Mr. Riddle to Mr. Olney.

No. 897.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith for your further information in the case of Rev. George Knapp copy of a note received from the minister for foreign affairs, with a memorandum annexed which constitutes the only thing in the nature of charges so far presented by the Porte.

I have, etc.

J. W. Riddle.
[Page 913]
[Inclosure in No. 897.—Translation.]

Tevfik Pasha to Mr. Riddle.

Mr. Chargé d’Affaires: I transmit to you herewith, a memorandum containing the information furnished by the governor of Bitlis concerning the conduct of the American missionary, George Knapp.

I feel sure that a perusal of this document will lead you to the conclusion that this missionary indulged in intrigues of a nature calculated to disturb public order and security in several provinces of Asiatic Turkey, and that he himself brought about the Bitlis incident.

The concurring depositions of many persons abundantly prove this.

As the position assumed by Mr. Knapp is not in harmony with the large hospitality enjoyed by American missionaries in the Empire, nor with the friendly relations so happily existing between the two countries, I do not doubt that the United States Government will completely disapprove it and will apply to his case the provisions of the law.

Receive, etc.,

[Subinclosure in No. 897.]


This missionary, who was one of the principal mainstays of the Hintchagist committee at Bitlis, indulged in all sorts of subversive intrigues. It was at his instigation that Armenian agitators provoked disturbances in the province. In fact, this missionary was always in correspondence with Armenian leaders, among whom were Hany Sarsoun (alias Mourat), chief of the Sassoun and Tabari insurgents, in order to stir up trouble with a view to creating an Armenian principality in Asia Minor, and used to send to Sassoun and elsewhere, under the pretext of distributing aid, emissaries who were charged with the mission of giving most pernicious counsels to the inhabitants. Incited by him, the agitator Ossep, son of Garabet, and several of his Armenian companions, had attempted in the open street at Bitlis to forcibly abduct a Kurdish girl from her parents, at the same time calling the latter by the most abusive names, and blaspheming the Imperial Government and the Musselman religion.

This missionary, in company with certain agitators, used to hold meetings at his house or in the churches or at the bishop’s residence in order to prepare the Bitlis incident. It is he who had vagrants in his hire and armed them that troubles might be provoked. He encouraged the credulous Armenians to attack the mosques during the Friday prayer and to kill the faithful, to assassinate MusselMANS. officials and notables whom they met in lonely places, and to urge such of their own nationality as were faithful to the Imperial Government to refuse to pay their taxes and to address such language to the Musselmans as would tend to excite them; in one word, he did his utmost to disturb order and peace. He acted as intermediary in the exchange of guilty correspondence, propagated the most revolutionary ideas, and spread abroad sensational rumors. Refusing to conform to the regulations governing public instruction, he tried to inoculate subversive principles into the minds of his pupils, and sought to induce the Armenians to embrace Protestantism. He persuaded those of them who occupied public places not to go to their posts. It was at the alarm signal given by means of a bell which he had installed near his house that the Armenians shut their shops and attacked the mosques at the time of the Bitlis disturbances.

The Armenians, Hamazasp, Serape, and Mampre (the letter Mr. Knapp’s servant), who wounded a certain Kevark Agha Bakkalian, have testified before the examining magistrate that they committed this crime under orders from Missionary Knapp, who promised to give £100 to whomsoever succeeded in killing one or more members of the Bakkalian family, and to provide for the future of his wife and children in addition. They have further testified that it was George Knapp himself who furnished the revolver used in the perpetration of the crime. It is also stated in their depositions that this missionary was aware of all the revolutionary plans of the [Page 914] Armenians and that he had advised them to assassinate some of their fellow Christians in order that the crime might he attributed to Musselmans. Quite recently Mr. Knapp has used abusive language toward the Musselmans passing in front of his house and has sought to provoke the Musselman population to fresh troubles. All these facts are established by judicial examination.

Besides Hamazasp, Serape, and Mr. Knapp’s servant, the persons whose names follow have also made deposition against this missionary.

(Here follow nineteen Armenian names.)