Imagini ale paginilor

claim that the right of American citizens to receive into their hospitals and schools persons of Turkish nationality rests not alone on the specific stipulations of treaty and the capitulations, but on long usage, amounting, from duration and from the incidents assigned to it by law, to a charter. That correspondence further shows the arrangement effected by Mr. King with the Turkish authorities, by which the natives of the Empire were to benefit by the benificent and educational opportunities afforded by the missionaries of the United States in Turkey. The rights of foreigners in the matter of worship rest on even more unassailable grounds; so much so that, in the course of centuries of. constant exercise, they had never been seriously questioned. It is not to be supposed that they can now be called in question; they certainly can not be impaired by introducing a distinction between public and private worship, or by raising question whether the place of worship is to be regarded as a dwelling or a temple. Its only relation to the subject now under consideration is as regards the circumstances under which those rights may be exercised.

Any conditions affecting such exercise must necessarily be legiti mate, usual, precise, and readily fulfilled. It would be impossible to admit any arbitrary criterion by which the rights and teaching and worship of and by foreigners in Turkey may be circumscribed and rendered null at the whim of the authorities by the imposition of unusual or difficult conditions.

Neither should the merits of the question be clouded by such hairsplitting issues as that now raised by the contention that the exercise of an assured right in the dwelling house of a foreigner "converts" the dwelling to some different but equally legitimate use.

A question in point was presented in your dispatch, No. 284, of May 7, 1891. You then reported the case of the Rev. Henry Easson, of Latakia, who, having lawfully and rightfully purchased a parcel of land for the purpose of building a dwelling house, was refused the necessary building permit unless he should bind himself not to use or rent the house for school purposes, nor sell it except to parties who would similarly bind themselves. In your note verbale of December 15, 1890, to the ministry for foreign affairs you properly took the ground that the conditions sought to be imposed were illegal, inasmuch as the rights of foreigners in the premises extend not only to the purchase of land, but to its use and enjoyment by the owner. No attempt whatever appears to have been made on the part of the Ottoman Government to uphold the proposed conditions as legal, usual, or reasonable, and Mr. Easson soon thereafter received his permit without the obnoxious conditions, and proceeded to construct his house. No further attempt to interfere with his rights in this regard has been reported.

The right of a citizen of the United States to purchase land in Turkey, and to build thereon, is indefeasible. The character of the structure to be erected thereon is naturally definable, within reasonable limits; but the right to erect it, whether it be a dwelling-house or shop, an industrial establishment, a bank, a school, a church, a hospital, or any other legitimate structure not contravening law or good morals, is unimpeachable. It is, of course, proper that, in applying for the necessary permit to build an edifice destined to special uses other than those of ordinary habitation, the purpose for which it is intended should be defined in good faith and with reasonable precision. Such a definition can, however, in no wise curtail the extraterritorial rights of domicil possessed by foreigners in Turkey, or become instrumental in restraining the exercise within the walls of their dwellings of every right to which they are entitled. It will, now as always, be your duty

and your care to protect American citizens in the full and free enjoyment of their domiciliary rights, and to protect them therein from any illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable, and vexatious interference on the part of the Ottoman authorities.

If it would aid in the comparison of views on this subject between your legation and the British embassy, you may communicate the contents of this instruction to Her Britannic Majesty's ambassador.

I am, etc.,


Mr. MacNutt to Mr. Blaine.

No. 364.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Constantinople, December 17, 1891. (Received January 7.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose for your information a verbal note to the Sublime Porte, based upon information furnished me by Bible House, concerning the capricious action of the Vali of Bourdour in stopping the work upon the house of Mr. Bartlett, an American missionary, for which the usual municipal permit to build had been granted.

Besides being thus formally presented to the Porte, this case has been the subject of discussion with the minister of foreign affairs. The customary satisfactory promises have been offered me.

I have, etc.,

FRANCIS MACNUTT, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.

[Inclosure in No. 364.]

Mr. Mac Nutt to the Sublime Porte.

Constantinople, December 8, 1891.

The Rev. L. Bartlett, an American citizen residing in Smyrna, last spring purchased a piece of land in the town of Bourdour (Vilayet of Konia), for the purpose of constructing a dwelling house upon it. The land was transferred to Mr. Bartlett's name under the protocol permitting ownership of real estate by foreigners, and Mr. Bartlett took out the usual municipal permit to build a dwelling house thereon, paying the customary tax upon it. He then proceeded to build his house. After the walls were constructed, but before the roof was tiled, the governor of Bourdour stopped the work. The official permit to build being produced, the governor said that he had received information that Mr. Bartlett intends to open a school in the house, which he, the governor, did not wish to have done. After long discussion upon representation of the injustice of issuing a permit to build and then seeking to set it aside after the building was nearly completed, permission was given to tile the roof in order to save the walls from injury.

