Page images

of all those who are not actually needed to safeguard their interests until peace and order be again restored.

Fortunately there are less than twenty people, all told, at present, and as far as the missionaries are concerned it would in any event be practically impossible for them to prosecute their educational work during the present crisis.

Many overt acts are no doubt daily committed by both sides, but little reliance can be placed in the exaggerated reports of massacres that are circulated by interested parties.


* The developments of the next few weeks will make an interesting history and I can only hope that the great necessity that exists will develop some plans that will correct the present trouble and prevent the otherwise inevitable destruction of many thousands of lives and an incalculable amount of property. I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 1.)
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Peet.


Constantinople, September 18, 1903. Sir: As the trouble in Macedonia appears to be spreading and becoming more intense each day and may break forth with increased violence at any time, it seems to me that it would be wise for your board to promptly take into consideration the advisability of sending the missionaries out of Macedonia until peace and order has again been restored, as it is impossible for the Government to guarantee absolute security as long as present conditions prevail. I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 2.]
Mr. Leishman to Mr. Straus, agent American Tobaccco Trust.


Constantinople, September 18, 1903. Sir: In view of the disturbed condition of affairs in Macedonia, which may assume more alarming proportions at any time, I would strongly recommend your instructing all American citizens in your employ to exercise the greatest care, as it is impossible for the American Government to guarantee its citizens absolute security in the Macedonian district as long as the present revolution, which has brought the country into a state of anarchy, exists.

I do not wish to be considered an alarmist, but it would be a wise precautionary measure if all those whose services are not absolutely needed to safeguard your interests were sent out of the disturbed district until such time as peace and order shall again be restored. I have, etc.,


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Ilay. .


Constantinople, October 6, 1903. (Mr. Leishman reports that the outlook in Macedonia continues gloomy, and that daily attacks by the bands and reprisals by the troops is rapidly decimating the border districts, causing untold misery,

although reports of massacres and numbers killed are grossly exaggerated; that the American missionaries are anxious for him to request the President to make an appeal to the public for subscriptions, but that he is of the opinion that such action would be premature at present and should be postponed until order has been restored, as action now might be construed as assisting the revolutionists and meet with ill feeling and obstruction.)

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay. No. 596.]


Constantinople, October 6, 1903. Sir: There is no material change in the situation in Macedonia. The troops have been more active of late, but so have the bands, and individual acts of barbarism are a daily occurrence on both sides.

Many villages have been destroyed, but comparatively few people killed, as the insurgents are well informed, and after an attack upon the Turks generally flee to the mountains, where the troops are unable to pursue them, leaving as a rule few people in the villages, which, in most cases, the troops find practically deserted, so that the greatest distress is caused by the destruction of houses and crops.

So much allowance must be made for exaggerations that it is difficult to estimate the number of people who are without homes and are now living in the recesses of the mountains, where cold weather and short supply of food will soon render their position very grave; but I think it fair to assume that the number can not be far short of 30,000.

The greatest distress is sure to prevail throughout northern Macedonia this winter, and as soon as it is practicable to do so it would be a humane and charitable move to solicit aid from generous-hearted people in America; but, as I cabled you this morning, I am of the opinion that such a move at the present time would be premature, and as open warfare has not been declared it would even be difficult to introduce the Red Cross Society, as the conditions in Macedonia are quite different from those existing in Armenia in 1896, immediately following the massacre, as only one class was in distress and the trouble practically over when England induced the Turkish Government to allow the Red Cross to enter, while in Macedonia all classes have suffered equally-Bulgars, Moslems, Greeks, and other races alike--and the insurrectionary movement continues.

Any relief movement made at the present time would no doubt be resisted by the Turks, and premature action might be misconstrued.

I have explained this matter fully to the American mission board here, and they are quite of the same opinion, and regret the hasty action taken by some of their overzealous members in the disturbed district in making appeal to the English and American public, which the board realizes is apt to cause trouble to the missionary interests, and the petition mentioned in the appeal which was to have been presented to the English ambassador and myself has been held in abeyance by the head officers here.

