Mr. Bayard to Mr.
Sir: I herewith inclose a copy of a letter from the
Hon. John V. L. Findlay, of the House of Representatives, from Maryland, of
the 23d instant, and of my reply of the 29th, in-regard to the case of Mr.
E. Chryssofondis, of Baltimore, who lately visited Turkey, his native
Your attention is particularly invited to the allegation quoted in my letter
to Mr. Findlay, to the effect that the Turkish officer at Dardanelles [Page 850] had stated that his Govern ment
had made a treaty with the other powers by which a Turk who returned to his
former allegiance forfeited his citizenship elsewhere acquired, and became
again a subject of Turkey. You will examine into the matter, call upon the
consular agent at Dardanelles for a report, and make due communication
thereof to the Department.
I am, &c.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 296.]
Mr. Findlay to Mr.
Dear Sir: The case of Elifthirios
Chryssofondis, to which I called your attention orally yesterday, is in
brief as follows:
Mr. Chryssofondis is of Greek parentage, but was born within the
jurisdiction of Turkey. He was afterward naturalized in Greece and
subsequently became an American citizen, of aU which facts I have the
proper documentary testimony before me. The rest of his case is
accurately enough stated in the inclosed slip, taken from his own
accounts of himself and published in this morning’s issue of the
Baltimore Sun. I make this slip a part of my statement.
Two questions arise on this statement:
- What are Mr. Chryssofondis’s rights?
- What steps are necessary for their enforcement?
And upon these points your opinion and action are respectfully
Very truly yours,
[Inclosure 2 in No. 296.]
turk or american.
[Reported for the Baltimore Sun.]
Representative John V. L. Findlay had an interview yesterday with Mr.
Bayard, Secretary of State, at Washington, in regard to the action of
the Turkish Government officials toward Mr. E. Chryssofondis,
confectioner of Lexington street, Baltimore, whose rights as an American
citizen were disregarded during a recent visit to Turkey, his native
Mr. Chryssofondis left Turkey when a boy and went to Greece, where he was
naturalized. Afterward he came to Baltimore and became a citizen of the
United States. On January 15, 1885, he left Baltimore for a visit to his
native town of Renqui, about three hours’ ride from the Dardanelles. He
arrived there March 1, and remained at home with his father and famUy
forty-five days. On April 17, desiring to leave the Dardanelles by
steamer for Smyrna and thence by Marseilles to Baltimore, he applied to
the American consul for the necessary pass. The consul sent an
interpreter to the Government office, but the officials returned a
message that the man who wanted the pass must come for it himself. Mr.
Chryssofondis went. He was asked where he was born, and replied in
As soon as the officials heard that he was a native of Turkey they
declined to give him a pass. He showed his United States naturalization
papers, but they were tossed back to hint and he was told they were no
good. Turkey, they said, had made a treaty in 1867 with all other
nations by which a Turk who returned to Turkey after attaining
citizenship elsewhere became again a subject of Turkey and forfeited his
other citizenship. Mr. Chryssofondis returned to the consul, who cut
matters short by sending him on hoard the steamer by his own boat the
next day. He reached Baltimore May 24, 1886.
Mr. Chryssofondis says if he had not escaped he would have had to pay
about $3 or $4 taxes for every year since he left Turkey in 1860. The
question submitted to the Department of State was whether or not the
Turkish Government had any control over Chryssofondis on his, return to
his, native country after becoming naturalized in the United States, Mr.
Chryssofnodis says, that unless his rights as an Americap citizen [Page 851] are established he will not be
allowed to hold property or do business in Turkey, nor to leave if he
went to visit his family. He could not inherit property from his father,
nor could his father give him back property purchased with money sent
home by him. He has no desire to return to Turkey to live, but wants his
property rights protected.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 296.]
Mr. Bayard to Mr.
Department of State,
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of your letter of the 23d instant in regard to the case of Mr.
E. Chryssofbndis, of Baltimore, and to say that there is no treaty of
naturalization between the United States and Turkey. In default thereof,
however, no case is known in which the latter Government has failed to
recognize the effect of a valid naturalization of a Turk in the United
States on the fact being proved. This Government makes no distinction in
such a case between the treaty right of naturalized citizens of whatever
origin and those of native citizens. (See section 2000, Revised Statutes
of the United States.)
In the case of Mr. Chryssofondis there would seem to have been some
confusion at Dardanelles as to the sufficiency of the evidence of his
American citizenship, and no attempt seems to have been made by him or
by the consular agent there, Mr. Frank Calvert, to set the matter right.
Mr. Chryssofondis is stated to have presented to the local official a
certificate of his naturalization of which the officer declined to take
cognizance. The proper paper to present would have been a passport
issued by this Department or by the United States legation at
Constantinople; and this Government has no knowledge of the sufficiency
of a United States passport, duly visaed by the Turkish authorities,
being questioned in Turkey.
The Turkish regulation prescribes the evidence required of foreign
travelers, namely, a passport, certified by the Turkish consul at the
port of last departure and countersigned by the local authorities.
Persons going to Turkey without the required documents cannot expect to
escape inconvenience; but if they are disturbed, the establishment of
their identity and status through the United States legation at
Constantinople should not be difficult.
Mr. Chryssofondis seems to have made no attempt, through the consular
agent or legation, to assert his right as an American citizen; but
quitted the country voluntarily the next day, and, so far as can be
seen, without the slightest effort on the part of the Turks to interfere
with his personal liberty. On the facts presented in your letter and its
accompanying printed statement, there would seem to be no just ground
for complaint against the Government of Turkey. The most that can be
said is that, in the personal conversation between Mr. Chryssofondis and
the Turkish officers at Dardanelles the latter is alleged to have made
the remarkable statement that “Turkey has made a treaty in 1867 with all
other nations by which a Turk, who returned to Turkey after attaining
citizenship elsewhere, became again a subject of Turkey and forfeited
his other citizenship.” The Government of the United States is not a
party to any such treaty as is here mentioned, and none such is known to
exist between Turkey and any other powers. The officer would appear to
have been misinformed, and the legation at Constantinople will be
instructed to ask that he be correctly advised.
I have, &c.,