Mr. Riddle to Mr. Gresham.

No. 248.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a dispatch from Mr. Madden, consul at Smyrna, to Mr. Short, consul-general; also copies of correspondence between Mr. Madden and the governor-general of the vilayet of Aidin, relative to the case of Mr. Socrates A. Seferiades, a naturalized American citizen, who is claimed for trial by the Turkish authorities at Smyrna for the offense set forth in Mr. Madden’s dispatch to the consul-general. I have instructed Mr. Madden, through the consul-general, not to yield the disputed point in Article iv of the treaty of 1830.

I am informed that Mr. Seferiades obtained his naturalization in 1893, but I have not yet learned in what State. I shall try to supplement the meager information which has so far reached the legation by an inquiry as to the circumstances of Mr. Seferiades’s naturalization and as to his intentions regarding future residence, and will inform the Department of the result of my investigation.

I have, etc.,

J. W. Riddle,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 248.]

Mr. Madden to Mr. Short.

Sir: I beg to lay before you the following case, concerning which I wish to receive your instructions before proceeding further:

Mr. Socrates A. Seferiades, an American citizen, who resides at Nazli, some 100 miles from here, in the interior, last year attended the World’s Fair in Chicago, and during this visit to America he bought quite a number of agricultural implements, among which were a thrashing machine, a reaper and mower, and a traction engine. These machines arrived at the railroad station of Nazli some ten days ago.

After putting together the thrashing machine Mr. Seferiades attached to it the traction engine and started to go to his farm, some 6 miles distant. A large crowd, attracted by the novelty of the sight, assembled and gathered about the machines. Mr. Seferiades, as a precautionary measure had employed 6 men to keep back the crowd, lest someone might get hurt. Notwithstanding these precautions, a boy some 13 years of age forced his way past the guards and ran in between the engine and the thrasher, and before the machine could be stopped he received injuries from which he died in a few days. The parents of the boy, as well as other spectators, agree that the boy came to his death by accident and through no fault of Mr. Seferiades. The parents brought no suit in the ease, but the Turkish authorities of Nazli issued papers for Mr. Seferiades’s arrest. He, learning of this, eluded their grasp and took refuge at this consulate, where he has been since the 9th instant.

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Having had, as long ago as last November, special instructions from the Department of State to extend to Mr. Seferiades the fullest protection of this consulate, I at once took steps to prevent, if possible, his arrest and imprisonment by the Turkish authorities, and addressed to the governor-general of this vilayet a communication, translation of which I inclose (sub. No. 1). A translation of the governor’s reply to the same is inclosed (sub. No. 2).

I am aware of the dispute that has arisen between the Government of the United States and the Sublime Porte over the interpretation of Article iv of the treaty of 1830; yet I know of no instance where the point in controversy has ever been yielded by our Government. It certainly never has been done by any one of my predecessors at this post, but in all such cases where an American citizen has been accused of a crime he has been tried by the consul. Having cognizance of the footnote to Article iv, I would have avoided bringing the matter to an issue, but it has forced itself upon me in such a manner that it has to be met.

Mr. Seferiades has large farming interests in the interior, all of which are suffering in his absence. His machinery is still standing in the road where the accident occurred. It is the advice of the governor-general, as well as my own, that he remain in Smyrna till this question be settled, and in view of the pressing necessity of the case a speedy answer is prayed for.

I am, etc.,

J. H. Madden.
[Subinclosure 1 in No. 248.—Translation.]

Mr. Madden to Fehmi Pasha.

Excellency: I have the honor to transmit under cover of this dispatch a petition of Mr. Socrates A. Seferiades, a citizen of the United States, and to request you to be so kind as to give as soon as possible the requisite orders to whom it may concern in order that any claim or complaint against the said Seferiades be referred to this consulate, in compliance with the laws and with the treaties and capitulations in force.

Accept, etc.,

J. H. Madden.
[Subinclosure 2 in No. 248.—Translation.]

Fehmi Pasha to Mr. Madden.

Mr. Consul: I acknowledge you the receipt of your note which accompanied a petition of Socrates Seferiades, whose father is a native of Caissar (a town of the interior) and himself (Socrates) was born in Smyrna.

About fifteen years ago he left for America where, though he had resided during a period of some years, he was not allowed to abandon his real and natural nationality, according to the regulations on Turkish nationality, without the authorization of His Majesty the Sultan.

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I think it is not necessary to give further explanation, to act in such a manner would be contrary to the text of the laws of the Empire, consequently Socrates Seferiades must be recognized as a Turkish subject.

Let us suppose for a moment that he is an American citizen; the inquiry and the examination for the crime of which he is accused will be done by Turkish courts in conformity with the laws and all regulations in force; above all it is a question of the death of a man and inasmuch as the question is to make out whether Socrates Seferiades is guilty or not, this is the opinion of the administrative and judiciary authorities of the vilayet, so that the laws and regulations and the duties toward humanity too stand in favor of the above agreements.

Socrates Seferiades although summoned to appear before the judiciary authorities to be examined about this affair, refused to appear. I beg you therefore to be kind enough to give him the necessary orders so that what is required under the circumstances should be done.

Accept, etc.,

Hassan Fehmi,
Governor-General of the Vilayet of Aidin.