Immediately after the outbreak of the war in Europe on July 28, 1914, the Wilson administration declared neutrality in relations with the belligerent powers largely to prevent entanglement in the European war before the 1916 presidential elections at home and to protect American interests abroad.1 Concomitantly, to facilitate peaceful resolution of international conflicts, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan launched his campaign for the ill-timed “peace treaties.” Accordingly, he instructed Ambassador Henry Morgenthau at Constantinople to submit a copy of the “peace treaties” concerning international arbitration to the Turkish government for consideration. The Ottoman foreign ministry replied that current preoccupation with the Capitulations would postpone such considerations. Bryan did not force the issue; he and President Wilson hoped that Turkey would remain neutral “in the interest of humanity” and dissociate itself from German war plans, and Morgenthau attempted to influence the Turkish leaders, particularly the Grand Vizier Said Halim, Minister of War Ismail Enver, and Minister of Interior Mehmed Talaat, to that effect. The Turkish government, however, embittered by the sale of ships to Greece, informed Washington that the “only way to insure peace in that part of Europe was for Turkey to dominate the situation.”2


Peace Treaty American Interest Daily Telegraph International Arbitration Turkish Government 
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  1. 1.
    Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Questfor a New World Order ( Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992 ), p. 32;Google Scholar
  2. Merle Eugene Curti, Bryan and World Peace ( New York: Octagon Books, 1969 ), pp. 194–96.Google Scholar
  3. 53.
    Richard G. Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 ( Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967 ), pp. 45–47;Google Scholar
  4. Christopher J. Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (London: Croom Helm, 1980), p. 199; Keegan, First World War pp. 221–22.Google Scholar
  5. 62.
    William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890–1902, 2nd edn. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1951), pp. 162, 202–10.Google Scholar

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© Simon Payaslian 2005

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