Mr. Wallace to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Constantinople, May 22, 1883. (Received June 11.)
Sir: I have the honor to report that yesterday being reception day with his highness the minister of foreign affairs, I called upon him, and in course of the interview asked if he could give any information touching the petroleum concession. A subordinate, in answer to his bell and order, brought him a sealed dispatch. After reading, he said, “I have just received this note from the grand vizier. He tells me in it that the council of state has come to a decision in the petroleum affair, and it is that the demands of America, Russia and Roumania cannot be acceded to.” I inquired if I was at liberty to report that as conclusive of the subject. He said it was to be so taken. Upon taking my departure, I said to his highness that the decision of the council was far from being what I had hoped 5 still I thanked them that they had furnished me with a decisive answer in at least one matter.
Anticpating this result, I had a private audience with His Majesty the Sultan last Friday, and made use of the opportunity to broach the concession. I called to his mind that on a former occasion he had told me he did not believe there could be any trouble between his Government and that of my country, as no question could arise between them so serious that he and 1 could not arrange it amicably. I then observed that his words had made a deep impression upon me at the time, and encouraged me to tell him that a question was now come which might take on a serious form. He asked me what it was. I entered into an explanation of the concession. He heard me with evident interest, and at the conclusion requested that I send him a paper upon the subject, and he would see what could be done.
Now that the council of state has given its final decision, I have no hesitancy about appealing to His Majesty, and will send him my argument this week.
You will please observe that the action of the council is in no wise a particularization, but goes alike to the three powers producing petroleum—the United States, Russia and Roumania. It is also made in the face of the identic notes of all the powers. I shall call upon my Russian and Roumanian colleagues immediately and confer with them.
Very respectfully, &c.,