Mr. Tyler to Mr. Hay.
Teheran, July 1, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information copies of correspondence relating more especially to the accomplices of the murderer of the late Mr. Labaree and his servant. From a perusal of these papers it will be painfully evident that, notwithstanding the presence of the English consul-general in Urumia, the strong representations of a very capable locum tenens in Tabriz, the persistent efforts of the English minister in Teheran, the repeated and urgent requests, oral and verbal, of this legation, how little progress has been made since the murderer was arrested, and even his criminality has [Page 662]been denied, in obtaining hardly a show of justice or a serious attempt to apprehend these culprits.
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Before communicating your telegram of the 24th of June I went into the country on the 27th and had an interview with the English minister, who agreed with me that it would be advisable that I should personally take a translation and copy of the message, which he thought excellent, to the minister for foreign affairs, and insist that, as the President’s name was mentioned, he should present it to His Majesty the Shah, and obtain the strongest possible order on the Crown Prince, governor of Azerbaijan, to arrest the accomplices. His excellency also authorized me to say that unless the culprits were arrested with little more delay we should send in an identical note, and if that were not sufficient ask for joint audience of the Shah.
In my interview with the minister I told him that the Government of the United States was in earnest, that in its eyes the case had assumed very grave proportions, and that it required that the guilty parties to this barbarous murder, whoever they might be, should be arrested and punished. I told his excellency that we had been frequently advised that the most stringent orders had been given and all necessary measures taken to this end only to find that nothing had been done. I added that I did not ask that any more orders should be issued, but rather that he should insist that such as had been given should be executed, for this repetition of commands and instructions had ceased to have any effect with the authorities or to inspire any confidence in us. I mentioned my interview with the English minister, and conveyed to him the message as to an identical note and a joint interview with himself and an audience of His Majesty the Shah. I pointed out to him the dangers to which United States citizens were exposed, the natural dread in which they were living, and that the responsibility for all this rested with the authorities. In leaving a copy of the telegram I asked his excellency to present it to the Shah on the very first opportunity, and to let me have a reply as soon as possible, as I was expected without delay to transmit an answer by telegraph.
I was assured that the strongest orders had been sent, only two days before, to the crown prince to arrest these men, and there was to be no more excuse, for the Government demanded them and required that they should be presented as prisoners.
He told me that he had done all he could, and that now the Government had insisted that nothing but the apprehension of the criminals would satisfy their demands. The minister told me that he should certainly present the telegram to the Shah, and asked me to telegraph that the strongest orders had been issued, and his intention to have them enforced.
I propose, however, before complying with this request, to see some practical effect of the new orders, in default of which I shall probably telegraph, not, however, to give assurance, but rather to ask for still further instructions.
I have, etc.,