Mr. Lee to Mr. Bayard .
Vienna , October 9, 1885. (Received October 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to say that in accordance with your instruction No. 4, dated August 31, 1885, I called on Count Kalnoky on Tuesday, October 6, and communicated to him the facts in regard to the communication of his telegraphic dispatch in writing and its subsequent confirmation in Baron von Schaeffer’s letter to you, and also the statement of Mr. Szögyényi to Mr. Francis in relation to the “earnest expression” at Vienna of the wishes of a third party concerning the diplomatic relations of the United States and Austria-Hungary.
Having listened attentively to what I had to say on the first point, he simply observed, “Yes, there is no doubt Baron von Schaeffer made a mistake in communicating in writing confidential instructions to himself. [Page 47] These matters always should be considered verbally and confidentially.”
With regard to Mr. Francis’ interview with Mr. Szögyényi, he said “It is impossible that Mr. Szögyényi could have said anything that implied an interference on the part of the Italian Government. Mr. Francis must have misunderstood him. You know he does not speak English very well; but he could not have said it, as it had not occurred. Oblige me on going from here to go to Mr. Szögyényi’s office and ask him what his recollection of this interview with Mr. Francis was.” I rather protested against seeking corroboration to his own words. He replied that he especially desired it, and begged me to go immediately from his office to Mr. Szögyényi before there could be any possibility of his seeing him or conversing with him. I replied that if he made an especial request that I would do so to gratify him. He said he was much oblighed to Mr. Bayard for calling his attention to the matter, as it was always desirable to have any such mistake rectified at once. Count Kalnoky also asked me to say to Mr. Bayard that he regretted exceedingly that any misunderstanding should exist between the two countries, and that it was foreign to his mind that any misunderstanding should grow out of what had occurred.
I then went, as requested, to see Mr. Szögyényi, who was not in his office when I sent ray card (his office is in a different part of the same building), but I was asked to wait, as he would not be absent long. On his return I told him the object of my visit, when he at once said Mr. Francis had misunderstood him; that, of course, he could not recollect the exact language of all the conversations he held, but that it was impossible that he should have said anything to Mr. Francis that would have given him to understand that the Italian Government was taking any part in the matter of Mr. Keiley’s reception, as it was not true. It must have been the fault of his bad English. He did recollect conversing with Mr. Francis on the subject, but when I asked him what I should tell Mr. Bayard he did say, he said he could not, of course, recollect exactly at that distance of time, but that Italy never had objected, and he could not have said anything that implied that it had. He begged me to explain how impossible the matter was to my Government, and again said that it must have been the fault of his English.
It transpired during the interview that he had seen Count Kalnoky since I had, as he asked me at the end of his explanation what Count Kalnoky had said on the subject. When I told him he had said exactly the same thing, he replied, “I am glad. I was with the count a few minutes ago, and he asked me if I had seen you; I said ‘No.’ He then said, ‘Mr. Lee is no doubt waiting now to see you, so go at once.’ I asked him what Mr. Lee wanted to see me about. Count Kalnoky replied, ‘Never mind; I do not wish to talk to you about it before you have seen him, and in that way perhaps influence the bent of your thoughts.’”
The remainder of the interview, being upon a different subject, I reserve for a separate dispatch.
I have, &c.,