Mr. Everett to Mr. Evarts
Berlin , March 11, 1878. (Received March 25.)
Sir: During the past week the political situation here has been essentially unchanged. The budget debates in the Reichstag still continue, principally on the question of Prince Bismarck’s bill for substitutes for the chancellor in the duties of the office, with a right of veto for himself.
The bill as yet has not assumed its final shape, and the prince will hardly succeed in carrying it through as he wishes without amendments. The first two clauses of the bill, the whole of which I hope to be able to send you by an early mail, have been agreed to, but the part which merges the ministers of the different States into the general imperial cabinet will be combated vigorously. There are some intimations of a dissolution of the Reichstag in case this is carried too far, but though the result of such a measure would probably be the return of a liberal majority favorable to Prince Bismarck, it would be fatal to him to have a conservative and ultramontane majority, and it is difficult in the present state of things to prophesy with certainty as to the electoral result.
The latest news is that there will be an international congress at Berlin, which would probably be for the interests of Austria, without being hostile to Russia, but England, while not objecting to this place, throws so many obstacles in the way by conditions regarding the questions to be discussed, the preservation of the extinct treaty of 1856, and the representation of the great powers, that some persons think it very doubtful if there is any congress at all. This, however, you will know by telegraph long before this reaches you. It is likewise more than doubtful if Prince Bismarck’s health, which is really not of the best, would permit of his presiding for any length of time at such a meeting, his physicians having ordered him perfect rest.
I may add here that the appointment of Mr. Bayard Taylor as minister to Berlin has given the greatest satisfaction in official and diplomatic circles here, and is accepted as proof of the good will and good judgment of the administration.
The President’s veto of the silver bill is also favorably commented on, and has somewhat allayed the alarm in regard to the effect of that measure.
I have, &c.,