No. 1068.
Mr. Straus to Mr. Bayard.

No. 65.]

Sir: Referring to dispatch* No. 406 of July 3, 1884, from Mr. Heap, charge d’affaires ad interim to the State Department, in reference to the [Page 1564] new passport regulations, the requirements of which are therein set forth, I have the honor to report:

This matter together with others of an administrative nature, and affecting all foreigners alike, was referred to a meeting of the dragomans of the respective missions, including our own, for consideration under the supervision and direction of their chiefs.

They formulated a note verbale in French to the Porte pointing out the objections to the enforcement of such regulations. I accordingly, on the 23d instant, transmitted a note verbale to the Porte, of which the inclosed is a copy, which is a translation of the one formulated in French, which has also been transmitted by several if not all of the other missions.

Trusting that my action in the matter will meet your approval,

I have, etc.,

O. S. Straus.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 65.]

The legation of the United States to the ministry of foreign affairs.

The Sublime Porte communicated to the legation of the United States the new regulation on passports of the 9th of February, 1884. This regulation, it must be admitted, establishes a compact of restrictive measures, the application of which in regard to foreigners would be of such a nature as to interfere with the rights acquired by them by virtue of the treaties in force and would create numerous difficulties without any practical benefit.

The last paragraph of article 11 stipulates thus:

If there is a diplomatic or consular representative of the Imperial Government to be found on his way, the bearer is bound to have his passports visaed by him.

This disposition applied in all its vigor would oblige foreigners to forced delays on their way, in cases where in the country they came from there should not exist an Ottoman diplomatic or consular mission. It would give occasion also to abuses, as it would be impossible to claim from the subordinate police agents an exact knowledge of the places where representatives of the Ottoman Government are to be found.

Article 12 interdicts the frontier of the empire to all foreigners traveling without a passport or with an irregular one, and article 17 provides even penalties of extreme rigor in such cases. The Sublime Porte will agree, in its equity, that these two articles constituting a derogation of the capitulations, their enforcement would be on all points impossible.

The same objections may be raised with regard to article 15. As to article 14, by virtue of which foreigners arriving in Turkey are bound to declare how long they expect to sojourn, and to furnish themselves with a permit of sojourn, this tends to nothing less than to destroy the state of things existing in favor of foreigners in conformity to international compacts. In fact, by virtue of the capitulations and the treaties of commerce, foreigners can freely come to Turkey, travel in it, and occupy themselves with commerce without any kind of hindrance. Under these premises to subject them to the hard conditions which precede, is creating for them altogether new obligations, which, far from having the character of supervision, constitute in reality a hindrance to the free circulation of foreigners.

Still, even in view of the right of reciprocity, as similar regulations do not exist in the United States, the legation of the United States can not acquiesce in the enforcement of this measure to the prejudice of its citizens.

Finally, as regards article 18, it would be necessary, in order to avoid the numerous difficulties which would result from its enforcement, to point out precisely the case of force majeure which allows the landing of passengers and merchandise.

Such are, briefly stated, the reasons for which the legation of the United States regrets not to be able to accept the regulation in question, in its actual form and tenor; it has consequently the honor to request the imperial ministry of foreign affairs to give the necessary instructions for the suspension of the enforcement of the regulation of passports until an understanding intervenes on this subject between the legation of the United States and the Sublime Porte.

[Page 1565]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 65.]

Mr. Heap to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Sir: I received yesterday a circular, “verbal note,” from the ministry of foreign affairs informing this legation that the Porte has decided to postpone the application of the new passport regulations to the 15th (27th) of this month, in order that they may become generally known.

As several American travelers arriving m Turkish ports have been put to much inconvenience and annoyance in consequence of their ignorance of these regulations, I will state their principal prescriptions as far as they concern persons arriving in Turkey.

Foreigners arriving in Turkey will not be allowed to cross the frontier by land or to disembark at a Turkish port unless they are provided with a passport bearing the visa of the Ottoman ambassador or consul at the place of departure. If at the place of departure there is no Ottoman representative the visa will be dispensed with, but the traveler must obtain it at the first place through which he passes on his way where an Ottoman consulate exists. Travelers are bound to present their passports, on demand, to the authorities demanding them, either at the land frontier or at the point of arrival.

Foreigners arriving in Turkey must, within six months from the date of their arrival, present their passports to the Ottoman authorities and obtain a permit of sojourn in the Ottoman dominions.

Foreign subjects whose papers are not in order are liable to expulsion from Ottoman territory; but an exception will be made in favor of those who, arriving without passports or whose passports are not in order, present themselves forthwith to the Ottoman authorities and justify the irregularity by producing a guaranty from their consulate.

These are the principal points in the new regulations, of which Americans visiting Turkey will do well to take note.

I am, etc.,

G. H. Heap,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
  1. Printed as inclosure 2 in No. 65.