No. 333.
Mr. Schuyton to Mr. Fish.

No. 58.]

Sir: The violent tone of the English press on the Central Asian question and the consequent agitation here have induced the government to publish a communication on the negotiations in the official journal, of which I inclose a translation herewith. From all that I can learn, Count Schouvaloff, while in England, used all his efforts to bring about some sort of an arrangement between the two cabinets, and it looks now as though the Russian government would even be willing to appear convinced by the English arguments and yield the points at issue.

The English cabinet is very anxious to come to an agreement as soon as possible, and gain at least the appearance of a victory in order to present something to Parliament to counterbalance the defeats in the arbitration on the Alabama, San Juan, and Delagoa Bay questions.

Whichever way the controversy may be settled, Russia will, I think, be the real gainer. If she refuses to admit the northern boundary of Afghanistan, as the English claim it, England can only continue, to reassert what she has already said, and prepare to defend Afghanistan whenever the Russian cabinet choose to precipitate matters, and it will, of course, select the time most inconvenient to England. If, on the other hand, Russia is willing to agree that all south of the Oxus belongs to Afghanistan, she is able to show to the people of Central Asia that England is pursuing a common policy with her and has agreed to divide Asia with her. Either way is bad for England.

The restrictions on the Russian press have been in part removed, and the papers are beginning to print articles conceived in the spirit of the official communication, all of them blaming English public opinion for being so excitable and violent on insufficient grounds, and calling the whole thing an intrigue against the present administration.

I have, &c.,


Government communication.

[From the Government Messenger.]

But a short time ago it was possible to remark with satisfaction the calm, sound judgments and the moderate tone of the majority of the English press with regard to affairs in Central Asia.

We now see with some astonishment that this question has of late been treated very tharply in the English papers.

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It is impossible to say whether this persevering attitude is based on anything real, and whether it truly represents the impressions of public opinion, or whether the English press is led on by party spirit and the desire of gaining popularity. But in any case it is necessary to declare that the English press has no reason for consecrating special attention to Central Asian affairs.

The negotiations between the imperial and the British cabinets with regard to the affairs of Central Asia are nothing new.

They arose fully three years ago and have constantly had a very simple and friendly character, which has not changed up to the present time.

From the very beginning there has been a full agreement between the two cabinets with regard to their mutual mode of action in Central Asia for the maintenance of peace there, and also for keeping good relations between themselves. They have equally come to an agreement with regard to their mode of action on each subject for carrying out this peaceful aim. It remained only to fix its bounds, a problem by no means easy in view of the disturbances which have reigned till now in these little-known countries. The exchange of ideas which is taking place between the two cabinets has no other end in view; and we must once more repeat that it has the most friendly character. There is no essential difference in the views of the two cabinets. There is no doubt that when the end in view has been once agreed on, it will be very easy for them to agree on the practical application of a principle which equally interests both sides.