Mr. Wharton to Mr. Pratt.
Washington, September 19, 1890.
Sir: I have before me your dispatches Nos. 479 and 482 of July 26 and August 8 last, in the case of Minas, the assassin of Mrs. Wright; also a letter from John Gillespie, representing the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, requesting this Department to take such action as will, if possible, secure imposition of an adequate punishment in this case. I inclose a copy. You will see by its terms that the Board of Missions entertains the same apprehensions which are so strongly felt by the efficient British consul-general at Tabreez, that leniency in this well-proved case of deliberate murder would be fraught with extreme danger to the lives both of Americans and European residents in the outlying villages of Persia.
You call attention to the suggestion of Colonel Stewart that a joint demand should be made by yourself and Her Britannic Majesty’s minister at Teheran for the execution of Minas, and this Department approves your conclusion not to ask assistance in the case as it now stands. You add:
At the same time, if you direct me to make a formal demand in the name of the Government of the United States for this criminal’s execution, it is my belief that the said demand will be complied with.
While it is believed that the evidence against Minas is of the most indubitable character, and that, therefore, no sentence of mere imprisonment would prove adequate punishment under the methods prevailing too often where this form is followed, and while it is believed that the natural result of the infliction of a mere sentence of imprisonment in this case would be still further crimes against both Americans and Europeans in that quarter, and thereby involve His Majesty’s Government in additional perplexities, nevertheless, the high respect which the Government of the United States entertains for His Majesty and His Majesty’s Government, and its confidence that, on a full consideration of the case in all its aspects, His Majesty’s Government will deal wisely and courageously with this criminal, cause the Government of the United States to refrain from making the formal demand suggested; nor is such a demand altogether consonant with the usual course of this Government in such cases.[Page 692]
It is to be assumed without argument that the Government of His Majesty the Shah has a paramount concern in so administering justice as to command the respect of all, and that this consideration will be his his guide.
In communicating the substance of these views to His Majesty’s Government it might emphasize the statement to make prominent the well-grounded apprehensions of the most respected and well-considered foreign residents, of whatever nationality, which have been alluded to.
I am, etc.,