CHAPTER XXXVIII

ECHOES FROM SMYRNA

 

AS THROWING some light on the spirit in which the foregoing pages have boon written, I append the following letters, the first two from American missionary associations, the third from a committee of prominent Turks at Smyrna:

 

AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS

Incorporated 1812

Congregational House, 14 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

March 22, 1923.

Doctor George Horton, American Consul-General,
        Care Consular Bureau, State Dept.,
        Washington, D. C.
        Dear Doctor Horton,

Enclosed is a letter written by Mr. Getchell in behalf of the missionaries of Smyrna, addressed to Doctor Barton, to have been handed to you on board the steamer which you in some way failed to take.

It was thus delayed and reached my hands only yesterday.

Please accept the sentiments expressed although unfortunately so long delayed in transmission. The original of the letter addressed to Doctor Barton was delivered when the party reached America and was read by him on his return from China.

We are watching events in the Near East with the greatest interest and, as one of the missionaries has said, “with hopes that scarce know themselves from fear”.

I have heard that the American Consulate is again functioning in Smyrna and it is possible that you are there once more. If so, it will be a comfort and a relief of many persons whose interests are still largely centered in that city.

I trust that you and your family have maintained your health despite the terrible strain upon you and that you will be able to continue in the splendid cooperation with our missionaries that has characterized your work in the past.

Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) Ernest W. Riggs.

 

The letter referred to as “enclosed” was as follows:

Athens, Greece,

October 12, 1922.

Reverend James L. Barton, D. D., Secretary of the American Board,

14 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.

Dear Doctor Barton,

At a recent station meeting of the Smyrna missionaries now refugees in the city of Athens (numbering fourteen adults) a vote was passed recognizing the exceedingly helpful and sympathetic services of our Consul-General, Doctor Horton, during the days of the late Smyrna tragedy. The vote also expressed the desire that a copy of this letter be sent to the State Department, Washington, D. C., and one also to Doctor Horton himself.

During those days of Turkish fire, pillage and massacre, which laid the beautiful city of Smyrna in ashes and rendered homeless her Christian population of not less than 500,000 people, including the refugees from the surrounding towns and villages, Doctor Horton passed through more trying, exacting and dangerous experiences than I could imagine any official of the United States Government, doing service abroad, has ever been called upon to undergo.

Under such circumstances, when our American Consulate was crowded with helpless human beings, all looking to the consul for help and advice, Consul Horton kept cool but never cold. His warm sympathetic heart went out to each sufferer, and aid was extended wherever possible.

The missionaries are especially grateful for the assistance rendered by Doctor Horton in helping to rescue teachers and pupils from the schools, with the result that not one teacher from the American Girls’ Institute, at Smyrna, is missing; and most of the girls, who were in the burning building, have been saved.

Since the flight to Athens, Doctor Horton has been most energetic in helping to feed, clothe and house the needy refugees.

We wish to put on record our appreciation of Doctor Horton’s brave and sympathetic efforts for ourselves, as well as the natives of the city.

On behalf of the missionaries of Smyrna Station, I remain,

Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) “Dana K. Getchell.”

The third and following letter was received by me in Washington, August 20, 1923, in the Turkish language. Among the signers are Ilimdar Zade Edhiem, President of the Islamic Emigration Committee and Hall Zeki, proprietor of the well-known “Shark Gazette”.

My constant policy during the long time that I was in the Near East, was to befriend, in so far as my official position permitted, all who might be in need of help, irrespective of race or religion.

30 July, 1339 (Turkish date)

Since the appointment of His Excellency, George Horton as Consul-General of the United States in Smyrna, His Excellency has won the heart of the whole Turkish nation by the sympathy and good will, which His Excellency has always shown every Turkish man.

During the Greek occupancy of our country His Excellency, Mr. George Horton, gave full protection and kindly treatment to those of the Turks who went to him for protection and the right of humane existence.

We therefore beg to express our heartiest thanks to His Excellency, Mr. George Horton, for all the interest and kindly services rendered by him for the Turkish nation, which has also created in our hearts a deep and eternal affection for his honorable nation.

(Signed)

Ilimdar Zade Edhem, President of the Islamic Emigration Committee

Sahlebdji Zade Midhat, Merchant

Hussein Djemal, Chemist

Beshir Zade, Merchant

Mehmet Nourri, Carpet Merchant Hali Zeki, Proprietor of “Shark Gazette”

Hassan Fowzi, Lawyer

Shaih Kadri

Eyyub Sabri, Merchant

Mehmet Emin, Merchant

Melimet Hamdi, Merchant

Kesreli Hadji Ali, Tobacco Merchant

Berkeli Zade Hadji Bedriddin

Mkr. Ahmet

Kantardji Zade

Mustapha Nouriddin

Mehmet Zeki, Hat Merchant.

Of these and of many other Turks that I have known personally, I have the most friendly and even affectionate recollections. I wish them well and would gladly welcome an occasion that would allow me to be of service to them again.

It is necessary, however, for the honor of the Turkish race that some of its members should denounce the massacres and publicly declare that they are and have always been opposed to them. If the Koran does not advocate the putting to death of the unbeliever as some of its expounders maintain, then it should seem indispensable to the good name of Mohammedanism in general, that all the other Moslems should denounce the Turkish massacres.

The above testimonial was forwarded to me by Mr. Rufus Lane, formerly American consul at Smyrna, who writes among other things:

“I thought it would be a pleasure to you to have as a souvenir of your stay here a few lines from some of your Turkish friends, attesting their sympathy for you.”

“One man declares that you saved the lives of his entire family in 1916, by providing them with food, a doctor and a nurse when his mother, his wife and three children were all down with typhus. I know the man well, as also the circumstances, which no doubt you have forgotten!”

 

 

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