Minister Leishman to the Secretary of State.

No. 1180.]

Sir: Referring further to my several dispatches regarding Charles Vartanian and Hovhanes Afarian, two naturalized citizens of Ottoman origin arrested by the Turkish police for the murder of a rich Armenian merchant at Constantinople who had refused to contribute money for the revolutionary movement, I beg to inclose a clipping from to-day’s issue of the Levant Herald, showing that despite our protests and the promises of the imperial minister for foreign affairs that all proceedings would be stayed the above-mentioned men were taken to the criminal court at Stamboul yesterday, where they were tried and condemned, the former, who was the principal, to death, and the latter, as an accomplice, to fifteen years’ imprisonment at hard labor.

No doubt exists as to the guilt of the men, and they richly deserve the punishment to which they have been condemned, but this does not dispose of the important question of principle which the case involves, and unless the government is prepared to practically abandon its right to protect American citizens of Ottoman origin who return to Turkey it seems to me that under all the circumstances the demand for their surrender to the custody of the consulate must be insisted upon, even if in order to enforce the demand it should be found necessary to adopt extreme measures.

As this matter has already been fully explained in my previous dispatches, it is scarcely necessary for me at this time to enter into further details, and pending the receipt of the Department’s instructions [Page 895] asked for in my dispatch No. 1160 of September 13, I have not felt warranted in taking any more aggressive action than the filing of a formal protest.

I have, etc.,

John A. G. Leishman.

Minister Leishman to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Your Excellency: It appears from the semiofficial publication in to-day’s local newspapers that the understanding reached with your excellency regarding the case of Charles Vartanian and Hovhanes Afarian has not been respected, these two men having been taken late yesterday afternoon to the criminal court at Stainboul, where they were tried and condemned by the said court on the charge of killing one named Apik Effendi Oundjian, the former to death, and the latter to fifteen years’ hard labor, no notice evidently having been taken of the arrangement concluded between the Sublime Porte and the legation that all proceedings in this case would be stayed until our respective governments should have reached a definite agreement upon the final treatment of the case.

The views of the legation on the subject of the detention of the said individuals by the police authorities, as well as on the matter of jurisdiction have clearly been presented to the imperial ministry for foreign affairs by my notes Nos. 590, 595, 598, 599, and by my several verbal communications.

I therefore have to protest most formally against these proceedings and against the above-mentioned conviction of Charles Vartanian and Hovhanes Afarian, the validity of which the legation is unable to recognize, and consequently must again insist upon all execution of judgment or proceedings against these men being stayed until our two governments shall consider and agree on the treatment of the case.

Under these circumstances I trust your excellency will at once cause the necessary instructions to be issued to the proper Department that will insure all further proceedings being stayed until such time as the Sublime Porte and the legation shall have reached a definite understanding, as otherwise the responsibility for the failure to respect the very just and reasonable demands of the American Government must rest entirely with the Imperial Ottoman Government.

I take, etc.,

John G. A. Leishman.