A new governor was recently appointed to Bourdour, and he has again stopped the work upon the house, declaring that he has orders from the minister of the interior to destroy the house, unless Mr. Bartlett will bind himself never to hold a school or religious worship upon the premises.

While the protocol on real estate provides that Ottoman law shall govern the enjoyment by foreigners of their real estate property in Turkey, it certainly does not contemplate the arbitrary interference of officials to prevent Americans from using the property which they have bought. Hence it is to be hoped that the Sublime Porte may see fit to intervene to protect Mr. Bartlett against the lawless suppression of his right of property, and setting aside of his formal permission to build. It is to be noted that permits to build are issued on the sole condition of conformity to municipal regulations as to manner of construction, containing no warrant for inquiry into the owner's intentions as to the use of the building. In fact this inquiry is needless since it is evident neither Mr. Bartlett nor any other house owner can use his house for any illegal purpose.

FR 92-34

Mr. Hirsch to Mr. Blaine.

No. 375.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Constantinople, January 11, 1892. (Received January 25.) SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your instruction, No. 263 of December 14, 1891, completing and amplifying the instructions contained in your No. 249 of October 1, 1891, touching the subject of the conversion of dwelling houses into churches and schools without authorization, in regard to which subject the Sublime Porte had addressed a verbal note to the legation on August 17, 1891, a copy of which, together with a proposed reply in concert with the British embassy was sent to you by the chargé d'Affaires in his No. 344 of September 10,


In closing your dispatch I am instructed if it would aid in the comparison of views between the legation and the British embassy, to communicate its contents to the ambassador.

The much lamented death of Sir William White unfortunately rendered it impossible to avail myself of this part of your instructions, and in view of the uncertainty of Sir Clare Ford's arrival here to assume the functions of ambassador, it has not seemed well to me to leave the Porte's verbal note of August 17 longer without an answer. I have therefore to day handed to the minister of foreign affairs, and had read to him, in translation, in my presence the verbal note of which a copy is herewith inclosed.

In conversation the minister said that it was not the intention of the Ottoman Government to interfere with the free exercise of religious rights, but that there were laws and regulations and it was expected that these be observed. The note of August 17, he observed, was a circular note, sent to all embassies and legations, and he had not heard of any special infraction of the law imputed to American missionaries, and in case such comes to his notice he would notify the legation.

I told the minister that the United States Government expected American citizens to obey the laws of the land in which they were domiciled, and that the missionaries had always done so and would continue to do so as long as rights secured to them under the capitulations and treaties and until now exercised, not only with the knowledge of but also under the protection of the Turkish Government, be not interfered with, and that we expect that they be permitted the continuation of the enjoyment of the privileges to which many years' sanetion entitles them. I took occasion also to say that reports from the interior of the Empire would seem to indicate a less friendly spirit toward our missionaries than was formerly displayed. I permit myself also to express to the Department my apprehensions aroused by the disquieting and unfavorable change in the attitude of the local authorities all through the Empire, and in this connection feel constrained to suggest to the Department the urgent necessity of establishing a United States consulate at Erzeroum, the center of an important mission district, and one where we have no consular representation, our citizens living there being left to the good offices of the British consul.

The discouraging signs in divers quarters convince me that the establishment of a consulate there is now become an immediate necessity.

I have, etc.,


[Inclosure in No. 375.]

Mr. Hirsch to the Sublime Porte.

Constantinople, January 9, 1892.

In acknowledging the verbal note, No. 101120–10 of the 17th of August, 1891, which the ministry of foreign affairs addressed to the United States legation, in which it is stated that it has sometimes happened that missionaries and religions have converted their dwelling houses into churches or schools without authorization, and that instructions have been given to the competent authorities to see that such conversion be prevented, the legation is constrained to observe that the definitions of the said note are so vague and wanting in exactitude that a categorical reply to the request contained in it is scarcely possible. This legation would therefore invite the ministry of foreign affairs to explain in what it conceives such conversions to consist. It may, however, be here laid down as a fundamental principle inherent in and protected by the capitulations and treaties, that the missionaries and religions possess the right to worship according to the rites of their several denominations in their houses and upon their premises, as long as the rights of others and public order be not thereby trenched upon or disturbed; it is not, therefore, conceivable that the verbal note of August 17 was animated by an intention to curtail or infringe upon this, the first and most necessary right of foreign missionaries.

