No. 741.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Blaine.

No. 431.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch numbered 129, of date 13th ultimo, I inclose herewith a copy and translation of a note from Mr. Seijas, of this date, relative to the difficulties between this government and that of France, and draw your attention to the same. I also inclose a copy of my note of this date in response to that of Mr. Seijas.

I am much pleased with your statement in your said dispatch in reference to the subject in hand, “that negotiations have been for some time in progress between this government and that of France, with hopeful prospect of reaching an understanding alike satisfactory and honorable to both parties”; and I sincerely hope that no very serious difficulty may be found in reaching such an understanding. But, taking all possible views into account, should it turn out that the French Government shall indicate the purpose of proceeding independently, and of employing force towards Venezuela under the existing circumstances, my judgment is that our government should, in that case, take a timely occasion to cause the French Government to understand that such a course under such circumstances would be reviewed with grave concern.

* * * * * * *

I will add, as matter of information, that I have learned from Colonel Mansfield, the English chargé d’affaires at this capital, that on May 10 the English Government, through Lord Lyons, proposed to the French Government “a conference of delegates from Venezuela, France, and Great Britain to arrive at an equitable settlement of the claims of the last two governments upon that of Venezuela; and that on May 14 this was refused by the French Government.

The words quoted are from a memorandum furnished me to-day by Colonel Mansfield himself, with knowledge that I purposed communicating the intelligence to my government.

I am, &c.,

[Enclosure 1, in No. 431.—Transation.]

Señor Seijas to Mr. Baker.

Mr. Minister: I have the honor of addressing your excellency with the request that, continuing your good offices in favor of this Republic in its question with France, you will manifest to the Government of Washington that, as it is indispensable to define our situation, the president would desire to obtain from the United States the conclusive assurance that they will impede all coercive action of France, whether it consists in the blockade of the ports or other thing.

The executive knows the interest with which the most excellent Mr. Blaine solicited, by means of a cablegram, that the Government of France would detain its action against Venezuela, and interposed, besides, his mediation for the adjustment of the difficulties. For itself, Venezuela has the greatest confidence in the result of those steps, not being able to believe that the interposition of so respectable a power as the United States may be disregarded; but the uneasiness of this government is natural, which fears to see the edifice of the peace and progress of the nation menaced, raised up at so much cost, and the hope of the future destroyed on account of the questions whose bottom I have given your excellency to know from their origin.

I renew, &c.,

[Page 1216]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 431.]

Mr. Baker to Señor Seijas.

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of this date, relative to the difficulties between your excellency’s government and that of France, and to assure your excellency that I shall, by the earliest opportunity, bring your excellency’s said note to the knowledge of my government.

I avail myself, &c.,