Mr. Alexander to Mr. Gresham.
Athens, November 19, 1894. (Received December 8.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Greek Boulé, or Chamber of Deputies, began its regular session, the fourth of the thirteenth parliamentary period, on the 8th of November. Because of the absence of His Majesty the King, who is now in Russia, the opening was without ceremony. When, after some days had elapsed, a sufficient number of deputies had arrived to make a quorum, the first vote taken, which indicated the strength of the present ministry, was a vote on the election of a president of the Boulé. The ministerial candidate received 107 votes, while the combined strength of the three parties in opposition was 84 votes. The total number of deputies is 207, of whom 191 were present at that meeting.
The session of the Boulé will be occupied chiefly with measures for the settlement of financial questions. In this connection I send you, under separate cover, a report prepared by Secretary Elliot, of the British legation here, entitled “A report for the year 1893–94 on the finances of Greece.” It is a good statement of the condition of affairs up to May, 1894, and in fact up to the present time. The Greek Government is paying this year only 30 per cent of the interest on the national debt. A compromise measure, agreed upon during the past summer by a committee representing the bondholders of Great Britain, Germany, and France, and by Prime Minister Tricoupi, has not yet been accepted by the bondholders themselves.
I think of nothing affecting American interests which needs to be acted upon during the present session of the Boulé except, perhaps, the question of international copyright. It seems to me quite unlikely, for reasons already stated in these dispatches, that the copyright agreement which all of us desire can be accomplished at once. Greece is not yet ready for international copyright. I believe, however, that this country can be brought to a favorable view of the question long before the lack of an international copyright arrangement begins to affect American authors in any way. Books by American authors are not republished here in the original, and almost none are republished here in translation. A few books by Greek authors, Bikelas and others, are published, in translation, in the United States. These men have said to me: “We are handsomely remunerated if Americans honor us by reading our books.” Perhaps they may take a different view of the matter after a time.
I have, etc.,