Mr. Hay to Mr. Leishman.

No. 138.]

Sir: Your attention is recalled to my No. 201, dated November 21, 1898, addressed to Mr. Pioda at Washington, copy of which was forwarded to your legation.

In concluding that note to Mr. Pioda I indicated to him the embarrassment of this Government in its commercial relations with other countries resulting from the construction now given to the most-favored-nation clauses of the treaty of 1850. I also expressed to him the alternative necessity of a further conventional understanding with the Swiss Government, or else the arrest of the operation of the treaty of 1850 in the manner provided by said treaty.

In the hope of avoiding the latter alternative by a resort to the former, I inclose herewith a projet of convention which leaves the existing treaty intact except so far as the four articles in question are concerned.

You will seize the first opportunity to present this projet to his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, with the request for his early consideration of it, assuring him at the same time of our earnest desire to conclude this question with the least possible derangement of our conventional relations as they have existed for the last half century.

It is understood that Mr. Pioda is soon to return to his post in Washington, and it is hoped that he may bring with him the requisite authority to conclude the proposed convention in order that it may be ratified by the Senate at its present session.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.