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Despatch of the French Government on Mediation in America

The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1174, p.511.

November 15, 1862


Thursday's Moniteur publishes a despatch of M. Drouyn de Lhuys, dated Oct. 30, proposing to the Cabinets of London and St. Petersburg to come to an understanding in order to cause a suspension of the hostilities now waging on the American continent. The Minister recalls that France has considered it a duty to observe a strict neutrality, and continues:--"But, far from imposing upon the Powers an attitude resembling indifference, neutrality should dispose them to render themselves useful to both parties, and aid them to emerge from a position which at present appears without issue." The despatch proceeds to state that the situation of the belligerents does not permit a hope of marked advantage likely to accelerate the conclusion of peace, but points out the opportunity for an armistice to which in the present state of things no strategic interests appear to make an obstacle. M. Drouyn de Lhuys continues thus:--"Dispositions favourable to peace begin to manifest themselves in the North as well as in the South, and would second steps for the conclusion of a truce. The Emperor has charged me to propose to the Cabinets of London and St. Petersburg to come to an understanding to employ their influence at Washington and in the Confederate States in order to bring about a suspension of hostilities for six months, during which all direct or indirect acts of war should cease both sea and land. These overtures would imply no judgment upon the origin or issue of the quarrel, and no pressure upon negotiations which might be conducted. Our part would solely be to smooth away difficulties, and only to intervene in the measures determined upon by both parties. The accord of the three Powers would impress the steps they might take with an evident character of impartiality. If our counsels were not listened to we should have fulfilled the duties of humanity, and even in remaining without result our efforts would not be entirely useless, for they might encourage in American public opinion a movement towards conciliatory ideas, and assist in hastening the moment when the return of peace might become possible."

The question of European intervention in America is believed to have met with slight encouragement from Russia. The official Journal of St. Petersburg publishes the following statement:--"We believe that the foreign Powers have no right whatever to interfere in America. We also believe that no other intervention would be possible than one similar to the advice which Russia has constantly tendered in a friendly spirit since the commencement of the struggle."

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