Mr. Griscom to Mr. Hay.

No. 156.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 196 of the 11th instant to Mr. Straus, in which you recapitulate the claims of American citizens for damages inflicted upon their persons and property during the Armenian troubles, as well as the claim for indemnity for the murder of Frank Lenz, and direct that this legation again energetically urge the payment of all these claims.

In compliance with your instructions I have this day addressed to the minister for foreign affairs a note, copy of which is inclosed herewith, demanding an immediate reply to the note of Mr. Straus of the 16th ultimo, in which he set forth at length the status of our relations with the Ottoman Government. Mr. Straus’s note, a copy of which was transmitted to the Department in his No. 136,1 of the 20th ultimo, is of a character requiring a prompt response, and forty days having now elapsed I have made a peremptory demand for a reply, at the same time renewing the request for payment of all the indemnity claims. I have endeavored to make the wording of my note slightly stronger than that of Mr. Straus’s while refraining from committing the United States Government to anything definite.

Should a reply be called forth I will immediately communicate it to the Department.

I have, etc.,

Lloyd C. Griscom.

Mr. Griscom to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Excellency: In conformity with peremptory instructions from my Government received this day I have the honor to refer you to Mr. Straus’s note of the 16th ultimo, in which he sets forth at length the important questions now at issue between the Government of the United States and the Ottoman Empire. More than a month has elapsed since the note was addressed to your excellency, and no response being forthcoming I am obliged to call the matter to your attention and request that an immediate reply be given. I would submit to your excellency that the arguments of my Government, presented with all courtesy and patience by its accredited envoy, can not be allowed to remain longer unanswered.

Mr. Straus in the above-mentioned note sets forth the solemn promise of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan to pay the indemnity claims of American citizens for losses arising out of the Armenian troubles and the failure to fulfill it. Authorization has been asked to rebuild the American college buildings at Harpoot, destroyed with the cooperation of imperial soldiers during the same troublous period.

On the day of Mr. Straus’s departure, December 20, His Imperial Majesty sent a chamberlain to Mr. Straus to inform him that an irade authorizing the rebuilding of the college at Harpoot would be issued that day. Thirty-five days have passed, and the irade has not been issued, and upon recent inquiry the first secretary of the Sultan informed the dragoman of this legation that the matter is indefinitely postponed until after Ramazan. I need not point out to your excellency that this deliberate breach of promise has seriously aggravated the situation and threatens to disturb the cordial relations which have hitherto existed between the two Governments.

I desire hereby urgently to present to the Ottoman Government and to demand the immediate payment of all claims of American citizens for damages inflicted during the Armenian troubles upon their persons or property, as well as the claim for indemnity [Page 908] for the murder of Frank Lenz and the gross miscarriage of justice in the failure to punish the guilty parties.

The patience shown by my Government in waiting so long without receiving a definite reply or any satisfaction being given to its demands has been stretched to its utmost, and I feel confident that to your excellency’s high sense of justice and wise statesmanship it will be evident that to avoid the serious situation which seems imminent action must at once be taken by the Ottoman Government in conformity with the demands of the United States and His Majesty’s solemn promise to accede thereto.

I shall await your excellency’s prompt reply in order to telegraph my Government the decision of His Imperial Majesty.

Accept, etc.,

Lloyd C. Griscom.