to Mr. Evarts
Brussels , June 26, 1878. (Received July 8.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on June 24 I placed before the new minister of finance, through the minister for foreign affairs, the invitation of the Government of the United States to unite in an international congress for the purpose of adopting a common ratio between gold and silver, and fully explained the object and aim of said conference.
I informed him of the governments which had already signified their intention of being represented, and expressed the hope of receiving an early and favorable response from His Majesty’s government.
I justified myself in hazarding the risk of being considered importunate from the fact that the communication from my predecessor, the chargé d’affaires of the United States, dated April 4, on the same subject, had remained unanswered, and from the further fact that there had been since then a complete change of ministry.
It gives me pleasure to say that on the following day, June 25, I received a communication from the minister for foreign affairs accepting the invitation, and stating that the Government of Belgium would be represented in said congress, but “would not be confined in action to the general terms indicated in the letter of invitation.”
I shall call upon the minister this morning and state to him that this privilege which Belgium reserves to herself is held in common by all the assenting powers, and that the binding influences of the congress can only begin after a proper ratification of the agreement—should one be reached—by the governments of the respective delegates.
This action of Belgium in consenting to the conference completes, I believe, the entire list of countries composing the Latin Union which will, through representatives, be present; and considering it of sufficient importance to telegraph, I accordingly did so yesterday; which course, I trust, will meet with your approval.
I have, &c.,