Mr. Terrell to Mr. Olney.

No. 974.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information a copy of a dispatch just received from Consular Agent Poche at Aleppo, which sets forth very fully the unfortunate condition of affairs there

Mr. Poche calls attention to the situation of the nine Americans in prison at Aleppo, to the case of Mauasseh Papazian, whose wife and children desire to come to America, to the intention of the Sultan to expel all naturalized Armenian citizens of foreign countries, and to the recent seizure of a letter bag belonging to American citizens. The evils complained of 1 am attempting to remedy.

I have, etc.,

A. W. Terrell.
[Inclosure in No. 974.—Translation.]

Mr. Poche to Mr. Terrell.

Sir: In answer to your honored telegram of the 15th instant:

Poche, American Consular Agent:

Are the American citizens still in prison; and how are they treated?


I answered as follows:

American Legation, Constantinople:

American citizens are still imprisoned without any pecuniary means, receiving only 300 drachmas of bread, granted to all prisoners. They implore your excellency’s assistance. Vali said to be without instructions on their behalf.

The local authorities of Aintab refuse to deliver to Manasseh Papazian, naturalized American, and bearer of a passport, No. 302, dated Constantinople, July 20, 1895, signed by your excellency; also, one to his wife, a native American, and to his two minor children, born at Aintab, and wishing to go to the United States, but on the condition that they should declare themselves Ottoman subjects. The vali requests that you dissipate the difficulties. Claims that he can not recognize an Ottoman subject as an American citizen.


[Page 921]

Immediately after the receipt of the above telegram, I went to His Excellency Raïf Pasha, from whom I learned that he had not received any instructions from Constantinople regarding the prisoners in question, who are lying piled up in a room which hardly contains them, unprovided with any resources, and receiving for nourishment only what I have had the honor to inform you of, that is, the daily allotment given to every prisoner.

His excellency informed me that they refused the bread given to them on the day when I saw him, and he could not understand their refusal. Having inquired about the cause from the prisoners, I answered him by a letter, a copy of which I herewith inclose for your excellency’s approval.

The verbal petitions which these nine prisoners address to me to be brought to the attention of your excellency in regard to a respect for conventions demanding their release are daily, and call for your attention.

The second paragraph of my telegram relates, as your excellency can easily see, to Manasseh Papazian and to his family, to whom the local authorities refuse recognition of American citizenship obtained by Mr. Papazian by a certificate of naturalization issued from the police court, Newburyport, district of Massachusetts, dated November 4, 1891, a copy of which I have the honor to transmit to your excellency. Mr. Papazian has exhibited to me also a copy of his passport issued by your excellency July 20, 1895, sub. No. 302.

His Excellency Raif Pasha says that these documents, though sufficient to the American Government to establish the nationality of Mr. Papazian, are of no value to the Ottoman Government, and he can not allow the natives of Turkey the right to return to the country of their origin with the purpose of living therein vested with a foreign nationality.

His excellency added that the last orders which came from Constantinople instructed the local authorities to expel from the States of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan all persons of Ottoman origin who would not renounce their claims to foreign nationality obtained in such a way.

In this situation, I beg your excellency to instruct me as to my line of conduct and in that which may develop in the future. No radical change is assumed by the Government’s attitude with regard to American citizens.

Lately the messenger carrying letters and prints belonging to the Revs, J. Boggs, Dodds, and Moore, from Latakieh to Suedieh, has been arrested on his way and put in prison and the letter bag seized. On my demand the letter bag has been delivered to me containing unsealed letters, censured newspapers, with perhaps some of them taken away. May these vexatious conditions soon vanish.

Taking advantage of a leave of absence that the Hon. Th. R. Gibson, our excellent consul, has granted me on account of ill health, and of which I was not able to avail myself because of these events, I hope to leave Aleppo in a fortnight, leaving the agency to Mr. Alfred Poche, the Dutch consul in this city, who will follow with great care any instructions with which your excellency may honor him.

Receive, etc.,

F. Poche.