Minister Leishman to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople, July 12, 1905.
Sir: I regret to have to report a most unpleasant incident. On Saturday last the dragoman of the legation was arrested by a stupid police agent and taken to the prefecture, where he was detained for about, an hour, owing to the fact that the minister of police had not yet arisen, but as soon as the minister learned the character of his involuntary visitor he immediately ordered his release and hastened himself to express the most abject regrets and apologies.
Under ordinary circumstances I would have simply treated the matter as one of those unpleasant incidents that sometimes occur through the stupidity of ignorant subordinates and would have been disposed [Page 882] to consider the very correct actions of the minister of police as sufficient satisfaction, but as the police agent continued in detaining Mr. Gargiulo after he had amply demonstrated the fact that he was the dragoman of the legation, I considered it necessary to call upon the minister of foreign affairs in order to lodge a formal protest against such a breach of international agreement and diplomatic immunities.
The minister of foreign affairs expressed deep regret and promised to report the matter at once to the palace, with the result that early the following morning I received a visit from Ghalib Bey, the introducteur of ambassadors and one of the sultan’s chamberlains, who informed me that the Sultan had commanded him to call and express the deep regrets of his majesty at the unfortunate occurrence and to inform me that the agent who had committed the wrong had already been dismissed in disgrace from the service, and that his majesty had expressed the hope that I would accept this apology as closing the incident.
The trouble arose through the issuance of a general order to arrest persons found purchasing arms and ammunitions, the importation of these articles into Turkey being forbidden, but several stores owned by foreign subjects have for some time past been smuggling arms into the country, and as the several governments * * * declined to assist the local authorities in preventing the sale of the forbidden articles the police attempted to stop the practice by arresting the customers when issuing from the stores with their purchases, and as the police were not sufficiently cautioned against arresting foreign subjects, and especially anyone connected with the diplomatic corps, Mr. Gargiulo was arrested upon coming out of the store of a certain Austrian after having purchased a small box of cartridges.
In the absence of the slightest evidence that would warrant the assumption that the matter was other than the stupid work of an overzealous police agent, and in view of the very correct attitude assumed by the minister of police the moment the case was presented to him, I assumed the responsibility of accepting the expression of regrets upon the part of His Majesty as closing the incident without waiting to refer the matter to the Department.
Trusting that my action will meet with your approval,
I have, etc.,