Mr. Gresham to Mavroyeni Bey.
Department of State, December 31, 1894.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 25th instant, communicating to me copy of a telegram you have received from his excellency Said Pasha, conveying the reasons which lead His Majesty the Sultan to decline to permit an American representative to accompany the investigating commission appointed to examine into recent events in Kurdistan, for the purpose of making an independent report under the direction of the President.
On the 30th ultimo the United States minister at Constantinople telegraphed me that His Majesty the Sultan had, on that day, made known his desire that a consul of the United States be sent to Sassoun with the Turkish commission to investigate the alleged atrocities on Armenians in that quarter. The President did not feel at liberty to designate a citizen of the United States to serve as a member of a Turkish commission to investigate the affair in question and join in a report. The United States minister at Constantinople was accordingly directed, on the 2d instant, to inform His Imperial Majesty that, while appreciating his confidence, the President was unwilling to send an American delegate as a member of the Turkish commission of investigation.
In a subsequent conference with me, you repeated His Majesty’s urgent personal desire that an American representative be joined to the commission, and about the same time the British Government (one of the signers of the Berlin treaty) preferred a like request. These considerations led the President to reconsider the matter, and on the 5th instant, by his direction, I instructed Minister Terrell that Mr. Jewett, the United States consul at Sivas, should accompany the Turkish commission—not, however, as a member of it—to the district in which the alleged atrocities were committed, and, after full and impartial investigation, report the facts for the information of this Government; adding that Mr. Jewett was not to join the Turkish or other commissioners in any report. I informed you, in personal conference, of what had been done.
Your present note confirms your oral statements to me touching the later change in the situation which has led His Majesty to withhold his consent to Mr. Jewett’s performance of the duty with which he had been charged.
It is but frank to disclaim any belief on the President’s part that His Majesty the Sultan intended to invite the precise form which the President felt constrained to give to his acquiescence in His Majesty’s reiterated request, and I cheerfully confirm, so far as we are concerned, Said Pasha’s statements that Turkey has “never asked for the appointment of a foreign commission to investigate the internal affairs of the Empire.” His Majesty having refused consent to Mr. Jewett’s visit to Sassoun under the President’s instructions, the incident is terminated.