Page images

at Washington), and I have arranged a meeting for Mr. Cridler, who is now here, in order that he may be able to take the matter up in detail, and I can only rest in the hope that the minister for foreign affairs will be able to put this promise into execution.

I have, etc.,


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

[Telegram. - Paraphrase.]


Constantinople, October 21, 1903.

(Mr. Leishman reports that the schools matter is meeting with very strong opposition on account of the great majority of the teachers being native, who are always suspected of secretly preaching seditiously, and fears this idea has been encouraged by foreign intrigue.

Mr. Leishman states that he has refrained from assuming too aggressive an attitude, and still has the hope that quiet, unwavering, and determined stand will force a settlement within the next ten days.)

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.


Constantinople, October 29, 1903.

(Mr. Leishman states that as even the congested state of affairs and the existing political complications have ceased to furnish sufficient excuse for the prolonged delay in settling the pending questions, he has somewhat strained his instructions and has ventured pretty close to a threat that unless the matters are settled without further delay something disagreeable may happen.)

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.


Constantinople, November 6, 1903.

(Mr. Leishman reports that he has received two notes from the Sublime Porte, one with reference to American consular protection of Cuban citizens, and the other with reference to the insurance question. He has notified the Sublime Porte that unless the schools and other matters are settled within the next few days he will feel compelled to press the Beirut matter, intimating at the same time that if all other pending questions are satisfactorily settled, he will endeavor to smooth over the Beirut trouble.)

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.



Constantinople, November 15, 1903.

(Mr. Leishman states that as the Mohammedan lent commences on November 20 and lasts thirty days, during which period all business at the Porte is practically suspended, more drastic measures should be resorted to in order to force prompt settlement, as the Porte appears to be absolutely incapable of carrying out its numerous promises. The Sultan, whom Mr. Leishman has been unable to see personally, has allowed himself to be influenced into the belief that American schools are hotbeds of sedition, and he has taken a strong stand against complying with the demands of the Government of the United States, resting under the impression that no forcible action can be taken without Congressional authority.

Mr. Leishman is satisfied that the minister for foreign affairs has made an earnest and honest effort to have his promises put into execution, but being without any real power and not even enjoying the right of direct access to the Sultan, his efforts have proved futile against the fanatical palace clique, whose advice has undoubtedly been stimulated by foreign influence.

The Porte has acted favorably upon all pending questions, but is absolutely incompetent to complete them, and several matters recently adjusted have not as yet been put into execution.

Mr. Leishman states that as Turkish affairs generally are in a rather unsettled condition, owing to complications arising out of the Macedonian trouble, he would feel disposed to recommend further patience if he thought it would be of the very least benefit, but is quite convinced that longer delay would prove injurious rather than helpful, being satisfied that patience has ceased to be a virtue.


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

No. 653.]

Constantinople, December 13, 1903.

SIR: Referring further to my telegram of November 15 last, I am unable to report any material change in the situation of school and other unsettled questions.

The grand vizier and the minister for foreign affairs spend very little time at the Porte these days, and when I do succeed in seeing them I am politely put off on the score that nothing can be done until after Ramazan.

In the absence of any instruction from the Department I continue the patient but persistent rôle I have been playing since January, at same time exerting every effort to preserve the friendly relations which, I am happy to say, remain unchanged, despite the rather complicated and disturbed conditions. So that I am in position to pursue any line of policy that the Department may dictate.

I have, etc.,


No. 524.]


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

Constantinople, August 15, 1903.

SIR: The political situation in Macedonia continues to grow worse each week. The revolt has become much more general and the outrages committed by the revolutionists more barbarous and on a much larger scale than heretofore, the bands having increased both in size and number.

The delicate situation has been further strained during the past week by the death of the Russian consul at Monastir who was shot by a Turkish sentinel.

[blocks in formation]

Up to the present time the Turkish Government has acted with commendable patience and forbearance and have prevented both the non-Bulgarian population and the troops from making reprisals for the numerous depredations committed by the bands, such as blowing up bridges and buildings with dynamite, destruction of crops, burning of villages, and the killing of hundreds of inoffensive people, including women and children.

The fear of massacres and possible consequent intervention of the European powers is no doubt largely responsible for the great forbearance shown by the Turks so far, but should the outrages continue, which is altogether likely, it is only reasonable to suppose that sharp reprisals will occur, which, in all probability, would result in open hostilities.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The reports from Armenia are somewhat disquieting, but if there should be a sympathetic outbreak I am inclined to believe that it will be confined to certain spots and not a general uprising, and while reprisals by the Turks would no doubt follow, I do not share the belief of many that a repetition of the massacres of 1896 is imminent.

While there is no evidence at present to warrant any fear of harm befalling American citizens, I have deemed it prudent to warn the missionaries in the interior to exercise care, a copy of my note to Mr. Peet being inclosed herewith.

I also inclose copy of a dispatch just received from our consular agent at Salonica reporting upon the local situation.

I have, etc.,

[Inclosure 1.]


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Peet.

Constantinople, August 14, 1903.

SIR: While I have no particular reason to feel alarmed in regard to the personal safety of American citizens in Macedonia, in view of the fact that the insurrectionary movement is becoming more general and outrages and assaults on villages a daily

occurrence, it would be well for you to advise the missionaries in Macedonia to exercise extra care and to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

The quiet and patient behavior of the troops and Mussulman population, under the greatest provocation, warrants the belief that the Ottoman Government will do all in its power to prevent any harm befalling foreign subjects, but it would be difficult if not impossible for any power to guarantee freedom from injury by such acts as the wild and random outrages committed by the revolutionists, commencing with the dastardly affair at Salonica.

