Mr. Gresham to Mr. Terrell.
Washington, February 12, 1894.
Sir: I received on the 6th instant a telegram from you, presumably of that date.
While I have on several occasions expressed to the minister of Turkey in this capital my readiness to consider any propositions which his Government might see fit to advance in the direction of negotiations for a naturalization treaty, explicitly defining the rights of the citizens or subjects of either country when returning thereto and sojourning therein, after having become lawful citizens or subjects of the other country, and while it appears from your dispatches that you have similarly evinced your disposition to receive such propositions from the Porte, there has at no time been intimated, either here or at Constantinople, any disposition on the part of this Government to enter into a provisional international agreement upon the subject. A modus vivendi, such as you announce that you are arranging, would, if at all effective toward the end proposed, be a treaty, within the meaning of the Constitution, concluded without the participation and consent of the Senate of the United States, and could, moreover, scarcely fail to be embarrassing in the course of subsequent negotiations toward a formal convention. In the present condition of our relations with Turkey any makeshift disposition of the treaty rights of American citizens is to be avoided, and the instructions under which you act do not confer upon you power to enter into such a conventional arrangement.
Apart from this, the necessity of a modus vivendi regulating the rights of American citizens in Turkey is not understood. It certainly can add no sanction to our treaty rights whereby citizens of the United States are guaranteed against imprisonment or punishment by the Turkish authorities. The position of this Government with regard to the exclusion or deportation of American citizens of Turkish origin, whose presence in Turkey may be inconsistent with the public peace of the Empire, has been clearly stated and needs no additional definition. My instruction to you of the 9th instant, in the case of Garabed Kevorkian, and the Department’s instruction to Mr. Hirsch, therein referred to (No. 142, of December 22, 1890), may be profitably consulted by you in this relation. * * *
I am, etc.,