Mr. Angell to Mr. Sherman.

No. 59.]

Sir: On September 10 last I received, through the consul-general, a complaint from Consul Wallace, at Jerusalem, that the local authorities had refused the request of an American citizen, Simon Ben Nachman Lowenstein, for permission to buy a house and lot in that city. The reason given for the refusal was that, the applicant was a Jew, and that an order of the Sublime Porte forbade Jews to become landholders until they had been long resident in Turkey, and that Mr. Lowenstein had not been long in the country.

I at once called on the secretary for foreign affairs and informed him that our Government could not recognize discrimination in the treatment of American citizens on the ground of religious belief or connection. I reminded him that a regulation could not override a treaty, as this order did violate the protocol of 1874. He said the order had been framed in consequence of the supposed danger of an inundation of Jews, who might cause serious political difficulties at Jerusalem. But he promised to give early attention to my request in behalf of Mr. Lowenstein, and asked me to furnish a memorandum for him. I inclose a copy of my memorandum.

Though the dragoman has under my instructions repeatedly called up the case, it is only now that the grand vizier has taken action. Yesterday he promised to send an order at once to the vali at Jerusalem to permit Mr. Lowenstein to make his purchase. He said that the order was aimed at Russian Jews, who, it was feared, might come in great numbers, and was not intended to apply to Americans.

I have, etc.,

James B. Angell.
[Inclosure to No. 59—Memorandum.]

Mr. Angell to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sir: Agreeably to the request of his excellency the secretary for foreign affairs, the minister of the United States begs leave to present the following memorandum:

About three months ago an application was regularly made through the American consul to the Turkish officials in Jerusalem in charge of [Page 1104]the land department for permission for one of our citizens, named Simon Ben Nachnian Lowenstein, to purchase a small property, cohsistiug of a lot and a house. The application was refused, on the ground that the applicant is said to be a Jew, and that an order from the Sublime Porte, dated April 19, 1309, requires that a Jew be an old resident in Turkey before he can become a landholder, and that Mr. Lowenstein has been in Jerusalem only a short time.

The minister begs leave to express the hope that the order of the Sublime Porte does not properly bear the interpretation and application given to it above. If an American citizen be denied the right to acquire real estate in this Empire on the ground that he is alleged to be of a certain religious faith, the duty of the minister to his Government would require him to protest against such a discrimination as inadmissible. Equal rights under treaties are claimed for all American citizens regardless of the faith they profess.

The minister trusts, therefore, that his excellency will see that orders are speedily given to the authorities at Jerusalem to allow Mr. Lowenstein to complete his purchase.