handwritten)
1. What political parties exist in the Angora Government, and in What way are their
views and principles opposed to one another?
2. What authority decides in detail and principle on the present de of Greek and
Armenian employees o the Near East Relief and American Tobacco Companies from the
Black Sea Coast? Who is held responsible for the correct execution of the
deportation orders? What body supplies evidence against deportees who are ordered
away for political reasons?
3. What is the present financial status of the Angora Government? Amount of exports
and imports? Amount received from all taxes? External and internal debt—loans,
4. Why does the Government allow, after accepting American relief and charitable
institutions in Anatolia, after taxing them, and allowing a representative at
Angora, the present press propaganda against these institutions and the Americans
connected with them?
5. Why does the Angora Government, after expressing a desire for closer commercial
relations with America, seek to close down the largest American commercial
undertaking in Turkey —the Samsoun Tobacco interest— which brings $14,000,000 a
year into Turkey— by deporting its workers, whom it is incredible to think have
any connection with the Pontus sedition?
i i ora and Moscow? An any Russian-Turkish treaty been signed or ratified (with 7.
Ha s) since the March Treaty? Have any proposals or requests dat
been made by either government on the other, since the signing of that Treaty, and
what was the nature of such proposals and requests (with dates)
8.Would the Angora Government allow a resumption of diplomatic relations with the
United States which did not demand abolition of the capitulations.
9.What is the present state of negotiations with the French for peace in Cilicia?
What new propositions from the French did M. Bouillon bring to Angora, and what
Turkish proposals did he take away with him?
10.What negotiations, if any, are going on between British representatives and the
Angora Government looking towards peace with Greece, and settlement of the Smyrna
and Eastern Thrace questions? Have French or Italian representatives any par
ticipation in such negotiations?
11.What are the maximum and minimum terms regarding Smyrna and Thrace on which the
Grand National Assembly would probably consider making peace with Greece?
12.What evidence is there beside letters which Mustapha Sagri received in Turkey,
and his confession, that he was sent here to prepare the ground for assassination of
13.Is there any evidence that the British were negotiating to send Talaat Pasha to
Angora from Berlin for political purposes just previous to Talaat’s assasination?
Angora - 3 July 1921.
ANSWERS BY MUSTAPHA KEMAL PASHA
(WRITTEN BY YOUSSOUF BEY, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS)
Mernorandum to Lieutenant R.S. Dunn.
1. Political factions do not exist in the Great National Assembly of Turkey. The
whole of the Assembly concentrates its foreign and internal policy in the National
Pledge. The Assembly has vowed to work as a block to secure the terms of the
National Pledge. It is true that at different times groups such as The Independence
Group, The Reformation Group, Defense of Rights and other such factions were formed
to facilitate the work of the Assembly of which the members are numerous. At present
the Anatolia and Roumelia Defense of Rights group has replaced all these different
groups. As the name implies, this group is based upon the Anatolian and Roumelian
Defense of Rights organizations. Members of the Assembly considered from a general
point of view show two inclinations: Liberal and Conservative. The Anatolian and
Roumelian National Defense group which is the one that has organization and forms
the majority, is Liberal.
2. Greeks on the Black Sea coast — especially in Samsoun — are trying to
establish a Greek government which they propose to call the Pontus Government. This
secret organization is directed from and by Athens. This secret organization tries
to bring about the ruin of Turkey, and to help the Hellenic Army which has occupied
the Smyrna region. By bombarding Ineboli the Hellenic government is helping and
encouraging these treacherous people. The Hellenic government is landing soldiers at
Samsoun from time to time, and
is making propaganda to make the Greeks cooperate with them. The government has
sufficient documents to prove this activity of the Greeks and the atrocities they
commit, such as killing the Turks and burning Turkish villages. Some of these
documents are still before the tribunal. Greeks who have been armed by the
Commission, disguised under the name of the Greek Gross, are up to this day
committing atrocious crimes in the hills against the Turks.
The Pontus Committee is trying to bring thousands of Greeks from Russia and from the
Caucasus, so as to be strong fro (Sic.) the work of securing their treacherous
purpose. Greeks who are Ottoman subjects have sent their sons to the Hellenic army.
These we meet on the Smyrna front. There are such men among the prisoners we have
taken. The Great National Assembly of Turkey takes all measures necessary to
preserve its existence without hesitation. Armenians who are found to follow harmful
poilcies are punished. Turks who do the same are treated in exactly the same way.
Severest measures have been taken against the Moslems who with this anxiety of
independence have gone through a wrong road. But the barbarism and the atrocities of
the Greeks have continued for such a long time now and nobody has thought of saving
he poor Moslems. Greeks have committed these crimes against the Moslems before the
eyes of Europeans and the Americans.
