File No. 9757.

The Secretary of State to Chargé Brown.

No. 287.]

Sir: I inclose a copy of a letter in which the foreign secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions requests the department to endeavor to prevent the opening by Turkish officials of the mail of American missionaries.

You are requested to remind the Sublime Porte of its assurances given in 1892, and the positive orders which it issued in the latter part of April of that year not to detain letters addressed to Americans. (See Foreign Relations, 1892, p. 561.)

I am, etc.,

E. Root.

The foreign secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to the Secretary of State.

Sir: From different parts of the Turkish Empire reports are coming to us announcing that the local officials of the Turkish Government have again begun opening the letters of our American missionaries, which are properly sealed and properly stamped for transmission through the mails. We understand that from the beginning our Government has insisted that the private mails’ of Americans shall be inviolate. It is evident that if the Turkish Government is permitted thus to open the letters of some of our American missionaries they will quickly assume the right to open all, and thus they will render the mail service of Turkey practically useless to us. I would therefore, on behalf of this board, respectfully ask that this matter receive the immediate attention of the State Department, in order that American interests in Turkey may be properly [Page 1068] guarded and their rights as American citizens not infringed upon in order to satisfy the curiosity of the Turkish local officials.

The infringements to which I refer occurred recently in relation to the mail of Doctor Underwood, our missionary at Erzroom, eastern Turkey, and the mail of Mr. Clark, our missionary at Monastir, in European Turkey. There may be other cases reported.

I remain, etc.,

James L. Barton.