File No. 10044/52.
Ambassador Leishman to the Secretary of State.
Constantinople , August 20, 1908 .
Sir: With further reference to my several recent dispatches on the political situation here, I have the honor to report as follows:
The past 10 days have in many respects passed tranquilly, and the demonstrations which last week were still general have for the time being almost ceased The constitutional government is busily occupied in an energetic process of house cleaning and ridding the different bureaus of the deadwood with which the former régime had encumbered them The accumulation of useless posts had been the main reason why the salaries of officials were paid so irregularly, the less favored ones in fact receiving their pay for barely more than six or seven months in the year and then always in arrears The recent sweeping reform has caused the dismissal in some of the governmental departments of nearly 90 per cent of the officials, while the council-of state has similarly been reduced to about one-fifth of its former swollen proportions However necessary have been these changes, unless they are gradually and tactfully carried out I fear lest they prove a cause of future embarrassment to the constitutional government.
The sudden death of the new minister of war, Redjeb Pasha, has been the most unfortunate incident of the last few days Only two days before he had arrived from Tripoli, where for some years past he had been exiled as governor He was regarded as an able administrator and was greatly beloved by the army and in Albania, of which he was a native Much was expected of his tenure of office during the present critical time, and his death is regarded as the most serious blow suffered as yet by the cause of reform.
Other developments of recent days have been the breaking out of a number of strikes here and in Smyrna These have been new occurrences in Turkey, where under the old régime they were never permitted The “committee of union and progress,” which is the working organization of the reformers, have succeeded, however, in settling the most important strikes and in keeping the others within the bounds of law abidance They have given further proof of their utility in inducing the brigands, who for years had terrorized the Smyrna district, to lay down their arms, and have thus effectually suppressed for the time what had been the scourge of an otherwise prosperous region In Macedonia, likewise, the bands have disappeared, [Page 749] though it is perhaps questionable if the Bulgarians will be satisfied to abandon all hopes for a greater Bulgaria at the expense of Turkey, and already certain disquieting rumors pass current regarding their future activity.
I have, etc.,