Mr. Runyon to Mr. Gresham.

No. 205.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 204, I have the honor to inform you that the debate in the German Parliament was continued on Saturday, the 16th instant, members speaking both for and against the proposition “to request the Imperial Government to send out invitations at the earliest practicable date for a monetary conference to regulate the currency question by international agreement.” In the meantime 48 more members, making 212 in all, had signed the request to bring up the proposition for debate. The attendance, however, was not great, there being in reality little more than a quorum present at any time.

The declaration of the Imperial chancellor made the day before was severely criticised, the monometallists claiming that he was temporizing, that he showed a leaning toward the Agrarian-bimetallistic party, and that his statement that the Government might consider the subject would cause financial uneasiness everywhere which could not be quieted, as the silver party, while clamoring for relief from the present condition of affairs, had no plan for its improvement ready to bring forward. The bimetallists, on the contrary, claimed that the chancellor had said nothing.

Count Possadowsky, secretary of the Imperial treasury, defended the declaration of the chancellor, stating that any settlement of the silver question could not be otherwise than of advantage to everybody—and this statement was supported by many who are not bimetallists—especially as they thought that the possible good effects of previous monetary conferences had been lessened through German apathy. After a few closing remarks by Herr von Kardorff, in which he attacked the Radical and Social Democrat parties as fighting on the side of plutocrats and against the interests of the people, the proposition came to a vote and was accepted by a large majority of those present.

The vote in favor of the proposition has, however, no binding force, as the Reichstag (Parliament) can only advise the Bundesrath (Federal Council), and any call for a conference must be issued by the Imperial [Page 507] Government in the name of the Emperor himself; and the only declaration made by the Government during the debate was that it would consider whether it is advisable to consider whether it be not possible to obtain a friendly interchange of views on this matter with other countries interested in the value of silver; but nothing was said as to whether or not a conference would be called.

I have, etc.,

Theodore Runyon