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La Commission, d'accord avec le Gouvernement, s'occupera du meilleur usage à faire de ses 66,666.66 livres mensuelles: elle aura à examiner avec lui s'il convient mieux que ces fonds soient :
Ou affectés au retrait du caïmé par tirage au sort, comme le propose l'un de nous;
Ou au maintien des cours du caïmé par rachats à volonté.
Il est bien entendu que l'affectation, au service du caïmé, de cette somme mensuelle de 66,666.66 à prendre de la douane, ne devrait être que temporaire et limitée à ce service jusqu'à l'époque où le Gouvernement, prenant pour toutes ces dettes des mesures d'ensemble ne manquerait pas d'y comprendre le retrait total du caimé.
Comme mesures complémentaires de l'institution et du fonctionnement de la Commission du caïmé, nous conseillons au Gouvernement d'ordonner à toutes les caisses provinciales de faire leurs paiements en caïmé et non en d'autres monnaies; De prescrire à tous les fonctionnaires des douanes de réserver toutes les monnaies qu'ils recevront pour Constantinople;
De faire l'assortiment bien exact et bien complet des coupures de caïmé réclamées par le public;
De donner cours au cuivre dans tout le pays en l'assimilant au caïmé dont il serait la fraction jusqu'à concurrence de 4 piastres 35 paras, les caisses publiques de l'Empire devant le recevoir ainsi; tout paiement de 5 piastres et au-dessus devant être fait en caïmé;
De faire fabriquer, en Angleterre ou ici (en Angleterre de préférence) les pièces de cuivre nécessaires à cette circulation étendue à l'Empire, mais de ne pas frapper des pièces de une piastre qui sont trop lourdes et trop incommodes et qu'il conviendrait, au contraire, de retirer pour ne laisser circuler que des pièces de 5, 10 et 20 paras;
De donner l'ordre à la Monnaie de ne pas frapper de monnaies d'argent jusqu'à nouvel ordre, puisque l'on vise pour le moment à la raréfaction des monnaies de ce métal.
De supprimer, par décret, l'usage qui s'est introduit du caïmé à 130. Cette pratique résulte des ordres donnés par le Gouvernement, dans les premiers jours de l'émission du caïmé, de changer 100 piastres en caïmé contre 130 en cuivre. Un décret du Gouvernement peut seul faire disparaître cet abus;
Enfin d'autoriser de nouveau l'exportation des céréales de l'Empire.
Par l'ensemble de ces mesures qui nous paraissent être d'une application facile, nous avons la ferme confiance que le prix du caïmé irait en s'améliorant progressivement, tout en préparant les voies à l'établissement, dans l'Empire, d'un système monétaire régulier et désormais à l'abri de ces fluctuations soudaines qui, jusqu'à ce jour, ont si souvent entravé les transactions commerciales.
Constantinople, le 31 Décembre, 1877.
J. VON HAAS.
Nous soussignés faisant partie de la Commission, après avoir entendu la lecture du rapport ci-dessus, adhérons en principe aux conclusions du dit rapport.
Ce 12 Janvier, 1878.
A. P. MAVROGORDATO.
Lord Tenterden to Mr. Guedalla.
Sir, Foreign Office, February 4, 1878. I AM directed by the Earl of Derby to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th ultimo, pointing out that the interests of the English holders of the General Debt of Turkey Five Per Cent., 1865-74, would be affected by the incorporation of certain provinces of the Ottoman Empire into another kingdom.
I am, &c.
Mr. Guedalla to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 28.)
My Lord, Hanover Square Club, Hanover Square, February 28, 1878. AS Chairman of the English Committee of the General Debt of Turkey Five Per Cent., 1865-73, I beg leave to express to your Lordship our alarm at the monstrous pretensions put forth by Russia, which are calculated to completely ruin the unfortunate holders of existing Turkish Loans. We therefore appeal to your Lordship for such protection of our interests as your Lordship may be able to grant us, and I now proceed to state our case as briefly as possible.
Proposals, it seems, have been made for annexing to Russia, and to the territories of her allies, several parts of the Ottoman dominions in Europe and Asia, and for so reorganizing portions of the Empire as to extinguish or limit their contributions to the Imperial Treasury.
