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File No. 367.114M69/152.

The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

No. 234.]

Sir: Referring to my cablegram of May 13, regarding American consular jurisdiction in the case of the captain of the steamship Texas at the time of that vessel’s sinking in Smyrna harbor on April 29 last, and to your cabled instruction of June 5, I have the honor herewith to enclose copies of the notes verbales transmitted by the Embassy to the Porte in pursuance of your instructions.

I have also to transmit herewith copy of a memorandum which I personally handed to the Porte on the 11th of May when first the attention of the Ottoman Government was called to the matter, according to your cabled instructions of May 8.

I have [etc.]

W. W. Rockhill.
[Page 1322]
[Inclosure. 1—Note verbale.]

The American Embassy to the Ministry far Foreign Affairs.

No. 91.]

Referring to the Embassy’s memorandum1 of May 11, 1912, regarding the matter of the sinking of the steamship Texas of the Archipelago-American Steamship Company, wherein reservation was made for later discussion of the question of jurisdiction in this matter, the Embassy of the United States of America now has the honor to point out that as the Texas was an American vessel, the property of an American corporation and flying the American flag, and as the captain of this vessel is held for a crime alleged to have been committed by him while aboard this American vessel and in his capacity as master of the same, he is subject to the same jurisdiction as would be an American citizen serving in like capacity.

The Embassy, therefore, specifically requests the surrender of Spiro Macris, captain of the steamship Texas at the time of her sinking, to the custody of the American Consulate General at Smyrna, to be tried by the American Consular Court for such charges as may be properly brought against him on account of any act committed by him while performing his duties as master of said American vessel.

Further, the Embassy reserves, on behalf of the United States Government, all rights in connection with all questions arising out of the sinking of the said vessel in Smyrna Bay on April 29, 1912.

[Inclosure. 2—Note verbale.]

The American Embassy to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

No. 103.]

By its note verbale No. 91 of the 8th instant, the Embassy of the United States of America had the honor specifically to request the surrender of Spiro Macris, captain of the American steamship Texas at the time of her sinking, to the custody of the American Consulate General at Smyrna, to be tried by the American Consular Court for such charges as might be properly brought against him on account of any act committed by him while performing his duties as master of said vessel.

This Embassy has now the honor to inform the Sublime Porte that it has been surprised to learn through the American Consulate General at Smyrna that the said Spiro Macris has been removed by the Ottoman authorities from the hospital prison and thrown into the common prison of convicted criminals.

This Embassy can not understand how, before the Sublime Porte had done the Embassy the honor to give a reply to the memorandum of the 11th of May last requesting that the local authorities should not be permitted to proceed further in the matter, and to the said note verbale of the 8th instant, requesting the surrender of the said Spiro Macris to the American Consulate General for trial, the Ottoman authorities at Smyrna have been responsible for such action altogether incompatible with the elementary rules of international courtesy. While reiterating its above-mentioned requests, this Embassy regrets to find itself obliged to enter a formal protest against the action of the Ottoman authorities at Smyrna, which is absolutely at variance with [the] friendly and most courteous methods which have always characterized the relations between the Sublime Porte and this Embassy.

[Inclosure 3.]

The American Embassy to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

memorandum.

In the matter of the sinking of the American steamship Texas, flying the American flag, on the 11th of May,2 1912, the American Ambassador called at [Page 1323]the Sublime Porte and in an official interview informed the Imperial Ministry for Foreign Affairs that, having been informed that the captain of the said vessel had been removed to the prison hospital, and reserving the discussion of the question of jurisdiction, he had instructed the American Consul General at Smyrna to request the Governor General of the Vilayet of Aidin to inform him of the charges brought against the captain. In case the local authorities would inform the Consul General that the captain was held for alleged offense connected with the sinking of the Texas, the Consul General was instructed to point out that diversity of report existed concerning the cause of the sinking of the said vessel, and to request the Ottoman authorities that pending determination of this point, which is now under investigation, they surrender to him for custody the captain of the said American vessel.

In order to clearly and definitely understand the case, the Ambassador requested the Imperial Ministry for Foreign Affairs to immediately furnish the Embassy with a chart showing the exact and actual location of the wreck, the buoys, the courses, and the ships at the date of sinking, these data being absolutely necessary to determine the facts of the case. The Ambassador further stated that before the above chart was furnished and the facts of the case were fully known, the local authorities should not be permitted to proceed further in the matter. The discussion of damages also was reserved.

  1. Inclosure 3 herewith.
  2. April 29.