No. 30.
Mr. Delaplaine to Mr. Evarts.

No. 64.]

Sir: The Official Gazette today publishes an ordinance emanating from the ministers of the interior, of justice, and of commerce, bearing date of yesterday. This document prescribes the line of conduct to be pursued by the authorities and subjects of the monarchy during the Russo-Turkish conflict, so far as regards commerce and navigation.

I append the original, accompanied by a translation.

The Hungarian official journal publishes an identical declaration.

I have, &c.,


Ordinance of the ministers of the interior, of justice, and of commerce, of the 11th May, 1877, whereby the principles relative to commerce and navigation, to be observed by the authorities and the subjects of the monarchy during the war which has broken out between Russia and Turkey, are proclaimed.

By reason of the war now broken out between Russia and Turkey, the following ordinances, in pursuance of a ministerial decision made with the concurrence of the imperial-royal ministry for foreign, affairs and the royal Hungarian ministry, are here [Page 34]with made known, to which as well all the authorities as the subjects of the empire are to conform:

Article 1. It is forbidden to transport, upon vessels carrying the Austro-Hungarian flag, troops of the belligerent states, or to furnish to those states such materials as, according to the general law of nations or by special and duly proclaimed decrees of the respective foreign governments, are considered as contraband of war.

Any Austrian or Hungarian ship, in communication with those states, may carry on board only the quantity of such materials as may be indispensably necessary for its own use or for its defense.

It is forbidden to Austrian or Hungarian vessels to enter such places and harbors as may be besieged or effectually blockaded by one of the belligerent powers.

In case of a transgression of the foregoing prohibitions no protection from the government is to be expected by those whose property may be rightfully embargoed or captured by the belligerent states.

Article 2. With the exception of the case declared, the Austrian or Hungarian vessels of commerce are free to continue, notwithstanding the existing state of war, their commerce and traffic with the maritime ports of the powers engaged in war, and, reciprocally, the commercial vessels of the belligerent states, as before, may without obstruction enter all ports of this monarchy, and remain there at will, undergo repairs, &c., so far as they observe the existing laws and ordinances and their acts shall be in accordance with the rules of neutrality.

With regard to the entry of foreign vessels of war into Austro-Hungarian ports, the ordinances upon the subject proclaimed on former occasions will remain in force.

Article 3. In the reasonable expectation that neutral commerce will be duly respected by the belligerent powers, and that the usual measures employed by belligerents will be exercised only in conformity with the modes established by universal international law or contained in special treaties, it is hereby enjoined to Austrian or Hungarian commercial vessels on the open sea not to resist any visit claimed by war-vessels of the belligerent powers, but, on the contrary, without hesitation, to exhibit the papers and documents proving the neutral character of the vessel, and not to cast into the sea or otherwise destroy such papers and documents, and still less to have onboard any which may be false, or in duplicate, or secret.

Article 4. Should it happen, notwithstanding the observation of the foregoing prescriptions, that an Austrian or Hungarian vessel be treated in an unlawful manner, then a complaint is to be presented without delay to the nearest Austro-Hungarian consular or other competent authority, in order that the government may take the requisite steps toward the foreign state, for the purpose of obtaining indemnification and satisfaction, and for supporting such steps as have been already taken by such national vessels as have been unlawfully treated.

Article 5. These provisions are to enter into operation from the day of this proclamation.

  • LASSER, M. P.
  • GLASSER, M. P.