File No. 367.112 Er 4/7.

The American Minister in temporary charge of the Embassy at Constantinople to the Secretary of State.

No. 284.]

Sir: With reference to the case of Mr. Telford Erickson, I have the honor to state for you further information the steps taken in the matter since Mr. Philip’s dispatch of October 17.

On the 25th of October Mr. Peet, of the American Bible House, received a telegram from Mr. Erickson stating that the latter had been arrested at Monastir, and, after two hours’ detention, had been released through the intervention of the Austrian vice consul, and that the court-martial had ordered him to leave Monastir. I at once communicated with the Sublime Porte, protesting against this action on the part of the Turkish authorities, and at the same time demanded to be informed without delay upon what grounds these measures had been taken, and that meanwhile orders should be sent to stay the proceedings at Monastir. A copy of this note is herewith inclosed.1

Subsequently, having received a dispatch from the Austrian vice consul at Monastir giving the details of the affair, I went in person to see the minister for foreign affairs. It being Sunday, he was not to be found; and, in consequence, I had an interview with the undersecretary for foreign affairs, Couyoumdjian Effendi, to whom I vigorously protested, insisting that prompt and stringent orders should be given to the governor general at once to respect the rights of American citizens in general, and in the present case to give complete satisfaction to the consul. I asked that it be pointed out to the governor general that the existence of martial law in no way modified, as far as American citizens are concerned, the rights enjoyed by the latter under the treaty of 1830. He promised to take immediate steps to have the matter promptly investigated, and since that time Mr. Erickson has not been further molested. A copy of my memorandum left with the Porte on this occasion is herewith inclosed.1

On November 2 the Department’s telegram of the 1st of November was received. As the principal points were already under consideration [Page 742] by the Porte, having been presented to the minister for foreign affairs by Mr. Philip, and as the special embassy was in the midst of their visit to Constantinople, it was thought better to postpone presenting a further note, which, however, I had already prepared, until a subsequent and more favorable day. Meanwhile I was informed by Mr. Peet that Mr. Erickson would be coming to Constantinople shortly to attend a conference of missionaries, and it therefore seemed inopportune to insist for the moment upon his immediate return to Elbassan. After consultation with Mr. Peet and Dr. Patton, the secretary of the board of missions, on the 27th, I decided to hand in the note I had prepared, based on the Department’s instruction of the 1st instant, above referred to. A copy of this note is herewith inclosed.

Meanwhile martial law has been withdrawn from the Province of Monastir, and Mr. Erickson, who is now in Constantinople, expects to return to Elbassan next week after his conference here is finished. In view of his departure and of the Department’s telegram of the 28th instant, I am sending to the Porte the inclosed note, dated the 30th instant, in which I press again for an immediate answer to our representation in the hope of eliciting some definite statement from the Government, whose frequent promises have not been fulfilled, and am arranging to see the minister for foreign affairs on the subject at the earliest possible moment.

I have, etc.,

John Ridgely Carter.
[Inclosure 1.]

The American Embassy to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

[Note verbale.]
No. 133.]

The embassy of the United States has the honor again to draw the attention of the Sublime Porte to its note verbale of the 28th of September last, relating to the ease of Mr. Telford Erickson, to which no reply has been received.

This embassy has received instructions from the Government of the United States to point out to the Ottoman Government that the attitude of the local authorities in this case is considered as arbitrary, violating directly existing rights, and, in consequence, while reserving to the Government of the United States every right in relation to the question of damages, to urgently insist that the present restrictions against the return of Mr. Erickson to Elbassan should be immediately withdrawn.

[Inclosure 2.]

The American Minister in temporary charge of the American Embassy at Constantinople to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 136.]

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to draw your excellency’s personal attention to the notes verbales of this embassy of the 28th of September and the 26th of October last, and to the memorandum of the 30th of that month, as well as to the note verbale of the 28th instant, all relating to the case of my fellow-countryman, Mr. Telford Erickson, who, having been expelled from Elbassan in the most brutal and unwarranted manner, was taken to Monastir where [Page 743] subsequently he was arrested with violence, and after two hours’ imprisonment was liberated upon the intervention of the Austrian vice consul. These repeated efforts on the part of this embassy have met with absolutely no response from the Sublime Porte; and I am now in receipt of telegraphic instructions from my Government requesting me to urge that a reply to our representations should be given without delay.

I should therefore be much obliged if your excellency would be so good as to cause me to be furnished at the earliest possible moment with such a reply as might enable me to telegraph to my Government.

I avail, etc.,

John Ridgely Carter.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.