The Spanish government to General Prim, the plenipotentiary and commander-in-chief of the expeditionary troops of her Majesty in the Mexican republic.
Excellent Sir: The representative of Great Britain at this court has made known to me a communication received from his government, in which is shown forth the state of the reclamations brought forward in the month of September last by the minister plenipotentiary of England in Mexico, to obtain the payment of English claims pendant against the republic.
From the notices contained in the said document, it results that, the English claims accepted by the government of the republic and a plan of arrangement agreed upon, some difficulty arose in the negotiation owing to the resistance which the government of Mexico opposed to recognizing the sum which had been subtracted by the force of the British legation, and by its repugnance to allow of the nomination of interventors in its maritime custom-houses, which measure, in its opinion, would be considered by the people as a national humiliation.
As to these difficulties might be added the impossibility, alleged by the Mexican government, of finding resources with which to satisfy the claims in question, the representative of the United States intervened, who offered (and his offer was accepted by Mexico) to negotiate a treaty, in virtue of which the cabinet of Washington should take upon itself the payment of the interest of the debt of Mexico with England for a period of five years, in exchange for some material guarantees and under determinate conditions of reintegration.
This offer was accepted and the plan of agreement was formed, the stipulations of which were not to be put in action until the 1st of January, 1862, the representative of Great Britain having judged that until that date the funds promised by the United States would not arrive; but, doubting the accomplishment of the promise, the treaty not being yet signed, Sir Charles Wyke solicited the presence of naval forces in Vera Cruz, and the authorization of recurring to force in case of necessity.
On the other hand, the government of Mexico, yielding to the efforts of the representative of her Britannic Majesty, had also offered to do all in its power to satisfy the reclamations of the French legation, occasioned by the suspension of the payment of the interests accruing, according to the terms of the treaty entered into with this last power. In presence of such events, and although the advantages obtained by Sir Charles Wyke satisfy Great Britain, the government of this power does not believe that the new stipulation projected will be more faithfully complied with than so many others formerly contracted. Such security, if, indeed, it can be obtained, the cabinet at London finds only in the treaty just signed between France and Spain.
The only advantage, then, to be derived from the consent of the Mexican government to the exigencies of the representative of Great Britain, is in the precision with which England has fixed the limit of its reclamations which will facilitate the future joint demands of the three powers.[Page 758]
At the same time that Sir John Orampton has made me acquainted with these events, the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Madrid made me proposals analogous, in the name of his government, as far as relates to the Spanish claims; that is to say, that the government of the United States would bind itself, by means of a treaty, to pay, for a definite number of years, the interest of the bills of Spain against Mexico, by virtue of corresponding guarantees on the side of the republic.
I replied to Mr. Schurz in suitable terms, and with the proper reserve, in order that he might understand that Spain, France, and England brought to an agreement to act in concert with the view of obtaining from the republic of Mexico, by means of a combined movement, those reparations and satisfactions which they had a right to exact for the grievances which they had sustained, no basis whatever of arrangement could be accepted without the consent of the three powers interested. It will contribute, without doubt, to establish the necessary union in all the actions and claims, and to the prompt satisfactory termination of our differences with this republic, that the representatives of France and England in Mexico know exactly the nature of our grievances and the extent of the reparations which Spain exacts of the republic, and the necessary conditions and guarantees not only in order to avoid their repetition, but also to secure to the subjects of the Queen the security and protection they require in the exercise of their labors and professions, and in the employment of their capitals.
Included in the instructions communicated to your excellency, upon leaving this court, the claims to be presented in the name of Spain. When the proper moment arrives, to open the negotiations for an arrangement, your excellency will be pleased to make them known to your colleagues of France and England, in order that in all the efforts your excellency may make use of, with the representatives of the said powers, may preside unity of aim and action, which is the best guarantee for the furtherance of the important mission which the government of the Queen has confided to the zeal and loyalty of your excellency in the Mexican republic.
By royal order, I communicate this to you for your knowledge and government.