Terrell to Gresham, September 11, 1894

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Apparently a draft of a letter from Terrell to Walter Gresham, Secretary of State, requesting instructions on how to proceed with respect to the detention of Ottoman citizens (presumably Armenian) employed at American missionary schools in the central Turkish towns of Marash and Aintab.

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No 300

Legation of the United States, Constantinople, Sept 11 9th,1894,

To the Honorable Walter L Gresham Secretary of State, Washington DC,

Sir, I have the honor to inform you that I have received from the Grand Vizier through his secretary, a verbal message, notifying me of the arrest of native teachers in the American Schools at Aintab and Marash, as suspected of being seditious. The verbal message trespass having been reduced to writing, a copy is enclosed.

I therefore telegraphed you on the 8th inst, after an interview with the

Last edit almost 3 years ago by adamrabinowitz
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Grand Vizier, that no search would be made of the Schools, in the absence of a consul ; that the Missionaries feared a systematic ef- fort to destroy in this way the Missionary Schools, and that I would send Mr Riddle to Aintab. A copy of this telegram is enclosed.

I learn from Dr H. O. Dwight that only two of the accused parties are, in fact, connected with American Schools, + that both of them are Ottoman subjects, though one is a graduate of Yale College.

These arrests, made at a time when there is no armed sedition in Asia Minor, and coupled with the earnest regret, expressed to me by the Grand Vizier, that Armenian teachers are employed in the American Schools, are suggestive of the methods adopted to destroy the College at Marsovan. Certainly no more effective

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method could be devised by them than to arrest the native Armenian teachers if they desire the destruction of Missionary Schools.

I find neither in treaties or capitulations any rule by which I can interpose as matter of right, to prevent the capricious arrest and imprisonment of Turkish subjects employed by American teachers. And yet, when much money has been expended, and houses built, after the Turks have for years permitted the employment of natives, as teachers, justice would seem to require that I should have some right to prevent the destruction of American interests, by their being maliciously arrested and imprisoned. To permit it would mean the departure of the Missionaries from Turkey, and therefore the sacrifice of property

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values.

I have therefore informed the Porte, in effect, that I claimed the right to be informed of the facts on which arrest of native teachers in American Schools is based, and to judge if a prima facie case of guilt is established before bail can be refused. A copy of my note is enclosed for your information. I will not press this claim beyond the bounds of prudence until at present, but await your instructions. Certainly my right to first judge whether a prima facie case of guilt is made out before bail can be refused, could not be asserted as against a civilized Government; its only foundation is in the necessity of protecting Missionary enterprises and their propert. Dr Dwight the chief representative here of Missionary

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interests, insists that Art III of the Treaty of 1830, vests in me the right to protect all Turkish subjects who are employed by Americans as teachers; and that an opinion of Caleb Cushing, once given, sustains him. I see no such meaning in that Article.

The concession made in your telegram of the {inserted in pencil: 27 Oct 1893} and contained also in Mr Cleveland's message, of the right to Turkey, as a sovreign, to exclude or expel "undesirable persons", will, if necessary, be made available to get rid of Armenian teachers. Being Protestants, their presence and employment in American Schools, is not only undesirable to Turkey but to every power whose policy is influenced by the Catholic and Greek Churches

Last edit almost 5 years ago by adamrabinowitz
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