Mr. Terrell to Mr.
Legation of the United States,
Legation of the United States
. (Received November 5.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the
Porte admits that instructions have long ago been given to Turkish
consuls in America not to visa the passports of Jews who visit Jerusalem
for a longer stay than ninety days. This has led to the seizure and
detention of the baggage of that sect at Jaffa, to secure their return
within the time allowed, as will be seen from the inclosed dispatch from
Consul Wallace at Jerusalem of the 3d instant to the consul-general at
Constantinople. Mr. Wallace also, as you will see, reports cases of
extortion by Turkish officers, presumably, from the facts given, with
the knowledge of the local governor.
My instructions to the consul-general look to a correction of this
I have remonstrated with the foreign minister on the seizure and
detention of baggage, and notified him of my belief that his officials
were levying blackmail at Jaffa.
The reason given for the avowed policy of preventing the settlement of
Jews in Jerusalem in large numbers was stated with much seriousness by
His Excellency Said Pasha as follows:
We believe that Jesus Christ was a great prophet, and if the Jews
get control of Jerusalem they will steal the sepulcher of Christ
and destroy everything that can remind people of him.
This feature of the interview was unexpected. I informed the Porte that
the restriction on the right of American Jews to remain so short a
period was a hardship about which I might have occasion to express
myself hereafter. I did not go further because it may be safely assumed
that, in the absence of all commerce there, a Jew who goes to stay over
ninety days goes to remain, and besides, I can obtain your instructions
by the time I can receive further details of extortion by the Turks at
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 1 in No.
Mr. Wallace to
Consulate of the United States,
Consulate of the United
Sir: I desire to call your attention to a
condition of affairs existing at the seaport of Jaffa and here at
Jerusalem. Since assuming the duties of this consulate complaints
have been from time to time made to me by incoming Jewish-American
citizens that they are unnecessarily annoyed and put to expense by
the Turkish officials at Jaffa when attempting to disembark.
Tourists and persons coming here to visit or reside for an
indefinite time are subject to the annoyance of having their baggage
delayed at the custom-house for longer than is necessary. In many
cases some official at Jaffa demands passports, and will not allow
parties to enter till they deliver their passports to him. Then the
one who has taken them will not return them to the owners until some
[Page 751] money in the nature of
a bribe is given. I have on two separate occasions appealed to the
governor of Jerusalem in person, demanding by what authority such
actions are taken. Promises have been made me that the matter will
be looked into and the offenders punished. In no case am I certain
that the promise has been fulfilled.
On last Friday, September 28 ultimo, nine persons, Jews, holding
passports properly visaed by the Ottoman consul at New York, were
prohibited from landing at Jaffa till they deposited a guaranty that
they would leave the country inside of thirty days. One man, in
company with his wife, landed, but had to deposit a sum of 6
napoleons. His baggage was retained at Jaffa.
This morning he appealed to me to know what to do. His passport was
taken from him at the depot at Jerusalem as soon as he Stepped off
the train, and was not returned.
I immediately called upon the governor and asked him by whose
authority such things are done. His reply was he knew nothing about
it, but he would inquire, and at least would order the delivery of
the baggage to the owners.
Something more than this should be done or the indignity will be
repeated. I therefore beg of you to lay the matter before the higher
authorities at Constantinople, and inform me what further steps to
take in the maintaining of treaty rights. I have done all in my
These indignities offered our citizens on landing at Jaffa and
Jerusalem are a disgrace, and should be immediately and summarily
put a stop to. Any delay on our part in taking note of them will but
aggravate the indignity.
Will you kindly inform me also if the Ottoman consuls in America have
authority to say in their visa on a passport that the privilege to
remain in the Turkish dominions is limited to thirty or ninety days
or to any period? Passports are often so visaed. Shall the bearer of
a passport so visaed be compelled to obey it?
Hoping some immediate action toward remedying these evils will be
I remain, etc.,
[Inclosure 2 in No.
Mr. Terrell to
Legation of the United States,
Legation of the United
Sir: Your No. 72, of October 15, has just
been received, inclosing copy of Consul Wallace’s dispatch No. 28,
of the 3d instant, relating to the seizure of the baggage of Jews by
Turkish officials. These men, being American citizens, are entitled
to our protection, and you will instruct Consul Wallace to protest
in every instance when the baggage of an American citizen is
detained after examination at the customhouse, and to report every
case of extortion by Turkish officials, with name of the parties and
date, and to forward when practicable the affidavit of the party.
Also to report each instance under oath of the party when baggage is
detained or other indignity practiced. It is the policy of the Turks
to forbid the permanent settlement in large numbers of Jews, but as
tourists they must receive full protection as American citizens.
On the receipt of satisfactory evidence that the governor retains
officials after he is informed that they receive bribes or practice
extortions, [Page 752] I will demand,
and doubt not that I will effect, his removal. The evidence should
be in the shape of affidavits to accompany the consul’s report.
I have, etc.,