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leurs intérêts respectifs dans la vallée du Nil. Telles sont les conditions en dehors desquelles il me paraîtrait impossible de garantir la durée des rapports de cordialité et de confiance que nous souhaitons également, Lord Salisbury et moi, de voir perpétués entre les Gouvernements de France et d'Angleterre, comme entre les deux nations.
Le prix même que j'attachais à ce qu'aucun germe de malentendu futur ne pût rester déposé dans les arrangements pris aujourd'hui, m'obligeait à entrer dans ces franches explications et à insister auprès de mon interlocuteur pour obtenir de lui des déclarations positives sur les points qui nous touchent.
Le Principal Sécretaire d'Etat de la Reine, je me hâte de vous le dire, a apprécié, comme je croyais y avoir droit, les mobiles et la portée de mon langage. Il s'est empressé de me donner, sous la forme la plus satisfaisante, les assurances que j'attendais de sa loyauté. Il a reconnu avec moi les devoirs et les droits qui découlent pour nous de notre position acquise au Liban, et il m'a déclaré qu'aucun acte du Gouvernement Anglais ne viendrait y porter atteinte. Pour ce qui concerne l'Egypte, ses paroles n'ont pas été moins nettes; il a accordé sa complète adhésion aux vues que je lui avais développées sur le rôle désormais dévolu dans ce pays à nos deux nations, sur l'égalité et le respect mutuel qui devaient y présider à leurs relations réciproques, sur l'unité d'action où elles devaient chercher à l'avenir un surcroît de sécurité pour les intérêts particuliers de chacune d'elles. J'ajouterai enfin que Lord Beaconsfield, dans les différents entretiens que j'ai eus avec lui s'est inspiré des mêmes idées et m'a tenu le même langage.
L'exposé que j'ai l'honneur de vous faire ici de cet échange de vues n'a pas seulement pour but de vous informer de la nature des rapports que j'ai entretenus avec les Représentants du Gouvernement de la Reine pendant notre commun séjour à Berlin, et de vous indiquer les conséquences qui doivent en résulter pour la conduite ultérieure des deux Cabinets de Paris et de Londres à l'égard l'un de l'autre ; il m'importait surtout de spécifier d'une manière à la fois précise et définitive les objets sur lesquels avaient porté mes explications avec Lord Salisbury et les résultats de ces explications. Les deux pays ont un intérêt trop considérable à ce qu'aucune méprise sur ces points essentiels ne se produise entre leurs Gouvernements, pour que je ne tienne pas à m'assurer une fois de plus que j'ai bien compris le sens des déclarations que j'ai reçues. Je vous prie donc de vouloir bien donner lecture à Lord Salisbury de la présente dépêche et lui en laisser copie à titre confidentiel; il y trouvera formulées de nouveau les observations que j'ai cru devoir lui faire entendre à Berlin, et j'ai la conviction qu'il reconnaîtra que ses réponses y sont reproduites avec exactitude.
July 21, 1878. THE Convention signed at Constantinople on the 4th June last, between England and Turkey, and which was not made public until the beginning of this month, has produced a considerable sensation in all quarters as soon as it became known. This impression has been deeper in France than anywhere else. It is not that any special predisposition in that country induced the public mind to receive with mistrust or to judge with severity the acts of the British Government. The cordial relations which have for so many years existed between the two nations to their mutual advantage, the multiplicity and complexity of the ties which bind them to each other, the feeling even of the injury which may have resulted to each of them in former times in consequence of their temporary estrangement-all these causes would have been sufficient to preclude public opinion in France, taken in its entirety, from an unfriendly appreciation of the conduct of the Cabinet of London, even had it not been impelled by long habit to associate, especially in Eastern affairs, its own cause with that of England.
But that which has touched France to the very heart is the fear that beyond the sphere of those general interests which link us with Great Britain, those special interests which we protect in the Levant, and the preservation of which we cannot give up without the most serious material and moral detriment, might be endangered in conse quence of the new position assumed by the English Government. I was careful to indicate those interests by formal reservations before accepting the invitation to the Congress of Berlin. I expressly excluded from all discussion the state of things existing in the Lebanon, the Holy Places, and in Egypt. All the Cabinets agreed to this reservation, and the public were informed of it. Was not, then, the outburst of surprise and uneasiness which took place in France justified when it was known that England was about to occupy an island in the Mediterranean, situated in the most favourable strategic and maritime position for commanding, at the same time, the coasts of Syria and of Egypt; and that, in addition to this direct advantage, England also was to acquire a right to
intervene henceforth actively in the administration of all the territories of Asia subject to Ottoman jurisdiction?
