Mr. Wallace to Mr. Blaine.
Constantinople, December 20, 1881. (Received Jan. 10,1882.)
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.,