On This Day September 18, 1922: Ataturk Condemns Refugees’ Fate; United States Ignores Warnings


September 18, 1922: On this date in 1922, a British diplomat handed Allen Dulles, chief of the Near East Desk at the U.S. State Department, this message from the British foreign secretary regarding Mustafa Kemal’s unwillingness to allow rescue ships to enter Smyrna harbor:

“Reply returned by Kemal September 18 to associated Admirals and Consul through Italian Admiral is tantamount to condemnation of quarter of million people to death by starvation. H.M.G (His Majesty’s Government) feel confident that Government to which you are accredited will instruct their naval representative at Smyrna to protest and press again for permission to embark refugees. British Senior Naval Officer at Smyrna is being instructed to do so.”

The United States State Department ignored the message, leaving tens of thousands of refugees helpless and hungry on the docks at Smyrna.

These historic details are covered with great detail in Lou Ureneck’s book The Great Fire. Get the book here.


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