Mr. Riddle to Mr. Gresham.
Constantinople, May 21, 1894. (Received June 7.)
Sir: I append copy of a telegram sent you from this legation relative to the case of Adam Aivazian, who is now temporarily confined in a jail in Stamboul.
In my conversation with Aivazian I endeavored to find out what business or property interests he had left behind him in America on his departure for Turkey in May, 1890, and what new interests he had acquired in Turkey since his return. He said that before leaving America he had sold the vineyards which he had owned and cultivated in California, but that he was still owner of two town lots in Fresno; that he had returned to Turkey to be married, and after his marriage, which took place in August, 1890, as his wife was unwilling to be separated from her family, he lingered without having at that time any definite plan.[Page 778]
He stated that after his marriage he bought a dwelling house in the village of Eilendje, near Yozgad, and had for the past four years been engaged in the grain and cattle trade and in lending money on farmers’ crops. He declared that he had made up his mind to return to California this year with his family, provided he could first satisfactorily wind up his business in Turkey; and said that last summer he had requested a missionary who was going to Constantinople to take his passport to the legation to have it renewed for traveling purposes. This latter statement is substantiated by Mr. Fowle, an American missionary of Csesarea, at present in Constantinople, who tells me that Aivazian made such a request of him in the summer of 1893, but on his asking, “When are you going to America?” Aivazian replied, “Who knows? Perhaps next year;” and that subsequently Mr. Terrell declined to issue a new passport until Aivazian had a definite intention to start for America. Before leaving Aivazian I asked him what crime he was charged with and what sentence he had received, but he replied that he was in complete ignorance as to both.
In a subsequent visit to the Porte I was informed by the grand vizier that Aivazian had been found guilty of the charge of aiding in the escape of a condemned murderer, and that he had been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, with transportation; that the evidence on both sides had been carefully weighed and there was no doubt of the prisoner’s guilt. To this I replied that the immediate question at issue between us was not whether Aivazian was innocent or guilty, but whether he was an American or a Turk; that I was about to report all the facts in the case to my Government for instructions, and that in the meanwhile I reserved the right to make a claim in the future.
Aivazian does not seem to have been at any time mixed up in revolutionary movements, and the grand vizier told me that no charges of sedition had ever been brought against him by the Ottoman Government.
I have, etc.