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actes solennels qui attestaient de leur ancienne et constante bienveillance à l'égard de leurs sujets Chrétiens.
Sa Majesté le Sultan Abdul-Medjid, aujourd'hui régnant, animé des mêmes dispositions et voulant donner à Sa Majesté l'Empereur de Russie un témoignage personnel de son amitié la plus sincère, n'a écouté que sa confiance infinie dans les qualités éminentes de son auguste ami et allié, et a daigné prendre en sérieuse considération les représentations dont son Altesse le Prince de Mentschikoff s'est rendu l'organe auprès de la Sublime Porte.
Le Soussigné a reçu en conséquence l'ordre de déclarer par la présente que le Gouvernement de Sa Majesté le Sultan restera fidèle à la lettre et à l'esprit des stipulations des Traités de Kainardji et à"Andrinople, relatives à la protection du culte Chrétien* et que Sa Majesté regarde comme étant de son honneur de faire observer à tout jamais, et de préserver de toute atteinte, soit présentement, soit dans l'avenir, la jouissance des privilèges spirituels qui ont été accordés par les augustes aïeux de Sa Majesté à l'Eglise Orthodoxe de l'Orient, qui sont maintenus et confirmés par elle; et, en outre, à faire participer dans un esprit de haute équité le rit Grec aux avantages concédés aux autres rits Chrétiens par Convention ou disposition particulière.^
Au reste, comme le firman Impérial qui vient d'être donné au patriarcat et au clergé Grec, et qui contient les confirmations de leurs privilèges spirituels, devra être regardé comme une nouvelle preuve de ses nobles sentiments, et comme, en outre, la proclamation de ce firman, qui donne toute sécurité, devra faire disparaître toute crainte à l'égard du rit qui est la religion de Sa Majesté l'Empereur de Eussie; je suis heureux d'être chargé du devoir de faire la présente notification.
* Aux stipulations du Traité de Kainardji confirmé par celui d'Andrinople, relatives à la protection par la Sublime Porte de la religion Chrétienne, et il est en outre chargé de faire connaître.
t Octroyés, ou qui seraient octroyés, aux autres communautés Chrétiennes, sujettes Ottomanes.
PAPERS SHOWING THE CONCORD EXISTING BETWEEN THE FOUR POWERS AT THE TIME WHEN FRANCE AND ENGLAND WERE ENGAGING IN A SEPARATE COURSE OF ACTION.
Protocol of a Conference held at Vienna, February 2, 1854.
Present: The Representatives of Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia.
The Representatives of Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia, have met together in conference to hear the communication which the Austrian Plenipotentiary has been good enough to make to them of the propositions submitted by the Cabinet of St Petersburg in reply to those which he had undertaken, on the 13th of January, to forward to the Imperial Government, and which were sanctioned by the approval of the Powers represented in the Conference of Vienna The document which contains them is annexed to the present Protocol.
The Undersigned, after having submitted the above-mentioned propositions to the most careful examination, have ascertained that, in their general character and in their details, they so essentially differ from the basis of negotiation agreed upon on the 31st of December at Constantinople, and approved on the 13th January at Vienna, that they have not considered them to be such as should be forwarded to the Government of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan.
It consequently only remains for the Undersigned to transmit the annexed document to their respective Courts, and to wait till they shall have taken their final resolutions.
The Earl of Westmoreland to the Earl of Clarendon.— (Received February 13.)*
My Lord, Vienna, February 8, 1853.
I HAVE just left the Conference to which Count Buol had this morning invited me, in conjunction with my colleagues. Upon our assembling, he stated that he had no proposal to make to us; but, in consideration of the perfect union existing amongst us upon the Eastern Question, he thought he was forwarding our common objects by communicating the despatches he had addressed to Count Esterhazy, for the purpose of being submitted to Count Nesselrode.
Count Buol then read to us these despatches. The first gave an account of the proposal brought forward by Count Orloff, that the Emperor of Austria should, in conjunction with Prussia, take an engagement with the Emperor of Eussia for the maintenance of a strict neutrality in the war now existing with the Porte, and in which the Maritime Powers seemed likely to take part. Count Buol, in his despatch, develops in the clearest and most distinct language the impossibility of the adoption by the Emperor of any such engagement. He states, with all courtesy to the Emperor Nicholas, the obligations by which the Austrian Government is bound to watch over the strict maintenance of the principle of the independence and integrity of Turkey — a principle proclaimed by the Emperor Nicholas himself, but which the passage of the Danube by his troops might, by the encouragement of insurrections in the Turkish Provinces, endanger. Count Buol, therefore, states that he cannot take the engagement proposed to him. The second despatch to Count Esterhazy relates to the answer which has been returned to the proposals for negotiations transmitted by Count Buol with the sanction of the Conference on the 13th ultimo.
* i.e., just one fortnight before England despatched the hostile summons which brought her into a state of war.
In this despatch, Count Buol states with considerable force the disappointment felt by the Emperor at the want of success which had attended his recommendation in favour of the Turkish propositions. He enters very fully into the subject, and renews the expression of the Emperor's most anxious desire that the Emperor Nicholas may still adopt the proposals which had been submitted to him.
The last despatch is one in which Count Buol replies to the reproach which was addressed to the Imperial Government, that by its present conduct it was abandoning the principles upon which the three governments of Russia, Austria, and Prussia had hitherto acted for the maintenance of the established interests and independence of the different States of Europe, and that, by so doing, it was endangering the established order of things in Europe, and the security at present existing.
The answer of Count Buol to this reproach is very firmly and clearly stated.
It is impossible for me to give your Lordship a more detailed account, before the departure of the messenger, of these despatches; but I must add, that they met with the entire approbation of the members of the Conference, that they were looked upon as most ably drawn up, and that, while using every courteous and friendly expression towards the Emperor Nicholas, they most clearly pointed out the present position which the Austrian Government would maintain with the view of upholding the principles they had proclaimed, and the engagements which they had taken for their support*
* The rest of the despatch relates only to a suggestion for an arrangement which came to nothing, and is therefore omitted.
Protocol of a Conference held at Vienna, March 5,1854.*
Present: the Eepresentatives of Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia.
The undersigned, Eepresentatives of Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia, having again met in Conference on the summons of the Austrian Plenipotentiary, the annexed document which had been communicated to the Cabinet of Vienna by the Envoy of Eussia, and which contains the preliminaries of the Treaty to be concluded between Russia and the Porte, was read to them, the Court of Austria being requested by the Cabinet of St Petersburg to apply for the support of the two Maritime Powers, in order to obtain the acceptance of these preliminaries by the Sublime Porte.
After mature deliberation, the Plenipotentiaries of France and Great Britain, taking as the basis of their examination the previous documents which had received the sanction of the four Powers, established the existence of radical differences between those documents and the proposed preliminaries.
1. Inasmuch as the evacuation of the Danubian Principalities, which is fixed to take place after the signature of the preliminaries, is made to depend on the departure of the combined fleets, not only from the Black Sea but from the Straits of the Bosphorus and of the Dardanelles, a condition which could only be admitted by the Maritime Powers after the conclusion of the definitive Treaty.
2. Inasmuch as the document now under consideration tends to invest with a form strictly conventional, bilateral, and exclusively applicable to the relations of the Porte with Eussia, the assurances relative to the religious privileges of the Greeks— assurances which the Porte has only offered to give to the five Powers at the same time and in the form of a simple identic declaration. The assurances, in fact, once inserted in the pre
* i. e., whilst messengers were carrying the hostile summons from Paris and London to St Petersburg.