Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.
Sir: With reference to my despatches, Nos. 403 and 411, in reply to an interpellation by M. Jacobs in the house of representatives yesterday, as to the present condition of the question between this government and Holland touching the impediments to navigation by works undertaken by the latter upon the Scheldt, and the request for the communication of the reports upon the subject by the engineers of France, Prussia, and Great Britain, the minister of foreign affairs stated that the three reports had been made by the engineers to their respective governments and successively transmitted to him.
It would seem from his statement of them that upon the principal point, that touching the influence in the future of the embankments built by Holland upon the channel of the western Scheldt, the English engineer is alone of the opinion that they would be unfavorable to it.
M. Rogier went on to say, that while these examinations were going on the works upon the Scheldt were not suspended by Holland, and he communicated a correspondence with that government, in which, on the one side, notification is made April 6th of the substitution of the canal of Sud Beverland for the Oriental Scheldt in the communications between the Scheldt and the Rhine, and the protest of Belgium, on the other side reserving all its rights in the premises. In the midst of the grave circumstances which have lately occupied Belgium and other governments, the minister continued, the subject had not been prosecuted further. The reports of the foreign engineers had, however, been referred to Belgian engineers, and the result of that examination would be awaited before deciding upon any new line of conduct.
I enclose translation of the communication of M. Rogier herewith.
I think it probable, especially in view of the opinions of the French and Prussian engineers, and the expediency of good relations between the two governments in these critical times, that the question will be satisfactorily laid at rest without any serious trouble.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.