Mr. Fish to
Washington, December 6, 1876.
Sir: Upon the receipt of your No. 15, stating that you had received from the minister of foreign affairs a circular note communicating the existing regulations of the Empire bearing upon the deportment and [Page 20]salutes to officers of the armies of other countries who may appear in military uniform, with the condition that reciprocal attention shall be observed in those countries toward officers of the Austro Hungarian army, I caused a copy of your dispatch to be submitted to the Secretary of War, with the request that he would furnish me with a reply for your information.
I am now in receipt of a communication from the Secretary of War, inclosing a letter addressed to him by General Sherman, to whom the matter had been referred, and in whose views the Secretary states that he fully concurs. In this communication it is stated that as European nations are more familiar with the uniforms and decorations of rank among one another than we can be in this country, it might be difficult at times to instruct our troops to pay the honors due to particular ranks as shown by the uniforms of the several nations, but that every effort will be made to extend to Austrian officers traveling or sojourning in the United States the fullest honors belonging to their grade, whether by salutes of guns or guards of honor, requesting only that each officer carry with him and exhibit his commission or evidence of rank, which, it is stated, is usually certified through their minister residing in Washington.
The General of the Army expresses the pleasure it will give him in using every effort to reciprocate proper honors toward officers of the Austro-Hungarian army.
I will thank you to communicate these facts to the minister of foreign affairs.
I am, &c.,