Mr. Riddle to Mr. Olney.

No. 856.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of my telegram of the 5th instant transmitting the first news received at this legation of Knapp’s enforced departure from Bitlis a week before. I also inclose [Page 904]a copy of your reply, received on the 7th instant, containing your instructions, which were presented on the same day by my note to the foreign minister, No. 121. A verification of Mr. Terrell’s cipher telegram received on the 9th instant is also forwarded.

A translation of the foreign minister’s note of the 9th instant, copy of my telegram to you sent on the 10th, and a copy of your reply received on the 12th are also inclosed in this dispatch.

As I have already transmitted all the information I have been able to gather concerning Knapp in my telegrams to the Department, I have little to add, and shall probably be unable to make a full report as to the manner of his departure and treatment received on his journey until I can hear directly from him. I may observe, however, that the missionaries here, who have been exceedingly anxious about Knapp, express satisfaction at the present condition of his case, and seem especially relieved to know that he is to be delivered up to an official of the United States Government as soon as he reaches the coast instead of being returned by the Turks to Bitlis.

I have, etc.,

J. W. Riddle.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 856.]

Mr. Riddle to Tevfik Pasha.

Sir: Referring to the case of George Knapp, which has been the subject of recent conversations, T have the honor to inform your excellency that inasmuch as His Highness the Grand Vizier gave his pledge to the United States minister that Mr. Knapp should not be required to start for Constantinople before the end of April, and that during the minister’s absence no complaint should be urged against American missionaries, the Department of State can not believe that the Ottoman Government intends to violate its pledge, and I am instructed by the Department of State to demand that Mr. Knapp be conducted back to Bitlis under safe escort, and that he be permitted to remain there until the end of April; also, that at the end of April safe escort be provided to Constantinople for himself and his family, who will be accompanied by a representative of the legation, when his case will be examined by the American minister.

In view of the disturbed conditions of the country through which Mr. Knapp must pass extraordinary precautions should be taken to insure his safety. Should Mr. Knapp suffer any injury by reason of insufficient protection the Ottoman Government will be held directly responsible.

Receive, etc.,

J. W. Riddle.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 856.—Telegram—Received April 9, 1896.]

Mr. Terrell to Mr. Riddle.

Remind Grand Vizier of his assurance that the pledges of the race of old Turks could be relied on, and tell him I have assured the Government of the United States that his promise that Knapp should remain undisturbed at Bitlis until last of April would be observed. [Page 905]Unless sensational news about missionary danger ceases and Knapp returns at once to Bitlis and remains there until you send for him I will instantly [return] to my post. Answer at once to Secretary of State.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 856—Translation.]

Tevfik Pasha to Mr. Riddle.

Mr. Chargé d’Affaires: In reply to the note, No. 121, which you addressed me on the 7th instant, I hasten to inform you that Mr. Knapp has not been a prisoner (détenue), and that, if the Imperial authorities have given him an escort on his voyage, it was precisely in order to insure his safety. At Diarbekir he was the guest of the governor-general, and on his arrival at Alexandretta he will be delivered up to the United States consul in that town.

Receive, etc.,