Mavroyeni Bey to Mr. Gresham.


Mr. Secretary of State: As it is to be presumed that your legation at Constantinople has transmitted some information to your excellency with regard to the case of Atam Aivazian, I think proper also to give you, in my turn, some details on the same subject which have just been communicated to me by the Sublime Porte, and which will serve, I think, to remove all difficulties.

Atam Aivazian was convicted of having been one of those who abetted, with arms in their hands, the escape of the Armenian brigand who murdered Simon Kahia. Aivazian was sentenced by a court-martial, for that offense, to ten years’ imprisonment in a fortified inclosure.

This person, who was born in the village of Eilendje, in the caza of Yozgad, of parents who were Ottoman subjects, has never ceased legally to belong to his original nationality. He came to America, it is true, for the purpose of engaging in business, and remained here about [Page 779] eight years, at the expiration of which time he returned to Turkey with an American passport, which he had procured a few days before his departure from the United States. Since that time, however, he has again settled in his native country, where he has always regularly paid the tax for exemption from military service and the temettu tax, and has always been considered and treated as an Ottoman subject. The fact, moreover, that no imperial iradé has ever authorized him to renounce his original nationality, is superabundant evidence that he is still a subject of Turkey.

Your excellency will bear in mind, moreover, what Mr. Terrell himself so justly remarked in his report to the Department of State of September 20, 1893, and what I myself have several times repeated, namely, that Armenians almost always become naturalized as American citizens only a few days before their final departure from the United States. Mr. Terrell wrote, at the date aforesaid, as follows:

The European emigrant in the United States generally naturalizes in good faith; the Asiatic very rarely does. I am in a position to know that it is the rule rather than the exception that the Armenian returns soon after he is naturalized, and comes back with the intention of remaining.

Thus, and this appears from a conscientious examination of several cases, the persons in question seek to become naturalized as American citizens, not with a view to becoming, frankly and honestly, part of the great American family, but solely with a subversive intent, and for the purpose of introducing foreign influence among us. Mr. Terrell’s words are therefore in every respect applicable to Aivazian. Yet, even if they were not, the foregoing considerations would be sufficient, I trust, to prove to your excellency the justice of the allegations made by the Ottoman Government in the present case. I consequently beg you to instruct the United States legation at Constantinople to acknowledge that Aivazian, who has regularly paid certain taxes since his return to Turkey, can not be considered, for the reasons above stated, otherwise than as an Ottoman subject.

Be pleased to accept, etc.,