Minister Leishman to the Secretary of State.

No. 1184.]

Sir: I have to inclose copy of cablegram sent you this day regarding the case of Charles Vartanian, together with a copy of a note addressed to the Sublime Porte on this subject, after my interview yesterday morning with the Imperial minister for foreign affairs.

When I saw that official on Tuesday afternoon he assured me that I need give myself no concern about Vartanian, explaining that the second trial had taken place in order to convict Vartanian’s accomplices, and that no steps would be taken to execute the judgment of the court in Vartanian’s case pending an adjustment between the two governments.

Subsequent events, however, developed the fact that the matter was beyond the control of the Porte, as I received a telegram from the minister late the same evening, asking me to call at his residence early the next morning, which I did, and found that the palace authorities, ignoring the action of the Porte, had made every arrangement to execute Vartanian, as they did not wish to longer delay hanging him, owing to popular feeling, and as the feast of Ramazan is at hand, during which time all work is practically suspended. Unless the execution takes place this week it will be necessary to postpone the matter for another month.

I protested as strongly as I could against any action being taken pending an understanding between the two governments regarding the treatment of the case, but unless some more forcible argument be resorted to I am not at all sure that my protest will be respected, although I am in hopes that it may have the desired effect of causing a temporary postponement. * * *

Awaiting your instructions,

I have, etc.,

John G. A. Leishman.
[Page 897]

Minister Leishman to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Your Excellency: Referring further to the conversation with your excellency this morning in regard to the case of Charles Vartanian and Hovhanes Afarian I would be remiss in my duty if I failed to make every effort to impress upon your excellency the necessity of taking every possible step to compel the Ottoman courts to respect the agreement between the Sublime Porte and the legation that all proceedings be stayed in these cases until such time as our two governments shall have reached a decision regarding the treatment of the matter.

As your excellency is well aware the American Government has not evidenced the slightest disposition to protect these men from being properly punished for the crimes they have committed, but it is a matter of paramount importance that the question of jurisdiction be settled by the two governments prior to any action being taken by the courts, as the mere question of meting out the punishment is a matter of secondary consideration, as there is no danger of the ends of justice being defeated by a temporary delay, as both men are now safely lodged in prison.

The general position of my government regarding these cases has already been fully outlined in my previous notes and, as explained to your excellency this morning, the legation has been unable to arrive at a definite decision regarding the standing of these men on account of the failure of the Turkish authorities to furnish the promised information regarding the exact date of birth of Vartanian and Afarian, time of their departure from Turkey, and data regarding the application for passports which they are alleged to have made to the Turkish consul at Chicago.

As the legation has shown every desire to arrive at an amicable adjustment of these matters with the Sublime Porte, it would be very regrettable if the Ottoman courts should be permitted to create an unpleasant incident by any hasty action, and I trust your excellency will at once cause the necessary instructions to be issued that will insure the stay of all further proceedings until such time as the two governments shall have reached a definite decision regarding the matter.

I take, etc.,

John G. A. Leishman.