Mr. Foster to Mr. White.
Washington, December 13, 1892.
Sir: I communicate to you herewith a copy of an instruction,* No. 3, of the 29th ultimo, to Mr. Thompson, the minister of the United States to the Ottoman Empire.
As you will observe, it is of a general nature, indicating briefly the origin and character of the rights of Americans in Turkey, the tendency to ignore them or infringe upon them emanating chiefly from local functionaries and not from the central government; and lastly, outlining the course to be pursued in obviating a recurrence of the difficulties and in obtaining a redress for acts of injustice already committed.
I alluded in the instruction to the solidarity which exists among Christian foreigners in Turkey, generally classed as Franks, from the nationality of what was formerly the predominating extraneous race; and it is obvious that such solidarity is, and should be, more complete between citizens of the United States and subjects of Great Britain than those of other nations.
In interviews which I have recently had with Sir Julian Pauncefote upon this subject he took occasion to convey the assurance that his Government was always disposed, if possible, to act in harmony with that of the United States to maintain the rights and protect the persons and property of English and Americans in Turkey.
I expressed the same desire on behalf of the Government of the United States, but informed him that while concurrent and harmonious action was eminently desirable whenever occasion should arise, and while the reciprocal good offices of the diplomatic and consular representatives of either nation should be equally extended to the citizens or subjects of both countries, the United States nevertheless reserved to themselves complete liberty and independence of action when it might be found advisable.
In the recent case of Mr. Mead and Mr. Martin, the former an American citizen and the latter an English subject, who, while traveling from one mission to another, were arrested and their property seized, the English and American consular agents at Hogin acted concurrently in protesting against the outrage and in demanding satisfaction from the Vali.
In the case of Miss Bash, an American, whose papers were confiscated, the protection of British consular officers in places where there existed no representatives of the United States was requested, and in numerous instances the protection of American consular officers has been cheerfully accorded to the subjects of Great Britain.[Page 306]
You are therefore instructed to convey to the secretary of state for foreign affairs of Great Britain the cordial disposition of the Government of the United States to act concurrently and harmoniously with the Government of Great Britain in the protection and vindication of the rights of the citizens or subjects of either nation in Turkey, but it is deemed advisable that the communication should be made orally and not by note. You will observe that the tenor of this instruction requires the use of such language as shall leave no doubt in the mind of Lord Rosebery as to the reserves indicated herein and the entire independence of action on the part of the United States Government should it be thought preferable.
Confident that your knowledge of the question and your diplomatic skill and experience will enable you to present the subject in its most favorable aspect,
I am, etc.,