No. 288.
Mr. Maury to Mr. Bayard.

No. 133.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose copies and translations of my correspondence with the minister of foreign affairs relating to a passage in President Nuñez’s late message to the Colombian Congress.

All the foreign legations in this city sent notes similar to those addressed by me, and all received an identical reply.

Hoping to obtain your approbation of my action on this important subject,

I have, etc.,

Dabney H. Maury.
[Page 426]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 133.—Translation of the extract of President Nunez’s message to the Colombian Congress.]

At the present time we are running the danger of sacrificing our sovereignty, in the inmost sense of this word, as, on more than one occasion, our impatience has decided to try the expedient of prodigal concessions, which being in reality beyond our means, open a wide avenue to the cupidity of foreign speculators, supported by governments which are often not inspired by the wholesome principles of justice.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 133.]

Mr. Maury to Mr. Restrepo.

Sir: I have just seen the following passage which occurs in the message published in the Diario Oficial, No. 7457, from the most excellent President of Colombia to the National Congress which assembled on the 20th instant:

“Hoy corremos hasta el peligro de sacrificios de soberania, en el sentido intimo de esta palabra, porque, en mas de una oeasion, la impaciencia se decide á tentar el ex-pedientede prodigas concesiones que, siendo en realidad impraeticables, abren ancha avenida á la codicia de especuladores extraños, amparados por Gobiernos que no á menndo se inspiran en los sanos consejos de la justicia.”

I respectfully request that your excellency will inform me if the Government of the United States of America, which I have the honor to represent, is included in this censure expressed by the most excellent President of Colombia, and if yes, will not your excellency cite the instance in which it is felt that the action of my Government has not been inspired by justice.

Awaiting your excellency’s reply with deep anxiety,

I am, etc.,

Dabney H. Maury.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 133.]

Mr. Restrepo to Mr. Maury.

Monsieur le Ministre: Referring to the note of the 24th instant, with which your excellency has honored me, I must inform you that I fail to find in the late message of the President of the Republic to the congress any passage from which it can be logically inferred that that high magistrate imputes to the Government of the United States, or to any other government in special, intentions or acts of an unjust nature. The words quoted by your excellency do not suggest any reason for such a supposition, as they do not state whether they refer to native or foreign governments whether to governments existing past, or to come; these words do no more than state an existing and undeniable fact, namely, that as amongst human beings there are individuals who are often not inspired by the wholesome principles of justice, so there are governments which act in a similar manner. It is clear that the statement of such a fact gives no grounds for any special persons to consider that reference is made to themselves in words, which, besides, since they refer entirely to home politics, could bear no international character, even if they were less abstract than they actually are.

And if to all this is added the solemn, spontaneous, and frequent proofs of friendship which the most excellent’Rafael Nunez, President of Colombia, has given to your excellency’s Government, and the very high appreciation in which he holds this friendship, such a supposition must, I think, be considered as absolutely groundless.

I avail, etc.,

Vicente Restrepo.
[Page 427]
[Incloaure 4 in No. 133.]

Mr. Maury to Mr. Restrepo.

Sir: I thank your excellency for your courteous note of the 30th instant, received just now.

I am relieved to understand from it that when the most excellent President of Colombia, Señor Doctor D. Rafael Nuñez, said in his late message to the national congress that a wide avenue had been opened to the cupidity of foreign speculators, supported by governments which are often not inspired by the wholesome principles of justice, the most excellent President intended no reference to that of the United States as one of those misguided governments.

I avail, etc.,

Dabney H. Maury.