No. 422.
Mr. Wallace to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 340.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward a copy and a translation of a note received from the minister of foreign affairs, declining the redress demanded of his Government in the eases of Messrs. Knapp and Reynolds.

You will please excuse a remark explanatory of a point in my telegram to you, dated yesterday. I say therein, “Indemnity and punishment refused in each case.” In reading the inclosed reply of the minister you may possibly be attracted by his repeated references to the action of the judiciary tribunals of Bitlis. That, I beg to say, is nothing. The tribunals of that province cannot be relied upon to do justice. They have been already fully appealed to in these cases. To refer us to them is simply a refusal of redress. In that view I telegraphed you.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 340.—Translation.]

Aarifi Pasha to Mr. Wallace.

Monsieur l’Envoyé: I have had the honor to receive the note your excellency kindly addressed to me on the 24th of January last, No. 198, relative to the aggression Messrs. Knapp and Reynolds have been subjected to in the vicinity of Ghuvrié.

Whichever may be the contradictions which exist between the information which has reached the legation of the United States and that furnished to us by the imperial authorities of the vilayet of Bitlis, your excellency will permit me, before knowing the result of the correspondence in which I have engaged upon this subject with the competent ministry, not to desist from the affirmations of the local authorities which have insisted over and over again that they have fulfilled their duties since the beginning, and if the culprits have not yet received their punishment it is not their fault, as they have given to this affair a continued attention and vigilance.

The justice being busy with the case, it is of necessity to let it have its regular course, and if there are some delays, evidently the fault should not be thrown upon the authorities.

In fact, your excellency will kindly admit that in all the countries of the earth, often the circumstances amidst which occurrences of such a kind take place, and the difficulties which are most of the time inherent, place the justice in the impossibility of deciding with all the promptitude and celerity desirable. It has never been disputed that its duty is to surround itself with the greatest precautions to bring the [Page 549] light so as not to have later to reproach itself with the fatal consequences of a judicial error.

I can but beg your excellency to be kind enough to leave to the competent authorities the care of doing their duty. You may be assured that we will do all that is possible for us to do in order to put an end to the contradictions which subsist between the information furnished on both sides, and to accelerate the course of the affair, within the limits, bovver, which the independence of the judicial power imposes upon us.

For all these reasons the demand for indemnity presented by your excellency cannot be taken in consideration; the more so as the laws of the Empire in no case permit it.

I am in the firm hope that in your enlightened sentiment your excellency will recognize the justness of the preceding appreciations.

I avail, &c.,