Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.

No. 29.]

Sir: Since my arrival here the Colombian government annulled Geneeral Mosquera’s decree of November 17, 1866, upon the adjudication of maritime prizes.

It has granted a new lease, for ninety-nine years, of the right of transit to the Panama Railroad Company, in consideration of one million dollars in hand, and two hundred and fifty thousand dollars per annum during the term of the lease.

It has granted a contract to the International Ocean Telegraph Company of New York (see inclosed A, B, C) to land upon and run through any portion of the territory of the United States of Colombia a telegraph line, to connect with one from New York via Florida, Cuba, and Panama, thus connecting South America, the United States and Europe with one continuous line of communication, having New York for its center.

It has, also, just signed a contract with a New York company for the exclusive right of fishery to this company in all the seacoast waters of Colombia. This contract has yet to be approved by the senate, which I think will be done.

All of these vast privileges have been given to citizens of our country.

* * * * * * * * *

A rumor prevails here that several American citizens were lately murdered, in cold blood, by Colombian officials at Carthagena, and that while committing this atrocious crime the assassins boasted that “the Colombians were a match for the disunited Americans.”

I have sent unofficial communications to our consuls at Carthagena and Baranquilla on this subject. At first I heard that these rumored murders were committed by General Herrera at Rio Hatché. I shall await the facts before I take any official action in this matter.

* * * * * * * * *

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


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

Mr. Rebello to Mr. Sullivan.

Sir: Herewith I beg to hand you an original of a contract entered into by me, as attorney of the International Ocean Telegraph Company of New York, with the secretary of finance of the Colombian government, signed by us, and approved by the president, H. E. Santos Acosta, this day.

I beg you to place same on the records of your legation.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


General Peter J. Sullivan, Minister Resident of the United States of America.

[Page 1035]

Telegraphic Contract.


Contract made between the secretary of the treasury of the United States of Colombia and Charles Rebello, authorized agent of the International Oceanic Telegraph Company of New York, conceding to this company permission to establish on the coasts of the republic the extreme ends of telegraphic submarine cables and unite these with overland telegraphic lines:

The undersigned, to wit: Jorge Gutierres de Lara, secretary of the treasury and finance of the United States of Colombia, duly authorized by the executive government on the one part, and on the other, Charles Rebello, authorized by the International Oceanic Telegraph Company of New York, (International Ocean Telegraph Company,) in accordance with the powers he has exhibited have concluded the contract following:

Article 1. The secretary of the treasury and finance, in the name of the executive authority of the United States of Colombia, and in virtue of the authority conferred on him by the legislative decree of the 25th of July last, grants permission to the International Ocean Telegraph Company of New York, to establish on the shores of the republic the ends of submarine telegraphic cables which may place the nation in contact with other points on the earth, also to connect said submarine cables with telegraphic lines by land.

Art. 2. The International Ocean Telegraph Company of New York rests under obligations to transmit gratuitously through every telegraphic line, whether submarine or terrene, which it may hold in virtue of the concession of the permission to which the preceding article refers, all the official communications of the national authorities and of the States.

Art. 3. The secretary of the treasury and finance, in the name of the executive authority and in virtue of the provisions in article 2 of the said legislative decree, declares the undertaking to which the preceding articles refer to be of public utility, and therefore the International Oceanic Telegraph Company of New York shall enjoy the prerogatives annexed to this declaration.

Art. 4. In cases of foreign war or intestine disturbance in the republic of Colombia, the telegraphic lines which may be held in virtue of this permission in Colombian territory, shall not be in operation except under the supervision of the political authorities of this nation.

Art. 5. Considering that Charles Rebello is lacking in faculties to compel the company to the payment of the five per cent. of dividends, which are to be distributed to the shareholders for the profits which may be had on the lines referred to in article 2of this contract, it is stipulated that the International Oceanic Telegraph Company of New York shall give notice to the government of Colombia, eitheir directly or through the Colombian legation at Washington, within six months, reckoned from the date of the approval of this contract by the executive authority, whether it binds itself to pay the said five per cent. that it may become exempted from every kind of imposts and contributions, whether national or of the States. In case this obligation is assumed and the notice received to which this article refers, the government of Colombia binds itself to exempt the International Oceanic Telegraph Company of New York, from the payment of any impost or contribution, national or State, and by these presents declares that it shall not in any case be obliged to satisfy those which may be imposed on them. In case of non-exemption on the part of the company it will have no right to the preceding exemption.

Art. 6. Doubts which may arise about the meaning of the clauses of this permission and cannot be dispersed by agreement between the government of Colombia shall be submitted to the decision of the courts of the republic.

Art. 7. This contract shall be submitted to the approval of the President of the union, without which it cannot be carried into effect. In faith whereof we have signed three of the same tenor at Bogota, on the tenth of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven.



JORGE GUTIERRES DE LARA, Secretary of the Treasury and Finance.
[Page 1036]


Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Rebello.

Sir: It affords me great pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 10th instant, accompanying the contract entered into by you as said attorney with the Colombian government, giving permission to your company to establish a telegraph line to the coast, and through the territory, under the jurisdiction of the United States of Colombia.

I shall place this valuable document on the records of this legation, and transmit a copy of it herewith to you, and also one to the Department of State, United States.

The lively zeal which you have thus manifested in the service and cause of your company—the development of commerce and of civilization; and above all, the fraternal feelings which this great enterprise is well calculated to bring about among the great nations whose commerce it will greatly increase, must, indeed, place you prominently among the benefactors of mankind.

I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Charles Rebello, Esq., Attorney of the International Ocean Telegraph Company of New York.