Mr. Riddle to Mr. Olney.
Constantinople , April 29, 1896 . (Received May 15.)
Sir: I have the honor to confirm my telegram to you of the 25th instant as follows: “Knapp was this morning delivered by Turkish authorities to American consular agent at Alexandretta,” in accordance with the agreement contained in the foreign minister’s note to me of the 9th instant, a copy of which was forwarded to you in my No. 856 of the 13th instant.
I telegraphed on the 12th instant to Mr. Poche at Aleppo that Knapp had started from Diabekir and might daily be expected in Aleppo, and I instructed Mr. Poche to watch out for his arrival and to report it at once by telegraph to me and to Mr. Walker at Alexandretta. Thinking that possibly the Turkish escort might seek to avoid passing through Aleppo on their journey to the coast, I also telegraphed on the same day to Mr. Walker, informing him of Knapp’s departure from Diabekir and instructing him to look for his arrival and to demand his surrender from the authorities as soon as he made his appearance in Alexandretta.
On the 17th instant I received a telegram from Mr. Poche, and also one from Mr. Knapp, announcing his arrival at Aleppo on the previous [Page 906] day, and stating that the vali declared that he had orders from the grand vizier not to let Knapp continue his journey until he had given a guaranty never to return to Bitlis. Immediately after receiving the news I went to the house of the foreign minister, showed him the telegrams, and asked him to telegraph instructions to the vali to impose no conditions upon Knapp’s departure. This he promised to do at once, and on the 20th instant I received a telegram from Mr. Poche, dated 10 a.m., stating that Knapp had started that morning. The same day I telegraphed to Mr. Walker as follows:
Knapp left Aleppo Monday morning. Be prepared to receive him on his arrival and telegraph mo at once on his delivery to you.
After more than three days had passed with no news of Knapp, on a journey which usually takes only two days to perform, I became uneasy, and on the 23d instant sent a further telegram to Mr. Walker: “Have you no news of Knapp?”
At 4.30 a.m. on the 24th instant two telegrams from Mr. Walker were delivered at the legation, the first dated 23d instant, 12.10 p.m., reading as follows:
Knapp arrived, authorities refuse deliver him to consulate.
And the second, dated 23d instant, 1.30 p.m.:
Confirm telegram Knapp’s arrival. Authorities have orders to exile him by first steamer for Europe, which leaves Friday night, 24th.
As no time was to be lost, I went early in the morning to the foreign minister’s house. Giving him his note of the 9th instant, I requested him to read it once more, calling his attention to the concluding lines:
* * * on his arrival at Alexandretta, he (Knapp) will be delivered to the United States consul in that city.
When he had finished, I asked him if he had forgotten his promise, and then read him the telegrams I had received. He was profuse in his protestations of disapproval and promised to telegraph immediate orders for the delivery of Knapp. On my return to the legation I sent the following open telegram to Consular Agent Coidan at Mersiue:
Inform commander war vessel American citizer Knapp about to be expelled from the country at Alexandretta. Get into communication with Walker for further information.
To Mr. Walker I telegraphed:
Inform commander war vessel of present state Knapp case. Demand delivery once more and telegraph me immediately.
On the 25th instant I received a telegram from Mr. Walker, dated 10 a.m., saying: “Knapp released. Will telegraph departure.”
I have, etc.,