Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress
Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.
Sir: On the 1st instant I held a long conference with Señor Doctor Carlos Martini, secretary for foreign relations of the United States of Colombia, relative to the troubles which beset his country, especially the overthrow and imprisonment of President Mosquera. His excellency then detailed to me the history of his country’s wrongs, a minute of which is herewith transmitted, marked A; and at the same time the honorable secretary furnished me with the following documents, with the request that I would lay them before my government, for its impartial judgment on the subjects of which they treat, viz:
G, is copy of his letter accompanying them;
H, is my reply;
B, the secret treaty of General Mosquera and the Peruvian government, aiming at a southern confederacy, prejudicial to the growth andinfluence of the United States;
C, the resolutions adopted by the Colombian congress, April 29,1867, relative to the war steamer Rayo;
E, a note of the said Señor Martini to the Peruvian minister, July5, 1867, denying the validity of this secret treaty, and repudiating it;
F, a memorandum of the laws defining the duties and powers of thePresident and congress of Colombia.
J, a copy of my instructions to the commander of any United States war ship at Colon, or Carthagena, to keep surveillance over the steamer Rayo until the opinion of our government is known on the subject.
Each and all of these documents explain themselves.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Señor Martin to Mr. Sullivan.
The undersigned, secretary of the interior and foreign relations of Colombia, has the honor to address the honorable General Peter J. Sullivan, minister resident of the United States of America, and to remit him the inclosed documents which he offered him in the conference which he held with his excellency on the first of the present month, and which are as follows:
First. The letter A, being each a protocol of the above mentioned conference. His excellency will please return to this department, duly signed, one of these two documents, should he find the protocols correct.
Second. The two documents marked with the letter B, in which will be found the secret convention of the 28th of August, 1866, in Spanish as well as in English, and which are, like the following documents, for his excellency to retain in his possession.
Third. A document marked with the letter C, containing the resolutions adopted by the house of representatives on the 29th April last, relative to the war steamer Rayo, and a translation in the English of those resolutions.
Fourth. A document marked with the letter D, being an authenticated copy of the protocol translated into the English language.
Fifth. The document marked with the letter E, containing a translation in the English language of the note addressed under date of 5th of July last to the Peruvian minister, denying the validity of the secret convention in the Diario Oficial No. 792, of which inclosed is a copy duly authenticated, will be found inserted the above note, in Spanish.
Sixth. A memorandum F, of the constitutional laws (disposicionas) that determine where the party making power resides, giving them due validity in the United States of Colombia.
The undersigned renews to the Hon. Mr. Sullivan the assurances of his very distinguished consideration.
Minute of a conference between the secretary of the interior and foreign relations of the United States of Colombia and the honorable General Peter J. Sullivan, minister resident of the United States of America, on the 1st of August, 1867.
The honorable General Peter J. Sullivan, minister resident of the United States of America, having been previously invited to a conference with the secretary of the interior and foreign relations, repaired to the office of the said department at one o’clock in the afternoon.
To facilitate the intercourse between the honorable minister and above-mentioned secretary, Mr. Eustachio de la Torre Narváez, assistant secretary of the department of state, gave his services as interpreter. The secretary explained, in the name of the Colombian government, that the present appointment which had been made with the honorable minister, was with the view of informing him fully with an important affair in which the American government is concerned, although it be in an indirect manner.
That the government of Colombia, with a high appreciation of the relations which unite it with that of the American Union, and their preservation upon the footing of a perfect intelligence and cordiality, considers that the means of maintaining and assuring the same relations is to proceed with most perfect honor, loyalty and frankness as regards the American government, and that, in accordance with the said line of conduct, the Colombian government, through the secretary of foreign relations, lost no time in addressing the honorable minister with reference to the secret convention of August 28, 1866, entered into by the Colombian cabinet of General Mosquera by means of his plenipotentiaries, Messieurs Froilan Largacha and Rudecindo Lopez, with the government of the Peruvian republic, represented by her envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary in Bogota, Don Manuel Freyre, as well as regarding the effects which the said secret convention would have produced in the United States of America.
The honorable General Sullivan stated in reply, and in the name of the American government, the pleasure caused them by so honorable and loyal a proceeding on the [Page 1022] part of the present Colombian government in respect of the said United States of America, a proceeding which he lost no time in acknowledging.
