No. 271.
Mr. West to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Sir: Referring to a communication which I had occasion to make to you respecting the proposal of the French Government to abolish the capitulations in Tunis, I have now the honor to communicate to you, at Earl Granville’s request, the substance of an instruction addressed to Her Majesty’s minister at Paris on this subject. Her Majesty’s Government are willing to recognize the justice of the contention that there would be no sufficient reason for maintaining consular jurisdiction in Tunis, where the native courts are superseded by French tribunals. The institutions which have grown up under the capitulations with Turkey have been found essential for the protection of foreigners under the peculiar circumstances of the Ottoman Empire, and the necessity for them disappears when tribunals organized and controlled by an European Government take the place of Mussulman courts. Her Majesty’s Government, therefore, would be prepared to give the most friendly consideration to any proposals which the French Government may have to make to them on this subject, but, at the same time, while willing to consider the question of surrendering their rights, so far as consular jurisdiction is concerned, they reserve all the other rights and privileges, commercial and otherwise, guaranteed to them by treaties.

I have, &c.,