Mr. Straus to Mr. Hay.

No. 28.]

Sir: On the 9th instant I telegraphed you in cipher as follows:

Had a satisfactory audience. The Sultan has directed the indemnity to be arranged, and sends compliments to the President.

The question of the payment of indemnity has had my constant attention since the settlement of the Erzerum consulship and the removal of the obstacles against traveling in the interior, reported in my dispatch No. 21, of 16th November. I have had numerous conferences with the minister of foreign affairs, and he drew up a report to the council of ministers based on these conferences and upon the memorandum I submitted covering the claims paid by us growing out of the lynching of the Italians by the New Orleans mob and the massacre of the Chinese in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

This report, as the minister informed me, recommended the payment of our claim when adjusted as to the amount, and that the council of ministers adopted the report and submitted the subject for the approval of His Majesty. It was by the Sultan referred back to the council, and about ten days ago again submitted to His Majesty. There the matter rested.

On the 7th instant I sent our dragoman, Mr. Gargiulo, to the palace with an unofficial memorandum to be left with the Sultan’s first secretary for communication to the Sultan. In this memorandum I suggested the advisability for a private audience.

I was summoned to an audience by His Majesty on Friday last, the 9th instant. He received me, as is his custom, in his usual pleasant manner, and informed me the matter discussed between his first secretary and Mr. Gargiulo, referring to our claim, he had directed to be arranged, and that all the other matters pending he would assist me in adjusting. I explained to him the situation, and that it was my hope when I was appointed to this mission to avoid making issues, but to adjust the pending questions so that all irritation be removed and that the relations between the two countries be, as they always should be, in entire harmony and friendship. He said my former mission gave him every assurance of that, and therefore he was so much gratified when he learned of my appointment.

* * * * * * *

The audience lasted about three-quarters of an hour, and again at the conclusion he said he had directed the matter of my demand to be settled, and requested me to give his best compliments to the President.

On the following day I called on the minister of foreign affairs, and [Page 766] he again recounted to me the steps that had been taken regarding our claim. I told him of the audience, and that His Majesty had twice informed me that he directed our claim to be settled.

* * * * * * *

It will doubtless yet require some time and considerable effort to conclude the indemnity negotiations and have the amount paid over, yet the important point has been gained. Our claim is now admitted by the Sultan and the council of ministers and directed to be liquidated.

This is a decided reversal of the absolute refusal contained in the Porte’s note of August 4, 1898, transmitted in Mr. Angeil’s dispatch No. 168, of August 4, 1898, being identical with the Porte’s note to the other powers. * * *

I have, etc.,

Oscar S. Straus.