Apart from the grave national consideration that any such changes would constitute a breach of international faith and honour, affecting the good name and credit, not only of Russia, but also, and in a greater degree (for they have not the right which war gives), of the other States parties to the Treatics of 1856 and 1871, it may be of advantage to consider how far such changes would affect the rights and interests individually, of the English and Foreign Bondholders of Turkish securities.
Since 1853-54, Turkey has contracted with them-principally, if not exclusively
a foreign debt, amounting to about 180,000,000l. nominal capital.
1. This money was lent to her as an independent State, guaranteed in her then existing integrity of empire in Europe and Asia, by Austria, France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and Prussia. Of course, that European guarantee enhanced the security in the estimation of the lenders, and formed a material ingredient in the promotion of the loans.
In other words, to use the familiar expression of bankers, six Great Powers of Europe, including Russia herself, "introduced" the Sultan to capitalists as a customer with whom they might deal.
2. In addition to such an attraction, the lenders had the general lien which attaches to all public debts, and is well-defined by Mr. Justice Blackstone. (See Note P, page 491, of "Smith's Wealth of Nations," by McCulloch.)
"What is the pledge which the public faith has pawned for the security of these (National) debts? The land, the trade, and the personal industry of the subject, from which the money must arise that supplies the several taxes. In these, therefore, and in these only, the property of the public creditors does really and intrinsically exist; and of course the land, the trade, and the personal industry of individuals are diminished in their true value, just as much as they are pledged to answer."
3. And various portions of the debt were charged on the Tribute of Egypt, and the Customs duties of Syria, on the Customs duties and octrois of Constantinople, and general revenues of the Empire; on the tobacco, salt, stamp, and licence duties, on the Imperial Customs and tithes, on the security of the sheep-tax of Roumelia and the Archipelagus, and the produce of the mines of 'Tokat, and on a variety of special taxes, imposts, and tithes, as well as on the general revenues, "present and future," of Turkey.
Under these three heads the security of the bondholder is based, and the Ottoman Empire, whether in Europe or Asia, is thus primarily charged with the The security overrides the land and the whole Imperial resources, and these are
both generally and specially pledged for the payment of the debt which attaches to every part and parcel of the Empire.
No alienation of territory would free the ceded part from its liabilities, the one being the National Debt attaching to it previous to the war.
With respect to it, the conqueror could only put himself in the place of the Sovereign whom he had dispossessed.
"The conqueror who takes a town or province from his enemy cannot justly acquire over it any other rights than such as belonged to the Sovereign against whom he took up arms." (Vattel, 387.)
"The property belonging to the Government of the vanquished State passes to the victorious State, which also takes the place of the former Sovereign in respect of the eminent domain. In other respects, private rights are unaffected by conquest." (Wheaton, 2, page 82.)
As to such rights (of neutrals), Vattell says (page 322):
"It is not the place where a thing is which determines the nature of that thing, but the character of the person to whom it belongs; things belonging to neutral persons which happen to be in an enemy's country, or on board an enemy's ships, are to be distinguished from those which belong to the enemy."
Again, the money lent was a deposit confided to the public faith:
"This deposit being found on our hands only in account of that confidence which the proprietor has reposed in our good faith, ought to be respected even in open war. Such is the usage in France, in England, and elsewhere in respect to money placed by foreigners in the public funds." (Wheaton, vol. xi, page 17, quoting Vattel.)
As between belligerents, Russia during the Crimean War honourably fulfilled this obligation in the regular payment of the dividends due on her Foreign Debt. fortiori, would the obligation attach as between belligerent and neutrals.
The debt due to such neutrals may be likened to neutral goods under the enemy's flag, which, by the Declaration of Paris, in 1856, are declared to be exempt from confiscation. Or, applying the principles of law and justice in the ordinary transactions of civilized life, the foreign creditor may be considered as standing in the position of a mortgagee, whose claim must be satisfied before the mortgagor or his assigns can make valid title to the estate charged with the debt, and such creditor would have full right to refuse to accept any lessened part of or substitute for his actual security.
