Mr. Gresham to Mr. Terrell.
Washington, March 29, 1894.
Sir: In my instruction No. 161,1 of this date, I give you the views of this Government relative to the general aspects of the Turkish claim of right to expel or deport persons of Armenian origin naturalized abroad without the Sultan’s permission and returning to the Ottoman Empire.
The case of Atam Aivazian, the more recent aspects of which are presented in your No. 173, of the 1st ultimo, does not seem, so far, to fall within the purview of my instruction, inasmuch as the Turkish Government in this instance appears to assert the bare right to try him for alleged criminal acts against the peace of the state committed in Turkey.
The American citizenship of Mr. Aivazian has not been established. Born in Eilindje, in the district of Boghozlian, of Ottoman parents, he claims to have passed eleven years in the United States, during which time he obtained naturalization; but, as stated by the note of the ministry of foreign affairs of January 30, 1894, “he has not been able to produce any authentic act or document to sustain his claim.”
While you possess information, deemed reliable, that Mr. Aivazian has been in fact naturalized in this country, you likewise appear to lack documentary proof of the fact; and your repeated requests to be furnished with a travel permit that would enable your secretary of legation to go to Yozgad, where this man is imprisoned, there to investigate his claim of citizenship, and at the same time ascertain whether he “had, by his long stay in Asia Minor, or by his declarations, forfeited his claim to American citizenship,” have been as repeatedly refused.
If Mr. Aivazian ever became an American citizen, that fact should be established, as well as whether he has voluntarily resumed his original status so far as to absolve the United States from the duty of protecting him. Denial of opportunity to ascertain the facts is hardly conducive to that frank and amicable consideration of this class of international issues which the Government of the United States so earnestly desires.
You will, therefore, press for opportunity to visit Aivazian and obtain any evidence he may possess in support of his asserted American citizenship.
I am, etc.,