Mr. Terrell to Mr. Olney.

No. 992.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information the copy of a dispatch from Acting Consular Agent A. H. Poche at Aleppo, dated the 11th instant, which refers to the condition of the naturalized Americans now in prison at Aleppo. The men in prison were arrested in armed resistance to the Government, and surrendered on the promise that they would be sent from the country.

The situation of the prisoners remains unchanged, and in the present condition of unrest and suspicion but little can be hoped for beyond saving their lives.

I have, etc.,

A. W. Terrell.
[Inclosure in No. 992.—Translation.]

Mr. Poche to Mr. Terrell.

Sir: I have had the honor to receive the telegram which your excellency kindly addressed to this consular agency under the date of September 9, written in the following terms:

Poche, American Consul, Aleppo:

Are naturalized citizens still in prison?


I hastened to reply as follows:

American Legation, Constantinople:

Citizens still imprisoned.


For more correct information of your excellency I will say that I went to the governor-general and demanded to know what decision he had taken as to this question.

His Excellency Raïf Pasha assures me that he has received no instructions in regard to the nine American citizens still lying in prison.

Last night the nine prisoners, naturalized citizens of the United States, forwarded me in an indirect way a letter accompanying a telegram on their part to the legation at Constantinople, with the request to forward it by telegraph.

I did not consider it prudent to fulfill this request, which would show to the local authorities that this consular agency communicates secretly with the prisoners. However, the contents of this telegram are already [Page 923] known to your excellency. I limit myself, then, to submitting it for your excellency’s approval, accompanied by the original letter addressed to this consular agency.

Ready to follow the instructions you may kindly give in regard to this matter, I beg you to accept, etc.,

A. H. Poche,
Acting Consular Agent.
[Subinclosure in No. 992.]

Copy of letter of the prisoners to Mr. Poche.

Mr. Consul: Altogether in despair with our deplorable situation under the hands of a native Government, we solicit you to kindly forward the inclosed telegram. Be pleased also to let us know categorically what will be our fate, and how long American rights will be ill treated and its true subjects insulted and imprisoned.

Accept, Mr. Consul, etc.,

(Signed for nine Americans.) Avidis Vartanian.

Prison of Aleppo, September 8, 1896.

Copy of the telegram from the prisoners to the legation.

American Legation, Constantinople:

In spite of Americo-Turkish treaty and our official agreement of Suedieh, the Turkish Government keeps us in jail. We have no more means of support; our lives are in imminent danger.

We await immediate release and protection.

(For nine American subjects.)
Avidis Vartanian.