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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 5, 1905

Turkey,   pp. 875-911 PDF (14.3 MB)

Page 886

 In view of the doubtful character of the above-mentioned individ uals and
the crimes of which they are charged I was not disposed to push the matter,
merely contenting myself with having the consul file a formal protest and
demand for their surrender until such time as I could make a thorough investigation
and secure the advice and instructions of the Department, as it is quite
possible that Afarian and Vartanian may have obtained their passports in
an irregular manner, as was found in the case of Aprahamian and others at
Smyrna two years ago under very similar conditions, which would have enabled
the government to avoid having to raise the question o Article IV over such
unworthy subjects. But in view of the action ot the Turkish police in refusing
the consul permission to examine a prisoner who claimed American nationality
I could not delay action without running the risk of establishing a bad precedent,
and conse quently I immediately made a demand upon the Sublime Porte for
the prompt surrender of both prisoners. 
 As the excitement over the present revolutionary movement is still very
great and the feeling very bitter over the attempt upon the life of the Sultan,
it is quite certain that the Turkish Government will make every effort to
retain possession of Afarian and Vartanian, and that the dispute over "Article
IV" will be strained to the utmost, as even the Belgians whose treaty more
clearly resembles ours than those of the other powers, have, in the present
instance, permitted the Turkish Government to retain possession of one of
their citizens whose nation ality is not in question. 
 While the men involved are not worthy of very much consideration, both on
account of their questionable character as citizens and of the crimes with
which they are charged, the principles involved are of too serious a character
to admit of any temporizing measures, and as it is quite possible that our
demands will not be complied with without a show of force I respectfully
beg the Department to kindly instruct me in the matter. 
 I have, etc., JOHN G. A. LEISHMAN. 
Minister Leishman to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. 
Constantinople, September 3, 1905. 
 EXCELLENCY: It appears that two American citizens have been arrested and
are being detained by the Turkish police officials instead of being promptly
handed over to the cus tody of the American consul, as provided for in the
treaty existing between the Imperial Ottoman Government and that of the United
States of America. 
 One of the above-mentioned men is named Hovhanes Afarian, bearer of a passport
issued at Washington on April 27 last (No. 102150), and I am informed that
the excuse given for his arrest is that he has been suspicioned of being
connected with the parties who committed the recent outrage at the palace.
The name of the other man being Charles Vartanian, bearer of a passport issued
at Washington in April or May last (numbered 101639), cha.rged with having
shot and killed a certain Apik Effendi Ounjian. 
 The consul reports that not only has the minister of police declined to
surrcnder the abovenamed American citizen to the custody of the consulate,
but that permission to see the accused has been denied to the consul and
his dragoman. 
 Under these circumstances I am compelled to most formally protest against
these flagrant violations of treaty rights, for which the Imperial Ottoman
Government will he held strictly responsible, and at the same time to demand
that the above-named American citizens be immediately surrendered to the
custody of the American consul in order that they may be tried and properly
punished, as provided for in the treaty existing between our two gov ernments.
 I take, etc. JOHN G. A. LEISHMAN. 

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