Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

No. 763.]

Sir: Referring further to my dispatch No. 752, of April 1, 1904, regarding the school question, I beg to inclose copy of note which I deemed advisable to address to the Porte in order to place the matter more clearly on record.

* * * * * * *

I have, etc.,

John G. A. Leishman.
[Inclosure.—Translation.]

Mr. Leishman to Tewfik Pasha.

Excellency: I have delayed acknowledging receipt of the Sublime Porte’s communication of April 1, declining to accede to the demand for equality of treatment for American institutions in Turkey, having waited from day to day for the past three weeks for the oft-promised note confirming same.

The facts in the case are as follows: In the beginning of September, 1902, the legation addressed a note to your excellency’s Government asking that an imperial irade be issued granting to American religious, educational, and charitable institutions throughout the Ottoman Empire the same rights and privileges accorded to similar institutions under the protection of other nations, and subsequently, at the request of the Sublime Porte, a list was filed giving the names of existing institutions for which Imperial firmans were desired.

This demand was based upon the favored-nation clause in the treaty between the Imperial Ottoman Government and the Government of the United States of America, guaranteeing equality of treatment for American citizens and American institutions, and referred particularly to the concessions granted to French religious, educational, and charitable institutions under what is generally known as the Mytilene agreement, which has since been extended to other European nations, but withheld from the United States.

After patiently waiting for nearly two years for the desired Imperial order authorizing the issue of proper firmans, during which period I was frequently given the most positive assurances that the matter had successively been favorably acted upon by the council of state and council of ministers and sent to the palace with a favorable recommendation, I was finally notified by your excellency that an Imperial irade had been issued, and that if I sent my dragoman to the Porte the contents would be communicated to him.

In accordance with this request, my dragoman called at the Porte and was informed by the general secretary of the Imperial ministry for foreign affairs that although no formal note had yet been drawn up, he would read to him the order received from the grand vizierat regarding the schools, etc.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, my dragoman made notes from the dictation of the general secretary and submitted same to his excellency for approval, his excellency merely remarking that the memorandum contained a correct translation of the substance of a note from the grand vizierat which he had been instructed to communicate to the legation.

Instead of the promised decree granting to American institutions the same rights and privileges granted to others, what was my surprise to receive a communication refusing the legation’s demand on the grounds that “* * * in regard to the schools and religious institutions, no difficulty being raised on their behalf, there is no reason for their confirmation,” etc.

As other religious, charitable, and educational institutions were in exactly the same position as American institutions to-day prior to the granting of the above-mentioned concessions, the action of the Sublime Porte can only be regarded as a refusal to accord to American institutions the same treatment [Page 821]extended to others, and may very properly be viewed by my Government as an evasion of treaty obligations.

In the absence of instructions from my Government, to whom I have referred the entire matter, I am unable at this time to make any reply beyond the mere acknowledgment of the Sublime Porte’s communication and a brief statement of the facts.

I take this occasion, etc.,

John G. A. Leishman.