Mr. McDonald to Mr. Olney.

No. 218, Dip. Ser.]

Sir: I regret to report the prevalence of some feeling of uneasiness lest the disorders and turbulence in Turkey should spread into Persia. I ask attention to inclosed copy of extracts from a letter from —— ———, at ———, to one of the missionaries of this city. ——— ——— is a very cautious, conservative man, not at all sensational, and this is the first note of warning I have ever had from him. He was born in ———, was reared there, and is thoroughly acquainted with the people and country, and is in every way trustworthy. I have telegraphed him to notify me immediately of any signs of approaching danger. We have missionary settlements in Tabreez, Oroomiah, and Salmos of the Azerbaijan Province, all exposed to incursions from the Turkish border or to native outbreaks. I find that the missionaries here are somewhat nervous about their colleagues at those towns, though they have no apprehension of any trouble in Teheran. I have heard, however, that the mullahs (native priests) are saying that they must naturally side with the Turks. Dr. George W. Holmes, of Hamadan, writes me:

Everything is quiet here at present, but we feel somewhat apprehensive of the effect on the Persians of the disturbances in Turkey.

I have just to-day had a very satisfactory conference with the British minister, Sir Mortimer Durand, and we are thoroughly in accord and will cooperate in case of an emergency. I will also confer with the French and Russian ministers, all of whom have countrymen or “subjects “in the exposed districts. The prime minister is at present absent from the capital, but on his return, in a day or two, I purpose having an interview with him and ask for every possible precaution for the protection of my countrymen.

I do not wish to create any alarm in the Department, for I am more than hopeful (now sanguine) that we shall escape any serious race or religious trouble in Persia, but think it timely and proper to advise you of the condition of affairs and the state of feeling as they seem to exist at this writing. Be assured I shall spare no effort for the safety and well-being of my worthy and excellent country men and women in Persia.

I have, etc.,

Alex. McDonald,
Minister Resident.

P. S.—Since writing the foregoing I have had an interview with the Russian chargé d’affaires, and find that he does not think there is any danger, except from incursions of Kurds across the border; and he says they (the Russians) have forces so disposed along the frontier that they could afford speedy relief if needed.

[Page 467]
[Inclosure in No. 218, Dip. Ser.]

Extracts from letter.

* * * Almost every day we get new reports of massacre, plunder, etc. I speak of this primarily for the Christians of Turkey, but almost as much for the Christians in this part of Persia. Both in Tabreez and nearer the Turkish frontier the Moslems are getting excited over the successes of the Moslems in Turkey and jealous of their easy way of enriching themselves with the plunder of Christians. * * * Hamedieh, on border of Salmos, have destroyed 46 Christian villages. Two weeks ago they even attacked the Christians in Kotûr, but the Persian garrison succeeded in keeping them off. To-day a letter from missionaries in Van reports them in danger of a massacre in Van. The Kurds had destroyed all the villages right up to the town. Van is full of starving refugees. Mr. Howard, who was in Teheran last spring, is back again trying to get to Van to help the starving. So far all attempts have proved unsuccessful.

He has now gone from Khoi to Julpa to spend $100 in telegrams to the West. He will then come here, and I will see if I can not get him through by aid of the Kurdish chief of Bashkallah, one of whose men is now in our hospital. * * *