to Mr. Bayard.
St. Petersburg, October 29, 1888. (Received November 21.)
Sir: As it is possible that a recently published report of the British foreign office from their consulate Taganrog in southern Russia, on the railway extension in cis-Caucasia and the opening of line to Novorossisk, may not have been received at the Department, I deem it of sufficient interest to transmit herewith a copy.
It contains a description of the harbor works, in course of construction there, and of a town, rapidly rising in importance, which is doubtless destined to become, after Odessa, the principal sea-port of the Black Sea.
The exportation thence of gram has already grown to considerable proportions, and before long, with the completion of the branch lines of railway now being built, the vast plains of the cis-Caucasus, and the steppes extending northeast to the Volga, which have been much in need of an outlet near at hand for their products, will be drained by that route.
A statement has been made, in connection with this report, that the Russian Government contemplated the removal of the naval station at Sebastopol to Novorossisk, but this is not easily credible, for great pains and expense have been taken to restore Sebastopol to something like its pristine splendor; rebuilding forts, arsenals, etc., with a shipbuilding yard for men-of-war. It is more likely that both ports may be made naval stations, both having their objectives; Novorossisk for the Caucasus and the trans-Caspian region, and Sebastopol for the western part of the Black Sea. An indication of this intention of the Russian Government is the exclusion of foreign consular officers from Novorossisk. Our government, some four or five years ago, appointed a consular agent at that place, but the imperial foreign office declined to issue exequatur to him. I judge, however, this exclusion to be of slight importance to our commercial interests, for the exports thence, almost entirely of grain and petroleum, can scarcely be directed to American markets, and it is not probable that many imports from America will take that channel instead of the well-beaten path to Odessa.
I have, etc.,