Chargé Jay to the Secretary of State.

No. 1346.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose copy of a telegram received from the consul-general at Beirut stating that the new governor-general of Damascus had closed the American school at Mahardeh on the ground that it had no permit, copy of my telegraphic reply to the consul-general, and copy of a note on this subject handed by me personally to the minister for foreign affairs.

I have taken up the matter very vigorously and am in hopes that telegraphic orders for the reopening of the school and stringent instructions to prevent any repetition of this interference will be sent [Page 1386] immediately (which on account of the tremendous amount of red tape at the Sublime Porte means four or five days).

I trust that this incident will be found to have merely been caused by excess of zeal on the part of the recently appointed governor-general at Damascus.

It is, however, thought possible by the legation that this school may turn out to be one of the purely native Protestant institutions which, as Mr. Leishman states in his dispatch No. 1275, of February 7, page 2, are now admitted by the missionary representatives at Constantinople to have been erroneously included in the long list of genuine American institutions filed with the Porte.

I have, etc.,

Peter Augustus Jay.
[Inclosure 1.]

Consul-General Bergholz to Chargé Jay.


New governor-general at Damascus has closed school at Mahardeh, district of Hama, because it has not permit. Have represented to him that this school was established in 1882 and is protected from closing by the grand vizier circular of May 16, 1889, and also included in list accepted by Sublime Porte. Has refused to reopen school without orders. Closing due to religious intrigue with governor of Hama.

[Inclosure 2.]

Chargé Jay to Consul-General Bergholz.


Referring closing Mahardeh school matter has been actively taken up with Porte, which promised to send telegraphic instructions to vali to reopen school and not interfere with schools without special orders from here, but it expressed doubts if it is genuine American institution.

These instructions will probably not reach Vali for several days, therefore please telegraph result Thursday.

[Inclosure 3.]

Chargé Jay to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 688.]

Your Excellency: I have the honor to inform your excellency that the American consul-general at Beirut telegraphs that the newly appointed vali of Damascus has ordered the closing of the American school in Mahardeh, Sand-jack of Hama, on the plea that it has no permit, and that his orders have been carried out, despite the representations of the consul-general.

I beg to inform your excellency that the school in question existed years before the grand vizirial order of the 16th of Ramazan, 1306, and the circular of the imperial department of the interior, dated the 3d of May, 1308, and that it is included in the list of American Institutions which this legation filed with the Sublime Porte in February, 1903.

[Page 1387]

I beg to point out to your excellency that the unwarranted action of the governor-general is contrary to the above-mentioned orders issued by the Sublime Porte as the result of an agreement with this legation, and to the understanding arrived at between the Sublime Porte and this legation in 1904.

I have therefore to request your excellency to immediately cause orders to be telegraphed for the reopening of this school and that stringent instructions be sent to prevent any further interference with existing American institutions.

I take, etc.,

Peter Augustus Jay.