Mr. Fogg to Mr. Seward

No. 76.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the enclosed copy of a note from the federal council, inviting the adherence of the government of the United States to the convention concluded by the international congress, at Geneva, August 22, 1864, for the amelioration of the condition of sick and wounded soldiers.

By reference to article 9 of the convention—a copy of which convention I transmitted to you in my despatch of September 14, No. 70—you will perceive that the protocol was left open to enable those governments not there represented, or not represented by delegates empowered to sign the convention, to become parties to the same thereafter.

As it is provided in the convention that the ratification should be exchanged at Berne, the federal council deem it their duty to extend the invitation herewith enclosed.

I had hoped to receive, ere this, an acknowledgment of my despatch above alluded to, with the views of the State Department in relation to the convention. Thus far I have received nothing indicating that the despatch, copies of the convention and other papers, have ever been received by you. Mr. Miller writes me that the package containing them was forwarded by the steamer which left Liverpool on the 24th September. I cannot, therefore, suppose it failed to reach its destination, and can only explain to myself its failure to be acknowledged on the supposition of its having been reserved for examination, and subsequently laid by and forgotten. It may readily be supposed that I would like to be enabled to give some sort of response to the question: “Will [Page 212] the United States accede to the convention?” A question of no little interest among the people and in a country where the opinion and decision of the government of the United States are deemed of the very highest authority and importance.

As I indicated to you in my former despatch, I have in no manner committed the government, as, indeed, I had no authority to do, on this question. On the contrary, I have informally answered, when inquired of by the members of the federal council, or by my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, that it was very doubtful, by reason, if no other, of the present condition of our country, and of the impossibility of making the rebel authorities parties to the convention, or compelling them to respect its provisions.

Trusting soon to be in possession of your views in relation to this matter, and of the intentions of the government thereon,

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States of America.


In regard to article 9 of the convention concluded at Geneva, on the 22d of August, 1864, for the improvement in the condition of soldiers wounded in armies in the field, the Swiss federal council has the honor to invite the government of the United States also to assent to that convention, for which purpose the original draught has been left open for the governments of nations that have not yet assented.

As the management of the affair has been intrusted by the congress to the Swiss federal council, the latter hopes to receive an affirmative answer from the government of the United States, and willingly accepts this occasion of offering to the minister resident of the United States the assurances of high consideration.

DR. J. DUBS, President of the Confederation.

SCHIESS, Chancellor.

Mr. Fogg, United States Minister Resident, Berne.