No. 302.
Mr. Wallace to Mr. Blaine .

No. 45.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on the 16th instant I received from the Rev. R. M. Cole, an American missionary resident at Erzroom, but temporarily visiting this city, a note stating that on or about September 17 ultimo, Major Everett, British vice-consul at Erzroom, had sent him a communication saying that from a circular then at hand he was afraid he would not be able to look after American [Page 496] interests thereafter, and advising him (Mr. C.) that he had better see the ambassador at Constantinople about the matter. A copy of Mr. Cole’s letter is inclosed.

The evening of the 16th I called to see Lord Dufferin to ascertain if the circular was of general application, and whether it was possible to obtain a modification of it so as to allow Americans to have the benefit of the protection theretofore generously accorded them in localities where there was no American consul. His lordship explained that the circular had not been issued from any indisposition to give needful security to my countrymen, especially American missionaries, but was really to enable Her Majesty’s consuls to prevent the abuse of the privilege by unworthy characters. He suggested that if I would address him a note of request in behalf of Americans, it would give him pleasure to submit it to the proper home authorities, and he had no doubt it would receive favorable consideration.

Following this suggestion, next day I addressed a note to his lordship, of which a copy is inclosed.

A copy of his lordship’s reply is also made an inclosure herewith, together with the circular referred to in his note.

I have little doubt that Her Majesty’s authorities will kindly permit the modification requested. In the event they do not, however, it will be matter of serious concern by the President and his advisers to remedy speedily as possible the situation in which our people in the distant parts of the empire and elsewhere unfortunately find themselves. Indeed, I submit the propriety of some action looking to protecting them independently of English courtesy.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 45.]

Mr. Cole to Mr. Wallace .

My dear sir: As Americans resident in Erzroom, Armenia, permit me to call your excellency’s attention to the following statement:

We, like other American missionaries of Armenia, have hitherto received the kind consideration of English consuls so far as to secure all needed personal protection, the same as British subjects. But on or about September 17 I received a communication from Major Everett, Her British Majesty’s vice-consul at Erzroom, reading something as follows:

“I am sorry to say that from a circular just at hand, I am afraid I shall not be able to look after American interests in the future. You had better see the ambassador at Constantinople about it,” &c.

Now I beg to submit to your excellency as to whether such a decision has been come to by Her Majesty’s Government, or may we not yet hope that the former courtesy will be extended to us, especially as in those interior towns it will be very difficult to arrange suitable consular agencies.

I am, &c.,

American Missionary, Erzroom.
[Inclosure in No. 45.]

Mr. Wallace to Lord Dufferin .

My Lord: I have the honor to advert to the many instances in which American citizens resident in the Ottoman Empire, and elsewhere in the East, have been recipients of the very efficient protection heretofore extended them in times of danger by Her Majesty’s consuls, and in behalf of my government to make grateful acknowledgments [Page 497] for all such favors. The extent to which such American residents have come to confide in the sufficiency of that protection and the certainty of its being given them on proper appeal, is so well known to your lordship that you can imagine with what consternation notice was received from your vice-consul, Major Everett, at Erzroom, to the effect that it would not be longer in his power to look after their interests.

Moved by great solicitude for the good people left thus exposed, I make haste to inquire if it would be inconsistent with your lordship’s views or the policy of Her Majesty’s Government to so modify the instructions issued to your consular authorities in Turkey, and elsewhere in the province of your embassy, as to permit of the ancient protection as respects my countrymen. If compliance with my request should be found possible, will your lordship permit me to hope for speedy action in the matter?

I avail myself, &c.,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 45.]

Lord Dufferin to Mr. Wallace .

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant in which you beg that Her Majesty’s consular agents in the Ottoman Empire may continue to afford consular protection to American citizens in places where there are no United States consular representatives.

In reply I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy of a circular which, in obedience to instructions from Her Majesty’s principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, I addressed some months ago, to Her Majesty’s consular agents in Turkey, by which you will perceive that British consular protection cannot be afforded to subjects of foreign powers before the consent of Her Majesty’s Government has been requested and obtained.

I have accordingly forwarded your request to Earl Granville, and will not fail to communicate to you his lordship’s reply.

I beg to thank you for the high terms in which you speak of the services which Her Majesty’s consular officers have been enabled to render your countrymen hitherto, and have the honor to remain, &c.,

[Inclosure 4 in No. 45.]

Lord Dufferin’s circular instruction to British consular officers .

Sir: The question of granting British consular protection to persons who are not British subjects, or who are not actually in the service of British consular officers, has recently been brought to the notice of Earl Granville.

It appears to his lordship that even as regards foreigners acually in the service of Her Majesty’s consulates, protection should only be extended to a limited number, but that, as regards any other foreigner who may claim it, nothing short of the most special circumstances would warrant the grant of protection, unless the government of the country of which the foreigner applying for protection is a native shall have previously requested and obtained the consent of Her Majesty’s Government to such protection being accorded, on the ground that the applicant has no consular authority representing his own country in the locality to whom he can appeal.

I have, therefore, to request that, in dealing with applications from foreigners for protection, you will act in accordance with the principles laid down in this dispatch.

I am, sir, &c.,