Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/59

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35
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

have always regarded as portraying the condition of the whole empire. When I issued invitations for my first reception, a large number of Turkish officials asked to be permitted to come in evening clothes; they said that they had no uniforms and no money with which to purchase or to hire them. They had not received their salaries for three and a half months. As the Grand Vizier, who regulates the etiquette of such functions, still insisted on full uniform, many of these officials had to remain absent. About the same time the new German mission asked the commander of the second army corps to exercise his men, but the commander replied that he could not do so as his men had no shoes!

Desperate and wicked as Talaat subsequently showed himself to be, I still think that he at least was not then a willing tool of Germany. An episode that involved myself bears out this view. In describing the relations of the great powers to Turkey I have said nothing about the United States. In fact, we had no important business relations at that time. The Turks regarded us as a country of idealists and altruists, and the fact that we spent millions building wonderful educational institutions in their country purely from philanthropic motives aroused their astonishment and possibly their admiration. They liked Americans and regarded us as about the only disinterested friend whom they had among the nations. But our interests in Turkey were small; the Standard Oil Company did a growing business, the Singer Company sold sewing machines to the Armenians and Greeks; we bought a good deal of their tobacco, figs, and rugs, and gathered their licorice root. In addition to these activities, missionaries and educational experts formed about our only contacts with