This current of public feeling was so natural in the circumstances under which the Anglo-Turkish Treaty was divulged, it was even so well foreseen by the clear-sighted statesmen who direct the affairs of Great Britain, that before making public the Treaty of the 4th June, Lord Salisbury endeavoured to disarm beforehand any unfavourable impression which we might form with regard to it. It was with this view, I do not doubt, that his Excellency, in bringing officially to my knowledge at Berlin, on the 7th instant, the Convention signed between Safvet Pasha and Mr. Layard, accompanied his communication with a despatch, of which I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a copy.
This document, which in itself possesses a high value in our eyes, acquires a stil! more valuable signification for us, from the verbal commentaries with which it was accompanied by Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State at the interview which, after receiving his communication, I judged it indispensable to have with him. I shall not wait to examine the considerations of a general character by which Lord Salisbury's despatch explains or characterizes the determination adopted by the British Government-they are expressed in a form courteous to us; and I admit that, France and Austria having refused to intervene under the conditions provided for by the Treaty of the 16th April, 1856, England was naturally led to act alone, and to seek means to restore her prestige in Asia, which had been weakened by the establishment of the Russians in a fortress so important as Kars. But I desire here to confine myself to those passages in which the English Minister repudiates, in the name of his Government, a policy which would tend to the acquisition of a material footing either in Egypt or even only on the banks of the Suez Canal, or on the continent of Western Asia.
The abandonment of any project of occupation of this kind was, according to the Marquis of Salisbury, the result of the desire of the British Government not to arouse the susceptibilities of France, and of their appreciation of the legitimate nature of the objections which we must have raised to any such designs.
Adopting, in my conversations with Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State, the point of departure which had been furnished me by his written communication, I have pointed out to him that if all objection on our part was to be removed, it would be necessary for us to obtain from the English Government positive declarations of such a nature as would definitely reassure France as to the future of all those interests which she considers to be connected with the maintenance of the existing state of things in Syria and Egypt. As far as concerns the Holy Places, our traditional privileges appear to us to be sufficiently guaranteed by the special clause inserted at our request in the text of the Treaty of Berlin, and which was accepted by Great Britain as well as by the other Powers. But in Syria we actually exercise over the Catholic populations of the Lebanon a controlling influence, the bases of which were acknowledged in the Règlement Organique, sanctioned by Europe in 1861, and which we cannot allow to lapse. In Egypt, interests, both commercial and moral, of still greater importance demand watchfulness on our part. Undoubtedly, we can have no intention of raising obstacles of any kind to the natural development of those analogous interests which England, on her side, possesses in this country. We are the first to recognize how indispensable a matter it is for her to maintain as an absolute principle the freedom of her communications through the Suez Canal with her Indian possessions. But while respecting her position as a great Asiatic Power, we have, we think, a right to claim a similar respect for our own country as a great Mediterranean Power. We wish, therefore, to be assured that in the future, as in the present, our two Governments will act in concert, in order that, by a friendly policy founded on a just and reciprocal consideration for one another, the sphere of their respective interests in the valley of the Nile may be preserved intact. Such are the conditions, without which it would appear to me impossible to guarantee the continuance of cordial and frank relations, which it is equally the wish of Lord Salisbury and myself to see perpetuated between the Governments as well as between the nations of France and England.
I considered it indeed to be of such importance that no germ of future misunderstanding should possibly be found in the arrangements now taken, that I felt obliged to enter into these frank explanations, and in my conversations with Lord Salisbury to press him to give me positive declarations on the points which interest us.
I lose no time in informing you that Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State has appreciated, as I thought I might expect, the motives and the meaning of my language. He readily gave me, in the most satisfactory form, the assurances which, from his loyalty, I expected from him. He has admitted to me the duties and rights which we derive from the position acquired by us in the Lebanon, and has declared to me that they should not be
prejudiced by any act of the English Government. Nor have his words been less explicit in what relates to Egypt; he has declared his entire adhesion to the ideas which I had unfolded to him as to the part which would for the future fall to our two nations in that country, as to the equality and mutual respect which should preside over their reciprocal relations in that quarter, as to the unity of action which should afford for the future an increased security for the private interests of either. Lastly, I may add that Lord Beaconsfield, in the several conversations I had with him, adopted the same views and held to me the same language.
