Oscar S. Straus: Minister to Constantinople
Oscar S. Straus (1850-1926) served as Minister to Constantinople from 1887-1889 at the pleasure of President Grover Cleveland. In 1898 President William McKinley requested an interview with Straus, suggesting that Oscar once again become Minister to Constantinople. In his autobiography, Under Four Administrations: From Cleveland to Taft, Oscar wrote about his meeting with McKinley, “He said the situation had worried him so that it interfered with his sleep, and he begged me to accept again the appointment of minister to Turkey, declaring with conviction that he regarded me as the only man who could adjust the situation. I explained to him frankly how I was situated in regard to my business obligations and that it was very difficult for me to drop them at this time; but under the circumstances as he had stated them to me I felt I had no right to interpose my personal affairs as a reason for refusing, for I certainly regarded no sacrifice too great to make in the service of the country when it was needed, as in this instance. I said I had been too young to shoulder a gun in the Civil War as he had done, but with a full understanding of my situation if he should feel it necessary to call upon me I should be at his service.”
When, on May 27, 1898, McKinley telegrammed Oscar Straus to let him know he was going to nominate him before the Senate, Oscar responded, “Your request that I should accept the post of Minister to Turkey, with which you honor me, I regard as a command, and deem it my patriotic duty to you and to the country to accept.”
Oscar served as Minister to Constantinople for a second time from 1898-1899.
“Oscar Straus – Minister to Constantinople, 1887 – 1888” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 2 (New York: August 1994); pp. 4-8.
“Oscar Solomon Straus – Minister to Constantinople, Letters 1888 – 1888” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 3 No. 1 (New York: February 1995); pp. 2-5.
“Rededication Ceremony, Oscar S. Straus Memorial, October 26, 1998” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 7 No. 1 (New York: February 1999); pp. 1-2.
“Oscar Solomon Straus - Lawyer, Author, Merchant, Philanthropist” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 5 No. 1 (New York: August 2003); pp. 1-7.http://www.straushistoricalsociety.org/uploads/1/1/8/1/11810298/_____nwsltr803.pdf
Source: The Straus Historical Society