And the secretary, before entering upon the subject, and in the act of offering to the honorable American minister the authentic copy of the secret convention, which has been prepared for the purpose, requested the assistant secretary to translate into English the said convention in a perfect and literal manner, in order that the honorable minister might have an immediate and correct knowledge thereof; a circumstance which was necessary for the purpose of the conference.
The honorable General Sullivan, having inquired of the secretary concerning the constitutionality and validity of the said secret convention, the different enactments of the Colombian constitution contrary to the entering into such acts on the part of the President of Colombia, without the intervention and legal approbation having been given them by the legislative body, were laid before him. A memorandum of these enactments accompanies the present minute. And the secretary added that the Colombian government had refused to recognize the secret treaty on the 5th of July ultimo, by reason of its unconstitutionality, principally on account of its not having been approved by the Colombian congress, as was stated to the Peruvian minister in a note of the above mentioned date, which was published in the Diario Oficial No. 972, an authentic translation of which is herewith enclosed. The secretary then making a reference to the subject in its bearings upon the American government, said: “The above-mentioned secret convention, entered into without instructions from the senate by General F. C. de Mosquera, as President of the republic, in accordance with its first article, was to produce certain effects in the United States of America, and General Mosquera’s administration, as far as it has been possible to understand the matter, proposed to carry it into effect in New York, by means of a special agent, in accordance with express instructions, and not through General Salgar, who was at that time Colombian minister at Washington.”
Notwithstanding this, General Salgar, upon the application of the Peruvian minister in the said city, in consideration of an authentic copy of the convention, which was laid before him by the said minister, and without having as yet received any corresponding instructions, proceeded in conjunction of Señor Barreda, Peruvian minister to the United States of America, to purchase for Colombia, with Peruvian funds, the war steamer called at present Rayo, and formerly the R. R. Cuyler. The captain of the Rayo received from General Salgar an order to sail the ship of war to the Colombian port of Santa Martha, but when he was about to comply with the said order she was detained in the bay of New York, in consequence of an application made to the American government by Spanish agents. By reason of this detention General Salgar addressed the Department of State soliciting the release of the vessel, as belonging to the Colombian government. Mr. Seward, on the 13th of February last, said to General Salgar that, after having consulted the Attorney General, it had been resolved to allow the R. R. Cuyler to depart, which the said vessel did on the 25th of the same month of February last.
The vessel arrived at Santa Martha, where it was to be delivered, in order to receive the documents of nationality to be issued by the Colombian government, as was accordingly done by the administration of General Mosquera.
Such was the situation of the affair when the event occurred which was ushered in by the 29th of April last. The chamber of representatives having received information of the arrival of the steamer Rayo upon the coast of Colombia, and having the right to interfere in a matter of so much importance, applied to the executive power for an explanation thereof, not deeming true the assertion made by General Mosquera, a few days before, that the said vessel was his private property. The executive power having refused the desired explanations, the chamber approved certain resolutions, irritated General Mosquera, and then, on the said 29th of April, he dissolved the congress, imprisoned some of the senators and representatives, and the President of the State of Cundinamarca separated the city of Bogota from the territory of the said State, erecting a federal district, appointed judges, &c., disavowed, finally, the constitution of the republic, and exercised a dictatorial power.
The foregoing acts of General Mosquera were followed by his disavowal as such President on the part of the army stationed on the capital of the republic, and of all the towns of the country wherever they could act with liberty.
General Santos Acosta, the second substitute, elected with an almost entire unanimity by the congress for the exercise of the executive power, the president of the said congress, President of the State of Boyacá and general-in-chief of the army, asssumed, under the constitution, on the 23d of last May, the presidency of the republic, in the presence of the supreme federal court, re-establised the empire of the constitution and laws in all the territory of the republic, with the sole exception of the State of Bolivar, in which then existed a division of the national troops under the orders of the ex-General Rudecindo Lopéz, an officer of the dictatorial government; convoked the congress which had been violently dissolved by the dictator, was recognized as President of the [Page 1023] Union by the representatives of friendly governments residing in the capital, and by the said national congress.
The present government of Colombia, on becoming acquainted with the secret convention, and of the effects which it had produced, would have dispatched a diplomatic agent to the United States of America, in order to lay all these facts before the government of the said States, but for the knowledge which it had obtained of the speedy arrival in the capital of the worthy representative of the said government, to whom the secretary has had the honor of presenting this frank explanation.
