Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/61

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37
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

of 1914, were negotiating for another large loan. Though Germany had made some loans, the condition of the Berlin money market at that time did not encourage the Turks to expect much assistance from that source.

In late December, 1913, Bustány Effendi — a Christian Arab, and Minister of Commerce and Agriculture, who spoke English fluently (he had been Turkish commissioner to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893) — called and approached me on the question of an American loan. Bustány asked if there were not American financiers who would take entire charge of the reorganization of Turkish finance. His plea was really a cry of despair and it touched me deeply. As I wrote in my diary at the time, "They seem to be scraping the box for money." But I had been in Turkey only six weeks, and obviously I had no information on which I could recommend such a large contract to American bankers. I informed Bustány that my advice would not carry much weight in the United States unless it were based on a complete knowledge of economic conditions in Turkey. Talaat came to me a few days later, suggesting that I make a prolonged tour over the empire and study the situation at first hand. He asked if I could not arrange meanwhile a small temporary loan to tide them over the interim. He said there was no money in the Turkish Treasury; if I could get them only $5,000,000, that would satisfy them. I told Talaat that I would try to raise this amount for them, and that I would adopt his suggestion and inspect his Empire with the possible idea of interesting American investors. After obtaining the consent of the State Department, I wrote to my nephew and business associate, Mr. Robert E. Simon, asking him to sound certain New York institutions and bankers on