I inclose copy of recent reports from our consular agent at Salonica in reference to the political situation. I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 1.–Telegram.]
Mr. Lazarro to Mr. Leishman.

Salonica, October 3, 1903. Many threatening insurgents crossed frontier. Serious engagement took place Razlog. Many villages burning.


[Inclosure 2.)
Mr. Lazarro to Mr. Leishman.

Salonica, October 4, 1903. Sir: I beg to confirm my telegram of October 3 and to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram received on the 3d instant reading as follows:

“Continue sharp lookout and keep me fully posted."

It seems that the number of insurgents who crossed the frontier was over 3,000, and that they attacked villages of mixed Mussulman and Greek population, making also use of bombs. It seems that in various serious encounters which the Turkish troops had with these bands the latter were temporarily checked and disperged. The Turks, however, lost a large number of men-according to some reports very near 1,000. I have, etc.,

H. P. LAZARRO, United States Consular. Agent.

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Ilay. . No. 617.]


Constantinople, October 29, 1903. Sir: The revolutionary movement in Macedonia continues, but the attacks by the bands have become less frequent and of less magnitude. Occasional conflicts between the troops and the bands occur, and dynamite outrages are not infrequent.

Mr. Lazarro, our consular agent at Salonica, has just wired that an attempt was made last night to blow up the European mail on the line between Salonica and Uskub, but fortunately no one was killed, although considerable damage was done to the line.

The European powers have presented an enlarged scheme for reforms, which for the moment has had a decided tendency to check the revolutionary movement, but unless modified considerably it will be seriously objected to by the Ottoman Government, as an acceptance would practically mean the entering wedge for autonomy, which, even if the Sultan was disposed to grant it, would be quite sure to be resented by the troops and the Mussulman population generally, and the mere suggestion has caused an increased feeling of antagonism against all foreigners which is quite noticeable.

Just what the final outcome will be is difficult to foresee.
I have, etc.,


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay. No. 614.]


Constantinople, November 28, 1903. Sir: As the trouble in Macedonia appears to have quieted down, with little prospect of any fresh outbreak before spring, if then, I have felt warranted in dispensing with the extra guards for the present, as the situation here for the moment is about normal.

I have, however, retained the two men at the entrance to the legation inclosure as they are really needed at all times as gate keepers as well as guards. This I consider most desirable if not actually necessary.

All of the foreign embassies now have guards as well as the men at the gates, and the Germans have recently gone so far as to establish a permanent guard in addition to the marines on the stationaire, having erected a small barrack in the embassy inclosure for a special guard sent out by the Government, consisting of a commissioned officer and 12 marines.

Although the Sultan has accepted the demands of the European powers in principle, the acceptance was couched in such a skillful way and with such material reservations as to practically render it worthless, although it will no doubt lead to the establishment of better gov. ernment in Macedonia, but without robbing the Turk of his sovereign power.

I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 1.] The nine articles contained in the Austro-Russian demands. The Austro-Russian instructions to Baron Calice and M. Zinoview in regard to reforms in Macedonia were issued here last evening in the shape of a telegram from Constantinople. They contain nine points and run as follows:

1. In order to establish control over the activity of the Ottoman local authorities in regard to the application of reforms, special Austro-Hungarian and Russian civil agents are to be appointed to accompany the inspector-general everywhere, to direct his attention to the needs of the Christian population, to report to him the abuses of the local authorities, to transmit corresponding proposals to the ambassadors in Constantinople, and to report to their Governments on everything that happens in the country. To assist these agents, secretaries and dragomans will be chosen, upon whom the execution of their orders will be incumbent, and who for this purpose will be empowered to go on tours through the districts to question the inhabitants of Christian villages and to watch over the local authorities, etc. Since the task of the civil agents consists in providing for the introduction of the reforms and the tranquilization of the inhabitants, their mandate will lapse two years after their appointment. The Sublime Porte will instruct the local authorities to afford these agents all facilities in the accomplishment of their mission.

