No. 216.
Sir Edward Thornton to Mr. Evarts.

Sir: In compliance with an instruction which I have received from the Marquis of Salisbury, I have the honor to inclose copy of a correspondence between Sir J. Stokes and Monsieur C. de Lesseps, from which it will be seen that the Suez Canal Company have formally undertaken to extend to shipping under all flags the benefit of the arrangements in regard to tonnage measurement recently made with the company on the part of Great Britain.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your obedient servant,

[Inclosure in Mr. Thornton’s dispatch of February 3, 1879.]

Sir J. Stokes to M. de Lesseps.

Mr. President: In the replies of the various maritime governments to the communications addressed to them by the government of Her Britannic Majesty, the object of which was to induce them to accept the arrangement agreed upon between us on the 8th of January, and accepted by the board of management on the 12th of March last, the question is asked by almost all of them whether the interpretation given to the powers of examining the papers of vessels, or their certificates, in the correspondence which took place between the company and the English managers under date of the 6th, 16th, and 19th of February, extends to all flags.

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It is true that that correspondence had reference to English vessels only; hut, considering that the terms of its grant oblige the company to treat all flags on a footing of perfect equality, I feel convinced that it is your intention to give to every vessel, whatever flag it may carry, the same interpretation of the paragraph concerning examination as you have admitted for English vessels.

Before replying in this sense to my government, I shall be happy to receive an official communication from you authorizing me to give the desired assurance.

Be pleased, &c.,