No. 684.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Fish.

No. 75.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that, on May 15,1 addressed a letter to the minister of foreign relations, as follows:

Legation of the United States,
May 15, 1875.

Sir: I am instructed by my Government to demand from the government of Venezuela payment of the sum deposited to the credit of the United States on account of the awards of the mixed commission—such payment to be without condition. In compliance with that direction, I now ask through your excellency that such payment may be made at once, and I trust that the honorable government of Venezuela will promptly comply with the request.

I take this occasion to renew to your excellency my assurances of high consideration.


I afterward informed the minister that the New York steamer was expected to arrive and leave May 30 and 31. Receiving no answer, I wrote as follows;

Legation of the United States,
May 31, 1875.

Sir: I have the honor respectfully to call the attention of your excellency, and through your excellency of this government, to my note of May 15.

I have the honor to renew, &c.,


To His Excellency Hon. Dr. Jesus Maria Blanco,
Minister of Foreign Relations.

In a short time I received the reply which is inclosed with a translation. I sent the following answer:

Legation of the United States,
May 31, 1875.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of this date in reply to my note of the 15th. My duty in the matter will be fully performed when I have transmitted the correspondence to my government. I sincerely regret the sad results which must inevitably follow such a reply to such a request.

I take this occasion to renew my assurances of very high consideration.


His Excellency Jesus Maria Blanco,
Minister of Foreign Relations.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

[Page 1375]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 75.—Translation.]

Minister of foreign affairs to Mr. Russell.

The undersigned, minister of foreign relations, has the honor of replying to the note of the 15th ultimo in which the honorable minister resident of the United States of North America, by virtue of instructions which he announces that he has received from his Government, asks the payment, without any condition, of the amount which is deposited on account of what may prove to be justly due from the republic to North American citizens. The undersigned had already the honor to state to your excellency confidentially that the government of Venezuela is disposed to deliver to the legation the sum which the company of credit keeps on deposit, as well as the other monthly sums as they come due in succession, with the understanding that they should not be distributed, except after the revision of the unjust awards of the tribunal which gave the judgments; because in any other way the error might be incurred of paying claimants who are not creditors, with injury to the real creditors.

After the resolution of the government was communicated to the legation, on the 29th of July, 1873, by which was directed the distribution of 13 per cent, of 40 units of custom-house receipts, applied to the payment of foreign claims, that condition was established; and then was said to the Hon. William Pile, the predecessor of your excellency, as follows: “But, as your excellency knows, the government of the republic has claimed, and in compliance with the order of the Congress of the nation will continue to claim, according to the known limits in the right of nations and international practices, against the awards of the mixed commission, through the fraud of the commissioners and of the umpire, who formed the tribunal, and does not doubt that the high powers of the United States of North America, doing to Venezuela the justice to which she has a perfect right, will agree to the nullity and consequent revision of those awards.

“In this view there will not be distribution of the sums that are delivered until the claims to which these accounts should he applied are definitely liquidated and recognized. And I have the express order of the President, taking this Opportunity to make, in the name of my government, formal protest, in order to prevent all responsibility of the republic, against whatever distribution may have been made heretofore among individuals who have not been and who are not lawful creditors of Venezuela of the sums that have been received from her for application to the payment of just debts.”

In accordance with said notes will be found those of August 13, September 4, and November 18 of said year 1873. And as the state of the question to-day is the same as at that time, your excellency will see that the circumstances and motives have not changed, which impelled the government of the republic to take even to its own sorrow that determination.

Consequently the undersigned has received the order of His Excellency the President to inform his excellency the minister that for the reasons expressed in the notes to which he has alluded, the government of the undersigned can do no less than insist that payment may be made to the legation if it accepts the condition; that the amount so received be not distributed while it is not ascertained, by virtue of the revision demanded, what Venezuela justly owes to the citizens of North America.

The undersigned takes occasion to renew to his excellency the protest of his high consideration.


To the Hon. Minister Resident of the United States of North America.