2. Since the reorganization of the Turkish gendarmerie and police is one of the most essential measures for the pacification of the country, it is urgent that the fulfillment of these reforms be demanded from the Porte. In view of the circumstances that the few Swedish and other officers hitherto appointed were unable to make themselves useful, owing to their ignorance of the language and conditions of the country, it would be desirable to introduce the following changes and additions into the original project of reform:

a. The task of reorganizing the gendarmerie in the three vilayets be intrusted to a general of foreign nationality in the service of the Imperial Ottoman Government, to whom officers of the great powers will be attached. Among themselves those officers will divide the districts in which to display their activity as organs of control, instructors, and organizers. They will thus be enabled to watch over the conduct of the troops toward the population.

b. These officers can, if they think needful, have a certain number of foreign officers and noncommissioned officers allotted to them.

3. As soon as the country is pacified the Ottoman Government is to be called upon to change the territorial division of the administrative districts, with a view to a more regular grouping of the various nationalities.

4. At the same time the reorganization of the administrative and judicial institutions is to be demanded, so as to make them accessible to native Christians and to favor the development of local autonomies.

5. Mixed commissions, composed of an equal number of Christians and Mohamedan delegates, are immediately to be appointed in the chief towns of the vilayets to investigate the political and other crimes committed during the disturbances. The Austro-Hungarian and Russian consuls will take part in these commissions.

6. The Turkish Government is to be requested to set apart special sums

a. For the repatriation of the Christian inhabitants who have fled to Bulgaria and elsewhere.

b. For the support of Christians who have lost their property and homes.

c. For the rebuilding of the houses, churches, and schools destroyed by the Turks during the insurrections.

Commissions, to which Christian notables will belong, are to settle the distribution of these sums. The Austro-Hungarian and Russian consuls will watch over their application.

7. The repatriated Christian inhabitants of the Christian villages burned by the Turkish troops and bashi-bazouks will be exempted from all taxes for one year.

8. The Ottoman Government will again undertake to apply without the slightest delay all the reforms enumerated in the project of last February and all such reforms as may subsequently prove necessary.

9. Since most of the excesses and cruelties have been committed by the secondclass reserves, or ilavehs, and by bashi-bazouks, it is urgent that the former be dismissed and the formation of bands of bashi-bazouks be absolutely prevented.

(Inclosure 2.) Reply of the Sublime Porte to the Austro-Russian demands. The Sublime Porte has recieved and examined the memorandum which their excellencies the ambassadors of Austro-Hungary and Russia transmitted to it on November 10, 1903.

It takes note of the assurances which have been given it regarding the full safeguarding of the sovereign rights of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan and the maintenance of the statu quo which respect for the authority and prestige of the Empire requires, as well as of the succeding declarations of their excellencies relative to the provisional character and to the limitation to two years of the additional provisions proposed with a view to assuring the accomplishment of the reforms which the Imperial Government adopted last February on the proposition of the two Governmentsmeasures which it continues to faithfully execute.

The Sublime Porte hastens to declare that it accepts in principle the nine points enumerated in the previous memorandum of their excellencies, reserving to itself the right to enter into negotiations relative thereto in order to reach an understanding as to the details of their application, reconciling the first and second points with the independence, the sovereign rights, and the prestige of the Imperial Government, and with the statue quo.

NOVEMBER 24, 1903.



Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

[Telegram.- Paraphrase.)

Constantinople, August 27, 1903. (Mr. Leishman reports that he has just received a telegram from the United States consul at Beirut advising that the vice-consul was assassinated the preceding Sunday night while driving in a carriage; that the murderer was unseen and unknown; no explanation given for delay in reporting the case, but the consul adds that the reply of the local governor is unsatisfactory.

Mr. Leishman has asked for further particulars, and will at once make vigorous representations at the Sublime Porte.)

FR 1903—49

« PreviousContinue »