PP/GC/CA/271 Copy of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to Sir S.Canning, regarding the invasion of the Danubian principalities by Russia, 7 May 1849: contemporary copy
Copy, in the hand of a secretary, of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, Foreign Office, [London], to Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople]: he has been proved correct in his supposition that the Russians invaded the Danube principalities in order be ready to support the Austrians [when they moved against the nationalists] in Hungary. "How far it may be wise for Austria, or how far it may answer her ends in the long run thus to have recourse to [Russia] to coerce her own subjects, time will shew; but certainly one should think that she would have done better to have tried all means of conciliation before she had recourse to such foreign aid. It is possible too that Russia may not find her account in this intervention to the extent that she imagines; and when so many of her troops are gone abroad she may find work stact up for them at home. However, we do not meant to meddle with the matter in the way of protest, or in any other manner."<P> The maintenance of the Austrian empire is an essential element in the balance of power and Britain would deplore anything which should cripple Austria or harm her future independence. This new move may make the Russians attach less importance to the arrangements which they urging the Porte to conclude with them. The Porte, however, should not be pressured into signing any new agreement which gives the Russia any rights to interfere in the internal affairs of the Danubian provinces. Schwarzenberg, according to Ponsonby, does not want Russia to have a permanent footing in those provinces, but that is not to say that Austria would resist Russia there if she put really pressure on the provinces. Austria's policy has been too much to yield to the strong and to bully the weak, and Schwarzenberg is not likely to act otherwise.<P> It would be unwise for the Porte to have come to an open rupture with Russia, but Canning indicates that that is unlikely.<P> 7 May 1849: contemporary copy <P> "Insert" has been written in pencil on the docket, possibly by Palmerston.
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople
Ottoman empire, Sublime Porte
Wallachia, Rumania, Hungary, Serbia or Servia, Balkans, Danubian principalities
John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Vienna
Felix, Prince Schwarzenberg, President of the Austrian Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs
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