The Secretary of State to Minister Leishman .
Washington , February 27, 1906.
Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the Hon. Rockwood Hoar,a in relation to the taxation by the Turkish Government of property in the United States belonging to certain naturalized American citizens of Turkish birth. A later letter from Mr. Hoar makes it clear that the property on which Turkish taxation is sought to be enforced is real estate situated in the city of Worcester, Mass., purchased by four brothers, Messrs. Bedros Garabedian, Arisdokis Garabedian, Marderos Garabedian, and Ohannes Garabedian, since they became citizens of the United States. The tax assessed against the property of the Garabedians amounts, for this year, to $50, and their relative, Mr. Sarkis Apkarian, of Mamuret ul Aziz, Armenia, is looked to by the Turkish authorities to pay it.
The principle is not open to doubt that the title to real property is subject solely to the law of the locality, and that the situs of taxation is the situs of the realty—in this case Worcester, Mass.
The property affected is subject to our exclusive jurisdiction, and no foreign government can rightly levy a tax upon it. If the tax were upon the person, Turkey might claim with some show of truth and fairness that, inasmuch as the Porte has not consented to the naturalization, the subject in partibus infidelium, continued to be, nevertheless, a subject, and that his person was subject to Turkish regulation.
A poll tax would, however, be unjustifiable, because the quandom Turk owes us allegiance, and we in return owe him protection, at least as long as he does not by a return voluntarily subject himself to the local jurisdiction of Turkey.
But in no case can this Government consent to the taxation by the Turkish Government of property in the United States belonging to a duly naturalized American citizen, acquired by him subsequently to his naturalization, either directly, or, as in this case, indirectly, by levying upon, imprisoning, or otherwise punishing his relatives in Turkey.
You will take the matter up with the Turkish Government, with the view to securing from it the revocation of any order for collecting taxes on the property in question, and with the view to preventing similar cases in the future.
I am, etc.,