No. 304.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Wallace.

No. 32.]

Sir: Adverting to the paragraph in the President’s recent message to Congress touching the insecurity of life and property in Turkey, I have now to transmit for your information a copy of a letter from the secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, of the 13th ultimo, respecting the reported action of the Turkish Government in rejecting the good offices of British consuls in the behalf of our citizens.

Alluding to the uniform courtesy of diplomatic intercourse which permits consuls of friendly powers to exert good offices in the interest of strangers whose country maintains no consular representatives in regions where such offices are be to availed of, I desire to observe that we are naturally anxious to learn what channel of protection will be available for our citizens in those regions, in view of the Turkish Government having withdrawn its courteous recognition of British good offices in behalf of Americans in places where we have no consular officers. The labors of American missionaries in the domains of the Porte, and their exemplary self-sacrificing devotion to the interests of suffering humanity of whatever creed in times of pestilence and famine, entitle them, it is believed, to the respect and gratitude of the Turkish Government and to the consideration of our own government and people in a peculiar degree. This government has been so often assured of the friendliness of the Porte in respect to our citzens in Turkey that we cannot permit ourselves to doubt that it will continue to be shown in this exigency.

You will accordingly bring this subject to the attention of the minister for foreign affairs and report the result of your application to the Department for its information.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 32.]

Mr. Clark to Mr. Blaine.

Dear Sir: Major Everett, the British vice-consul at Erzroom, in Eastern Turkey, has notified the missionaries of the American Board resident in Erzroom that an order has been issued by the authorities, as I understand it, to the effect that British consuls have no authority to interfere with the Turkish Government in the protection of foreigners not British subjects. Hitherto Americans resident in that part of Turkey have been protected and their interests cared for by British consuls. The paper communicated to our missionaries is as follows: “As regards any other foreigner who may claim it (British protection), nothing short of the most special circumstances would warrant [Page 499] 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.” The Turkish Government is aware of this order and is taking advantage of it, to the very serious annoyance of our missionaries in many ways I submit the case to the State Department. Will it be practicable for the Department to place American citizens in those portions of the Empire out of the reach of American consulates under the the supervision of British officials for their protection, or will the State Department appoint consuls or vice-consuls to act in its behalf?

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of a letter of December 6 from your Department, informing us of the action of the Department in regard to Ali, the murderer of Dr. Parsons.

Very respectfully, yours,