Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.

No. 229.]

Sir: In reference to the Venezuela boundary question, I have the honor to acquaint you that, having received on the 2d instant your telegraphic instruction, I had to-day by appointment an interview with the Marquis of Salisbury, as I have informed you by a cablegram. Lord Salisbury listened with attention to my statement, in making which I was careful to keep within the lines of your instruction above mentioned, and, after remarking that the interruption of diplomatic relations was [Page 338] Venezuela’s own act, he said that Her Majesty’s Government had not for some time been very keen about attempting a settlement of the dispute in view of their feeling of uncertainty as to the stability of the present Venezuelan Government and the frequency of revolutions in that quarter, but that lie would take pleasure in considering the suggestion after consulting the colonial office, to which he would first have to refer it Upon my saying that in that case, perhaps, he would like me to embody the suggestion in a note, he assented, and accordingly, after leaving him, I sent to the foreign office the note of which a copy is inclosed.

While Lord Salisbury did not intimate what would probably be the nature of his reply, there was certainly nothing unfavorable in his manner of receiving the suggestion; on the contrary, in the course of the conversation he spoke of arbitration in a general way, saying that he thought there was more chance of a satisfactory result and more freedom from complication in the submission of an international question to a jurisconsult than to a sovereign power, adding that he had found it so in questions with Germany. If the matter had been entirely new and dissociated from its previous history, I should have felt from his tone that the idea of arbitration in some form to put an end to the boundary dispute was quite agreeable to him.

I have, etc.,

Roeret T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure in No. 229.]

Mr. Lincoln to the Marquis of Salisbury.

My Lord: As I had the honor to intimate to Your Lordship verbally to-day, I have been instructed by my Government to tender to Her Majesty’s Government the earnest good offices of the United States, with a view to bringing about a resumption of the interrupted diplomatic relations between Her Majesty’s Government and that of Venezuela, as a preliminary step toward negotiations for the amicable settlement by arbitration of the long-standing questions respecting the boundary line between Venezuela and British Guiana.

It is now more than 3 years since, at the time when diplomatic relations had just been broken off, Your Lordship stated to my predecessor that Her Majesty’s Government were for the time precluded from submitting the questions at issue to the arbitration of any third power, and expressed the continuing hope of a settlement by direct diplomatic negotiation with Venezuela; and the Secretary of State of the United States feels that a propitious time has arrived for endeavoring to promote a settlement of the questions at issue, in view of the emphasis which has just been given to the principle of international arbitration by the joint proposals of Great Britain and the United States to Portugal.

I am accordingly instructed to suggest to Your Lordship that an informal conference of representatives of Great Britain, Venezuela, and the United States be had either in Washington or London, with a view to reaching an understanding on which diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Venezuela may be resumed, the attitude of the United States therein being solely one of impartial friendship towards both parties to the dispute in question.

Renewing the assurance of the great satisfaction which would be felt by my Government in a successful exercise of its good offices in this matter,

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.