Mr. Maynard to Mr. Evarts.
Constantinople , August 30, 1878. (Received October 4.)
Sir: I had the honor some days since to transmit the text of the treaty of Berlin, with maps illustrating the changes made by it in the configuration of the Turkish Empire (dispatch No. 269, July 24, 1878).
For several weeks past this capital has been unusually quiet; everything has seemed stagnant, almost torpid 5 military movements have ceased.
Diplomatic achievements are accomplished; the news-gatherer finds little to stimulate the public curiosity, and there is too much poverty for great commercial activity.
The Government of Great Britain has taken possession unopposed of the island of Cyprus.
At first there was a great gathering, mostly of the enterprising classes, from different parts, expecting great personal opportunities from the change. Their experience has been undoubtedly a disappointment.
Both strategically and commercially Cyprus appears to me the least important of the Turkish islands, full of interest as it certainly is to the historian and the antiquarian. Without harbors, unhealthy, occupied by a population whose habits, fixed for generations past, will alter little for generations to come, it offers no attractions for colonization, while there are few artificial wants to encourage professional, commercial, or financial pursuits.
A governor with his staff, several hundred soldiers in scattered detachments, and a ship or two in the offing, will represent, probably for a long time, the new order of things.
Austria-Hungary has marched her troops into Bosnia and the Herzegovina, to find any but a welcome reception.
Our information is very limited, but enough to indicate a conquest challenged at every point rather than a peaceful occupation.
It is suspected that the resistance is encouraged by the Sublime Porte, but I have seen nothing to warrant the suspicion, and the hostility [Page 891] can readily be explained by the temper of the people, who aspire to independence, and not to a mere change of masters.
The port of Batoum on the Black Sea is still held by the Turks. We hear reports that the Lazes will resist a Russian approach to the bitter end.
The Russians appear to be in no haste to take possession of it, important to them as it undoubtedly is. In view of their occupation of other points dependent upon the surrender of this, they probably think they can afford to wait.
The Turkish fortresses on the Danube and those forming the so-called quadrilateral have, I understand, all been surrendered.
The independent states of Montenegro, Servia, and Roumania are apparently quiet, and busy only with their internal affairs. The same may be said of Bulgaria.
On the Grecian frontier, however, a different state of things prevails. The Greeks expected as a result of the late war a substantial acquisition of territory Epirus and Thessaly certainly, if not a considerable portion of Macedonia, in addition to the island of Crete. Their claim appears to rest negatively upon a dislike of Russia and a strong antipathy against the Bulgarians, which held them aloof from the war. What encouragement they may have received from any quarter I have no means of knowing; though assurances, they allege, were given them. Naturally they were not considered in the treaty of San Stefano. The congress of Berlin in the thirteenth protocol agreed, with the exception of the Ottoman plenipotentiaries, inviting the Sublime Porte “to arrange with Greece for a rectification of frontiers in Thessaly and Epirus.”
This was followed in Article XXIY of the treaty by a reservation to the other powers of offering mediation. This action of the congress called from His Highness Safvet Pasha, grand vizier and minister of foreign affairs, an elaborate reply in the form of a circular note to the other treaty powers, a copy of which I inclose.
So the matter stands for the present. Meanwhile there is much disorder reported all along the disputed boundary.
I am, & c.,