Chargé Jay to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople , January 11, 1905 .
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I have recently been requested to authorize the numerous American religious, charitable, and educational institutions in the interior to fly the American flag on Sundays and holidays.
While there appears to exist no Turkish law prohibiting private individuals and private institutions of foreign nationality from displaying their national flag, yet such action, especially in the interior, meets with the strongest disapproval of the Imperial authorities and generally causes complications.
Certain reputable foreign institutions and a few private citizens at Constantinople, especially in the Christian districts of Pera and Galata, are tacitly permitted to fly their national flags, and this is also the case at several of the larger seaports in the Empire.
In the interior, however, the presence of a foreign flag denotes the residence of a consular officer or of some quasi government institution, such as the subventioned French schools.
Though doubtless in many cases where our missionaries are on good terms with the local authorities, no objection would be raised to their flying the flag, yet in many others I fear that such a step would lead to open complaint and annoyances ostensibly founded on other grounds. I have drawn the attention of those interested to the above, but I am nevertheless requested to state whether the American institutions have the right to fly the flag; and, if so, whether the legation will support them in this right. I have, therefore, the honor to respectfully request instructions from the Department upon this matter, as I am unable to find in the published Foreign Relations or in the legation’s archives any decision of the Department covering this particular point other than the right of American citizens to hoist the flag on their property in times of insurrection or riot.
I have, etc.,