Mr. Tyler to Mr. Gresham.
Teheran , June 18, 1894 . (Received July 19.)
Sir: In reverting to the decision of the Persian Government on the application of the Rev. James Hawkes, of Hamadan, for permission to open a school for the education of Christian and Jewish children at Kermanshah, I respectfully beg to report that on the 15th instant I received a friendly visit from the Mushir-ul-Mulk, the official charged with the foreign business in the department of the prime minister.
In the course of conversation with his excellency, who is a friend of mine, I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce the subject of the proposed school. I told him that the Department of State, in view of the entirely benevolent and unselfish feelings which had prompted Mr. Hawkes, who was a gentleman of the most blameless character and superior intelligence, to accede to the pressing invitation of the Christians and Jews of Kermanshah, regretted very much the prime minister’s decision; and I added that I should be very glad if he would give me the reasons which had induced his highness to come to this adverse conclusion.[Page 491]
He told me that the application had been laid before His Majesty the Shah, who, in consequence of the distance of Kermanshah from the capital, and the turbulent and fanatical character of the people and the tribes in that neighborhood, was afraid that some evil-disposed persons might stir up opposition and strife which would jeopardize the safety of those in charge of the school, and be a source of trouble to the state, and he, therefore, did not think it would be advisable to open a school there at the present.
The Mushir-ul-Mulk said that they all recognized and admitted to the fullest extent the civilizing and beneficial work of the missionaries; and that when, from a more extended intercourse with the outside world, more liberal views pervaded the population, there would be no objection offered to the work of the missionaries in Kermanshah. I remarked that I was under the impression that the Catholics were already, in some character or other, established there. He said he was not aware of it, but if I could prove that a mission of any kind was already in existence it would be an argument in favor of the application, and he would see what further could be done. I promised to make the necessary inquiries and let him know the result.
As the final decision had been given by His Majesty I did not think it prudent, in my position, to discuss the rights and obligations of the treaty.
In consequence of some maladministration and tyrannical exactions on the part of the late governor of Kermanshah, at the end of last year there was a serious rising of the populace against that official, and the Government was obliged to recall him. This circumstance may possibly have had some influence on the mind of the Shah, when this proposal was laid before him, and inclined him to an adverse decision.
I have, etc.,
Vice-Consul-General in charge.