Mr. Terrell to Mr. Gresham.

No. 329.]

Sir: Secretary Riddle has returned to this post from Aleppo, and reports that the governor at Aleppo admitted my right to have a representative present at any examination for crime of a native teacher in an American school, and when his papers are seized for examination. The governor also declared that this was under instructions from the Porte.

I inclose a copy of Mr. Riddle’s report. * * *

It affords me pleasure to report that Mr. Riddle, in the discharge of his delicate and responsible duties at Aleppo and Aintab, executed with fidelity and intelligence his instructions. While affording timely protection for a school which, I think, had been marked for destruction, he secured at Aleppo the cordial coöperation and esteem of the local governor, as shown by that gentleman’s letter.

I have, etc.,

A. W. Terrell.
[Inclosure in No. 329.]

Mr. Riddle to Mr. Terrell.

Sir: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your instructions of date. September 27, I proceeded directly to Alexandretta and Aleppo, and on October 6, with Mr. Poche, consular agent at Aleppo, called on Hassan Pasha, vali or governor-general of the province of Aleppo, with a request for information in regard to the charges brought against professors in the American college at Aintab. The vali assured me (contrary to what the grand vizier stated to you in September) that there had never been the slightest suspicion against Mr. Fuller or any other American teacher in the college; that papers had been found in the house of an Armenian preacher imprisoned at Berejik which seemed to compromise three persons connected with the college, Messrs. Bezdjian, Bulbulian, and Serkis Livonian, the latter a brother of the imprisoned preacher, but that, as all three were Turkish subjects, it was no concern of the American legation. To this I answered that, while disclaiming all intervention in Turkish affairs, the United States Government would probably expect that the Porte would not claim the right to accuse and try native teachers in American schools without affording the legation the opportunity of being fully informed as to all the facts in the case. I told him I had undertaken an eight days’ journey to Aleppo in order to facilitate the Turkish authorities in the investigation of any charges they might bring against anyone connected with the American college at Aintab, and I therefore hoped he would proceed as expeditiously as possible with an examination. He replied that he had as yet received no instructions from the Porte, but when I suggested that in that case I had better telegraph you to see the grand vizier and request him to send instructions at once as to what was to be done in Aleppo, the vali calmly admitted that he had full instructions from the Porte, directing that the papers of the suspected teachers should be seized at Aintab and brought to Aleppo for examination, and in case the suspicions felt were justified by finding seditious papers among them, that [Page 747] the three men should themselves be brought to Aleppo for examination and trial; that at each step in the proceedings an official representative of the United States Government would be allowed to be present, in order to satisfy himself of their fairness. The concession of this important principle, which fulfills all the desires of the missionary board, would seem to preclude the future possibility of capricious and groundless arrests of native teachers merely with a view to hamper or break up the work in the colleges.

As soon as the necessary orders were issued by the vali, I proceeded to Aintab with Mr. Poche, where we were present at the seizure of papers and at their subsequent examination in Aleppo. As I have already reported by telegraph, nothing objectionable was found among them, the vali expressed himself as satisfied of the groundlessness of the suspicions against the teachers, and the papers were sent back to their owners in Aintab.

No one connected with the college was at any time under arrest, and the work of the college was not interrupted.

In conclusion, I must express my great obligation to Mr. Poche, the consular agent at Aleppo. His efficiency as interpreter, his intelligence, and the influence he seems to enjoy among Turkish officials were of the greatest service in reaching the prompt and satisfactory result attained.

I have, etc.,

J. W. Riddle.