Primary Source from US Archives

From the National Archives at College Park, Maryland


Subject: Recent Happenings at Isfahan.

No. 289                                                                                               May 3, 1917

The Honorable

The Secretary of State,



I have the honor to report that about one year ago ‘ His Highness, Prince Zill-es-Sultan, a great uncle of, His Imperial Majesty the Shah, returned from Europe and was again appointed Governor of Isfahan. (See dispatch No 186 of July 17, 1916)      Some Years ago His Highness was governor and became notorious for his terrible cruelty for the  tortured and put political prisoners to death in the most atrocious manner! He is now nearly ninety-years. of age and his son the matricide Prince Sarem-ed-Douleh, ( Killed his mother). who recently retired as foreign Minister, is assisting his father at Isfahan.

Numerous complaints  have recently come to the Cabinet and to the different legations of the arbitrary and vicious method recently employed by this governor , and today it is reported that a few days ago the Zill-es-sultan put to death three political prisoners without trial, two being shot and the third put to death in the characteristic manner of this governor, to- wit, by  placing the offender in plaster of Paris and allowing the same to harden. Some twenty years ago the same governor executed a great number of men in the same manner.

Other instances of even more nauseating happenings are reported.

I have the honor to be,


Your obedient servant

John L. Caldwell

Minister American Legation

Tehran, Persia