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NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKISH GOVERNMENT WITH REFERENCE
TO OFFICIAL RECOGNITION OF AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL, CHARITABLE, AND RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS IN TURKEY, AND OTHER PENDING QUESTIONS.
Mr. Hay to Mr. Leishman.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 2, 1903. (Mr. Hay states that the attention of the President has recently been called, by a numerous delegation of prominent citizens, to the embarrassments of American educational and religious institutions in the Turkish Empire. He has personal knowledge from visits made to some of these institutions of their useful and disinterested work. He is assured that the American citizens conducting them are loyal to the Sultan and desire the peace and prosperity of his dominions.
The President directs that as soon as practicable Mr. Leishman will ask an audience of the Sultan, to deliver to him a personal message from the President of good will and assurances of his hearty desire to cultivate and maintain the most cordial relations of friendship; after which Mr. Leishman will say to His Majesty that he has been instructed by the President to bring in his name these embarrassments to the personal and direct attention of His Majesty, with the full assurance that he will cause the proper steps to be taken to remedy them.
What the President desires and expects is, first, that the Sultan will grant to Ameriean citizens and institutions the same guarantees and privileges given to France in November, 1901, and which have since been conceded to Russia, Germany, and Italy. He can not believe, in view of treaty stipulations and international comity, that the Sultan will refuse to the United States the treatment extended to the nations named. Second, he asks that the same treatment be extended to the Protestant Medical College at Beirut respecting examinations and right of graduates to exercise their profession as is now extended to the French medical school at Beirut. He does not see such material difference in the schools as to warrant the discrimination practiced. The difference is chiefly in the system of government of France and the United States. The Protestant College has official authorization from and supervision of the State of New York, from which it received its charter, and should be regarded as a national institution as much as the French school.
The President is deeply in earnest in this matter, and while Mr. Leishman will approach the Sultan in the utmost spirit of friendship and good will, he will impress upon him the fixed desire and expectation of the President that this country and its citizens will be treated on the same terms as the most favored nation, and especially that the two objects noted will be promptly secured.
The President relies upon Mr. Leishman's discretion and diligence to obtain favorable action.)
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Ilay.
Constantinople, February 3, 1903. (Mr. Leishman, replying to Mr. Hay's telegram of February 2, reports that he has already taken up the matters specially referred to, together with other cases, very actively with the Sublime Porte; that the minister for foreign affairs fully recognizes the justice and reasonableness of the demands and also the fact that the United States Government had waited long enough for patience to cease to be a virtue, and promised an answer not later than the end of the current week.
Mr. Leishman inquires if, under the circumstances named, he shall make an immediate demand for audience with the Sultan, or if he shall wait until the first of the coming week.)
Mr. Adee to Mr. Leishman.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 3, 1903. (Mr. Adee instructs Mr. Leishman to wait until Monday before making demand for audience with the Sultan, and meanwhile to judiciously press the minister for foreign affairs, reporting to the Department whatever progress is made with him.)
Ir. Leishman to Mr. Hay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Constantinople, February 3, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your cable of yesterday instructing me to demand a personal audience with the Sultan in order to present the President's message to His Imperial Majesty in accordance with your cable.
As I had taken the matters referred to up promptly with the Sublime Porte upon my return, and had the promise of the minister for foreign affairs that he would use his best endeavors to have the sereral matters acted upon favorably and give me an answer not later than end of present week, I ventured to intimate to the Department by cable that under the circumstances it might be desirable to postpone any further action until I found whether the promised decisions were forthcoming.
Little complaint could be made of delay as far as the school question is concerned, as the petition was only filed a few days prior to my departure for America in September, which is not an unreasonable length of time for questions of this character to be decided by the Turks, especially as all the other powers have waited a longer period before securing action; nor have I any particular reason to expect any great amount of trouble in finally securing favorable action.
The discrimination in the matter of the American medical college at Beirut, however, has been a most exasperating and flagrant case of discrimination, and has been continuously brought to the attention of the Porte by the legation for the past five or six years.
Last summer I finally succeeded in having it favorably acted upon, and it was then sent to the palace, where it now rests, no doubt under the mountain of unfinished business.
I am at the same time pressing Doctor Bank's petition for permission to make excavations, and several other smaller matters that have been hanging for some time, including the prohibition of American pork, which in reality bas only been nominal for several years, for, while there have been no direct importations, American pork is continuously being brought into Turkey through English and German houses.
The Sultan very courteously accorded me an audience when I called to pay my respects upon my return, but the interview was confined to complimentary remarks and a half hour's conversation on general matters, as without special arrangement any one but an ambassador who ventured to talk business would be sure to meet with a polite rebuff and forever after find it a most difficult task to secure an audience.
I have, etc.,
John G. A. LEISHMAN.
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Constantinople, February 6, 1903. (Mr. Leishman reports that the minister for foreign affairs begs to be accorded a few days' grace, which Mr. Leishman has declined to do, but could not refuse to submit the request to the Department.
Mr. Leishman adds that he may possibly find it politic to grant two or three days' extra time at the last moment, but without authorization would not feel warranted in so doing.)
