No. 762.
Mr. BoJcer to Mr. Fish.

No. 133.]

Sir: I have the honor herewith to inclose a second circular-letter from the Sublime Porte, together with a translation of the same, on the question of the tolls charged by the Suez Canal Company. This letter, like the first, is regarded by a “majority of the foreign representatives as another effort on the part of the Sublime Porte to avoid all responsibility, either toward the powers or the Suez Canal Company. The character of the letter is advisory and not mandatory, and a foil settlement of the question is still referred to the proposed international commission.

This commission will assemble at Constantinople on the 15th day of September next; and, in consequence of the nearness of that date, I am greatly embarrassed about the appointment of delegates on our part. In my opinion, we should be represented in the commission; and, if the Department agree in that opinion, I beg that instructions upon the subject may be sent to me by telegraph.

I have, &c,

[Inclosure in No. 133.—Translation.]

Circular-letter-of the Sublime Porte.

Sir: By its circular-note dated July 16, and sub-No. 3540, 29, the imperial department of foreign affairs communicated to the legation of the United States of America the Vizierial letter directed to His Highness the Khedive, relative to the dues of the Suez Canal. If reference were to be made to the terms of the beforementioned letter, one would be easily convinced that the import of the clauses of the concession act, as well as the manner according to which they might receive their practical application, by adopting the net tonnage of the Moorsom system are indicated as clearly as could be permitted by the state of the question.

The interpretation asked of the government, which is the author of the concession, was intended to obviate the uncertainty to which the text of article 17 had given rise. That object is now attained. The Vizierial letter will clear up in the future the obscurity or the silence of the original text of the concession; audit is evident that the party who will not act conformably can but assume entirely the responsibility of acts executed towards third persons.

It is right to add that the Sublime Porte is ignorant at this present moment of the course which the company will adopt, and, until contrary evidence on its part, one should suppose that it will not deviate from what legality dictates. Consequently nothing authorizes a discussion of the possible consequences of suppositions which hardly involve a character of existing and actual interest. It is moreover established that the final [Page 1126] settlement of the debated question is subordinate to the decision of the international commission which is to convene very shortly. Therefore, under these present circumstances, and in order to avoid every misunderstanding, the Sublime Porte deemed it expedient to address to His Highness the Khedive a new letter in the sense of the beforementioned considerations; and the imperial department makes haste to inform the legation of the United States that the letter has already been handed to His Highness.

Accept, &c,