No change of proprietorship of the territories pledged for the payment of the debt could justly, or in accordance with international usage, impair, or even vary the security without the consent of the bondholder, direct or indirect.
And it may even be urged in the present case, that the bondholders ought to have priority of claim over any fresh debt, be this in the form of a war indemnity or of any other charge posterior to the creation of the original one.
Should, then, any cession of Turkish territory be proposed, it will be duty of the Governments of the various countries whose respective subjects are interested in this question, to protect their rights and secure them from loss, by ensuring a just and proper provision for them in the Treaty of Peace which, it may now be expected, will be made, or in such other manner as will be equitable.
Such protection may well form one of the subjects for deliberation and adjudication by the European Congress which must be called together to settle definitely the Eastern Question.
Many precedents, enforcing the principle that debts attaching to countries are to be respected, that on alienation such debts were adopted by the successive proprietors, and that in case of severance such debts were duly apportioned, may be found in Treaties of the present century, and the following (inter alia) may be adduced :1. By Article VIII of the Treaty of Luneville in 1801 it was determined that the new possessors of ceded countries (including the territories on the left bank of the Rhine) should be charged with the debts hypothecated thereon. On the fall of Napoleon it was provided by Article XXI of the Treaty of Paris in 1814 that the debts specially hypothecated in their origin on the countries which ceased to belong to France, or contracted for their internal administration, should remain chargeable on such countries. And in pursuance of this stipulation it was enacted by Article XXV of the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 that the King of Prussia should, on his acquisition of the said countries on the left bank of the Rhine, take upon himself all the charges and all the stipulated engagements with respect to those countries detached from France by the above-named Treaty of Paris.
2. On the renunciation by the Grand Duke of Tuscany of that Duchy the debts
duly hypothecated on it were passed over to its new possessor, the Duke of Parma. (Treaty of Luneville, Article V). On the restoration of the Grand Duke of Tuscany to that Duchy it was (in pursuance of Article XXI of the Treaty of Paris) enacted by Article C of the Treaty of Vienna, that the Grand Duke should hold the Grand Duchy in such manner as he possessed it previous to the Treaty of Luneville.
3. On the separation of Belgium from Holland a division was made of the Public Debt of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and a part of it was, by Article XIII of the Treaty of 1839, transferred from the Debit of the General Treasury of the King of the Netherlands to the Debit on the Great Book of Belgium.
4. On the separation of Texas from Mexico the former Republic, by Convention of November 14th, 1840, took upon itself a portion of the capital of the foreign debt contracted previously by the Mexican Government.
5. On the separation of the Ionian Isles from Great Britain Greece undertook the public debt and other engagements attaching thereto. (Treaty of March, 1864).
6. On the acquisition by Italy of parts of the Papal Territories a re-partition was made in 1866-68, whereby a proportionate part of the Pontifical Debt was transferred to the Great Book of Italy, in consideration for the annexation to Italy of the Provinces of Romagna, the Marches, Ombria, Benevent, &c.
7. On the cession of Lombardy to Italy the latter undertook the charge of portions of the Monte-Lombardo-Veneto Debt, and of the National Loan of 1854. (Treaty of Zurich, November 10th, 1859, Article VII, &c., Convention of September 9th, 1860).
8. On the cession of Venice and the union of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom to Italy, the latter took upon itself the debts charged on the ceded territories. (Treaty of Prague, August 23rd, and Treaty of October 3rd, 1866).
9. On the annexation of Savoy and Nice to France the latter became charged with a portion of the Sardinian Public Debt. (Treaty of March 24th, 1860, Article IV, and Convention of August 23rd, 1860, Article I, &c.)
10. On the severance of the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg from Denmark the public debt of the latter was apportioned, and part of it was charged on the Duchies, and was guaranteed by Austria and Prussia. (Treaty of October 30th, 1864, Articles VIII-XI.)
But as regards the foreign holder of Turkish securities, his position would be very different, his interests would be ruinously prejudiced were he to look to Turkey only for the payment of his claims-to Turkey, dismembered and deprived of some of her richest and best portions in Europe and Asia, forming now material security for the debts attaching thereto-to Turkey, encumbered further with a pernicious crushing war indemnity, and the prospective evils certain to be fanned to flame in fanciful "Autonomies" in the very heart of her Empire.
