Mr. Terrell to Mr. Gresham.
Legation of the United States, August 9, 1894. (Received August 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that after receiving the telegram referred to in my No. 277,1 of the 1st instant, announcing the absence of Seferiades from Smyrna, I received a letter from him, which announced the settlement of his difficulties with the kindred of the boy who was killed and which shows his anxiety to know how far he can be protected. His letter is inclosed herewith.
I have been unavoidably delayed in going to Smyrna, but deemed it both prudent and necessary to visit the Sublime Porte before answering the letter.[Page 736]
Being of Greek ancestry, through an Ottoman subject by birth, the agreement with the Porte that naturalized citizens of the United States who were by birth Armenians might be excluded when they return, on account of their revolutionary societies in America, does not apply in his case. No seditious societies are known to exist among the Greeks.
I append a brief memorandum of my interviews with Said Pasha, minister of foreign affairs, and the grand vizier, from which it appears:
- First. That a naturalized citizen of the United States of Greek descent will, if born in the Ottoman Empire, be subject to exclusion or expulsion from Turkey on his return if he was naturalized since 1869 without the Sultan’s consent.
- Second. The right claimed to expel for the offense of obtaining foreign citizenship without the Sultan’s consent will be applied less rigidly to one of Greek descent than to an Armenian, so long as those of the former class abstain from disloyal practices.
The “right of expatriation” would seem to be a misnomer, if the right exists in any government to punish an American citizen for having exercised it.
For the present my verbal agreement with the Porte limits the punishment of natives of Turkey who return after naturalization to exclusion or expulsion from Turkey, even when suspected of disloyalty or sedition, as you were informed in my No. 107, of November 18, 1893. But I am for the first time informed that our naturalization of an Ottoman subject, no matter of what race, is an offense in itself, for which the Porte claims the right to punish the man who has been naturalized.
I am making a compilation of the laws of all European nations which affect the status of their naturalized subjects of Turkish origin after their return to Turkey; this I will forward to you.
I have, etc.,
- Not printed.↩