to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna , November 12, 1878. (Received November 29.)
Sir: Besides Austria, whose minister plenipotentiary is already in Roumania, Italy has appointed a minister of the same rank at Bucharest; and Germany, it is understood, will do the same. Russia has so far appointed only a minister resident, and it is not yet known what action the other powers will take in this respect. They all concede the title of “Royal Highness” to Prince Charles.
For Servia, it is understood that only ministers resident will be appointed at Belgrade.
It was reported in the journals here that the United States Government had by special envoy acknowleged the independence of one or both these principalities. As this legation had no official advice on the subject, I could neither affirm nor deny it, but was disposed to doubt the authenticity of the report.
During the war, when all direct communications between these principalities and Constantinople were interrupted, I felt bound to accept jurisdiction of the questions affecting American citizens who found themselves in those principalities, and who appealed to this legation. Such correspondence still takes place occasionally, because Vienna is the most easily and the most regularly accessible diplomatic post for all the countries bordering the Danube. But I hesitate to continue this assumed jurisdiction longer without the sanction of the Department, and beg the Secretary to give me instructions on this subject.
It seems the time has come to annex those now independent principalities to some jurisdiction for United States diplomatic purposes, at least temporarily, and to adjust the right of intervention for the interests of American citizens when necessary.
Unless otherwise instructed, I should feel bound to consider Bosnia and Herzegovina (now occupied by Austria), as within my diplomatic jurisdiction—so far as American citizens are concerned.
A further question of the same sort may arise touching Montenegro. I had supposed the relations of that little independency would be rather with Italy than with Austria. But by the treaty of Berlin (Articles 24–30) Austria assumes the representation of the Montenegrine commercial flag abroad; and so presents a novel question of representation and responsibility in respect to other governments.
I have, &c.,