Pending a clearer understanding of the meaning and intentions of the Sublime Porte, it has not been found expedient to comply with the request contained in the said note, that its provisions be communicated to the American missionaries in the Empire. It is moreover expected that instructions sent to the competent anthorities in the provinces contain nothing affecting the status of American missionaries to their disadvantage, or subjecting them to any new or unusual treatment.

Mr. Hirsch to Mr. Blaine.

No. 379.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Constantinople, January 22, 1892. (Received February 8.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note to the Sublime Porte, protesting against the provisions of a ministerial order, a copy of which is also submitted, recently sent to the provinces concerning the conditions for opening and maintaining schools which are not in harmony with the law and usage until now observed.

In dispatch No. 276, of Mr. King to the Department, dated January 11, 1887, the one hundred and twenty-ninth article of the Ottoman school law of 1869 is given, and the provisions of this law, viz, that the books used and the system of instruction and the diplomas of the teachers should be submitted to the inspection of a mixed council, have always been scrupulously observed by the American missionaries as is pointed out in the inclosed note to the Porte; it is owing to the failure of the authorities to coöperate if these provisions have remained ineffective.

The pretension now advanced by the Porte, that a permit must be obtained for each school is rejected by the legation; the admission of this claim would clearly constitute an acknowledgment that these schools have until now existed by toleration but without legal sanction, which we can not admit.

I have, etc.,


[ocr errors]

[Inclosure 1 in No. 379.]
Mr. Hirsch to the Sublime Porte.

Constantinople, January 21, 1892.

Mr. MINISTER: The provisions of the order issued to the local and provincial authorities from the Sublime Porte, under date of December 28, 1307 (1891, O. S.), in which instructions are given concerning the conditions for opening and maintaining schools, having come to my notice, I am constrained to immediately point out to your excellency what would seem to me the imperative necessity of furnishing the same authorities with such explanatory instructions as may make clear to them the status of the American schools in their several districts, and thus forestall the erroneous interpretation of the Sublime Porte's intentions in issuing this order, which appears to be imminent, and which, if acted upon, would undoubtedly occasion much injustice and might disturb that harmony which it is the care of this legation to solicitously foster between all American citizens under its jurisdiction and the authorities of His Majesty's Empire.

Your excellency will concede ine that, since immemorial time, schools have been free, and I am unaware of any restrictions governing them prior to the hatti houmagoum of 1856, which may be considered to have the force of an international agreement, and which, in its fifteenth article, says: "Moreover, every community is authorized to establish schools of science, arts, and industry; only the method of instruction and the choice of professors in schools of this class shall be under the control of a mixed council, whose members shall be named by my sovereign will."

These conditions, and the conditions of control demanded by the one hundred and twenty-ninth article of the law of public instruction, based upon the hatti houmagoum, have been long since fulfilled by all the American schools; i. e., the books in use, the system of instruction, and the diplomas of the teachers, have always been freely offered for the approval of the local authorities.

But while the local authorities should, upon such compliance with the law, have then registered all these schools, the only result of these efforts on the part of the American school boards to conform to the Imperial order, was the official approval by the censorship of the books used, the local authorities saying that they had no instructions or powers qualifying them to certify to the programme of studies or the teachers' diplomas, as the law commanded, unless, indeed, I except that most frequently the American diplomas thus presented were lost by the officials or mislaid and never returned. Under these above-indicated conditions, therefore, we claim and have exercised the right of opening schools throughout the Empire, which are and have been always under the protection of the United States legation.

I find nothing in the law requiring a formal application for a permit, and such permit, if held to be convenient by the local authorities, should be at once issued by them, upon the lawful conditions being fulfilled.

I may here invite your excellency's attention to the circular letter of the minister of public instruction, dated December 16, 1302, and to the vizerial circular that followed shortly afterwards, and by which the local authorities were unequivocally instructed to permit these schools to continue their work unmolested.

In offering these observations to your excellency I allow myself to believe that a due consideration of their gravity may lead to the adoption of measures that may effectually prevent any interference with the scholastic work of foundations under the protection of my Government.

I avail, etc.,


[Inclosure 2 in No. 379.-Translation.]

Ministerial order concerning schools.

The prohibition against founding or opening in the Ottoman Empire schools or places of worship, without obtaining official permission, is reiterated.

Moreover, peremptory instructions will be given to those concerned that in respect to schools or places of worship that have been opened without official permission it will be necessary for them, within a period fixed according to the locality, to obtain by the usual method permits for these also; and, further, that those schools and places of worship which do not obtain permits within the specified time shall be closed. It must be made known to them also that those who found schools or places of worship without permission will be treated according to the provisions of Article 129 of the law of public instruction and to the present edict. The decision of the high council

« ÎnapoiContinuați »