05 March 2006

528) Richard Hovannisian on Lt. Robert Steed Dunn

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 reproduction.

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 wolves.

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 The professor has done so mainly by relying on an unpublished work by someone who appears clearly prejudiced against the Turks, and who can't tolerate accounts by the rare Westerner of the period treating Armeno-Turkish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 this site.


A Review Note
Heath W. Lowry
Institute of Turkish Studies, mc.
Washington, D.C.

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).


Prof. Richard G.Hovannisian

«The 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:
Prof. Firuz Kazemzadeh, ca. 1970

Prof. 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 Hovannisian.

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, I$J

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 reported

«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 recalled:

«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 in:

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 journalist.

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 [1956]; 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 Company), 1907.

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 to «dismiss»
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 transferred»

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 intelligence reports
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

Dr. Heath Lowry, in younger days

Two 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 illustrated.

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 autobiography.

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 self-determination»

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. White.


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 Constantinople.



NOTE : This four page document actually consists of two separate memorandums and a note. The original of this document is housed in the U.S. NATIONAL ARCHIVES: RECORD GROUP 59-and catalogued as: 867.00/iJ,95. Its component parts. each of which are included in this Appendix, consist of

A.) A note from H.G.D (Harry G. Dwight), dated 3’7/ noting that the document referred to in the attached memoranda is: 867.00/1442. This note is marked as item ‘A’ on page one of the Appendix;

B.) A memorandum from WR (Warren Robbins) of the Near Eastern Division of the State Department and Dwight’s superior, dated: October 10, 1921, to Robert Bliss. This memorandum is marked as item ‘B’ on page one of the Appendix;

C.) A memorandum from HOD (Harry G. Dwight) to Warren Robbins, dated October, 1921. This is the actual document in question (867.00/1495), which served as the Buzanski/Hovannisian source for their assessment of Robert Steed Dunn. This memorandum is marked as item ‘C’ on pages 2-4 of the Appendix.








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 to Ankara).

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 pages);

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).





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 broad outlook.

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 do so



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 of them.

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 point.

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, etc?

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 Mustapha Kemal?

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.



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.



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.





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



[missing] **************


(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 unscrupulous feather?

© Holdwater

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