Official Announcement Made That Rear Admiral Bristol Acted Under Instructions From Home. Congress to Handle Armenian Mandate-AS it would probably involved war with Turkey and use of 150,000 Soldiers, President unwilling to take responsibility. Washington, August 28, In warning Turkey that massacres of Armenians must stop, Rear Admiral Mark Bristol, commander of the United States naval forces in Turkey, was acting under instructions from the state department. This was announced today officially. No report has been received from Admiral Bristol, officials said, nor has any protest been received either from Turkey or an. Of the allied governments. Press dispatches from Paris yesterday said Admiral Bristol’s warning had caused something of a flurry in French official quarters and in the supreme council of the peace conference. It was said at the state department that no official information as to this had been received. Admiral Bristol’s warning, it was explained, was in line with the policy consistently pursued by the American government before the war and that the action was an independent one on the part of this government. When Admiral Bristol went to Constantinople as head of the American naval mission he was said to have been given specific instructions as to his official conduct under these and similar circumstances. Today the state department announced that he had been appointed high commissioner for the United State at Constantinople in charge of political matters there.
“No Troops Without War. President Wilson will not order American troops to Armenia unless congress declares war upon Turkey. It was disclosed in the highest quarters today. Unlike the British government, which, without sanction of parliament, can dispatch troops to foreign, even neutral territories, the American government must obtain specific legislative authorization. An examination of the Armenian situation by the war department with a view to ascertaining the number of United States soldiers that would be necessary to re-establish order in Armenia, and to protest the Armenians from persecution by the Turks, resulted in a finding which is believed to have caused President Wilson to hesitate to appear before congress and make definite recommendations. 150,000 Men Required. The war department found that a force of 150,000 men would be required for the task. These troops would be compelled to carry on war against Turkey, provided the Turkish government, which already has turned to France and England for ‘protection’ against the United States should not capitulate directly to diplomatic demands, which best informed authorities here assert, could not reasonably be expected. It was learned that the administration believes public opinion in this country does not look with favor upon the prospect of American military intervention in Armenia, which would be undertaken and completed at the cost of billions of dollars and the sacrifice of many American lives, the United States, unlike Great Britain, not possessing armies of subject peoples, such as England now has in the Caucasus and in Persia, to take the place of citizen troops. There is serious question here whether the 150,000 troops estimated by the war department to be necessary for the work of ‘recreating; and defending Armenia, after it should have been declared liberated from Turkey, would be equal to the full task. It is doubted, however, whether there could be raised an army of 150,000 volunteers, and the conviction prevails that conscription, or the draft, would have to be resorted to by the government in order to build up a force for an Armenian expedition. President Wilson, it was learned, has no present intention of appearing before congress with recommendation respecting Armenia. The administration takes the view that ‘everything should not be shelved upon the president,’ and that in the Armenian matter, at least congress and not the president should take the initial action.
“Precedents Sought. When a spokesman for the administration was asked whether there was a precedent for congressional declaration of war without a presidential recommendation, he referred to the war of 1812, being under the impression that congress acted in that instance independently. A reference to Senator Lodge’s history of the United States however shows that ‘Madison sent a message to congress recounting the long series of aggressions upon American commerce by Great Britain, and recommending a declaration of war.’ The war with Spain, students of history here hold, could best be compared with the proposed war with Turkey, when, according to the popular conception, the United States entered upon hostilities to liberate a neighboring people brutally oppressed and who aspired to set up a republic. Authorities on international law for a time were unable to agree upon any acceptable rule by which the American War against Spain might be justified. And finally decided that the only rule was one lifted from the common law, the right to abate a nuisance at one’s door. In the war with Mexico, it was recalled, President Tyler had previously recommended to congress the annexation of Texas, either by a simple act, or by joint resolution, and congress had passed the joint resolution. In pursuance of that resolution American troops were dispatched to Texas and they were maneuvered in a manner to compel the Mexicans to shed first blood. When the Mexican troops entered the disputed territory along the Rio Grande, which had not belonged to the department of Texas, President Polk informed congress that ‘war exists…by the act of Mexico herself,’ and on the same day congress formally ‘recognized’ its existence. Considerable surprise was manifested here when it was made known that the administration thinks congress rather than the president should take up the Armenian problem. It was pointed out by persons who have an opposite view that congress was no represented on the Turkish peace, involving Armenian, was discussed, and is not represented now, when it is still being considered. Likewise President Wilson rather than congress has dispatched agents of this government to investigate and report on conditions, in Asia Minor, including Armenia, and although complete reports have not yet been received, such information of an authoritative character as many be available is in the hands of the president and not of congress. Reports from London stating that Great Britain purposes to withdraw all her troops from the Caucasus by September 15, the withdrawal having been begun August 15, unless the United States gives assurances of sending military forces to Armenia within three months, also caused considerable surprise, as it was thought impossible for England to entertain any expectation of the United States taking control of the Armenians situation in the absence of at least a tacit understanding with the state department or the American peace delegation at Paris. Persons in a position to know the situation in Asia Minor stated today that the British troops in the Caucasus have been chiefly interested in assisting in the conversion of the Caspian sea into a British lake; in obtaining a dominating position in the Baku oil fields, and in promoting in reducing Persia to a virtual British protectorate. The outstanding fact here today in connection with the Armenian question was held to be the improbability of the United States taking any action in respect of Armenia at any appreciably early time, and the certainty that the administration regards the sentiment of the country as being opposed to American intervention in Armenia.