On Shavval 1318H [April 1901] the Iranian ambassador to the Ottoman government at Istanbul filed the following report with the Office of Foreign Ministry in Tihran which was subsequently presented to the monarch, Muzaffari'd-Din Shah, who penned his instructions on the margin of the same report. The original text is published in "Guzidih-i Asnad Siyasy-i Iran va Uthmani" (Selections from the political correspondences of Iran and Ottoman government), Qajar volume, v. 5, Tihran, 1370Sh, published by Vahid-i Nashr-i Asnad, and reprinted in Payam-i Bahá'í, no. 187, June 1995, pp 31-2. The following is a translation. -A.R.
Written on Shavval 1318H. Report of `Ala'u'l-Mulk, the Iranian Ambassador in Istanbul, to the Foreign Ministry. Confidential.
The condition of the Babis of `Akka where their leader resides is improving significantly each day and from all corners of Iran people come to visit him [ie. `Abdu'l-Bahá] and bring with them the collected funds. In a similar manner, on behalf of the same leader, representatives are send to all towns of Iran. To consider this situation unworthy of attention [by the Iranian government] and not exert appropriate influence is unwise and gradually this problem will become intractable. The solution is not in imprisoning, beating or slaying them as an increase in application of such remedies would worsen the situation.
What comes to mind of this servant is that firstly the exalted government should appoint a Christian agent with a fixed salary, as a Muslim agent of any kind will attract attention or because of greed will become one of them and a propagator of their thoughts. This agent should be instructed to attract their interest and to infiltrate their confidential activities. He should report the name and details, and where possible, a picture, of anyone from Iran who arrives there [ie. `Akka] to the Foreign Ministry and the Office of Ambassador [in Istanbul].
And in like manner, those returning from `Akka on behalf of the Babi leader [`Abdu'l-Bahá] should be followed in secret by the Russian agents until they reach the border and from there by the custom agents and police officers who should determine the whereabouts [of Bahá'ís] and other details about them. After these [Bahá'ís] are identified, a few of the learned tullab [seminary students] should find ways to engage them in conversation and without showing that they are aware of their beliefs, through wise and informed exhortations to rescue them from the false path [ie. convert them to Islam]. In certain instances when necessary, police and authorities are to stop their affairs.
At any rate, such persons [ie. Bahá'ís], wherever they are, should be identified and be known to the general population. In addition, other schemes should also be formulated by the government authorities and appropriate instructions be given to the agents as otherwise one does not know with what sort of people one is associating.
As their number increases day by day, surely in time this will result in a great convulsion.
[Written on the back of the envelop] From the Office of the Foreign Minister: This report is to be presented to the most holy threshold of the King of Kings.
[In the hand of Muzaffari'd-Din Shah]: By the reasons known to his honored Atabak-i `Azam [ie. the Prime Minister] we should not pursue such a matter and to the degree possible must remain silent.