No. 884.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 286.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that in the discussion of the budget of foreign affairs, which was unanimously voted by the Second Chamber of the States-General on the 8th instant, several deputies demanded information of the minister respecting the provisions of the convention which is said to have been recently entered into between France and Great Britain relative to the neutrality of the Suez Canal.

The minister replied that there was no definite convention as yet, but only a project, upon which France and Great Britain have agreed, and which has been submitted for the consideration and approbation of the several powers which originally took part in the conference upon this question.

He further declared that the provisions of the project were entirely acceptable to this Government, as they provided for the neutrality of the canal and guarantied its free usage in times of war as well as in times of peace.

The provisions protected the works on the canal and recognized the equal rights of all those who navigate it.

They guarded against the impediments which might result from a sanitary or other surveillance of the canal, and fixed the conditions relative to the participation of the several powers in such surveillance.

The text of the project has not been printed and I am therefore unable to furnish you with a copy at this time.

I have, etc.,

Isaac Bell, Jr.