Report of the Secretary of State.
Department of State , December 10, 1894 .
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant, requesting the President, “if, in his judgment, it be not incompatible with the public interest, to communicate to the Senate any information he may have received in regard to alleged cruelties committed upon Armenians in Turkey, and especially whether any such cruelties have been committed upon citizens who have declared their intention to become naturalized in this country, or upon persons because of their being Christians, and, further, to inform the Senate whether any expostulations have been addressed by this Government to the Government of Turkey in regard to such matters, or any proposals made by or to this Government to act in concert with other Christian powers regarding the same,” has the honor to submit herewith all the correspondence in the Department of State bearing on the subject of the resolution.
The Department has received no information “in regard to alleged cruelties committed upon Armenians in Turkey,” other than the statements that have been made by the Turkish Government, the current reports in the press, and two telegraphic reports from the legation of [Page 717] the United States at Constantinople. Those statements and reports contain nothing as to cruelties committed upon persons who are described in the resolution as “citizens who have declared their intention to become naturalized.” The undersigned is not aware that there are American citizens in Armenia or elsewhere who are such otherwise than by birth or naturalization. The Department is not informed that Turkish subjects who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States and have acquired a domicile in this country, have, upon returning to the land of their birth, been subjected to cruelties.
In the absence of authentic information in regard to the matters in question, no “expostulations” have been addressed to the Government of Turkey concerning them.
As to “proposals made by or to this Government to act in concert with other Christian powers,” the undersigned has the honor to say that on the 30th ultimo the American minister at Constantinople telegraphed the Sultan had expressed a desire that a citizen of the United States should accompany “a Turkish commission” to investigate the alleged cruelties. This solicitation, which is doubtless one of the “proposals” referred to in recent public rumors, was, though fully appreciated, declined for the following reasons:
The position of the Christian subjects of Turkey is guaranteed by certain stipulations in the treaty of Berlin of 1878, which form part of what is known as the European concert. The Government of the United States is not a party to that treaty. By its sixty-first article it is provided:
The Sublime Porte undertakes to carry out without further delay the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds. It will periodically make known the steps taken to this effect to the powers which will superintend their application.
It is obvious that the intervention of the United States, at the solicitation of Turkey, in a matter to which these stipulations expressly relate, would not have been timely and judicious, either on the score of propriety or of expediency. On the contrary, it might have proved to be exceedingly embarrassing to the European powers whose duty it is to see that the guaranties in favor of the Armenians are executed.
Subsequently, however, the British Government, one of the principal signatories of the treaty, having taken steps in the matter, expressed a desire that a capable and upright citizen of the United States might participate with the commission in an investigation now to be made. With this request, which was supported by the Porte, it was decided to comply, and Mr. Jewett, consul of the United States at Sivas, was designated for the duty.
The undersigned deems it superfluous to say it is the desire of the Department that a complete and impartial investigation may be made of the matters referred to in the resolution of the Senate, to the end that the facts may be fully elicited, and the requirements of justice and humanity, as well as of the treaty stipulations, duly observed.