The Colombian government, after the occurrences above referred to, has considered that the sailing of the steamer of war Rayo ont of the bay of New York, might, under certain circumstances, appear to furnish motives of complaint on the part of the American government, from the moment in which the said vessel has ceased to figure as the property of the Colombian government, in consequence of the disavowal of the secret convention, in virtue of which she was acquired. In fact, the steamer Rayo has no right at present to make use of the Colombian flag and commission. The said anomalous situation of the vessel requires to be defined by the government of the Colombian Union, which has resolved to return the vessel to the Peruvian government, with whose funds she was bought. This proceeding is but just as regards the above mentioned friendly republic; but besides, the manner of making the return might be the cause of some event capable of originating a complaint, which, however just, would be entirely voluntary as regards the American government.
In order to satisfy the above expressed desires without the risk of any inconvenience and to reconcile all the necessities of the case, the Colombian government wishes to have the steamer Rayo returned to the agent from whom General Salgar obtained her, or to the government of Peru, in the same place whence she sailed; that is to say, in New York. But for this purpose the government of the Colombian Union has not at its command means sufficiently efficacious and secure of conveying the said steamer in security to New York.
In addition to the foregoing, the secretary stated the fear which the anomalous situation of the steamer Rayo caused the government. The said vessel, as has already been said, destitute of the Colombian patent and flag, was liable to the following dangers: 1. Of being captured by the Spanish squadron, the station of which is so near to the Atlantic coast of Colombia; 2. Of being taken by the squadron of the allied republic, for the purpose of augmenting the forces with which they carry on the war with Spain; 3. Of the mutiny of the crew of the vessel, with the view of joining the said allied squadron, or of transforming her into a pirate In the former case, the Colombian government would regret the loss to Peru of a vessel upon which, or upon her value, she reckons as a consequence of acts which, although unwarranted, were executed or consented to by a Colombian administration, and having contributed in this manner a maritime triumph on the part of Spain, of no great importance, but of a disagreeable tenor, as regards the republics of the Pacific. In the second case the Colombian government would regret that that of the United States of America should have a motive, real or apparent, for considering that by means of a subterfuge the vessel had been taken out of the bay of New York, in order to increase the naval forces of the allied republics, compromising, although only in appearance, the due neutrality of the American government. In the third case, all parties would regret that the said vessel should become a pirate.
In order to avoid all these dangers, and in particular to satisfy the American government respecting the complaints which he may consider due to the proceedings of General Salgar—who, besides, had already been suspended since the 31st of last May, in accordance with the letter of recall which was sent to him, and who would be responsible to the supreme federal court of Colombia for his proceedings—the President of the republic put at the disposal of the minister the steamer Rayo, in order that, if he should consider it convenient, she should be conveyed to New York in the custody of a vessel of war belonging to his nation, for the purpose already mentioned; and the secretary added that the foregoing were the means which had occurred to his government, to conciliate all the duties which the latter might be supposed to owe in that respect, both to the United States of America and to the Peruvian republic.
The honorable minister said in reply that he could not take upon himself the responsibility of ordering a vessel of war of his nation to conduct the steamer Rayo to New York, and that he found himself under the necessity of waiting for instructions in respect thereto from his government, to whom he would communicate everything that had taken place during this conference; but that in order to avoid the dangers to which allusion had been made he would give a confidential order to one of the American vessels of war stationed at Colon to keep watch upon the Rayo. That as regards the remaining points he only appreciated the loyal conduct of the present Colombian government.
The secretary stated in conclusion that it was very pleasing to him to hear such expressions from the honorable minister, and insisted upon the desire of his government to place the steamer Rayo at the disposal of the honorable minister, with the view of [Page 1024] her being conveyed to New York, in order to be returned in the said port to the Peruvian government after having again stated to the American government that the said steamer did not belong to the government of Colombia.
The honorable General Sullivan stated in conclusion that it would afford him pleasure to represent his country near the present government of the Colombian nation; that his government, in recommending to him great prudence in recognizing any government which might be established in this country, had not limited the said right to make use of it on his part ad referendum; and that he had not delayed recognizing the actual President of the Union; that in order to manifest to the American government the justice of the said proceeding, he would lay before it whatever had passed during this conference.
