File No. 10044/75.

Ambassador Leishman to the Secretary of State.

No. 775.]

Sir: Although it could scarcely be said that the new constitutional Government in Turkey is as yet thoroughly established, the administration, which is simply a provisional government pending the assembly of Parliament, being largely directed by the chiefs of the so-called Young Turk Party—I am quite convinced that the new constitutional régime has come to stay, and that the reign of the absolute monarchy in Turkey is a thing of the past.

In making this statement I am not blind to the fact that Turkey is liable to undergo many of the troubles experienced by other countries which have gone through the throes of a revolution, and I fully realize that she is exposed to more than the usual dangers, owing to her heterogeneous population and the jealousies and ambitions of her neighbors; but I am strongly of the opinion that she will surmount all difficulties that can ordinarily be foreseen and finally emerge from all her troubles—perhaps somewhat battered and scarred, but thoroughly purified and ready to take her place among the progressive nations.

It is quite apparent that the decline of the Empire has been arrested; and if one may judge the future by the reforms that have already been instituted, it will not be many years before Turkey will become a highly civilized and progressive nation, and, with her great natural resources, one of the richest, as existing conditions warrant the opinion that the march of progress will be even more rapid than it has been in Japan.

What European diplomacy failed to accomplish Turkey has done for herself, and, as if by magic, the reforms which combined Europe sought for years to impose have been accomplished over night, and, wonderful as it may seem, revolutionary bands, brigands, and grafters of all grades have suddenly disappeared, let us hope for good, leaving the country for the moment in the most peaceful condition it has enjoyed for centuries, which is all the more remarkable when one stops to think that the country is temporarily being controlled by sheer moral force, as many of the districts are without organized government, the old officials having either been dismissed or chased away by the inhabitants and having not as yet been replaced.

Of course much remains to be done, as it is not an easy task to replace the machinery of the Government that has so suddenly been destroyed, as new men with modern ideas must be found to take the [Page 750] places of the discarded officials of the old régime, necessitating as it does the installation of untried and inexperienced men It would indeed be a miracle if trouble of a more or less serious character did not break forth from time to time, as the large number of dismissed employees of the Government, together with their interested following, forms a large army of malcontents ready for any reactionary movement, and the sectional and racial differences, particularly between the Christian races, are always apt to lead to trouble; but even admitting the realization of the very natural fear of disturbances of one kind or another, I am quite of the opinion that Turkey has taken on a new lease of life and will continue on its progressive march despite all the difficulties that may be encountered, both from without and from within.

The establishment of a constitutional government in Turkey, which means so much to our continental neighbors, tending as it does to remove the greatest menace to the peace of Europe, is not without particular and material interest to us, as it practically removes the fundamental causes of most of our troubles with Turkey—i e., missionaries and naturalized citizens of Ottoman origin—and enhances the opportunity of extending our commerce many folds, as the development of the country, which was retarded and almost strangled by the methods of the old régime, will be encouraged to the greatest extent possible by the new Government, which is sure to result in a great wave of prosperity, while, on the other hand, the very sources of friction and unpopularity in the past are certain to redound to our credit, as the new Government is as interested in encouraging the general education of the masses as the old despotic régime was in opposing it, and the naturalized citizen, who was forbidden to return and who caused us so much trouble when he surreptitiously reentered Turkey, will now be welcomed, and no doubt a considerable percentage of the several hundred thousand emigrants who during the past 20 or 30 years have found refuge upon our hospitable shores will now return to their native land and further strengthen the bonds of friendship which bind the two countries.

It would be difficult to correctly forecast the immediate future, as much depends upon the composition of the new Parliament, which according to the constitution can not be assembled before the 1st of November, O. S.; for while the leaders of the progressive party have shown great moderation and unprecendented liberality and self-abnegation, the usual discordant elements are not wanting, and the ideas advanced by certain groups lead one to believe that a certain percentage of the deputies will be elected with impracticable and even socialistic ideas not at all suited to existing conditions, and that they will not all be inspired with the lofty and patriotic ideas which have induced the old leaders to lay aside all racial and religious prejudices and ambitions in order to conserve and strengthen what is still left of the once vast Empire; and it is sincerely to be hoped that men of this caliber will form the majority in the forthcoming Parliament, as otherwise the future peace and welfare of the Empire will be greatly menaced.

I have, etc.,

J. G. A. Leishman.