The consideration of this subject has wider import than the present case. It affects not only the Turkish bondholder, but the interests of other foreign securities so largely held by British subjects. National debts have swollen to amounts threatening positive or eventual bankruptcy. Public faith is disregarded as to debts as well as Treaties, the payments of interest are in some cases suspended, and the dealings in their capital stock reduced to mere gambling transactions, and the question arises whether the unfortunate bond fide holder is to be left with no other means of redress than the mere hopeless appeal to the honour of a non-paying or aggressive State, whose resources are squandered in ambitious and extravagant purposes, at the expense and to the detriment of others, innocent and defrauded. The occasion now presents itself of at least safeguarding the bondholder of Turkish securities, by the action both of our own and of the other Governments interested in the matter, and if it is neglected no more disastrous incentive to wars of aggression could be devised than the tacit or overt recognition of any right of a victor to appropriate or assign to others the territories of another State, and then free himself or them from the debts and liabilities attached previously to it.
In this instance least of all could Russia, on her own behalf or that of her allies, claim to hold lands wrested from Turkey, without sustaining a due share of the debt in the creation of which her own guarantee of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and Asia was an important attraction to the bondholder, British or foreign, whose interests are now at stake.
Lord Tenterden to Mr. Guedalla.
Foreign Office, March 2, 1878. I AM directed by the Earl of Derby to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ultimo, calling attention to the manner in which the interests of the Turkish bondholders may be prejudiced by the Terms of Peace now being negotiated between Russia and the Porte.
I am, &c.
Sir A. Paget to the Earl of Derby.-(Received March 11.)
Rome, March 8, 1878.
HER Majesty's Consul at Naples reports that a meeting of Turkish bondholders was held on the 6th instant in that city. It was attended by about 700 persons, and presided over by Commendatore Ciminiro.
The following resolution was passed unanimously:
"The Italian holders of Turkish bonds, assembled in the Sannagaro Theatre in Naples on the 6th March, 1878, to invite the Italian Government to protect their interests in the present peace between Russia and Turkey;
"Considering that it is the general principle of law recognized by all nations, that the general public debt of a State remains hypothecated on the revenues or on the whole territory of the State, and that no portion can be ceded without the new acquiring State accepting a proportional part of the debt;
"Having heard the Memorandum drawn up by the Promoting Committee of the meeting;
"They decide that it shall be forwarded to the King's Government in the hope that the Government, of its own initiative or by union with England and France, will protect, in or out of the Conference, the interests of the Italian holders of Turkish bonds."
Musurus Pasha to the Earl of Derby.-(Received March 16.)
Ambassade Impériale Ottomane, Londres, le 15 Mars, 1878. J'AI l'honneur d'informer votre Excellence que, en vertu de deux arrangements conclus le 17 Septembre, 1877, entre son Excellence Zuhdi Effendi, Sous-Secrétaire d'Etat au Ministère Impérial des Finances, agissant au nom et par ordre de la Sublime Porte, d'une part, et MM. Edward Howley Palmer et Edward Pleydell Bouveric, agissant au nom et comme représentants des porteurs de titres des Emprunts Ottomans de 1854 et de 1871 d'autre part, Sa Majesté Impériale le Sultan a, par un Firman qui a été délivré à MM. Palmer et Bouverie, ordonné à Son Altesse le Khedive d'Egypte de remettre et de verser directement à la Banque d'Angleterre les sommes annuelles de 99,511l. 11s. 7d., et de 229,7377. 14s. Gd., pour compte du tribut annuel, payable par Son Altesse le Khédive à Sa Majesté Impériale, et cela jusqu'à ce que les dits Emprunts de 1854 et 1871 soient complètement remboursés, conformément aux termes des arrangements ci-dessus mentionnés.
En notifiant ce qui précède à votre Excellence, par ordre de mon Gouvernement, j'ai l'honneur de lui transmettre ci-joint une copie du Firman précité, accompagné de sa traduction, ainsi que les copies des deux arrangements sus-mentionnés.
J'ai, &c. (Signé) MUSURUS.