It might also be wise for you to caution our people in Armenia, where occasional small outbreaks warrant the suspicion that a slumbering sympathetic movement exists, and the fact that the missionaries at Van requested the legation's aid some months ago to secure Turkish protection against the Armenians lends additional color to this suspicion.

I merely make this suggestion as a precautionary measure, believing prudence to be the better part of valor. JOHN G. A. LEISHMAN.

I am, etc.,

[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Lazarro to Mr. Leishman.

Salonica, August 13, 1903.

SIR: I beg to submit some facts, mostly relating to the political situation in western Macedonia, where the revolutionary movement has taken quite a new aspect and considerably increased, especially during the last fortnight.

The information has been obtained from reliable sources, but I can not vouch for the exactitude of all the details. On August 2, 200 rebels engaged in a fight about Resen, a small town near Monastir, seem to have been destroyed by the Turkish troops. The Turkish quarter in Resen was burned by the Bulgarians.

On August 3, 1,500 Bulgarians entered the Greco-Wallack town of Krushevo, four hours to the northwest of Monastir, near Prilep, and after firing the public buildings and killing all the Turkish inhabitants and garrison (about 50) they took possession of the place and hoisted the rebel flag, which is black with two white "C," meaning "liberty or death." Up to the present, although Krushevo has been bombarded by artillery from the plain beneath, it is still in the hands of the insurgents. The rebels have also taken and are still holding Smilievo, a large Bulgarian village near Krushevo, also the Greco-Wallack town of Klissura and village of Neveska, both in the Florina district to the southeast of Monastir.

One hundred wounded soldiers and the bodies of 2 officers killed in encounter about Smilievo were brought to Monastir on August 5. In the same region the rebels are said to have killed 70 soldiers at Gopech and 2 Albanian beys with their retinue at Presba.

Forty Turkish villagers from Germany, while on their way to the Castoria market, were killed by the rebels and their village burned.

The Turkish villages of Budakli, Mosintza, Elekler, Kanaklar, Kachani, accepted the protection of the insurgents and gave up their arms to representatives of the revolutionary committee. Excepting two, all of the villages of the Kichevo district have been abandoned. Bolne and Krusne, Bulgarian villages 3 miles from Resen, have been burned by the Turks.

As rebel bands were approaching the town of Ochrida the Turks fell on the Christian quarter, killing everybody, and set fire to the place. The Bulgarians retaliated by burning and massacreing various Turkish villages of the Ochrida district. In the Florina district 600 rebels camp in the mountains in a position considered impregnable. There they have ovens for baking biscuit, a clothing depot, and ammunition


One thousand soldiers, who were sent to take the place, had to retreat after severe losses. Several bridges were blown up on the Monastir and Uskup Railroad. The largest of these bridges was blown up on the night of the 12th instant near Florina. The bridge was 15 meters long. The attempt to wreck the Uskup train on the 9th instant did not succeed. The infernal machine which should have been on board the train exploded at the depot of Zibeftche-Servian frontier.

The assassination by a Zaptich of the Russian consul at Monastir has caused considerable excitement. The post-mortem examination proves that the victim received several shot wounds after his death, and it seems that, at least this time, there was no further provocation on the part of Mr. Rostkowsky than his insistence to be saluted by the Turkish guards.

As there was a rumor of a possible attempt of the Bulgarians to throw bombs against the Turkish mosques and provoke a general massacre of the Christians in Salonica, I saw the military governor and arranged that extra patrols should be kept night and day around the residence of the American mission here.

The plan of the insurgents seems to be to draw away the Turkish troops from Albania and the Bulgarian frontier (sixteen batallions have already been sent to the Monastir vilayet from Albania), gather them toward western Macedonia, then cut the communications by destroying the railroads, and start the movement on the eastern border nearer Bulgaria. HDGI LAZARRO,

I have, etc.,

No. 554.]

United States Consular Agent.

Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

Constantinople, September 8, 1903.

SIR: * * The troubles in Macedonia assume a wider range and more serious aspect each week, and everyone is fearful that the Turks who have so far been held in very good subjection will break loose and massacre the Bulgarian population.

Fortunately we have very few American citizens in Macedonia, mostly missionaries who are comparatively free from danger, as the Turks will use great care to protect them from harm, if from no higher reason than interested motives; and the Bulgarians will certainly not harm them.

* *


The Bulgarians are no doubt resorting to barbarous acts in order to goad the Turks into committing an overt act, such as a great massacre or entering Bulgarian territory, while the Turks, on the other hand, appreciating the fact that in either of these events the powers are apt to intervene, are calmly and patiently waiting, as in the Greek trouble, for the Bulgarians to openly espouse the insurrectionary movement in Macedonia and make the first break, when the Turkish troops would immediately be let loose, as they could do much more effective work on the plains between the frontier and Sofia than it would be possible for them to do in the mountainous district of Macedonia. I do not consider the situation here at present particularly alarming, but it is in that delicate condition that almost anything could happen, and consequently considerable uneasiness prevails.

I have, etc.,


Mr. Leishman to Mr. Hay.

No. 576.]

Constantinople, September 19, 1903.

SIR: The troubles continue to multiply, and I very much fear that ere this reaches you the outbreak in Macedonia will have assumed rather alarming proportions.

As precautionary measures, I have addressed a note to the representatives of the missionaries and the American Tobacco Trust, the only two interests that I have any knowledge of as having American citizens located in the Macedonian district, advising the withdrawal

« PreviousContinue »