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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the forty-seventh Congress, 1880-'81
(1881-1882)

Austria-Hungary,   pp. 18-62 PDF (19.5 MB)


Page 61


                        AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.                        61
be lost in laying the matter, as I was instructed to do, before Hiis
Majesty's minister of foreign affairs. I immediately sought an inter-
view, which was promptly accorded, and it is of that interview I beg
leave to present this minute. The Baron Haymerle, minister of foreign
affairs, has been and for some weeks will continue absent from his post,.
being at some watering place on the Rhine. Baron Kallay, in his ab-
sence, represents him at the ministry.
  I laid the matter fully, clearly, and frankly before Baron Kallay in a
private interview. I read to him slowly and carefully the complete
statement of our case, so well put in the Department's first dispatch on
the subject. I took advantage of my right to suppose that the minis-
ter's knowledge of the tongue in which the dispatch was written was
not so perfect, but that he might be glad to receive a running commen-
tary and analysis in the simpler language of the salon, and this en-
abled me at least to perceive still more clearly, and I hope it did him,
how strong was the case of the government even in literary or undip-
lomatic dishabille.
  I labored in respectful but earnest language to enforce your stronger
reasons-that it was not the birth of a new and aggressive spirit,
prompted by the nation's rapid and imperial growth, but only an old
policy and the declaration of an old right, which was founded in sol-
emn treaty more than a generation ago.
  I impressed upon him that the treaty was not one the value of
which we had but recently discovered, but that at the time we knew
and felt its value, and since on frequent occasions, by acts in its de-
fense' and by frequent and formal statements, we had made it plain
that we still recognized the value of what we had in 1846 acquired, and
that we meant to keep it.
  I hope I made plain to him the distinction between a commercial
neutrality and a political one, and that while in. commerce we claimed
nothing more on any isthmian highway of land or watex than belonged
to the world, yet, in the view of international policy, a view which
would become practical almost exclusively in time of war, we claimed
the rights given us by the treaty-political rights which, by its pro-
visions, we shared only with the United States of Colombia.
  I suggested that as we did not, interfere with European protector-
ates or guarantees where European interests were chiefly concerned,
that it was not reciprocal or. just for the European powers to interfere
in American where American interests were preponderant.
  I also read to Baron Kallay extracts from the -President's explicit
statement at his inauguration as to his policy-following the historical
policy of our government-in that regard. Of dispatch No. 3, and of
this extract, I promised, at the Baron's request, to send him copies.
  His comments were brief and can be briefly stated:
  "This was the first his government had heard of it."
  "His government's interest in the question was very slight."
  "His government would certainly take no initiative in the matter."
  "He would study the question, but he doubted if it would give
either of us any trouble."
  The general impression, with which a pleasant interview terminated,
Was that Baron Kallay as yet had heard no mention of any applica-
tion as likely to be made by the Colombian to the Austria-Hungarian
Government, and that Austria-Hungary really felt very little interest
in the question.
             I hve ,WILLIAM                 WALTER PHELPS.


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