No. 527.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Wallace.

No. 42.]

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence upon the subject, I now transmit a copy of a letter of the 13th instant, addressed to this Department by Senator J. N. Camden, relative to the exclusive privilege which it is understood has been conferred upon a Turkish subject to receive and store petroleum at Turkish ports, and especially at Smyrna. It is alleged that the charge for this purpose, besides being exorbitant in itself, will operate as a discrimination against the American in favor of [Page 823]the Russian petroleum, which latter is carried thither in small quantities, and is sold from the vessel on board of which it is transported.

As under the treaty of 1862 the import duty on American petroleum is limited to 8 per cent, of its value, the duplication of the charge by the measure proposed naturally excites anxiety and alarm in the exporters of the article from this country. The case seems to be one for which the treaty was intended to provide, for the fifth article stipulates that the rate (8 per cent.) shall be calculated upon the value of the article at the wharf. There is no stipulation, express or implied, that this charge shall be increased, much less doubled, after the landing of the article.

It is hoped that you may succeed in impressing upon the Turkish authorities our views of this question, so that the proposed measure may not be carried into effect. If, however, a contrary course should be persisted in, it may be considered our duty to require adequate reparation therefor.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 42.]

Mr. Camden to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Sir: I have letters forwarded to me from Missner, Ackerman & Co., of New York, the Standard Oil Company of New York, and other exporters of American petroleum, from their correspondents in Constantinople, that by a firman obtained from the Sultan, granted to Sami Bey, son of Soubhi Pasha, the exclusive privilege of receiving and storing petroleum at extravagantly high prices, which operates as a discrimination against American petroleum in favor of the Russian petroleum, which is brought there in smaller quantities, and can be sold ex vessel without storage charges. They claim that this is in violation of treaty stipulations. They desire that the State Department would call the attention of our minister at Constantinople to this question, with a view of having it corrected.

I inclose you copy of a letter addressed by C. F. Ackerman to Minister Wallace.

Their statements are as follows:

“At present the Turkish Government has her own storage rooms at Pasha Garden, about 15 miles up the Bosphorus, in which they take all the petroleum from the importers here, at the rate of 20 paras the first month and 5 paras for succeeding months. The discharging from vessels into boats, landing, storing, and delivering again, is done by the importer himself, and costs but very little, as labor is very cheap in this country. By personal influence, Soubhi Pasha, Zadé Sami Bey (that is, Sami Bey, son of Soubhi Pasha), has received from the Sultan a firman granting him the privilege of building petroleum stores very near by the old Government stores, and charging as foliows: Forty paras for the first month, 15 paras for the second month, and 5 paras thereafter; furthermore, for the discharging from vessels to store and out again, 50 paras per case, such paras to be paid in advance.

“Sami Bey is not a business man, and has made another contract with two Asia-Minor Americans, H. A. Hadjean & Co., Samandji and Mundjean, Sami Bey to have 40 per cent, of the profits. These high expenses will work against American oil in favor of Russian oil, because the moment Russian oil arrives here it will be sold ex vessel and not be stored, but this firman is against the international treaties, and it is of great importance to American petroleum that it should be revoked.

“General Wallace stands very high in the favor of the Sultan, but it is necessary that some instructions should come to him in an official way from Washington.”

Very respectfully,


C. F. Ackerman to Mr. Wallace.

Sir: Will you kindly permit me to draw your attention to the following matter, which in my opinion is an injustice on the part of the Turkish Government against the trade of the United States:

My firm is Missner, Ackerman & Co., and is composed of Frederick Missner, living [Page 824]Staten Island, N. Y.; Charles F. Ackerraan, living Brooklyn, N. Y.; Charles F. L. Missner, living Staten Island, N. Y.; the latter, however, at Hamburg, Germany, in the interest of our firm. All of us are United States citizens. We are engaged in the export business of petroleum and its products to all parts of the world, and also largely to the Turkish possessions. We have at this time, even, a stock here in Constantinople, stored in the Government stores at Pashaba Ruhé The rates of storage are there 20 paras per case for the first month and 5 paras per case for every month thereafter. The discharging from vessel to store and oat again (labor in and out) is done by the owner of the goods himself and the cost is trifling.

Lately His Majesty the Sultan has granted a firman to Soubhi Pasha Zadé Sami Bey, granting him the exclusive privilege of erecting buildings (also at Pashaba Ruhé) for the purpose of storing therein all the petroleum that arrives here. These stores are now being constructed. It is made obligatory to store there all the petroleum that is arriving.

The firman gives Sami Bey the right to charge 40paras for the first, 15paras for the second, and 5 paras for every succeeding month; also 50 paras per case for the labor in and out, such 50 paras to be paid at once when the goods are stored.

Sami Bey has interested two American firms in this monopoly, named H. A. Had-jean & Co., and G. A. Samandji and Mundjeau, both of this place.

The above charges are extravagantly high, and enhance the cost of an American product materially. Still, if the United States were the only country where oil is produced it would matter very little; the consumer would have to pay the extra charges; but by the competition of the road between Baku, on the Caspian Sea, and Poti, on the Black Sea, there is serious competition feared here of the Russian oils produced in or near Baku. The Russian oil would be brought on here in small craft, and be sold to consumers ex vessel, that competing seriously with the American oil brought on in larger vessels, with but short lay days to discharge.

I am informed that this firman is in violation of the treaty, and have taken, therefore, the liberty to draw your attention to an injustice towards American citizens. All what they desire is that the Government stores can be used as heretofore at the old rates.

I am extremely sorry that I cannot have the honor of a personal interview, being obliged to leave for Syria and Egypt.

My firm is represented here through Mr. A. Seefelder, who, however, is fully able to give any further information you should desire on this subject.

You will please excuse the trouble, but the case is important to American industry; and I remain, &c.,