Thus the said conference was brought to a close, and in the present minute a statement has been drawn up with reference only to what passed regarding the most important subjects which were treated of in the interview.
The above is an exact and correct translation of the original to which I refer the assistant secretary of state for the department of the interior and foreign affairs.
Hon. Peter J. Sullivan, Minister Resident United States of America to United States of Colombia.
The secret treaty of President Mosquera with the Peruvian government, &c.
T. C. DE MOSQUERA, GRAND GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF COLOMBIA.
Whereas the following secret agreement between this republic and the republic of Peru was celebrated by their respective plenipotentiaries on the twentieth day of August, of the present year of eighteen hundred and sixty-six:
In the name of God, Author and Legislator of the universe:
Whereas the republics of the United States of Colombia and Peru have entered into the most friendly relations since the celebration of the treaty of the sixth of July, eighteen hundred and twenty-two, under which they were perpetually united and confederated, though it was afterwards modified by the stipulations of the treaty of peace and friendship of the twenty-second day of September, of the year eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, under the third article of which they undertook to observe neutrality from passing through the territory of either of the two countries to offend the other, and the intimate relations of the two countries have been strengthened still more and more by the agreement of defensive alliance which their respective plenipotentiaries celebrated in the American congress at Lima on the twenty-third day of January, in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-five, already approved by their respective congresses;
And considering that the republic of Peru, as well as those of Bolivar, Chili, and Ecuador, are at war with Spain and cannot dispose of some ships of war and arms which she had bought in Europe and the United States of America, of which Colombia has need to increase her national navy and to complete her parks of artillery, now that this republic may be involved in a war to sustain the neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama against the enemies of the republic of Peru, or in case the casus fœderis of the treaty of Lima should present itself, they have resolved to celebrate the following secret agreement, which will be carried into effect as soon as their respective governments shall approve and ratify it in the terms therein stipulated.
For which purpose the President of the United States of Colombia has conferred full powers on General Rudecindo Lopez, secretary of war and the navy departments, and on Doctor Froilan Largacha, secretary of the treasury department and national credit of the Union, and the supreme chief of Peru has conferred equal full powers on Colonel Manuel Freyre, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the said republic to the United States of Colombia, who, after having exchanged their respective full powers and found them in due and proper form, have agreed to the following articles:
Article I. The government of Peru cedes to that of Colombia all the rights which it has acquired in the United States of America and in Europe to several elements and vessels of war, in order that the latter may conclude for her own account the contracts for the purchase of the said elements and vessels, arming and manning them for her own service as national vessels.
Art. II. The funds which Peru has advanced on account of the contract already entered into are equally ceded to the government of the United States of Colombia to carry into effect the payment due to the contractors for the said vessels and elements of war, and shall furnish her also with those which she may require to carry into effect as [Page 1025] soon as possible the contract, and to secure the furnishing of the said vessels before the first of January, 1867, when the conventions celebrated in the American Congress are to be exchanged in Lima.
Art. III. The government of Colombia undertakes to pay for the said vessels the sum expended thereon by the republic of Peru, together with that which the latter is to furnish according to the terms of the present contract; and for this purpose pledges the whole of her revenues, titles, rights, salt works, and waste lands, which may be at her disposal, and the product of the interoceanic communications and those of the Buenaventura road, in which she possesses shares for one million of dollars.
Art. IV. In case the government of Colombia should find itself obliged to dispose of the above-mentioned vessels and elements of war, the government of Peru undertakes to receive them in payment for the sum in which they may have been contracted for by Colombia, without any deduction for the wear and tear which they have suffered in their service. In this case the government of Peru reserves to itself the right of naming the ports in the Pacific or Atlantic in which it may be convenient for it to receive the same elements of war, and the expenses caused thereby shall be for the account of Peru. The government of Colombia will not be responsible for the loss of the vessels, nor for that of the elements of war, until they arrive in the ports to which the said government may order them.
Art. V. The government of Peru undertakes to permit the officers of the Peruvian navy, who may choose to do so, to enter into the service of Colombia, for the purpose of taking charge of the said vessels, which shall be manned by the same persons already appointed by the Peruvian government, and those which the government of Colombia may think proper to add thereto.
