Mr. MacNutt to Mr. Blaine .

No. 347.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No, 245 of September 3, with its inclosures from Mr. Judson Smith, requesting my report upon the case of the Rev. Mr. Richardson, of Erzerum.

The statement of the incident made to me by Rev. H. O. Dwight, of Bible House, Stamboul, and communicated to the Department by Mr. Judson Smith, [Page 757] foreign secretary of the American board of commissioner for foreign missions, is correct and complete.

Acting upon Dr. Dwight’s letter, of which you inclosed me a copy in your No. 245, I called the attention of the Sublime Porte to the action of the provincial authorities, and demanded the immediate delivery to Mr. Richardson of his American passport, subject to no delay and no conditions, but expressed my willingness to await the report of the authorities at Erzerum in reply to the telegraphic inquiry which I was assured by the grand vizier should be that same day addressed to them before urging any other claims. This report was long in coming, and I was meanwhile assured that Mr. Richardson’s passport had been given to him. On the 4th of September the grand vizier and most of the ministers went out of office, and for some days attention to such business as the case of Mr. Richardson was impossible.

I availed myself of the earliest opportunity to bring the case in suspense to the attention of the new vizier, his highness Djerad Pasha. A memorandum of the case was handed to the grand vizier on September 19.

I allow myself to observe that considering the unsettled state of that part of the Empire in which Mr. Richardson was arrested, it is not so strange as it might otherwise appear that in spite of all precautions travelers should meet with difficulties; and without seeking to palliate the conduct of the provincial authorities in this case, I may say that such and similar incidents are of not infrequent occurrence. It may not be doubted that the absence of an American consul at Erzerum leaves our citizens there singularly destitute of means to vindicate their rights and protect their interests; this is the more regretable as Erzerum is a mission station of considerable importance and situated in a province where official protection is most frequently and urgently needed.

The British consul there is instructed to act “unofficially” for our citizens, but his right to represent them is not recognized by the Ottoman authorities; the obvious consequence is that when his good offices are most needed they are of least avail.

The British ambassador, in communicating to me the consul’s report upon this case, remarks that “as Mr. Hampson (the consul) is not recognized by the Ottoman Government as officially charged with the interests of the United States I fear that his intervention would be ineffectual, and I have therefore thought it well to let you know the facts in the case before replying to Mr. Hampson.”

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I have, etc.,

Francis MacNutt,
Charge ad interim.