Mr. Ilay to Mr. Leishman.
Washington, February 7, 1903. (Mr. Hay states that Mr. Leishman is the bearer of a friendly message from the President to the Sultan, the delivery of which should not be unnecessarily delayed, and inquires if an audience can not be arranged without appearing to override the minister for foreign affairs, but rather in furtherance of Mr. Leishman's negotiations with the minister.)
F R 1903— 47
Mr. Leishman to Mr. llay.
. Constantinople, February 9, 1903. (Mr. Leishman reports that, judging from the tenor of an interview he has just had at the Porte, he is inclined to believe that a few days more patience may bring about the desired result.)
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Ilay. No. 352.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Constantinople, February 10, 1903. Sir: I beg to confirm the cablegram forwarded to the Department last evening, and await your further instruction in regard to American schools in Turkey, etc.
It has embarrassed me considerably not to be able to literally carry out instructions, but I deemed it my duty to first present the case as it appeared to me, feeling certain that the Department would appreciate the delicate position in which I found myself placed and consider the motive and not the act.
As I have written the Department on numerous occasions, it is generally a very difficult matter for a minister to secure an audience with His Majesty to discuss affairs, and particularly so at the present time, when even the ambassadors find it difficult, as the Sultan is so busily occupied with internal matters, owing to the congested state of affairs and the spirit of revolution that disturbs the Empire-especially in Macedonia, where the situation is really critical-that he really has very little time to devote to other matters; and this condition was very vividly brought to my attention when His Majesty told me during a recent interview that he was so busy that he scarcely even had time to take a walk in the palace grounds, and was sometimes confined so closely to his bureau examining papers, etc., that he scarcely knew whether it was morning or evening.
I believe the Ottoman Government is gradually awaking to the fact that the United States is a great and powerful country-slow to take offense, but quite capable of enforcing its just demands when occasion demands; and the events of the past few years have not tended to lessen this in any way, and I am quite of the opinion that the Turkish Government would go a long distance to avoid any serious friction with the American Government.
It would be difficult for me to give a tangible reason for believing that the Porte is really in earnest and acting in good faith this time, as, generally speaking, I pay little or no attention to promises, but there appears to be an indefinable undercurrent as if they realized that something must be done, and unless I am very much mistaken, I believe that all, or at least the greater part, of the questions under immediate discussion will be favorably disposed of by the Porte without my haring to resort to forcible measures at the palace.
In dealing with the Beirut Medical School matter I have dwelt particularly on the failure to properly acknowledge the President's personal message of August last, construing failure as a slight, if not an
insult. This appears to upset them very much, as it is altogether probable that the fault lies entirely with the palace officials as His Majesty is too polite to willingly permit such a discourtesy, and I am quite convinced that this line of action will bring about a prompt settlement of this particular case.
The prompt settlement of the general school question is the only one in which I am in doubt-not that I doubt the eventual settlement for a moment, as I do not believe the Ottoman Government would venture to decline to deny American institutions equal treatment in principle, but as there are a great many schools, etc., established under various conditions, they may insist on taking up the schools, hospitals, etc., in detail, which would necessarily take considerable time; and this is why I have endeavored to avoid filing our list of schools, etc., in advance, which the Porte claims has been done by the other powers, preferring if possible to have the matter decided first in principle; and the following extract from one of my notes to the Sublime Porte will indicate more clearly the line I am pursuing:
What the American Government now desires and expects is that any and all of the American educational, charitable, and religious institutions throughout the Ottoman Empire be granted the same rights, privileges, and immunities that have or may be granted to similar institutions under the protection of any other nation. Once this principle is established and put into force by Imperial edict, the question of the individual institution becomes a matter of mere detail, and the legation will then be only too happy to furnish the Imperial Ottoman Government with a full and complete list of American institutions for which Imperial sanction has not yet been granted. I have, etc.,
JOHN G. A. LEISHMAN.
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.
Constantinople, February 13, 1903. (Mr. Leishman reports that matters are certainly receiving more than usual attention, if one can judge from apparent activity and from promises, as the Porte has even gone so far as to state that Mr. Leishman could consider the Beirut matter closed, as the firman has been sent to the palace for his Imperial Majesty's signature; but, as many other promises remain unfulfilled, he does not feel warranted in reporting anything accomplished until he is in actual receipt of the official documents.
The minister for foreign affairs reports to-day that the general school question is being considered by the council of state, and asks for a detailed list of schools, which Mr. Leishman has indorsed to avoid filing in advance of settlement of question in principle, fearing it might possibly be used as an excuse for delay, adhering to his demand that what the American Government now desires and expects is that any and all of the American educational, charitable, and religious institutions throughout the Ottoman Empire be granted the same rights, privileges, and immunities that have been or may be granted to similar institutions under the protection of other nations. The settlement of this general principle Mr. Leishman considers much more important than individual firmans for the different institutions, and is strongly of the opinion that a settlement on this point should be insisted on, and states that while he has no particular reasons to doubt