Chargé Jay to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople, November 29, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the American Bible Society has during the past six months encountered very serious difficulties in the prosecution of their work in Turkey.
At Adrianople, Trebizond, Ordou, and Angora their Bibles were seized by the local authorities, the colporteurs and native agents of the society being threatened with arrest and imprisonment should they further attempt to sell these books.
In every case attempts made to settle the matter locally by nearest consuls and others failed, as the authorities claimed to have been acting under orders from Constantinople.
Mr. Leishman, during the summer and up till the moment of his departure in October, did not fail to complain to the Porte, both in writing and verbally.
As usual he was met with promises, but nothing was done to release the books and otherwise settle the matter.
Early in the present month I finally succeeded, after having been given repeated promises, in inducing the grand vizier to settle the Adrianople matter by telegraph.
Learning that the British embassy had a similar case on hand in connection with their Bible society, I persuaded the British chargé d’affaires to address a strong note on the general subject to the Imperial Government similar in character to mine.
I believe these two notes, presented within a couple of days of each other, have had their effect, for on Saturday last proper orders were actually telegraphed to the governors-general of Trebizond and Angora.
* * * * * * *[Page 899]
This matter has given the legation very considerable trouble, but it has spared no pains to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.
I have, etc.