No. 15.

Mr. Francis to Mr. Bayard.

No. 106.]

Sir: The objections of the Imperial Royal Government to the recognition of Mr. Keiley as United States minister to Austria-Hungary have recently had expression with something of sensational vehemence in nearly all the Vienna newspapers. The leading daily journal of this capital, the New Free Press, discusses the matter at considerable length, and as its comments reflect the tone of the Vienna press generally on the subject, I transmit a slip of the article cut from its issue of June 27, and inclose translation of the same.

It will be seen that the main reason set forth against the acceptance of Mr. Keiley by the Imperial Royal Government is the alleged fact of objection to him by Italy, when he was recently appointed United States minister to that court, the character of the objection being specially dwelt upon as keenly affecting the susceptibilities of King Humbert.

The New Free Press article states, in terms less guarded, however, as respects carefulness of speech, substantially the utterances of Count Kalnoky made to me on the 23d of June, and I presume there can be no doubt that the almost simultaneous expression of the Vienna press on the subject had its inspiration largely at the foreign office.

Yours, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 106.—Translation.]

From the Vienna New Free Press, Saturday, June 27, 1885.

The most amicable relations exist between Austria-Hungary and the United States of America, and great effort has always been made in Vienna and in Washington to foster them. The greater must be, therefore, the surprise that Mr. Keiley, the newly [Page 31] appointed envoy of the Union, who is already on his way to his new post of duty, is not accepted by Austria-Hungary. The facts in the case, however, are such that no fears need be entertained that this refusal of Mr. Keiley will disturb the good feeling between Austria-Hungary and the United States. Mr. Keiley once made a most violent speech at a Catholic meeting at Richmond, Va., denouncing King Victor Emmanuel, and calling the liberator of Italy and the, creator of its unity the most insulting names. When Mr. Keiley was appointed minister to Italy the Quirinal, pointing to his hostile remarks on Victor Emmanuel, refused to receive him. Mr. Keiley was then appointed minister to Austria, probably without knowledge on the part of the President that his candidate had, by his speech, rendered it impossible for him to be employed in a diplomatic mission to any European state. Mr. Keiley has not been viewed as a proper representative at Vienna, firstly, because due respect for the Italian court demands that a man should be refused who had sullied the memory of the father of the reigning king of Italy; and, secondly, because Mr. Keiley’s behavior gives rise to suspicion that he is not a proper person to render good service in the maintenance of friendly relations between Austria-Hungary and the United States.

All this would not have occurred if in the diplomatic intercourse of the United States with European Governments the same rule was applied as with the latter among themselves, whereby the court to which a minister is to be sent is first asked whether the appointee is agreeable. But the Union, on account of the delay to which the correspondence is subject, has not considered it practicable to adopt this custom, and has not even adopted it to-day, when the cable, whose absence made the reason plausible informer times, has removed this objection. Thus it happened that Mr. Keiley could be appointed, and steps for redress were possible only after the appointment had been made. These steps were taken, the Austrian Government through the envoy at Vienna, Hon. John M. Francis, and the Vienna court through the envoy at Washington, confidentially informing the United States Government that Mr. Keiley could not be accepted as diplomatic representative of the North American Union, since he had so gravely offended the Italian dynasty, and had been refused by the court of Rome.

Irrespective of all personal considerations, the affair has political significance of high interest respecting our relations toward Italy. The ground alleged for the refusal to receive Mr. Keiley is the consideration due to Italy. Although various symptoms during the past few years gave rise to the thought that the relations between Vienna and Rome were slightly disturbed, an assumption made plausible by the fact that the visit of King Humbert to Vienna had not been returned by the Emperor Francis Joseph, and that the foreign policy of Mr. Mancini pointed to an estrangement with Germany and Austria-Hungary, the refusal to receive Mr. Keiley contradicts all this in a manner whose clearness leaves nothing to be desired. Not only is a proof of friendship given to the Italian Government by refusing the lawyer from Virginia to exercise the functions of envoy at Vienna, but it is also an act of personal and delicate courtesy which the Emperor Francis Joseph renders to King Humbert, who must necessarily be indignant that the memory of his father had been sullied most grossly by Mr. Keiley; and it cannot escape the King’s notice that the non-approval is due to a regard for these feelings. Although assurances have occasionally been received from Rome that the tie which binds Italy to the alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary is as firm as ever, yet the approaches made towards England, the taking of Gladstone’s part in the Egyptian question, and the East African expedition, seem to confirm the opinion of those who look upon these manifestations of the foreign policy of Italy as signs of an approaching rupture with Germany and Austria-Hungary for the sake of an English alliance. The episode with Mr. Keiley shows that at Vienna no opportunity is allowed to pass without indicating to Italy every possible regard, and public opinion of Italy cannot remain blind to this fact. That the memory of Victor Emmanuel, the liberator of Italy, should be honored outside of Italy must be gratefully felt by her, and King Humbert cannot fail to be touched to see that the Vienna court is reluctant to allow unfavorable criticism of his father by those who are appointed to represent foreign states here. There would have been no occasion at Vienna to commence such a delicate diplomatic discussion with the friendly North American Union, if the fact had been apparent that Italy was indifferent as to being on good terms with Austria-Hungary, or if there had been an intention to treat these relations more coolly. This Keiley case is a barometer which shows that the desire and inclination exist between Vienna and Rome to leave nothing un done to strengthen the friendship between the two courts.

On reflection the Cabinet at Washington will find that the reasons which actuated the Austro-Hungarian Government to refuse Mr. Keiley are such as to forbid any other course. The conviction that Austria-Hungary has the sincere desire of remaining on the most friendly terms with the great transatlantic Republic need not be reiterated at the White House; the amicable relations between the two countries are traditional. A personal matter will scarcely change them, the more so as in the present instance no ill-will towards the United States Government and its interests has [Page 32] dictated the course adopted by the Vienna cabinet. The diplomatic custom at Washington caused the episode of publicity which would otherwise have been avoided. To remove it from discussion as soon as possible will surely be the mutual aim of Washington and Vienna. Mr. Keiley, who has to bear the consequences of his thoughtless manifestation, will find in the great western Republic another sphere for his talents if it chooses to profit by them. But to the Vienna cabinet it will not deny the freedom to accept those foreign representatives only who have not prejudiced their capability to foster with care and tact the amicable relations between Austria-Hungary and the United States. The good terms we sustain with the Union will not suffer by preserving at the same time our friendship with Italy.