Mr. McDonald to Mr. Olney.

No. 220, Dip. Ser.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward as an inclosure a copy of another letter from ——— ———, of ———. It will be seen that he reports continued turbulence and outrage across the Turkish border, and some even on the Persian side. He says: “The Persian along our border are talking very loudly and threatening the Christians with despoliation and destruction.” He adds: “We are not and have not been in any danger that I know of. The only thing is that if next spring the Turkish troubles are not quieted we shall look for great disturbances here.”

In this connection I have the honor to report that since my last communication I have had an interview with the Sadr Azem. I represented to him in strong terms the exposed condition of my countrymen in that quarter of Persia; stated my anxiety concerning them, and that my Government would surely expect His Majesty’s Government to be prepared to afford them ample protection. His highness responded very cordially to my communication, saying that he was giving the subject constant thought and attention; that he was in daily telegraphic communication with the authorities of the Azerbaijan Province; that he had dispatched a regiment of soldiers to Khoi, and that he believed the Government was prepared for any emergency that might arise in that province, but requested me to give him the benefit of any information which I might receive. His highness added that the Kurds were most troublesome and undesirable neighbors as well as subjects, being nothing better than robbers and murderers, and that the Sultan was much to be blamed for allowing them to have arms.

* * * * * * *

I have, etc.,

Alex. McDonald.
[Page 468]
[Inclosure in No. 220, Dip. Ser.]

Letter from ——— ———.

Dear ———: Yours and Mr. McDonald’s telegrams came to me here yesterday. I am afraid I have been misunderstood in the report I gave of affairs along the border. The condition is as bad as it can be just across the border, from Alesk and Kotur on to Van. As yet nothing serious has happened in Persia.

A letter dated November 23, from Dr. Kimball, in Van, reports all the country about them in the hands of the Kurds, with the exception of three large villages near the city; 200 Armenian villages destroyed, 500,00 refugees homeless, penniless, and naked nearly. The city is full of these refugees, and all business is at a stand. They could not find cash for a £10 note even. They feared a massacre any moment, although the missionaries themselves hardly feared for their own lives. In Bitlis the missionaries could not go out of their houses. In a recent destruction of Armenian and Nestorian villages near Katur, the Shekoik Kurds of Persia (you know they live in Baradost and Somai, between Salmos and back of Ganlas and the villages of Angel), joined with the Turkish Kurds in carrying away the plunder. They have brought large quantities of sheep, cattle, and other property over here. In Ganlan these same Kurds attack the villages almost any night. The men of the village are out every night on guard. A few nights ago, as they chased quite a large party, they came upon the Kalunyee people, with their donkeys and bags, hanging about to have their share of the spoils. In Salmos the upper villages are in constant fear, too. These Shekoik Kurds have just brought 1,500 sheep from the Nestorian villages in Albak. Albak, you know, is over the border in Turkey. The Persians along our border are talking very badly and threatening the Christians despoliation and destruction. Their excuse is that the Armenians in Turkey have killed a number of Kurds. The Shiahs, too, are constantly talking in an insolent, threatening sort of way, and our Nestorians are usually very careful to avoid disputes and to give no excuse for quarrels. In a recent quarrel between the custom-house officials and the merchants, the Christians were advised by the sar-perast (Christian headman) to keep out of the bazars. For five days the bazars were closed and all the merchants and their sympathizers were assembled in one of the mosques, but that has passed without serious result. There was an altercation in the bazars the other day between a Russian Armenian and a Moslem, which very soon brought up a crowd, and the Armenians had to take refuge in the caravanserai, which they held for some days with difficulty. The Mullahs took him (the Armenian) away from the sar-perast who was trying to protect him, and the ecclesiastics are doing about what they like now, e. g., recently the chief magistrate has taken men away from the prisons of the civil officers.

I do not understand your telegram that it seems best to you that Mr. ——— go to Teheran chapar (by post).

I mention the above facts simply to show how the wind blows. We are not and have not been in any danger that I know of. The only thing is that if next spring the Turkish troubles are not quieted we shall look for great disturbances here.

I am sorry to have to write so hurriedly, but the horses are at the door. Mr. ——— and I are just going out to a village.

Very sincerely, yours,

——— ———.