Mr. Straus to Mr. Hay.
Constantinople, October 26, 1898.
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 6, of October 22, respecting the delays in granting teskeres and irades to foreigners who wish to travel to the interior of Asia Minor, I have the honor to report:
Pending the visit of the German Emperor all business with the Porte was at a standstill. He left on Saturday last, the 22d instant, and I took up the matter the following day and sent the attached note to Tahsin Bey, the first secretary of the Sultan. I received a verbal reply through our dragoman that His Majesty had decided, for the purpose of simplifying matters, to refer the entire subject of teskeres to the council of ministers, and that the persons referred to would receive their teskeres on Monday next, the 31st instant.
In the meantime I was informed by the British embassy that its custom has been to ask for teskeres, and if not granted within a day or two—and, as a rule, they are not granted—to let the persons go forward without them, and so advise the Porte and at the same time advise their British consular agents en route. The ambassador informed me he had made application for a teskere the same time we did for Miss Ida E. Hall, who wishes to accompany our American party, and up to this writing the teskere has not been obtained. I refer to this so that you may know these obstacles are not exceptional toward our citizens. The consul general informs me he has received information from the teskere bureau that all applications for teskeres are referred to the Palace, and that the Italian consul has recently met with the same disposition as to his requests.
The missionaries referred to have decided to leave for their destination without teskeres, as I am advised by the copy letter of October 25 from Rev. C. F. Gates; our cavass will put them on board. As a precautionary measure, I have sent a note to the minister for foreign affairs, of which a copy is attached, which gives the names of the persons referred to and their destination. This note follows my conference with the minister of foreign affairs, held yesterday, when I informed him the Americans had decided they would delay no longer. I shall also telegraph our consular agents at Samsoun and Trebizond to give every assistance, and in case of obstacles being interposed to advise the legation.
I am in hopes my action in this matter will bring about a solution by the council of ministers, so these petty annoyances under this head will be removed.
I trust the action I have taken will meet your approval.
I have, etc.,