Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.
London , May 5, 1890. (Received May 16.)
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.,