Mr. Gresham to Mr. Terrell.

No. 171.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of a letter of Mr. K. K. Samuelian, an Armenian, naturalized here in 1891, on the subject of his desired return to Turkey; also, a copy of the reply thereto. You will note that Mr. Samuelian adverts to the general character of the treatment of returned Armenians by the Turkish Government.

This is the first distinct statement that has reached the Department that the Ottoman Government is asserting its right to exclude or expel returning naturalized Armenians, “not those alone from this country, but also those returning from any part of Europe.”

As was intimated in the Department’s instruction of December 7 last (No. 101), the expulsion of persons merely because of their naturalization in the United States, when naturalization in other countries is not made the ground of similar treatment, would be an act of unfriendly discrimination against this country. Your legation has reported that Great Britain (and other European powers as well) does not claim immunity for naturalized Turks returning to Turkey, but has not so far reported any actual case where an Armenian naturalized in Great Britain or on the Continent has been expelled or excluded under circumstances such as have of late been frequently reported in regard to such persons when naturalized in the United States.

It may be desirable to verify Mr. Samnelian’s statement touching the general application of the Ottoman rule in this relation.

I am, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.
[Page 757]
[Inclosure in No. 171.]

Mr. Samuelian to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: I am an Armenian. I was sent here by Costikyan Brothers, of Constantinople, in 1886, to establish a branch house for the sale of their oriental rugs. In 1889 I gave up my business, and entered the theological seminary in this city to study for the ministry. I finished my course in 1892, and have since been corresponding with the missionaries in reference to my return to the work there. Of course my object in returning is solely to preach the gospel there. While in business I announced my intention of becoming an American citizen, and in 1891 I became naturalized here, renouncing allegiance to Turkey.

You have undoubtedly heard of the persecution of returned Armenians by the Turkish Government; not those alone from this country, but also those returning from any part of Europe. I fear that it is not safe for me to return to Turkey as a subject of that Government; meanwhile the missionaries are urging my speedy return to the mission work. I desire to know whether I shall have the right of protection as a missionary by our (American) minister in Constantinople in case the officials object to my landing in Constantinople? Will you kindly advise me as to what steps I had better take in the matter and oblige.

Further information can be given by request. Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience,

I remain, etc.,

K. K. Samuelian.