Mr. Tyler to Mr. Olney.

No. 249, Dip. Ser.]

Sir: I beg most respectfully to transmit herewith inclosed copies of two letters which I have received from missionaries stationed at ——— and ———, each giving an account of the state and prospects of the place where he is located. In ——— and ——— the normal condition of affairs seems to be preserved, but in ——— Mr. ——— appears to have cause for apprehension, especially from incursions of the Kurds.

In view of the unsettled and threatening attitude of the Kurds, [Page 474]reported in Mr. ———’s letter, I immediately on receipt of the same made a translation of it and sent it to the Sadr Azem, with a request that he would forthwith take the necessary measures for the protection and preservation of the lives and property of American citizens located in that region. I hope that he will also take a merciful view of the case of the refugee Armenians. As there are at the present time several Kurdish chiefs in the retinue of the Shah, the Government has the means of curbing, if not altogether preventing, the cruel and vindictive proceedings of these lawless tribes. I have not thought it necessary to plead the cause of these Armenians, except in this indirect way, inasmuch as, though it is not generally known, the native Christians in Oroomiah and the border regions have a civil governor or headman, appointed by the Government, whose duty it is to watch over and protect their private and public interests, and if he fails in his functions can be called to account.

I have, etc.,

John Tyler,
Vice-Consul-General in Charge.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 249.]

Mr. ——— to Mr. Tyler.

Dear Sir: Your letter making kind inquiry for our welfare is at hand. I thank you for your interest in and care for us. I am happy to report that nothing untoward has happened to us or the people generally. The greatest danger was from bread riots, but the donation of 120,000 tomans, as we hear (or 45,000), to improve the quality of the bread and bring wheat to the city, has lessened this danger. Mr. Castelli Lamanianz and several Persian bankers have taken a contract to bring a large quantity of wheat from Russia, and it is already beginning to arrive. Still officials and bakers are preventing the full benefit of the royal favor from reaching the people. Everything is quiet. Word from Oroomiah to-day says that everything is quiet there.

The Shah showed special favors to Drs. Holmes and Varmeman. Dr. Holmes happened to be here from Hamadan. The Shah called him every day and cordially invited him to come to Teheran and again be his confidential physician. His Majesty seemed loath to accept his declination. The Shah’s family, etc., were specially committed to Dr. Varmeman, and he desires him to accompany them to Teheran to see to their health by the way. Dr. V. has consented, but we still hope that some physician may be sent from Teheran to accompany the Anderum to the capital, as Dr. V.’s service will be much needed here.

Our mission in a body was presented to the Shah by Dr. Wood, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general, on the day before His Majesty’s departure. The Armenians were also received, presenting a gold plate with salt and bread.

Again thanking you, I remain, etc.,

—— ———.
[Page 475]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 249.]

Mr. ——— to Mr. McDonald.

Dear Sir: In answer to Mr. Tyler’s letter of May 14, in which he makes inquiries about the state of this region at present, I would say that up to last Wednesday, May 27, all seemed to have quieted down. But on the evening of that day a company of Van Armenians, who were on their way to Salmos, were attacked about three hours west of this town by Kurds. The Armenians were 61 in number. They had only 8 or 10 guns for self-defense, and were coming here to get work, they say. They mostly belonged to pillaged villages in Van region; they could not return to them, as Kurds would kill them at once, and the rations given out at Van by Dr. Kimbal were no longer given. The Turkish Government would give no passports; and even if they did furnish them they would be of no use in Kurdistan, where every Armenian seen is slain. So these men were coming through in a company, but traveled at night and in byways, so as to avoid the Kurds. It was a case of necessity that they came as they did, or else remain and starve at Van. Nearly all were dressed in rags and tatters.

When the Kurds came on this band at Darik (a former Armenian town), the Armenians took refuge in an old monastery. The Kurds killed 3 and wounded 3 more, however. Then the Kurds burned in the door. The Armenians saw they were going to be killed and got ready to defend themselves. They opened lire on the Kurds, and after 7 of them (so report says) were killed and 3 more wounded they fled. The Armenians then fled from the monastery, and 41 of them reached the old city of Salmos, where they were arrested without any resistance and imprisoned in Diliman as refugees who had no passports. The acting governor is a hater of the Armenians, and is making it very hard for these men. The Kurds are sending telegrams far and wide that the Armenians are in rebellion and killing off the Kurds. We hear the acting governor also reported the Armenians as revolutionists. But the facts as above stated agree with the best information obtainable. The probability is that the 41 arrested will be eventually turned over to the Turkish vice-consul at Khoi, and he will send them back toward Van. But if this is attempted every one of them will be slain. The Kurds will attack them in large numbers as soon as they are off of the Khoi plain, and, as the Armenians will be defenseless, will put all to death. The Armenians of Salmos are making threats of wiping out this plain. We hear three regiments of Persian soldiers are on their way here. If so, the Kurds may be afraid to carry out their threats, especially as the leaders are now with the Shah.

I felt you should know the facts. You may be able to remove prejudice at Teheran, and use your influence to prevent these poor men being sent back to Turkey.

Yours, truly,

——— ———.