The Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Minister of France in Mexico

Sir: At the time I am writing this despatch to you Baron de Sallard must have reached Mexico. The instructions from the government of the Emperor are, therefore, known to you. His Majesty has himself taken care, in his speech at the opening of the legislative session, to inform the great bodies of the state of these resolutions. To-day I have only to confirm the general directions contained in my despatch of 14th and 15th January, and to recommend to you to settle, without delay, with the Mexican government the arrangements intended to realize the views of the Emperor.

The wish of his Majesty is, as you know, that the evacuation should begin towards next autumn, and be accomplished as promptly as possible. You will have an understanding with Marshal de Bazaine to fix on the successive periods in accord with the emperor Maximilian.

I cannot here develop the various considerations which must be taken into account in the conduct of this operation, some of a nature purely military and technical, and essentially in the province of the marshal commander-in-chief; others, more political in character, are remitted to your appreciations in common, enlightened by the perfect knowledge which you have of local circumstances, and the necessities which they impose.

It is equally important, also, sir, to strike the balance of the financial situation and deter mine the guarantees which the security of the debt due to us requires. The provisions of [Page 331] the treaty of Miramar not having been realized, recourse must be had to other combinations to secure the reimbursement of our advances, and at the same time to provide, in the interest of the Mexican credit, for the regular payment of the arrearages of the debts contracted by the loans of 1864 and 1865. Mr. Langlas will receive by this courier, from the minister of finance, detailed instructions, which he will communicate to you; you will also have an understanding with him, in order to assure their execution.

The government of the Emperor has thought the simplest and least onerous combination for the Mexican government would consist in placing in our hands the custom-houses of Vera Cruz and Tampico, or others which should be deemed more suitable. One-half the returns should be ours, to be applied, one portion to payments of interest, at three per cent., on our credits, estimated on a capital of two hundred and fifty millions, and the rest as a partial guarantee of the interest due the holders of bonds of the loans of 1864 and 1865. Administered under our care, it is allowable to hope that these custom-houses would furnish still, after the previously assented to deductions, important resources. You will, therefore, have to make with the Mexican government such necessary arrangements that this delegation be regularly conferred upon us.

These points settled, and French interests thus guarded, the government of the Emperor will none the less continue to evince, in an efficient manner, all the sympathy which inspires his Majesty for the sovereign of Mexico personally, and towards the generous task to which he has devoted himself. You will please, sir, to make, in the name of his Majesty, this assurance to the Emperor Maximilian.

Accept, &c., &c.