Señor Camacho to Mr. Blaine
Sir: Referring to the last interview with which your excellency honored me, I hastened on Saturday, the 16th instant, to make known to my government, both by telegraph and the mail steamer that sailed on that day for La Guayra, the very satisfactory result of said interview, viz, that your excellency would give the necessary instructions to the minister of the United States in Paris to offer their good offices in the question with France, that your excellency would notify this to the United States minister at Caracas, and that your excellency would receive me this week to try to conclude the convention for the monthly payments to the diplomatic creditors in Caracas.
I had the honor to say to your excellency, and avail myself of the opportunity to repeat it in writing, that my government will highly appreciate the interest manifested by that of your excellency in favor of a just cause, and in proof that it is not idle theory the doctrine of republican confraternity in both Americas, which since President Monroe has been proclaimed and sustained, and undoubtedly will be sustained, by all the great statesmen of this country. Nevertheless, to reaffirm on these grounds the ideas and to give greater force to my request, I take the liberty of presenting certain data, which I flatter myself will serve to illustrate the matter.[Page 1208]
As I had the honor of saying to your excellency in my note of 22d March last, the French Government has declared it will not accept the present pro rata in the monthly payments made to them by Venezuela, and if the latter does not yield to their demand that it be increased, the French Government will be compelled to act in some other way. In fact, the advices received here in New York were that France would withdraw her legation from Caracas, and on the 24th February last, Mr. Saint Hilaire, minister of foreign relations of France, signified to Señor Rojas, the plenipotentiary of Venezuela in Paris, that the French Government would proceed to adopt other measures after removing the question from the diplomatic ground, and that upon him would fall the responsibility of the consequences.
Mr. de Talleney, diplomatic representative of France in Caracas, has withdrawn, as I have been informed officially by the telegraph, and as a natural sequence the Government of France will now proceed to adopt the measures threatened by her, and of which I had the honor to make known your excellency receiving the promise to which I have before referred, and on which my government confides in order to come to an understanding with France in relation to a matter, the amount of which is sufficient to forbid all idea of use of force by any nation, but above all by France, who, no later than yesterday, has agreed with Mexico to re-establish friendly relations, forgetting all the past, that is to say, the Jecker and all other claims which served as a pretext for the intervention in that republic. This act towards which I take the liberty of calling very respectfully but very earnestly your excellency’s attention, is all the more worthy of notice, because the invasion of the Empire in Mexico, under the protection of French bayonets, when the great Republic of the United States had all her forces engaged in a struggle sad to the memory, was of the same date as the settlements imposed upon Venezuela, and which have occasioned the debt, the value of which submitted to any fair judgment would never amount to the present sum, and for the payment of which, excessive and abounding in injustice to the rest of the creditors, violence is appealed to, although violence was never the argument of him having justice on his side, and much less when there is superiority of strength generally inclined to abuse.
I have spoken to your excellency of the amount of the claim. France formerly received 28,275 Bolivars, and now receives per month 11,637.55; the difference, 16,637.45 Bolivars, does not seem to be grounds for a war, when it is based upon reasons affecting other creditors who have as much right to be paid as France, it is insignificant if it be taken as a pretext for hostile demonstrations, and necessarily compels one to think that it is not the sole nor principal cause for the course of the French cabinet.
Your excellency has had the goodness to inform me that Mr. Baker has written to you about this matter, and surely to no better authority could I appeal in a question where Venezuela cannot understand how France, having so many commercial interests in Venezuela, prefers to them an unjust reclamation.
Fully persuaded that the friendly mediation offered by your excellency will produce very transcendental benefits for all, and will be another motive for harmony, friendship, and affection between our two countries; and confident, morever, that the convention that I have had the honor of proposing to your excellency, and which from the beginning was kindly accepted as a whole by your excellency’s predecessor, will be fruitful, I shall be punctual at the appointment with which your [Page 1209] excellency has favored me, to try to establish the bases of that instrument of international peace in which the Government of the United States will have so important a part.
I avail, &c.