Mr. Olney to Mavroyeni Bey.
Washington , October 15, 1896.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your note of the 2d instant, by which I am informed that the Sublime Porte has instructed you to request me to take measures to the end that the naturalization convention between the two countries of August 11, 1874, may take effect as speedily as possible. You accompany the request made pursuant to such instruction with certain explanations offered by you for the prevention of any misunderstanding.
Your explanations show (in accordance with the fact) that the convention of August 11, 1874, as amended by the Senate of the United States January 22, 1875, being again submitted to the Senate, the exchange of ratifications was consented to by that body February 28, 1889, “only upon the distinct understanding to be had between the two Governments that Article II of the convention, as amended by the [Page 933] Senate, shall not be construed to apply to persons already naturalized in either country.” In January, 1891, by a note to Mr. Blaine, then Secretary of State, you asked the exact meaning of the Senate resolution just quoted, and you yourself offered two interpretations of it. Mr. Blaine replied to your note January 31, 1891, putting a construction upon the resolution wholly different from those suggested by you. By note of February 1, 1891, you rejoined that it inevitably followed from Mr. Blaine’s interpretation that “those Ottoman subjects shall not be considered as naturalized citizens after the ratification of our convention if they have been, I repeat, naturalized as American citizens without the Imperial firman before such ratification.” And this view of the operation of the Senate resolution, as interpreted by Mr. Blaine, you again advance in the note now under consideration—notwithstanding its complete misapprehension of Mr. Blaine’s obvious meaning, and its entire antagonism both to the letter and the spirit of the resolution itself.
It is unnecessary, however, to enlarge upon this aspect of the case. Enough has been stated to show that as matters now stand no such “distinct understanding between the two Governments” has been reached as is contemplated by the Senate resolution, and as is necessary to justify the President in exchanging and proclaiming the treaty. If it is now sincerely desired to reopen the subject and to bring about the distinct understanding called for by the Senate resolution, I shall cheerfully cooperate with you to that end. I ought to add, however, that in view of the peculiar circumstances, of the various conflicting constructions of the Senate resolution, and especially of the length of time that has elapsed since the convention was last before the Senate, the first step in the direction desired must obviously be to bring the convention again before that body for its reconsideration. This can be done early in the coming December, and would undoubtedly result in the Senate so amending its resolution that no possible question could be raised as to its true purpose and meaning.
The considerations upon which you enlarge, touching the interest and object of the Ottoman Government in the immediate consummation of the convention in question, and the fresh evidences of friendship toward the United States intended to be conveyed by the present proposition of the Sublime Porte, have suggested to me the need of a full instruction to the United States minister at Constantinople on the general subject, in continuation of the discussions heretofore conducted and still pending at the Turkish capital. In pointing out to the United States minister the necessities of the situation and the ways in which the good will of the Turkish Government may be efficiently shown, to the end of facilitating a distinct understanding between the two Governments in the matter of the Senate’s action upon Article II of the pending treaty, I doubt not that Mr. Terrell will earnestly present these considerations to the attention of the Porte, with a view to a satisfactory conclusion.