No. 433.
Mr. Wallace to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 378.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch to the Department, No. 358, and to the note (a copy of which was therein inclosed) forwarded to the Sublime Porte after agreement with my colleague, the Russian ambassador, I have now the honor to transmit for your information a copy and a translation of the reply received thereto. * * *

The reservation contained in the next to last clause of the paper, of a right to review the work of the commission with a view to lessening the storage charges at present collected under the concession, means, when literally interpreted, that the council of ministers will now undertake a reduction in the way of compromise. Accordingly, among the last acts of the late minister of foreign affairs, Aarifi Pasha, was a reference of the identic note to the council, with an earnest recommendation that the charge be reduced to 70 paras the case.

When I heard of the return to office of Assim Pasha, I paid the new official a congratulatory visit. This was done yesterday. I found his excellency friendly to the compromise; he even volunteered to exert himself to have the council take the matter up at its next meeting. That meeting was held yesterday.

From the office of the minister of foreign affairs I went next to that, of the minister of the interior. The latter official made no concealment of his position. He was most pronounced in advocacy of a compromise, and agreed to join his excellency Assim Pasha in pushing the affair at the next council.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[Page 563]
[Inclosure in No. 378.—Translation.]

Assim Pasha to Mr. Wallace.

The ministry of foreign affairs has received the note verbale the United States legation did it the honor to address it the 24th of last March, No. 208, relative to the petroleum depots of Tchiboukei.

The Sublime Porte regrets not to be able to regard this question from the same point of view as the United States legation. In its eyes the establishment of the depots presents no international character and does not attack commercial liberty.

It concerns a measure of internal order and public security that the territorial Government evidently has the right to settle for itself by observing the interests of everybody.

It could not therefore recognize the right of importers either to establish depots or to claim indemnification.

However, while maintaining the standpoint it has already developed concerning the the point of right, the Sublime Porte did not omit examining the objections to which the tariff in force might give rise. The question was referred to a special commission, which has recorded in a report the result of its deliberations. The Sublime Porte reserves to itself the examinations of this work to ascertain if it be necessary or not to lower the dues at present collected.

The United States legation may be sure that the Imperial Government has given this affair the most serious attention, and that its greatest desire is to conciliate all interests engaged.