1870-11-18 THE TREATY OF 1856

London Times, 18 November 1870, p. 3: THE TREATY OF 1856. (The following appeared in out Second Edition of yesterday: --)


The following is a complete translation of the Circular Note of Prince Gortschakoff: --

"Zarskoe Selo, Oct. 31.

"Successive alterations in the Treaties considered as the foundation of the European balance of power have rendered it necessary for the Imperial Cabinet to inquire how far the political position of Russia has been and ought to be modified [?] by these changes. Among the Treaties alluded to, that which touches Russia more nearly than any other is the Compact of March 30th, 1856. The special convention between the two States bordering on the Black Sea, which forms an appendix to this Treaty, obliges Russia to confine her naval forces to a maximum; at the same time this Treaty establishes the principle of the neutralization of the Black Sea. By laying down this principle the signatory Powers intended to remove the very possibility of a conflict between the Powers bordering on the Black Sea, or between either of them and the Maritime Powers. This arrangement was intended to increase the number of the territories which have been accorded the benefit of neutrality by common consent, and thus protect Russia herself from the danger of attack. A 15 years' experience has proved that this principle, on which the safety of the South Russian frontiers exclusively depends, is no more than a theory. In reality, while Russia disarmed in the Black Sea, and, by a declaration contained in the minutes of the Conference, likewise loyally deprived herself of the possibility of taking measures for an effectual maritime defence in the adjoining seas and ports, Turkey preserved her privilege of having an unlimited number of men-of-war in the Archipelago and the Straits, while France and England were also at liberty to assemble their squadrons in the Mediterranean. Again, under the Treaty in question, the war flag of all nations is formally and perpetually prohibited entry into the Black Sea, but the so-called Straits Treaty closes the Straits only in time of peace to men-of-war. Owing to this inconsistency [?], the shores of the Russian Empire are ?????? to attack even from less powerful States if they have some naval forces [?] at their disposal. All that Russia could oppose to them some ships of small force [?]. The Treaty of March 30 has, moreover [?], [?the next several lines are completely illegible].......

Provided by Stephen McLaughlin