Mr. MacNutt to Mr. Blaine.
Constantinople, October 22, 1891. (Received November 9.)
Sir: Referring to my No. 347 upon the subject of the arrest of Mr. Richardson at Toprak-Kalé and the action of the vali of Erzerum, I now have the honor to lay before you the further facts in this same case.
The vali of Erzerum persisted in asserting that all of Mr. Richardson’s papers, including his passport, were returned to him. Mr. Richardson persisted in his statement that his passport had not been returned to him. On October 1, I received from the British embassy a copy of the following telegram from the British consul in Erzerum:
Macallum, of the American mission here, British subject, traveling in Khais, seriously ill, alone. Richardson refused permission to go to him because no passport (see No. 83). Will legation get order sent at once that he can go?
On the same day I received the following telegram from Mr. Richardson:
Passport still missing; needed immediately; can you request British embassy to wire Hampson to issue temporary passport; associate ill in Knounus; have wired Dwight.
My application to the British embassy for this authorization to the consul to issue a temporary passport was refused on the ground that as the consul was not recognized as empowered to act officially for Americans, it might not be respected. I had presumed that Mr. Richardson’s telegram to me had been prompted by the consul, and that Mr. Hampson would not have suggested the legation’s making such a request unless sure beforehand that it were easily to be granted.
The refusal of the vali to allow Mr. Richardson to leave Erzerum without first producing his passport was immediately brought to the attention of the Sublime Porte, and I was assured that telegraphic orders would be sent to facilitate his departure.
It is customary to require evidence of nationality before granting a local traveling teskeré; in this case it is obvious that the vali was trifling with Mr. Richardson, as by his own assertion that Mr. Richardson’s passport had been restored to him, he admited that he knew of its existence; besides which, other and ample evidence of Mr. Richardson’s nationality might have been produced, had so notorious a fact required confirmation.
I beg to inclose a copy of Mr. Hampson’s dispatch to the British ambassador, containing a complete statement of the vali’s action. In reply to a letter from Mr. Richardson, I sent him a new passport which removed the technical obstacle to his departure.[Page 761]
It would hardly appear necessary to explicitly state, what may easily be deduced from the nature ‘of this difficulty from; its beginning, i. e., that the personal relations between the governor and the missionary are not of the pleasantest.
The missionaries here are disposed to regard the case of Mr. Richardson as of the highest importance; and, as the Department may have seen from the letter of Mr. Judson Smith, of Boston, to the Secretary of State, and inclosed (in copy) with your No. 245 of September 3 to me, in which a gunboat is suggested as being now necessary in this port, are persuaded that a grave violation of treaty rights has been wantonly committed by the Turkish authorities, which should be followed by the exemplary punishment of the culpable officials, notably the governor of Erzeroum. It has been intimated to me that the missionaries at Bible House think this legation should demand and insist upon the deposition of the vali of Erzerum.
In view of the gravity of such a step it has appeared well to me, after putting the Department in possession of the facts in the case, to await your instructions.
I have therefore to-day informed Bible House in Stamboul that the legation’s action is arrested, and that the case must be considered in suspense pending the arrival of the Department’s instructions.
I have, etc.,
Charge d’Affaires ad interim.