Mr. Hay to Mr. Straus.
Washington , March 25, 1899 .
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatches Nos. 45 and 52, of the 8th and 28th ultimo, respectively, on the subject of our indemnity claims against Turkey. The former dispatch deals especially with the Lenz claim.
The Department approves your plan to settle for a lump sum all [Page 767] outstanding claims against the Turkish Government in favor of American citizens, and that the same be afterwards equitably apportioned by this Government among the parties justly entitled to share therein.
It seems desirable that this lump sum should be fixed with reference to the final settlement of all such claims, having in view the reasonable amounts thereof, in order that there may be no just ground for complaint that any discrimination has been made in favor of any claimant or class of claimants to the neglect of others equally deserving. Nevertheless you are authorized to act according to your discretion and judgment as to the best mode of procedure and having the most promise of success, either by collecting a lump sum in settlement of all such claims or of a portion of them only, and proceeding by the ordinary method for the collection of the residue. If the lump sum is fixed upon, it should be attended with a statement of the names of the claimants and the nature of the claims embraced in such settlement.
The Department appreciates the force of your observations on the Frank Lenz claim and the hazards of the journey he took. If his murderers had been duly punished, this Government would not have felt disposed to demand the payment of an indemnity. The evidence showed a deliberate, premeditated murder, yet the judgment was rendered against the murderers as for “murder without premeditation,” under the 174th section of the criminal law. And even this penalty was not actually inflicted, for the guilty parties escaped.
It is hoped, in view of the enormity of the offense and the miscarriage of justice, that the Turkish Government will pay a reasonable indemnity.
I am, etc.,