Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward

No. 109.]

Sir: I mentioned in a recent despatch that I had applied to the Italian government to permit the temporary establishment of a depot for naval stores of the United States at Cagliari.

I have received a reply, a translation of which is enclosed herewith. The decision of the Navy Department to defer for the present the employment of storehouses on shore, renders it unnecessary to prosecute the subject further, and I have notified the Italian government accordingly.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Mr. Minister: I have communicated to the ministry of marine the contents of your note of the 26th September last, in relation to having magazines in the port of Cagliari to receive the United States naval stores, which are to be removed from the depot at Spezia, on account of the transformation of the gulf of Spezia into a military establishment for the royal marine of Italy.

In view of the amicable relations existing between the two countries, and in consideration of the exceptional circumstances that the United States of America have no possession in Europe, and their great distance from the Mediterranean does not permit them to provision directly and opportunely their ships in that sea, the government of the King has no objection to granting the permission desired. But you will recognize, Mr. Minister, in making this concession we are obliged to return to the King’s government that liberty of action which its own interests and the maintenance of maritime neutrality demand. It is my duty then to fix the following conditions:

The privilege accorded to the United States to rent magazines at Cagliari for the stores of their naval station in the Mediterranean can at any time be revoked by the government of the King, and the marine of the United States will be held to evacuate the aforesaid magazines within a delay of three months after notice given to the legation of the United States at the court of Italy.

In case of a rupture between the United States and any European power, the magazines of Cagliari must be evacuated immediately after the declaration of war.

The United States will not be entitled to indemnity for the evacuation of their naval magazines at Cagliari.

Ships-of-war of the United States marine will conform to the provisions of the royal decree of 6th of April, 1864, hereunto annexed, in regard to the neutrality of the ports of the Italian Kingdom.

In case that ships-of-war of the United States should have to remain in the port of Cagliari beyond the time fixed by article 12 of the said decree, they will be required, except in case of forced stoppage or of damage, to obtain the authorization of the King’s government.

The provisions of the before mentioned decree relating to belligerent ships will be applicable to the military marine of the United States, whenever the United States shall be at war with any other power, or in case ships-of-war or privateers (armis en course) of the separatists should make their appearance in the Mediterranean.

I shall be glad, Mr. Minister, if, while appreciating the necessity of these conditions, you should find no difficulty in accepting them.

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I hasten to add that the government of the King will be happy to be able to give proofs of its friendship towards the United States in according to the federal marine all facilities that may be consistent with its duties.

I take with pleasure, Mr. Minister, this occasion of renewing to you the assurances of my high consideration.


Mr. Marsh, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America.