Mr. Straus to Mr. Bayard.
Constantinople , December 27, 1887. (Received January 16, 1888.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit a copy (in translation) of proposed additional regulations concerning public instruction, which have been formulated by the Porte. They were about being submitted to the council of ministers to be enacted into a law, when I incidentally, on the 14th instant, learned of their existence, and I requested the Grand Vizier to submit them to me, so I might examine them. This was done. Upon my reading them I was very much surprised to learn that they were calculated to place insuperable obstacles in the way of every foreign school in this Empire.
I at once communicated the fact to my colleagues, Count de Montebello, the French embassador; Baron Blanc, the Italian embassador; and to the Right Hon. Sir William A. White, the British embassador, who I knew were likewise with myself interested in the subject. The same day I submitted these proposed additional regulations to the Rev. Dr. Isaac Bliss and Rev. Henry O. Dwight, the representative of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Western Turkey; they all took the same view as I did of these regulations.
The following morning I again called on the Grand Vizier and pointed out my objections in detail, informing his highness that I looked upon them as seriously and materially Infringing upon the rights of American citizens in Turkey. He appeared to be impressed with the force and validity of these objections. I feel considerable confidence that these proposed regulations will not be enacted into a law; and this belief is shared by my colleagues, the embassadors above named, who, on the following day, protested in no less emphatic terms on behalf of their respective subjects, who likewise have mission and other schools.
The Grand Vizier, as well as the minister of foreign affairs, having since caused the proposed regulations to be transmitted to the embassadors named, requested them and me to forward to the Porte written observations. After consultation with the Rev. Dr. Bliss and Rev. Mr. Dwight, I prepared the inclosed memoranda of objections, which I transmitted on December 24 to the minister of foreign affairs. My colleagues are disposed to give me the credit for having thus far prevented the passage of these objectionable laws, which would have occasioned no little trouble to the foreign schools in this Empire. It is but just to them to say that their opposition has been no less earnest and effective than mine, and whatever credit the final result may warrant belongs equally to them.
I have, etc.,