Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Fish.
St Petersburg , February 18, 1875. (Received March 12.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 74, of the 22nd of January last, I have the honor to inform you of the close of the difficulty between Montenegro and Turkey.
On the strong representations of the ambassadors of Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and France, the Porte finally consented to an arrangement whereby the Montenegrins accused of being implicated in the affair should be tried by a mixed commission, on Montenegrin soil, , but which should cross the frontier into Turkey for the purpose of taking the evidence of the Turkish witnesses.
This result being communicated to the Prince of Montenegro, he replied that he could not accept it; that he regretted that his affairs should have caused so much trouble to the great powers; that he withdrew any claims for satisfaction or indemnity which he might have had, and that he would himself punish any of his subjects who had offended against the laws of their country, and leave the Porte to act as it thought best. Such a decision was taken by the prince after the visit to Montenegro of the Russian consul at Scutari, and was doubtless inspired by the Russian cabinet.
The Prince of Montenegro has been adroit enough to make use of this incident for declaring his independence. When, in the summer of 1871, he visited St. Petersburg, he was received by the Emperor not only as an independent sovereign, but also as one in intimate relations to the imperial family. Subsequently to this, on his passage through Berlin and Vienna, he was received by the respective sovereigns immediately as an independent ruler, without the intermediation of the Turkish ambassadors. Since that time Montenegro has been placed in the Almanach de Gotha under a separate head, as an independent country. In his declarations during this occurrence the Prince of Montenegro has assumed and asserted his independence, which was tacitly admitted by the four great powers, if not by Turkey. England did not at the time protest against it, although it is said that the English cabinet dislikes the turn which matters have taken. Henceforth the independence of Montenegro must be considered as established de jure as well as de facto.[Page 1047]
The Russian foreign office cannot conceal its satisfaction at the success of its policy, and the Russian newspapers state that the settlement was due entirely to the good offices of Russia, and adduce this as another proof of her peaceful designs in the East.
I have. &c.,