Mavroyeni Bey to Mr. Gresham.


Mr. Secretary of State: Inasmuch as American citizens fully enjoy the right of petitioning the President, it is not with the purpose of protesting against the early sending of the petition, copy of which I inclose, that I have the honor to address you this note. If I do so, it is solely in order to rectify (and such rectifications always remove, in my opinion, subsequent difficulties) the contents of the said petition, which, as I am informed, will bear the signatures of many responsible Americans, deceived, undoubtedly, by the false and slanderous allegations of certain Armenian revolutionists. I trust, moreover, that the brief explanations which I shall have the honor to offer herein will be accepted by your excellency in the same spirit as that by which I was, in part, actuated to lay their principle before you in my note of April 5, 1894; that is, in a spirit of justice and equity, such as will tend to make still closer the bonds of friendship existing between the two Governments.

The petitioners assert that the Imperial Government absolutely ignore United States passports. This is not in conformity with the facts. The facts are as follows: The Imperial Government is bound to enforce its laws. According to such laws all of our subjects who secure naturalization, whether in the United States or elsewhere, without complying with certain forms prescribed by Ottoman laws, can not return to Turkey. Besides, there is no case in which the Imperial authorities have expelled from the Ottoman territory any naturalized citizen of the United States whatsoever, on the only ground that he had become such a citizen. Expulsion took place for reasons relating to the participation by the expelled person in revolutionary and subversive movements against which the Sublime Porte is obviously entitled to protect itself.

Accept, etc.,


His Excellency Grover Cleveland,
President of the United States:

We, the undersigned, respectfully represent: That there are at present resident in the United States about 10,000 Armenians, many of whom have become naturalized citizens and are engaged in lawful occupations, mostly manufacturing or commercial; that these American [Page 759] citizens, when desiring to visit their native country for peaceful purposes, are rigidly excluded by the Turkish Government, being prohibited from landing, or, upon arrival, arrested and imprisoned in disregard of American passports; that unnaturalized Armenians and Armenian citizens of countries other than the United States are allowed to return, and that this discrimination against American citizens is derogatory to the dignity of this Government and a violation of international comity.

We therefore respectfully request your excellency to protest against this unjust and injurious treatment of American citizens and to negotiate a treaty of reciprocal rights and privileges between the two countries, whereby our naturalized American citizens of Armenian birth shall be allowed to return to Turkey to visit their families or for purposes of commerce or missionary work, and shall be entitled to the protection of the American flag so long as they do not engage in acts conflicting with the peace of the Turkish Empire.