Mr. King to Mr. Blaine.
Constantinople, October 10, 1889. (Received November 4.)
Sir: In 1883 there was an attack made on two American missionaries, Rev. Mr. Knapp and Dr. Raynolds, which was reported to the State Department in Mr. Wallace’s No 234 of June 18, 1883, and was the subject of much subsequent correspondence during 1883, 1884, and 1885.
Moussa Bey, who committed this outrage, has since that time become notorious by his many murders and outrages committed in Kurdistan, especially against the Armenians.
These outrages have attracted wide attention and have become the subject of discussion in the English Parliament. Much information relative [Page 726] thereto may be seen in a recent publication of the British Government:
Correspondence respecting the condition of the populations in Asiatic-Turkey, 1888–’89. (Presented to Parliament August, 1889.)
Chiefly through the influence of the British ambassador the Turkish Government caused Moussa Bey to come to Constantinople to answer these charges against him; he arrived here in June and is here yet, but he has not been put under arrest. He presented a petition to the Sultan denying the charges and asking for a trial. I inclose a copy of this petition as given in the English “Blue-Book” above spoken of.
In the course of the summer about fifty witnesses against him arrived in Constantinople, mostly Armenians, but including at least one important Mussulman witness.
Moussa Bey is yet under forty years of age, and is a man of well-known family in Kurdistan and he has many influential friends and relations in the employ of the Turkish Government 5 he has influential friends at the Palace (Yildez), who are trying to screen him in these matters. He has not yet been put on trial in the true sense of the word. An official was appointed to investigate the case and to hear the testimony, but the investigation was made in a manner very unsatisfactory to the witnesses against him. Finally, after long delays it was reported that the testimony against him was of little importance, and that he was not guilty; but from the representations of the British ambassador or other causes immediately another official was appointed to make a new investigation. This second “trial” has been going on for some weeks and is not yet finished.
As soon as the missionaries in Eastern Turkey learned that Moussa Bey was coming to Constantinople, they expressed a wish to have an effort made for his punishment for the outrage against Mr. Knapp and Dr. Raynolds.
Mr. D. A. Richardson, secretary of the Eastern Turkey Mission was here during the summer and I had several conversations with him and Rev. H. O. Dwight, of the Bible House, upon the subject.
Mr. Dwight and Mr. Richardson interchanged opinions with the missionaries in Eastern Turkey, and it was the general opinion that it would be well to re-open the case with the Sublime Porte.
I at first did so by conversation with the grand vizier, but later it was thought best also to send a note to the minister of foreign affairs, of which I inclose a copy.
I did not feel that after the failure of justice in this aggravated case in 1883 and 1884, that I could now secure the punishment of Moussa Bey, except under unusual circumstances, but we hope that my note will strengthen the efforts which the British ambassador, Sir William A. White is making so skilfully against him, and that if not imprisoned he will at least not be allowed to return to Kurdistan.
I have, etc.,