Mr. Delaplaine to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna, June 29, 1877. (Received July 19.)
Sir: On the 22d instant, in the lower house of the Austrian Reichsrath, the member Dr. Hoffer addressed to the government an interpellation with inquiries of the following tenor:
- Is it true that the Government of the German Empire has proposed an offensive and defensive alliance with that of Austria-Hungary, through the conclusion of which possibly the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war might have been prevented?
- Has this offer been declined by Austria with the knowledge and concurrence of the Imperial-Royal Austro-Hungarian Government?
- Does the Imperial-Royal Austro-Hungarian Government believe that the rejection of this proposal conforms with the interests of the monarchy, and what reasons has it for such belief?
- Does the Imperial-Royal Austro-Hungarian Government intend, since the late events in the theater of war in the East, and especially in Montenegro, to persevere in the observance of neutrality as hitherto, or is it disposed from this or any other cause to prepare military measures, or have such already been adopted?
In yesterday’s sitting the minister-president, Prince Adolph Auersperg, responded to the first and second inquiries by the declaration that no proposal for such alliance, or of an analogous character, had been offered by the German Empire, and accordingly no rejection could follow.
With regard to the fourth inquiry, in which the recent rumors of mobilization are alluded to, the minister-president referred to the explanations given during the last month on the occasion of the interpellation of the member Dr. Giskra upon the same subject, which I then reported to the Department. The minister-president repeated the full contents of that response, and added the assurance that since that time the aims and plans of the foreign policy of the government continued the same, and that no reason existed for departing from neutrality or for mobilization of the military force of the monarchy. Should, however, added the minister-president, events occur which render advisable or necessary a re-enforcement of our troops on the frontier, this measure shall be put into effect without transgressing the limits of neutrality. The reply closed with a precise declaration that the course of events in the war up to the present time had not rendered necessary any special provisions, and that His Majesty accordingly had not been disposed to order any extraordinary military preparations.
The house accepted these explanations with satisfaction and applause, and there is little doubt of a favorable effect being produced also outside of the chamber of Parliament, in dispelling the anxiety and uneasiness recently prevailing among the public, especially in financial circles, by the rumors of mobilization which I have before communicated to you.
I believe that the information may prove interesting, being derived from an authentic source, that the troops stationed at the present moment at the frontier of the empire are composed altogether of sixteen regiments of infantry, nine battalions of chasseurs, and six regiments of cavalry, the whole on a peace footing.
Assuming such statement to be correct and undoubted, as I deem it, this inconsiderable exhibition of military force satisfactorily demonstrates the slight foundation for the alarming rumors referred to, and the reply of Prince Auersperg, as well as that of the Transleithanian [Page 40]minister-president, Tisza, at Pesth, already communicated to you, will prevent the recurrence of similar sensational intelligence finding credence, besides removing occasion for future interpellations on the subject in the legislative bodies of both countries.
I have, &c.,