No. 589.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Baker .

No. 219.]

Sir: Your No. 657, of the 29th ultimo, has been received. You therein inform me of the decision of the Venezuelan Government to suspend the monthly payments on account of the late claims awards under the treaty of 1866, in view of the action of the Congress of the United States looking to a revival of the provisions of that treaty.

The inclosed copy of a note I have this day addressed to Señor Camacho will show you that this Government regards this action of Venezuela as premature, and in contravention of existing engagements.

So long as it shall be maintained, it will impede negotiation in the sense proposed by Congress.* * *

I am, &c.,

[Page 907]
[Inclosure in No. 219.]

Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Camacho.

Sir: I have the honor to invite your attention to a recent step taken by your Government in connection with the awards of the late Mixed Commission.

The United States minister at Caracas informs me that he has been officially notified by the minister of foreign relations, that it is the intention of the Government of Venezuela to suspend the payments of the monthly quota due to the United States on account of the awards under the treaty of 1866, pending the negotiation of an arrangement between the two countries for the revival of the general stipulations of that treaty and a re-examination of disputed awards.

I am surprised that such a step has been taken without consultation with this Government. Inasmuch as the existing compacts between the two countries remain effective until set aside by new conventional arrangements having like force and validity with the treaty of 1866, this Government must regard any action on the part of Venezuela to set aside its obligations thereunder as premature and as a violation of treaty engagements.

You are aware that many claimants whose awards have been recognized as just by your Government have for years been deprived of what was justly due to them by the action of your Government in impugning the good faith of certain other awards.

You are also aware that the payments of Venezuela to the United States have thus far fallen short of even the moderate rate of interest stipulated in the treaty.

It is of course impossible that any new arrangement which might now be entered into in virtue of the joint resolution of Congress of March 3, 1883, authorizing the President to propose to Venezuela the revival of the treaty of 1866, could be effected without, recognizing the right of the claimants to receive both principal and interest on the awards hereafter found to be just, from the date of the original awards.

Any other arrangement would involve a hardship and wrong toward legitimate claimants to which this Government cannot be a party.

This Government has not yet proposed to that of Venezuela the negotiation authorized by the joint resolution. That resolution has not been officially communicated to your Government. It remains until such time as the President shall direct action thereunder a purely domestic act, and formulates merely the result of a consultation N between the executive and legislative powers of this Government.

I cannot consent, therefore, that the Government of Venezuela should attempt to anticipate the results of a negotiation not yet opened.

It will facilitate the action of the President, contemplated by the resolution of March 3, 1883, if your Government resumes from the point where they have been broken off the monthly payments of Venezuela to the United States.

Accept, &c.,