Mr. Motley to Mr. Seward

No. 177.]

Sir: I have the honor to state that I have just received a note from Count Mensdorff, in answer to my note of date May 6, a copy of which was forwarded with my despatch No. 170, of date May 8.

I have prepared a careful translation of the minister’s note, which, together with a copy of the original, I transmit with this despatch.

I cannot doubt that both the contents and friendly spirit of this communication from the imperial royal government will give sincere satisfaction to the United States government.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Count Mensdorff to Mr. Motley

The undersigned, minister of the imperial house and of foreign affairs, has had the honor to receive the note which the Hon. Mr. Lothrop Motley, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of North America, addressed to him on the 6th of the current month, in which expression is given to the representations which his government has seen itself called upon to make in regard to the volunteers enlisted in the Austrian states for military service in Mexico.

The undersigned has already had repeated occasions to give verbal explanations to the envoy of the United States concerning the nature and extent of the enrolments in question which have taken place in very limited measures, both as to numbers and period of enlistment—explanations which were intended to remove every doubt which could have arisen in the eyes of the government of the United States in regard to the intentions of Austria in this matter. As, however, it appears from the latest communications of the envoy that the said explanations have not hitherto had the effect to entirely tranquillize the North American government in this respect; as that government feels obliged to see in the enlistments in question an exertion of influence on the part of Austria in the internal affairs of Mexico which might become a motive for the United States to come out of the neutral position which it has hitherto maintained in regard to those affairs; as, finally, according to the observation contained in the note of Mr. Lothrop Motley, the exertion of an influence of the above-mentioned character would be regarded as well by the government as by public opinion in the United States as an unfriendly proceeding towards them, which would be entirely out of harmony with the intentions of the imperial government, the undersigned finds himself in the position, without, therefore, being able to agree with all the views developed in the many-times cited note, to make known to the envoy that, in consideration of all the above-mentioned circumstances, the necessary measures have been taken to prevent the departure of the volunteers lately enlisted for Mexico.

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In the confident expectation that the cabinet at Washington will feel itself on this account the more induced to allow no change to take place in the neutral position hitherto maintained by it towards Mexico, and that the government of the United States will recognize in this proceeding of the imperial cabinet a new proof of its sincere wish to remove everything that might be capable of exercising a prejudicial influence upon the relations between the two countries, the undersigned makes use of this occasion to renew to the honorable Mr. Lothrop Motley the assurance of his high and distinguished consideration.


Mr. Lothrop Motley, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, U. S. A.