Page:Ambassador Morgenthau's Story.djvu/62

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38
AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY

making a small short-time collateral loan to Turkey. Mr. Simon's investigations soon disclosed that a Turkish loan did not seem to be regarded as an attractive business undertaking in New York. Mr. Simon wrote, however, that Mr. C. K. G. Billings had shown much interest in the idea, and that, if I desired, Mr. Billings would come out in his yacht and discuss the matter with the Turkish Cabinet and with me. In a few days Mr. Billings had started for Constantinople.

The news of Mr. Billings's approach spread with great rapidity all over the Turkish capital; the fact that he was coming in his own private yacht seemed to magnify the importance and the glamour of the event. That a great American millionaire was prepared to reinforce the depleted Turkish Treasury and that this support was merely the preliminary step in the reorganization of Turkish finances by American capitalists, produced a tremendous flutter in the foreign embassies. So rapidly did the information spread, indeed, that I rather suspected that the Turkish Cabinet had taken no particular pains to keep it secret. This suspicion was strengthened by a visit which I received from the Chief Rabbi Nahoum, who informed me that he had come at the request of Talaat.

"There is a rumour," said the Chief Rabbi, "that Americans are about to make a loan to Turkey. Talaat would be greatly pleased if you would not contradict it." Wangenheim displayed an almost hysterical interest: the idea of America coming to the financial assistance of Turkey did not fall in with his plans at all, for in his eyes Turkey's poverty was chiefly valuable as a means of forcing the empire into Germany's hands. One day I showed Wangenheim a book containing etchings