No. 94.
Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 19.]

Sir: It is a fact worthy of note that there is at present an entire accord between the various European powers upon a somewhat annoying phase of the troublesome and often recurring Eastern question.

[Page 160]

Even the cabinets of Berlin and Paris seem to be in harmony upon the principles to be applied to the settlement of the difficulty between the Khedive and the rebellious Egyptian troops and agitators. While M. de Freycinet declares in the Chamber of Deputies, that France will act in accord with the remainder of Europe upon this question, and “accept the responsibilities, decisions, and means of action of the European concert,” it is stated on apparently good authority that Prince Bismarck is favorably impressed with these declarations, and confirmed in his desire to give his moral support to the present French Government, and save it from troubles likely to bring about its fall, which would return Gambetta to power, whose name is correctly or otherwise synonymous with a policy of restlessness and adventure.

But the action of Germany in this crisis seems to be rather one of observation and caution, than of direction. England and France are cautiously taking joint measures to influence the Porte and control the situation in Egypt. But as far as I can observe, Germany has not given anything more than an implied assent to the measures in question. I am inclined to believe that this arises more from a desire to avoid the expenses of naval and military movements than from a diverse view of the situation, but partly from a wish to avoid a concurrent military movement with France.

It may apparently be safely asserted that there is everything in the attitude of the European powers towards each other, and in their respective interests, to guarantee that no disagreement will arise over this new development of the Eastern question to lead to any war among themselves or either of them.

The German press seem to recognize in the utterances of the French executive a peaceful policy at the expense of French traditions concerning Egypt. The Kreuz Zeitung seems surprised at the unusual self-control of the French, far greater than they are usually credited as having, and says:

The policy of M. de Freycinct is sensible, and takes account of existing circumstances, but it is certainly not French. The traditional policy of France in Egypt has just received a harder blow than has for a long time been inflicted anywhere on national prestige. There is no doubt that at the present time Turkey is, more than the Western powers, the protector of Egypt, while the lowest authority in that regard is that of France.

While these views are tinged with prejudice toward France, and do not do justice to its attitude in this affair, they imply at least German satisfaction with the situation. The National Zeitung speaks of Mr. de Freycinct’s declarations as proving—

The predominance of peaceful ideas in France, and the powerlessness of the foes of peace in Europe, whose avowed and restless chief is Mr. Gambetta, as now appears more clearly than ever.

It thinks France will be safer with European concurrence than in isolation with England, in that bitter quarrels would probably arise between France and England over Egyptian matters if they should attempt to jointly effect the necessary settlement there.

If there is a slight tone of jealous distrust of France, mingled with that of approbation, in these utterances, perhaps it is that Germany will not forget that, in the language of Von Moltke, it must be prepared for fifty years to defend its acquisitions in the Franco-Prussian war, and cannot be wholly cordial to a possibly prospective foe.

But it seems probable, in view of all the surroundings, that even if warlike movements occur in Egypt, or a conflict there, to put down the soldiery which imperil the lives of the Khedive and European residents, [Page 161] and to terminate the existence of the military party headed by Arabi, that such events will not change the peaceful situation in Europe. On the surface, at least, there is promise here of continued peace.

I have, &c.,