File No. 4960/69–72.
Ambassador Leishman to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople, May 28, 1907.
Sir: With further reference to my several dispatches on the subject of the customs increase and the settlement of our pending questions thereby effected, I have the honor to transmit to you the copies of the embassy’s recent notes to the Porte in regard to these matters.
The assurances contained in the Porte’s note of the 3d instant were not put into immediate execution. Certain delays occurred. Before acknowledging the note I therefore deemed it wise to await the carrying out of the different measures. The news that this had been done came in slowly from the various places affected. On the 15th instant I had the pleasure of informing the department with regard to the extension of customs immunities to our missions in Syria. More recently I have been apprized by our consular agent at Salonica that similar orders had been received in that city, while from Talas-Cesarea our missionaries have just notified me that they have begun work on their new buildings.
There was another point to consider. The Porte’s note of the 3d instant was not altogether explicit.
Under these circumstances the better course appeared for the embassy itself to interpret the Porte’s note, and to transmit such interpretation to the minister for foreign affairs, informing him at the [Page 1058] same time that should no exception be taken thereto within a period of one week from the note’s reception, it would consider that the meaning it had attached was the correct one. In so doing (see inclosure No. 1), I took the liberty of stating to the Porte that I was acting under the directions of my Government, which was very anxious to be enlightened on several points. I trust that this action may commend itself to your approval.
The note in question as interpreted by the embassy ought to serve as a ground for the maintenance of our rights on an equal footing with those of the most favored nation both with regard to our missions and to our commerce. For in connection with the entry of cotton-seed oil I inserted the words that “no discrimination will be exercised to the prejudice of any American product.” It should further make manifest that together with the Great European powers which enjoy the ancient capitulations, we too have a right to be consulted in the event of any alteration of existing conditions as well as in settling what the new conditions are to be.
To this note was appended what I officially called “a revised copy of the list of 1903 of American institutions established in the Ottoman Empire.” The department will remember the circumstances which attended the filing of the list of 1903. This list had been compiled without the then légation being in a position to verify it.
I therefore caused a new one to be prepared, which I am glad to say has been approved by Mr. Peet, the treasurer of the American Mission Boards. This list includes some 20 new institutions, established since the filing of the original one. It further condenses the first list to about 140, by grouping together several establishments wherever these exist in one locality and often in one compound.
On May 27, a week having elapsed since the transmission of my previous note to the Porte interpreting their regulations of our pending questions, I addressed a new dispatch to the minister for foreign affairs (inclosure No. 2), informing him of the pleasure it was for me to be able to notify the Department of State that the views of our two Governments were in such perfect accord, and intimating that as soon as the remaining points were disposed of my Government would give its friendly attention to the consideration of the Porte’s note requesting our adhesion to the customs increase.
I have, etc.,