Mr. Eustis to Mr. Gresham .

No. 305.]

Sir: In accordance with the Department’s instruction, No. 370, of March 12, concerning the consular privileges of unsalaried consular officers at Tunis, the matter was submitted to the minister of foreign affairs in a note dated March 26, embodying the views expressed by the Department and stating that my Government could not acquiesce in any differential treatment of its consular officers abroad based upon a mere detail of financial relation between the Government and its agent.

The matter was also discussed with the chief of the protectorate department of the foreign office, who endeavored to explain that in Eastern countries foreign consuls occupied a position from which they might derive unfair advantages when they were engaged in business like unsalaried officials, and particularly like Mr. Chapelié, who does not seem to be persona grata at the foreign office, although he is a Frenchman. This gentleman admitted, however, that perhaps the French resident had been too hasty in his decision and said that satisfactory explanation would be given you. A note from Mr. Hanotaux, dated the 22d instant, states that the French ambassador at Washington has been instructed to furnish these explanations, and adds that the French resident’s decision was intended to apply only to the withdrawal of the custom-house franchise from consular agents engaged in business.

I inclose herewith a copy and a translation of the note.

I have, etc.,

J. B. Eustis
[Inclosure in No. 305.—Translation.]

Mr. Hanotaux to Mr. Eustis .

Mr. Ambassador: By a letter dated March 21 last the chargé d’affaires of the United States at Paris called my attention to certain information which had reached his Government according to which the resident general of the French Republic at Tunis had recently decided to “suppress all the privileges, honors, and prerogatives granted to consuls by treaties except those who were salaried officers.”

I had not failed to interrogate our representative in the regency of Tunis with reference to this matter, and I have just invited the ambassador of the French Republic at Washington to furnish the Federal Government with such explanations as appeared to me to be called for by Mr. Vignaud’s communication.

[Page 419]

I deem it proper, however, to inform your excellency that the decision taken by Mr. Réné Millet had only in view the withdrawal of the custom-house franchise from the consular agents engaged in business.

Please accept, etc.,

G. Hanotaux