File No. 367.114M69/132.
The American Consul General at Smyrna to the Secretary of State.
Smyrna, May 10, 1912.
Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a memorandum on the subject of jurisdiction in the case of Spiro Macris, captain of the American ship Texas, recently sunk in the harbor of Smyrna.[Page 1313]
The question is a serious one, involving the prestige of the Consulate, and one that will establish a precedent affecting generally the rights of foreigners in Turkey.
My colleagues the Russian and Belgian Consuls, who have steamship lines in their jurisdiction similar to the American Company, tell me that I am undoubtedly right in my views. I am not pressing my claim as I cannot enforce it without definite support.
Being on the ground here, however, I am in a position to inform the Department that though it may be unfortunate that these ships have acquired the right to carry the American flag, no middle course is now possible. Either some way must be found to take the flag off these ships or they must have full protection within the law. The fact that I have not insisted on taking over Captain Macris is already giving the impression here that American protection is a weak pillar to lean on. As I point out in my memorandum, it is hard to distinguish between ships “regularly documented” and others.
I have [etc.]
- Referred to in Mr. Rockhill’s telegram of May 5.↩