Art. VI. The government of Peru undertakes to furnish to that of Colombia the necessary resources for repairing the fortresses of San José and San Fernando, and the batteries of Santo Domingo, San Favier and Santa Catarina in the bay and city of Carthagena, and the Morro of Santa Martha, in case Colombia should take part in the alliance entered into by the four republics of the Pacific, and if at that time Peru should not possess the elements required for the purpose, her government solemnly undertakes to furnish to that of Colombia the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, ($500,000,) either contracting that amount on her own account, or furnishing her the guarantee for the purpose of obtaining it in the European markets.
Art. VII. The Colombian government undertakes to send a minister to the republic of Venezuela, which has also declared her neutrality in the war with Spain, in order to negotiate with the latter her adhesion to the republics of the Pacific together with Colombia, in case Spain should not yield to the councils of prudence and satisfy the just demands of the allied republics, in which case the league of Spanish America requires to be perfect.
Art. VIII. The republics of Peru and of the United States of Colombia undertake mutually to declare not to accept as an American principle any doctrine which shall not emanate directly from express treaties on their part, since the said contracting parties are sovereign and independent, and will themselves, in conformity with their own dignity, decide whatever questions may arise. In the same manner they undertake not to accept any European protectorates or alliances to the injury of the sovereignty of the Peruvian and Colombian nations, as well as not to stipulate any treaties or conventions which shall not be in absolute conformity with the principles of South American international law as sanctioned by the congress of plenipotentiaries.
Art. IX. This treaty shall be presented to the republics of Bolivar, Chili, and Ecuador, in case they should choose to adhere to it in the part which may be convenient to each one as respects the sale of vessels and elements of war which they may require to sell, and for the purpose of articles VI and VIII.
The present convention shall be approved and ratified by the respective governments within ninety days, if possible.
In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed and sealed the present convention.
Done in duplicate, in Bogota, this twenty-eighth day of August, eighteen hundred and six-six.
FROILAN LARGACHA. [l. s.]
E. LOPEZ. [l. s.]
MANUEL FREYRE. [l. s.]
Therefore, I have resolved to approve and ratify the same, pledging the national honor for the observance thereof.
In witness whereof, I sign the present ratification, sealed with the arms of the republic, and countersigned by the secretary of state for the department of the interior and foreign relations, Bogota, this twentieth day of November, eighteen hundred and sixty-six
José M. Rojas Garrido, The Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Relations.
The chamber of representatives considering that the nation has no other vessels of war than the steamers Criaspud, Bolivar, and Colombia, which have been ordered to be sold by the law of the 5th of the present month, “abolishing the navy of the Union;”
Considering that the congress of the Union has not ordered the acquisition of any other vessel of war, or for mercantile purposes, or the purchase of any kind of implements of war;
Considering that in several periodicals of Washington, New York, Lima, Panama, and other places, the purchase by the minister of Colombia in the United States of America of a vessel of war called R. R. Cuyler, the owners of which were Messrs. Robert S. Taylor, Russell Sturgis, Henry W. Hobbell, and Samuel Dallard, is published;
Considering that the said vessel has been denounced as being armed and prepared to act upon the high seas as a cruiser in the service of Chili and Peru against the maritime commerce of Spain, was captured and embargoed on the fourth of February last, by order of the cabinet of Washington, by the public officers, Messrs. Wakeman and Smythe;
Considering that the said steamer was set at liberty only in virtue of the solemn declaration made by our minister in Washington, General Eustorgio Salgar, that the said vessel had been purchased by the United States of Colombia and belonged to our national navy;
Considering that the executive power of the Union informed the chamber of representatives, through the secretary of war and the navy, Mr. Froilan Largacha, in a note dated the 27th of March last, section 1, No. 7, that the said vessel had recently arrived at Santa Martha; that she had been bought by order and for account of the Grand General T. C. de Mosquera; that the said vessel, and two or three more which the agents of the said grand general were about to purchase in Europe and the United States of America, were the private property of the above-named citizen, who had already nationalized the steamer called the Rayo;
Considering that our minister in Washington, notwithstanding he had no power from the Colombian Union to purchase merchant vessels, and much less vessels of war, had taken part in this matter and declared that the said steamer was intended to form part of our national navy, seriously compromising, in this manner, the faith and honor of the Colombian government and the neutrality proclaimed by the latter in the Spanish American contests at present in progress;
Considering that the said steamer is manned by foreigners, who nearly all of them have been either soldiers in the marines or sailors in the cruisers, or smugglers of the southern States of the Union; that the captain and officers are also foreigners, and that for the said reason the vessel could not be nationalized in Colombia, and neither could nor can have the right to hoist the Colombian flag;
Considering that no individual, be he who he may, is permitted to have in his own service vessels of war, since this is a right solely appertaining to the government and sovereigns, with the exception of privateers, bearing a commission from some nation, which commission has not been issued by Colombia in favor of the Rayo;
Considering that the executive power has observed a profound silence regarding all these facts which have been denounced both by the foreign and national press; that the reports which the chamber applied for in the session of the 4th instant, through a commission of its body, have not been accorded, and that this chamber of representatives is bound to clear up these facts in order to determine the responsibility incurred by any of the national officers thereby in accordance with the third section of the fifty-third article of the constitution;
Resolved, Let the executive power be applied to order the immediate disarming of the steamer called El Rayo, employing force, if necessary, in order to put an end to the violation caused by the presence on our coasts of the said steamer of war, unduly protected by the Colombian flag.
