File No. 4960/64–68.
Ambassador Leishman to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople , May 15, 1907 .
Sir: With further reference to my several dispatches on the subject of the customs increase, I have the honor to confirm the note of the Sublime Porte contained in my telegraphic dispatch No. 42 of the 3d instant, stating the different concessions made in settlement of our demands (inclosure No. 1). It has been agreeable for me to have enjoyed the privilege of contributing to the task of placing American rights in the Ottoman Empire on a footing of equality with those of other nations, and I beg to heartily thank the department for the support and aid it has given the embassy in effecting this.
The settlement thus far obtained recognizes for the first time the official existence of American missions in the Ottoman Empire, and the principle secured is of far more importance than the concessions themselves. While I am glad that injustice has been corrected in the case of the Syrian customs immunities and the new buildings at Talas, Cesarea. The precedent established in the recognition of our mission is one of far greater importance, and I am thankful that it has been effected by purely diplomatic means. It has likewise been agreeable for me to have been instrumental in aiding our commercial [Page 1055] interests by securing the entry into Turkey of cotton-seed oil. The correction of titles has not yet been put into execution. The imperial irade to this effect had been sent to the Sublime Porte for transmission to the archives, but the director thereof found himself unable to obey, not having the title deeds describing the properties in question. These had been sent to the palace, where the Sultan’s secretary refused to surrender them without another irade. As further delay would have been occasioned to obtain this, the simplest solution was found to be for the embassy to furnish new copies of all the title deeds, a proceeding which has required considerable labor on our part. There have been other instances of difficulty. The first instructions sent to the customs authorities at Beirut only extended the immunities to the college and its affiliated institutions, all of which were already recipients of such privileges. I was therefore obliged to take up the matter vigorously at the capital, and I am glad to say that it has now been corrected. Lately I heard that the necessary orders had been issued to the customs at Beirut that all American institutions in Syria were officially recognized and were henceforth to be accorded the immunities, very much to the gratification of the missionaries in Syria, as evidenced by Mr. Eavndal’s telegram (inclosure No. 2). And yesterday I was the recipient of a testimonial signed by the officers of the annual meeting of the Western Turkey Mission, now sitting here, expressing appreciation for the “far-reaching settlement” effected by the embassy, a copy of which is inclosed (inclosure No. 3).
On May 3 I received a note from the Sublime Porte, a copy of which, with translation, I also have the honor to inclose (inclosure No. 4), requesting the adhesion of the embassy to the proposed customs increase.
I have, etc.,