File No. 6655.

The Secretary of State to Ambassador Leishman.

No. 27.]

Sir: The department incloses herewith a copy of letter of the 20th ultimo from the Remington Typewriter Company, of New York City, complaining of the action of the Turkish customs officials at Trebizond in forcibly detaining certain Remington typewriters, the property of that company.

As you are aware, there have been several previous protest made by American exporters against the unreasonable restrictions imposed in Turkey on this important export trade. In the present instance, the machines being consigned to Persia and merely passing through Turkey, there would seem to be no excuse for interference or seizure. You are instructed to bring the matter to the urgent attention of the Porte, requesting the immediate release of the machines, unless adequate cause for their detention shall appear.

I am, etc.,

E. Root.

The vice-president of the Remington Typewriter Company to the Secretary of State.

Dear Sir: We respectfully request the assistance of the United States ambassador at Constantinople to secure the release from detention of certain Remington typewriters, the property of this company, which are forcibly detained by Turkish customs officials at Trebizonde.

The facts are as follows:

We have perfected, after much expenditure of money and labor, a typewriter for the Arabic character, which is largely employed throughout the East for writing Arabic and cognate languages, such as Turkish, Persian, Urdu (in India), Malayan, etc. In the course of developing business in this new machine we entered into correspondence with one Mirza Mesrof Khan Karam, of Tabriz, in northwestern Persia. As a result of certain arrangements with him, we shipped on the 29th of August, 1906, from the port of New York, per Baldwin’s American European Express, on board steamship Baltic, bound for Liverpool, two cases, each containing one Remington typewriter equipped with Arabic characters suitable for writing the Persian language (which are practically identical with those required for Turkish also).

These cases, each bearing name and address of consignee in Tabriz above mentioned, were forwarded from Liverpool by the agents of the said express (Stavely & Co., Dale street, Liverpool) by steamer to the Black Sea and landed at Trebizonde, in Turkish dominions, in the care of the agent or representative of Nadidjda & Co., a Russian transportation concern, whose name is mentioned as Minossian.

The nonreceipt of the goods in Persia led to an investigation resulting in establishing the fact that the steamship company gave delivery order for said goods to Minossian on December 2/15 last, “but the custom-house had stopped the delivery of the cases for the reason that the characters typographical of the machines were ‘Turque-Arabiques.’”

We had no knowledge that the importation of writing machines with Turkish characters was prohibited in the Turkish Empire. In any event, the goods were not destined for any point within that jurisdiction, and we are very desirous of regaining possession of our property in order that they may be sent forward to their ultimate destination. It will be quite evident that no intention existed upon our part to violate any Turkish law (if such exists) forbidding the importation [Page 1075] of such machines. In fact, we were not aware of any necessity existing for the passage of the goods through Turkish territory, this being merely an incident of transportation.

Said machines are now and have at all times since shipped remained the property of this company, having been sent as samples intended to develop a new trade opening which exists in Persia.

We believe that the agent Minossian, in Trebizone, being a Russian subject, has already brought the matter of this detention to the notice of the Russian embassy in Constantinople, but we are not advised as to the result.

We will feel greatly obliged if you will bring the facts before our ambassador in Constantinople for such action toward securing an order for the release of our property thus wrongfully detained as may properly be taken.

Yours, etc.,

John F. McClain.