Resolved, That the attorney general of the Union be ordered, in consequence of the above-mentioned note of the secretary of war and the navy, to proceed immediately to prepare the proofs of the facts referred to in the foregoing consideration, and to make effective the responsibility which may have been incurred by the minister of Colombia in Washington, the national officers, and the Colombians who may have taken part in the purchase, arming, fitting out or nationalizing the steamer called Cuyler or Rayo, bearing in mind the enactments of the articles 262 and 263 of the law, 1, part 2, treaties 2, of the Recopilacion Granadina, as well as the dispositions of article 1 of the law 7, part 3, treaties 2, of the said Recopilacion.
Resolved, That he be also ordered to prefer an accusation regarding the responsibility incurred through the acts performed by the Colombian minister in Washington for obtaining the release of said steamer.[Page 1027]
Resolved, Let the executive power be requested to pass copies of the preceding resolution and considerations to the foreign ministers resident in the capital of the republic.
Resolved, That the said considerations and resolutions shall be published in the Registo Oficial, as well as the steps taken by the attorney general of the nation, in obedience to the said resolutions, it being his duty to furnish a special account of the results thereof to the next national congress.
A true copy.
Resolutions approved by the house of representatives, on the 29th day of April, 1867, according to the act of their session published in the Diario Oficial, No. 697.
Memorandum of constitutional resolutions.
Article 49. The following attributions belong especially to congress:
12. To resolve respecting the public treaties and conventions which the President of the Union may celebrate with other nations, and the contracts into which he may enter with the States and with individuals, whether natives or foreigners, which are to be subjected to their consideration. 14. To apply to the executive power for information relative to its acts and to any written or verbal reports which they may require for the better dispatch of their acts.
Article 51. The following are the attributes of the senate:
1. To approve the appointment of secretaries of state made by the executive power; that of the superior officers in the different administrative departments; that of the diplomatic agents, and of the military commanders.
2. To approve the instructions given by the executive power to the diplomatic agents; to celebrate public treaties.
Article 66. The following are attributes appertaining to the President of the Union:
3. To negotiate and conclude public treaties and conventions with foreign nations;to ratify and exchange them subsequent to the approbation of congress, and to attendto their punctual fulfillment.
17. To present to congress during the first days of their ordinary sessions a written message, reporting the course which the affairs of the Union may have taken during the period of their recess and their present situation, together with the report which it is the duty of the secretary of state to furnish.
The assistant secretary of state for the department of the interior and foreign affairs.
The undersigned, secretary of the interior and foreign relations, has received instructions from the citizen President of the United States of Colombia to apply to [Page 1028] his-excellency the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the republic of Peru, with a view to inform him that the Colombian executive administration does not recognize as valid the secret convention entered into on the 28th of August, 1866, between his excellency as Peruvian plenipotentiary in this capacity, and Messrs. Froilan Largacha and Rudecindo Lopez as plenipotentiaries for Colombia.
This disavowal of the secret convention above alluded to is, on the part of the national executive power, a frank and sincere expression of a constitutional mandate, which ascribes, as his excellency is aware, to the legislative body of the country the right of approving the treaties or conventions which may be entered into for contracting obligations in the name of the said country, in virtue of instructions previously approved of by the senate of plenipotentiaries. In accordance with prescriptions of the constitution of Colombia, the faculty of conferring validity upon international compacts and of making them effective resides, therefore, exclusively in the federal legislative body, and the approbation of the instructions which may be given by the executive power for the celebration of such compacts corresponds to the Colombian senate of plenipotentiaries.
