Mr. Culver to Mr. Seward

No. 146.]

Sir: I have the honor herewith to enclose to you a copy of the annual message of the acting president of Venezuela to the congress.

I have not deemed it necessary to translate the whole document, but only the paragraph relating to the United States; the latter is herewith transmitted to you. After alluding briefly, as you will see, in the preceding paragraphs to arrangements with France and Spain, he adds the third, which I have translated, and to which your attention is respectfully invited.

The paragraph fairly translated I think would seem to warrant the inference that I had agreed to rely solely on the proportional share of the United States in the ten per cent, fund mentioned in the message for payment of the award. I have taken care to come to no such agreement. I have expressed myself disposed to treat our share of that fund as security, pro tanto, for the payments of accruing instalments, but insisting that any deficiency must be provided for, and met in other ways.

It should be further observed that the message was written and completed before my last interview with President Guzman, of which I gave you an account in my No. 145, and hence before his offer of two per cent.

Events and conversations with the minister of foreign affairs since that interview, and since the delivery of the message, lead me to doubt whether I shall ever be able to conclude a convention within the line of the instructions conveyed in your No. 113.

In the event of the failure of the convention, I would be glad of definite instructions as to demanding settlement for long pending claims.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of highest respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


“The third arrangement is that with our decided friend, the government of the North American Union. We have agreed on the appointment of a mixed commission which shall examine the proper documents and fix the amount of indemnity in each case, the aggregate amount to be paid to the American government out of the proportional share of the ten per cent, of income duties on imports, set apart by the law of public credit for diplomatic indemnifications.

“The point is yet undetermined, yet the question is of interest. Both governments have insisted tenaciously, the one in demanding it, the other in refusing to pay anything beyond the principal found due; but I trust to be able to lay before congress, ere its close, the treaty.

“The discussion with the plenipotentiary of the great republic of the north has never for a moment lost sight of the track of reason and equity, so necessary to those of the south, who being young, are, for that reason, exposed to all the obstacles, frailties, and dangers of infancy.”