No. 626.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Blaine.

No. 139.]

Sir: Your dispatch* No. 81, of the 24 thultimo, relating to the Panama canal, was duly received.

On yesterday I took the first opportunity, by the return from the [Page 1028] Emperor’s summer residence at Peterhof of the imperial minister of foreign affairs, to speak with Mr. de Giers on the subject which suggested your dispatch, and he assured me that no proposition looking to a joint guarantee of the neutrality of the canal referred to had been submitted to the Russian Government, and that he had no knowledge of the existence of such a proposition. He added that Russia would not take the initiative in such a project.

In view of this explicit statement, I did not deem it necessary to enter in detail upon an expression of the views of our government, but limited myself to saying that while the United States claimed to have a greater interest in the projected enterprise than any European government, she did not propose to assume any new attitude on the subject, but would only adhere to and seek the recognition of her longstanding position with regard to the Isthmus canal.

Mr. de Giers said that should the question mentioned come before the Russian Government he would advise me.

I am, &c.,

  1. For instruction referred to see instruction No. 187, dated June 27, 1881, to minister to Great Britain, page 537.