to Mr. Kasson
Washington , July 30, 1879.
Sir: The changes wrought in the map of Eastern Europe by the late Russo-Turkish war and the treaty of San Stefano, confirmed and modified as they were by the later treaty of Berlin, could not but prove of interest to those nations which had remained passive spectators of the events which then occurred. The conferring of independent national life upon the northern provinces of Turkey along the Danubian highway, joined to the fuller autonomy gained by their sister provinces to the southward, seems to open an era of political and material development for those States which cannot but react beneficially upon the countries which have now, or may hereafter, have close relations of friendship and commerce with the countries now entering the family of nations.
Your recent dispatches show that you have, from the first, had lively, appreciation of the importance of the Danubian political movement,, and that you have on more than occasion pointed out the advantages to be gained by the entrance upon intimate intercourse with Roumania and Servia—advantages which other powers have not been slow to foresee, to the result of already establishing closer international relations with them. The indirect overtures made to you at various times, and reported in your dispatches, tend to the same conclusion. Your reports, and suggestions on this subject have partly responded to and partly anticipated the expectation of this government that the interests of the production and commerce of the United States and of their citizens would eventually justify entrance upon like relations with the enfranchised commonwealths of the Danube.
In view of your return to your post, and of the circumstance that the political relations of the Roumanian and Servian Governments with that of Austria-Hungary, and the authoritative character of the representatives of those new powers near the imperial-royal court, have made them the media for the communication of the views of their governments through you to that of the United States, I deem it eminently proper that you should be authorized to respond to the tentative overtures which have been made to you looking to the establishment of political relations between the United States and Servia and Roumania.
You are instructed, therefore, as soon as conveniently practicable after [Page 80] you return to your post at Vienna, to proceed to Belgrade and Bucharest, for the purpose of ascertaining what form of diplomatic intercourse is desired by the respective governments of Servia and Roumania, and what grade of diplomatic agents would be acceptable to them on the part of the United States, and how far these governments are prepared to enter upon reciprocal action towards us. After full conference on the subject with the proper representatives of these governments you will report what action by the Government of the United States you deem to be necessary or expedient in the matter.
It is probable, in view of the fact that the overtures heretofore made to you at Vienna contemplated treaty relations as well as merely formal diplomatic intercourse, that the question of the conclusion with those countries of proper treaties, and the nature and scope thereof, will be prominent among the subjects of your conferences with the foreign ministers of Servia and Roumania. With a view to your understanding discussion of this point, and for your appropriate guidance, you are referred to the existing treaties and conventions of the United States with foreign powers, of which the official collection will be found in your legation, and in particular to the treaty of February 26, 1871, between the United States and Italy, concerning commerce and navigation; the convention of May 8, 1878, with Italy concerning the rights, privileges, and immunities of consular officers, and the trade-marks convention with the Austro-Hungarian Empire of November 25, 1871. Copies of these treaties are inclosed for your information and use, not as strictly limiting the phraseology to be employed in the consideration of like treaty arrangements with Servia and Roumania, but as defining their character and scope.
After conference on these points with the Roumanian and Servian Governments, you will fully report to the department what they severally desire and are prepared to agree to. Should the views expressed on these points be in reasonable accord, they may by common consent be reduced to regular form as protocols of conferences, to be duly signed on both sides. These protocols, if approved here on due submission by you to the Department, will be made the basis of formal drafts of treaties which you will then receive full powers to conclude.
It is probable that the instructions now given to you will eventually involve other visits to Belgrade and Bucharest to complete the transaction, unless the formal negotiation and signature of the protocolized conventions be arranged to take place hereafter at Vienna by yourself and the Servian and Roumanian representatives at that capital; but this is not insisted upon, or more than thrown out as a passing suggestion. On the occasion, however, of your present visit to the Servian and Roumanian capitals, it is not unlikely that previous conference with the representatives of those States at Vienna would so prepare the way for your visit that but little time would be occupied in the preliminary details before reaching an understanding.
Certain pending questions which are already known to you render the opening of negotiations with Roumania a matter of some delicacy, requiring tact and discretion on your part. This point is made the subject of another instruction of even date with the present.
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Reports from time to time of the progress of your negotiations will be awaited with interest.
During your absence from Vienna you will leave Mr. Delaplaine in official charge of the legation.
I am, &c.,