Mr. Terrell to Mr. Gresham.

No. 331.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of your cipher telegram of October 29. Your reference to my “untenable demand that native teachers in American schools be not arrested” without my consent indicates that you construed my No. 320 of October 6 as showing my intention to make such a demand. This I much regret, for a reference to that dispatch will show that I regarded such a demand as not warranted by treaties or capitulations and certainly knew it had no sanction in international law. I was also guarded to state in that dispatch one reason why I would not demand as a right what I would “prudently insist on” “without straining friendly relations” * * * “until your instructions regarding it can be received.”

I inclose also, for your convenience, an extract from my instruction to Mr. Riddle, which was an inclosure in my No. 312 of September 27, which shows my care to avoid making any demand regarding native teachers even after arrest.

The utmost claim made by me, viz, the privilege of having a representative present at all proceedings under a charge of crime against native teachers in American schools or colleges (i. e. seizure, search and examination) has been admitted by the Porte by instructions to the governor of Aleppo. It would seem to be quite immaterial whether this concession be termed a privilege or a right, so long as the desired object is attained without disturbing cordial relations.

This amicable method of investigating the charges against the native teachers in the Aintab College and its results have been the subject of mutual congratulation between the foreign minister and myself, in an interview with him. I delayed acknowledging your telegram until that interview, to see if there was any disposition to recede from the precedent [Page 748] set by the visit to Aintab. There was none, and the statement was distinctly made by the foreign minister that he would agree in advance that my secretary of legation should always be present in all proceedings against native teachers.

In a government where even judicial proceedings are often conducted in secret, a mere protest against capricious imprisonment would be made with no knowledge of facts on which to base my assumption that it was capricious.

The advantage gained in the Aintab College incident consists in establishing a precedent which, if adhered to, saves the American colleges and schools in Turkey, much the larger portion of which are taught by native teachers whose places can not be supplied.

The opinion is quite general that Turkey will resort to every legal means to impair the efficiency of missionary schools, and to deprive them of native teachers would be the most effective boycott. The missionaries assert that they have over a million of money invested here in college and school buildings. The policy that has induced these good men to push their enterprise in education so far that they are dependent on Turkish subjects to teach may well be questioned. I have before referred to it as a fruitful source of future trouble.

The only available method of protecting them now is the one I have adopted. It has been conceded without straining relations, and it would be a pity to yield my vantage ground so patiently labored for. I have not demanded anything. I have reasoned and insisted, however, with success. Another case is not likely to arise soon, and yet I deem it prudent to request that you telegraph me “protest only against unreasonable and capricious arrests,” if you think I should insist on nothing more than that.

At this post diplomatic advantages peacefully secured are always accepted by other powers; and this one is so far-reaching in its future effects that I sincerely trust you may approve it and the means that secured it as well.

* * * * * * *

I have, etc.,

A. W. Terrell.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 331.]

Extract from instructions to Secretary John W. Riddle, inclosed in Mr. Terrell’s No. 312, of September 27, 1894.

It is proper that an effort should be made by you in behalf of native teachers employed in the American schools who are not American citizens to secure them bail, if you believe them innocent; and that they may continue their teaching. This, however, can not be demanded as matter of right, but you will cause the consul to protest if the cause for arrest of such persons and the facts on which arrests are based are not disclosed.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 331.]

Substance of interviews with the foreign minister and grand vizier.

Since receiving Mr. Gresham’s cipher telegram of the 29th of October, Mr. Riddle, in my presence, gave to the grand vizier a full statement of the proceedings at Aleppo and Aintab, informing him that he was present at the seizure of the personal effects of the native teachers [Page 749] at Aintab; that those effects were placed in pouches and sealed by a Turkish official; that he accompanied that official back to Aleppo and was present during the search made in them for evidences of sympathy with sedition; that nothing incriminating was found and the proceeding closed to the satisfaction of all parties; that the governor of Aleppo had stated that the grand vizier had instructed him to permit the presence of a representative of the United States at all proceedings against the suspected parties.

This having been stated, I expressed to the grand vizier my pleasure over the adoption of this just method of proceeding, which gave assurance that teachers would be taken from their employment only when really guilty of crime; that such a course would always avoid suspicion of capricious arrest, and I assured him that I would never be heard to intercede for teachers against whom there was evidence of crime. The assumption that this precedent established a modus vivendi naturally satisfactory (which it was the chief object of the interview to emphasize) was not questioned, nor were the instructions to the governor-general at Aleppo denied. The grand vizier expressed himself as pleased with the manner in which the examination had been conducted.

Saїd Pasha, the minister of foreign affairs, also expressed himself as pleased with the result of the examination, and was informed of the instructions given by the grand vizier to the governor of Aleppo. To him I emphasized the benefit that would result to Turkey from having a representative of the United States present in all proceedings against native teachers in American schools, for the cry of “Turkish atrocities” would not be started by other nations when an impartial American was permitted to know the facts authorizing imprisonment.

* * * * * * *

He said, “If you or your secretary could go in such cases I would always be satisfied.” I expressed the hope that no more such cases would occur, but assured him that if they did I would attempt to go in person or to send the secretary of legation. He then said, “I will agree in advance that your secretary may always be present in all proceedings against native teachers.”

A. W. Terrell.