No. 641.

Mr. Wallace to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 475.]

Sir: In the matter of the circulation and sale of the books of the American Bible Society, and the closing of the schools at Ain Kunyet Banias and Mejdel Shems, which formed the subject of my dispatch to the Department, No. 471, I have the honor to inclose a report of the dragoman of the legation, dated the 10th instant, which will show that my private and unofficial resort to the minister of public instruction is working very well.

I also inclose a copy of a letter to be sent by next mail to Rev. Dr. Eddy at Beirut, which distinctly informs that gentleman and his associates of the action proposed to be taken by the minister of public instruction, and that the opening of the schools depends upon their applying for the permits required by the law. My present understanding is that the reopening of the place of worship and the return of Dr. Eddy’s property go with the reopening of the schools. Should this not be the case, it would appear that the failure in those cases will readily yield to a formal demand.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 475.]

Mr. Gargiulo to Mr. Wallace.

Sir: I have the honor to state that I had an interview with the minister of public instruction with regard to the matter of the schools in Syria and books of the Bible Society in general. The minister said that a letter would be forwarded to the governor-general [Page 839] of Syria instructing him to give permits to the schools as requested in your last communication, if the supervisors of the schools made application therefor in accordance with the law.

As to the question of the hooks, he referred me to the president of the hoard of education, who assured me that he will report favorably for the restoration of everything to its former condition; that is, the arrangement perfected by the commission instituted some two years ago about the circulation of books must stand good; and with regard to the inscription on the title-page of the books, the statement lately adopted that the sentence that is published, at the expense of the American and English Bible Society, should be sufficient. He assured me that such a report would be made and delivered to the minister of public instruction, upon whose decision the question rests.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 475.]

Mr. Wallace to Rev. Dr. Eddy.

Dear Sir: In the matter of the closing of the schools at Ain Kunyet Banias and Mejdel Shems, in Syria, it may be of interest to you to know that I have succeeded in getting the minister of public instruction to send an order to the governor-general to issue the permits required by law for the schools upon application made to him therefor. I took this step without knowledge if you desired to make such application or what your views upon the subject are. My idea was to have the schools opened in the quickest possible time, and to return you possession of the house now sealed up at Ain Kunyet Banias without your resorting to law.

To have carried the business to the Sublime Porte in the way of formal demand, making a diplomatic question of it, Would have been to leave the schools, the place of worship, and the house closed for an indefinite period. It is, therefore, for you and your associates to decide now whether you will apply for the permits or not. I do not assume to advise you in the matter. My opinion is, however, that as a rule it is better to conform to the law of the country in which we find ourselves.

I should be glad to hear from you directly upon the subject.

I am, &c.,