Mr. Blaine to Mr. Snowden.
Washington, March 8, 1890.
Sir: In the published reports of the consuls of the United States, No. 96, of August, 1888, there was printed, on page 205, without date, a report entitled “Tobacco imports into Egypt,” signed by Mr. John Card well, then the consul-general of the United States at Cairo. That report contained reflections upon the methods in which commercial operations were understood by the writer to be conducted by Greek merchants in the Levant, and incidentally embraced a general reference to the Greek people, which is open to animadversion as altogether unnecessary and unjust.
The minister of Greece in England, who is also duly accredited to the Government of the United States as the representative of the Hellenic Government, brought this publication to the personal attention of Mr. Phelps, the late minister of the United States in London, and was assured by Mr. Phelps of the regret with which the publication of the remarks was regarded by the Government of the United States. At no time has the minister of Greece availed himself of his diplomatic character to address the Government of the United States formally on the subject, nor has any representation in the premises been made directly to the minister of the United States at the Hellenic court.
This Government appreciates the delicate courtesy and good will of the Government of Greece in refraining from official remonstrance in [Page 484] respect to utterances which, from their nature, could not have failed to wound the just susceptibilities of the people of Greece; and/in turn takes pleasure in offering to that Government a sincere expression of its regret that, through an oversight as much to be condemned as it is deplored, the remarks of Mr. Cardwell should have been thus published through the agency of a subordinate bureau of this Department.
As His Hellenic Majesty’s Government is aware, the reports of the officers of the United States in foreign countries are prepared for the use and behoof of their own Government. Their utility can not be circumscribed by prohibition or censure looking to the exclusion of subjects of report save such as may be agreeable to other Governments or peoples. Hence, were Mr. Cardwell still in office, this Government could not assent to a proposition that he should be publicly censured or punished for a statement which, however erroneous in judgment, was yet clearly privileged as between the agent and his principal.
It is, accordingly, for the publication of Mr. Cardwell’s utterances that this Government spontaneously tenders to the Government of Greece its sincere regrets, with the earnest assurance that the act was by no means intentional, and that the Government and people of the United States are actuated only by the most cordial respect and friendship for a country and people to whom they are linked by indissoluble ties.
You are at liberty to read this instruction to His Hellenic Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, leaving with him a copy, should he so desire. At the same time you may say to him that copies hereof will be sent to the legation of the United States in London and to our agency and consulate-general at Cairo for preservation on their files 5 and that the present communication will in due course appear in the published diplomatic correspondence of this Department.
I am, etc.,