Learn about the beta

File No. 367.114M69/156.

[Untitled]

No. 45.]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copy of a despatch which I am this day sending to the Ambassador at Constantinople, which is self-explanatory.

I have [etc.]

George Horton.
[Inclosure.]

The American Consul General at Smyrna to the American Ambassador.

No. 45.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that yesterday the captain of the Texas was taken to the penal-court at the Konak and his trial, in connection with the sinking of the vessel, begun, as telegraphed to you this morning. He was taken through the streets in company with about twenty others, also under indictment, himself handcuffed to another man. In accordance with my instructions, he replied to the court that he did not recognize their jurisdiction as he was, at the time when the catastrophe occurred, captain of a vessel flying the American flag.

After a few questions had been asked him, and other witnesses examined, the trial was adjourned to the 30th July next.

The whole conduct of the Turkish authorities in this case convince me that they are merely feeling their way. They cannot but recognize that they have no jurisdiction in the premises, and they are proceeding slowly to see how far the Americans will let them go. They first left him in the hospital for a long time before removing him to prison. Next, they have commenced a trial and have postponed it for three weeks, again feeling their way. The situation and the question of jurisdiction are thoroughly understood by the more intelligent portion of the community here, and our helplessness in the matter seriously compromises our prestige to an extent which probably cannot be realized either at Washington or at Constantinople. The facts that the vessel never should have been allowed to fly the flag and that the captain is a Greek has no bearing on the question at issue, which is one of law and prestige.

I have [etc.]

George Horton.