The statement which I have the honour now to make to you of this exchange of ideas has not only for its object to explain to you the nature of the relations which I held with the Representatives of Her Majesty's Government while we were together at Berlin, and to point out to you the consequences which should result therefrom with respect to the line of conduct which the two Cabinets of Paris and London should for the future hold with regard to each other; it was of the greatest importance to me to specify, in a manner at once precise and definite, the objects which I had discussed with Lord Salisbury, and the results of those explanations. The two countries have so great an interest in avoiding any misunderstanding between their Governments on these essential points, that I cannot but be anxious to assure myself once again that I have fully understood the sense of the declarations which I have received. I have, therefore, to request you to have the goodness to read this despatch to Lord Salisbury, and to leave with him, confidentially, a copy of the same; he will find in it again set forth the observations which I thought it my duty to address to him at Berlin, and I feel convinced that he will allow that his replies are correctly reproduced in it.
I beg, &c.
The Marquis of Salisbury to Lord Lyons.
Foreign Office, August 7, 1878. I HAVE the honour to inclose to you a copy of a despatch which was left with me by the French Ambassador on the 23rd ultimo.*
It is written in the first instance in reply to a communication which I had the honour of addressing to him at Berlin, and of which your Excellency at the same time received a copy. But at the same time M. Waddington records the general purport of conversations which took place between us after the receipt of that despatch, and which enabled him to appreciate more exactly the significance of the Convention with Turkey of the 4th June, which I had brought to his Excellency's knowledge.
M. Waddington expressed himself on those occasions in language which I remember with lively satisfaction, and which clearly indicated the friendly sentiments entertained towards England by the Government of which he is a Member. He fully recognized the special difficulties attaching to the position in which Her Majesty's Government were placed by the failure of the Tripartite Treaty of April 15, 1856, and recognized the necessity which this circumstance imposed upon them of providing by their own action for the interests which the Treaty, if it had been practically operative, would have secured.
He was also fully sensible that our policy had been inspired by no projects of aggrandizement upon the shores of the Mediterranean, but purely by a solicitude for the vast interests which we possess in Asia, and which it is our duty to defend. At the same time he was naturally anxious to receive from me assurances which should confirm the interpretation he had placed upon our action, and the inferences which he had drawn from the language of my letter.
These assurances I was very willing on the part of Her Majesty's Government to renew. The tenour of the language I employed, though I cannot answer for individual expressions, is accurately reproduced by M. Waddington in the despatch which I inclose.
The interests of France as a great Catholic Power in the Lebanon, and in the Holy Places of Palestine, have always been scrupulously respected by this country.
We do not contemplate any departure from the policy which in this respect has been pursued in times past by the Government of the Queen. The efforts of Great Britain will be directed in the future, as they were at the Congress of Berlin, to securing the equal rights of men of all religions; but they are not under an obligation to undertake *No. 2.
the special defence of any of the religious bodies which are to be found in Asiatic Turkey, still less to contest the guardianship of Catholic interests which France has made her peculiar province.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs has also dwelt, both in his despatch and in his conversations with me, upon the question of Egypt.
I am able to recognize with satisfaction that the views to which he gave expression were of a very friendly character, for it has always been the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government to work cordially with that of France in promoting the development of Egyptian resources.
England has a special tie to Egypt, because it is the highway to her Eastern possessions; but the great economical and philanthrophic objects which European diplomacy is pursuing in that country interest France and England in an equal degree. Neither Power desires to establish any territorial settlement in Egypt, or to interfere in any way with the dynasty of the Khedive at present established there under the suzerainty of the Sultan. Both desire the stability and permanence of his rule; at the same time that both are urging with earnestness the prosecution of those reforms which alone can rescue his people from misery and his finance from its present condition of profound embarrassment.
The English Agent has constantly been instructed that it is the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government to work heartily in co-operation with that of France, and this wish has influenced their policy, sometimes even to the prejudice of other important considerations. They were earnestly dissuaded by some of the authorities best acquainted with the circumstances from joining with the French Government in requiring that the Coupon of last May should be paid in full; but they preferred to risk the evil consequences which were predicted, and appeared not improbable, rather than part company with France in the matter.
There appears to be no danger of any misunderstanding between the two Powers upon this question. The common object of both is that the Khedive's dynasty may endure; that his people may prosper; and that his debts may be paid. In their sincere co-operation, free on both sides from any ulterior designs of territorial acquisition, lies the only hope of enduring prosperity and progress for Egypt.
I am, &c.