The time for presenting to the national legislative body the secret convention would have now arrived in order to impart it either its approval or rejection; but the present Colombian administration, notwithstanding the enthusiasm which it really feels for the noble cause which may become that of the whole of America, cannot admit as in any manner acceptable the stipulations of the secret convention, and will therefore abstain from soliciting the approbation of an act which has been considered in its councils as inadmissable for the nation whose interests are intrusted to it.
If the Colombian Union had resolved to unite its endeavors to those of the American republics which have been attacked by Spain, the common cause would require not only the concurrence of justice in the matter, but also of loyalty in the form.
The government of Colombia should act and would act with the loyalty and frankness which she owes to all the nations of the world, and would consider the sympathies to be so large, the motives so noble, and the moral and philosophical interests so valuable that are embraced by this cause, that there could be no possible motive for not exhibiting it in all its glory, and presenting it to the enthusiasm and veneration of an entire people, zealous as is the Colombian nation of its rights and liberties.
Taking into consideration the sentiments excited by every American by the struggle which has been made in the waters of the Pacific, sentiments of adhesion and hope for the allied republics, the present Colombian administration has noticed with pain the secret convention, the execution of which by Colombia is impossible, and it is for this motive, and the others already expressed that, on taking into consideration the above-mentioned act which compromises the national security and honor, it abstains at present from anything more than disavowing it.
The undersigned takes advantage of this opportunity to reiterate to his excellency the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.
His Excellency Colonel D. Manuel Freyre, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Peru.
Mr. Sullivan to Doctor Martin.
The undersigned, minister resident of the United States of America, has had the honor to receive the note of his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin, secretary of the interior and foreign relations of the United States of Colombia, dated yesterday, inclosing—
1. The letter A, being minutes of the conference which the undersigned had the honor of holding with his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin, on the 1st instant.
2. The letter B, containing copies in Spanish and English of the secret treaty made by General Mosquera and the Peruvian minister, on the 28th day of August, 1866.
3. The letter C, containing the resolutions adopted by the Colombian congress, April 29, 1867, relative to the war steamer Rayo.
4. The letter D, being a copy of the said minutes in Spanish.
5. The letter E, being a copy of the note of his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin to the Peruvian minister, objecting to the said treaty.
6. A memorandum, F, of the constitutional law, defining the separate powers and duties of the executive and congress of Colombia.[Page 1029]
The undersigned has duly approved and herewith returns the said minutes to his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin.
The undersigned begs to assure his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin that he will hasten to submit said note and inclosures to his government, and to assure him that the great hope and confidence which the Colombian government reposes for the just and impartial judgment of its conduct in the government of the United States of America will not be misplaced.
The undersigned gladly embraces this opportunity to reassure his excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin of his most distinguished consideration and esteem.
His Excellency Señor Doctor Carlos Martin, Secretary of the Interior and Foreign Belations, U. S. C.
Sir: The Colombian government having refused to receive or acknowledge the steamer R. R. Cuyler, alias the war steamer Rayo, and is desirous to return her to the port of New York, there to be delivered up to the proper owner, as the United States may direct, but having no means at its disposal, the government of Colombia ask as a favor that the United States authorities will take her to New York for the purpose indicated. And lest that I should involve my government in so serious a matter before knowing its views on the subject, I assured the Colombian government that I would lay the case before the State Department and await its decision.
Until further instructions, you will repair forthwith to and keep strict secret surveillance over the said steamer Rayo, her armament and other property, so as to prevent her from being used for piratical or other unlawful purposes detrimental to the rights and dignity of our government; but, unless in case of necessity, you will not assume any right to this steamer, except such as will enable you to control her movements.
The President of the State of Magdalena, in whose possession this steamer now is, will be fully and duly instructed by the Colombian government on the subject; and without making known your authority till you ascertain his views, you may, profitably, have an interview with President Riasco as to his action in this matter.
You will report to me from time to time your actions and the course of events in this case.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The Commander of any war ship or steamer of the United States, of America at Colon, Carthagena, or Santa Martha.