3. The position of the Great National Assembly of Angora is such that it is sure of
the realization of the national purpose and desire. Our import and e is about to
balance. The present customs and duties meet our expenses. The government of the
Great National Assembly of Turkey has not yet felt the necessity of making a ban.
Consequently we have no external or internal debt.
4. We gladly welcome the humanitarian and philanthropic activities of the
A.C.R.N.E., on condition that these activities are in accord with our laws. But we
regret to say that investigations have proved that some of these institutions such
as those in Mersiphoum and Caesarea have been means to treacherous purposes. The
complaint made by the press is nothing more than the publishing of these facts. It
must not be forgotten that the press with us is free as it is everywhere.
5. The government of the Great National Assembly of Turkey has already helped to
facilitate the work of the American To
6. and 7. Relations between Moscow and the Government of the Great National Assembly
of Turkey are in accordance with the principles laid down by the treaty dated March
16, 1921. These relations are pleasant.
8. The government of the Great National Assembly of Turkey wants with pleasure to
enter into relations with America. But the national government hopes that the
American Government does not insist for the continuation of the capitulations which
deprive Turkey of its absolute independence. The absolute independence which
necessitates the annulling of the capitulations is the governing principle of the
Great National Assembly.
9. Being ready to come to an understanding which is in accord with the National
Pledge with France, just as with ali countries, we tried to find a means of stopping
the war between the two countries.
10. Nothing can be said on this subject as yet.
11. The conditions for coming to an understanding in regards to the Smyrna and the
Thrace questions are clear and absolute in the National Pledge. The condition is:
Their remaining under Turkish supremacy without any condition.
12. it is proved that besides the documents discovered, and confessions made by
Moustafa Saghir, he has tried to influence some of the commanders of the guards
around Moustafa Kemal Pasha. Mousta Saghir has further tried to influence Moustafa
Kemal Pasha’s janitor.
13. That the British have come into touch with Talaat Pasha is a fact. But we have
no document in hand which shows that these communications were in any way related to
Talaat Pasha’s desire to come back to his country.
ANSWERS BY YOUSSOUF BEY, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Angora, 3 July 1921.
Regarding deported Tobacco employees at Samsoun. Forwarded to Aiston To Co., Samsoun.
Lieutenant R.S. Dunn
1. Tobacco specialist workmen who do not infringe the rules and regulations and who do not
abuse confidence are allowed to continue their work
2. Permanent written permission will be given to the three directors of the American
commercial houses to travel between Constantinople and this city. These permissions are
not transferable to other persons.
TELEGRAMS TO STANAV
15 July 1921
Following outlines some points result of interviews with Mustapha Kemal and five chief
Ministers. Suggest consideration for Secstate.
(1) Government at present not very solicitous for foreign recognition or military aid.
Real development political organization during past year, assured permanence of movement
by suppression of Konia rising, spring victories against Greeks, etc., have made itself
reliant and secretive with consequent danger future errors typical of Turkish officials.
Commercial relations advantageous to foreigners not immediately opportune.
(2) Moderate party apparently permanently in power without serious political divisions or
opposition, which movement is yet too young and united in war purpose to have developed.
Government clings consistently and tenaciously to National «pact», recognizing defeat by
Allies and permanent detachment Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, etc., but demands
unequivocal control in Anatolia and complete restoration Smyrna and eastern Thrace. Claim
that Grand National Assembly is real democratic and sole arbiter true in main, but
personality Kemal overshadows and important d secret.
(3) No Bolshevik menace through Turkish medium apparent. Both Russians and Turks recognize
irreconciliably their political and social axioms and neither yet seeks press special
interests. Principle is to divide Caucasus on racial and economic lines mutually
advantageous. Fear of Russians and desire not to have enemies also
(10) Bouillon mission was to present and receive new propositions for French treat. No
definite result achieved at Angora.
(11) At my request Minister Foreign Affairs promised to order return deported Samsoun
Greek expert tobacco workers. Mutessarif here has received necessary orders and King has
located most workers, but former has yet taken no action.
Holdwater: Prof. Lowry's statement from Footnote 35, "This is another
example of Hovannisian going beyond... his source, and adding additional interpretations
of his own, each of which is damaging to Dunn’s reputation," reminded me of how
such a conclusion corresponds with Prof. Guenter Lewy's discovery
that Vahakn Dadrian is "guilty of willful mistranslations, selective quotations,
and other serious violations of scholarly ethics." Is it any wonder that these
two "renowned" Armenian genocide scholars are very similar birds of the same
(From "Alice in
Register of Mark Bristol's Papers in the Library of Congress