Mr. Scruggs to Mr. Foster.

No. 326.]

Sir: On the 31st ultimo I received from the Venezuelan ministry of foreign affairs a verbal note, dated the 26th, transmitting a copy of an executive decree of the last-named date, closing the ports of Ciudad Bolivar and Puerto Cabello. Copies and translations are inclosed herewith.

Each of my colleagues of the other legations received a similar note, most of whom, I believe, attach so little importance to it as to refuse to even transmit it to their respective governments; while none of them regard it as being anything more than a mere brutum fulmen of an important faction against its rival, who is now, and has been for weeks past, in actual possession of the ports named.

I have, etc.,

Wm. L. Scruggs.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 326.—Translation.]

The minister of foreign affairs of the United States of Venezuela salutes the most excellent minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, with this object of remitting herewith No. 5627, of the “Official Gazette,” of this same date, wherein is inserted the executive decree by which are suppressed the custom-houses of the ports of Ciudad Bolivar (State of Bolivar) and of Puerto Cabello (State of Carabobo).

Manuel Clemente Urbaneje improves this opportunity, etc.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 326.—Translation.]

Doctor Guillermo Tell Villegas, Constitutional President of the Republic.

In view of the perturbations occurred in the State of Bolivar and Carabobo, and in exercise of the authority vested in me by Article 3 of the legislative decree of May 17, 1873.


  • Article 1. The custom-houses established in the ports of Ciudad Bolivar (State of Bolivar) and in Puerto Cabello (State of Carabobo) are suppressed; the commerce of importation and export to foreign ports with said custom-houses cease in fact, as also the coasting trade therewith.
  • Article 2. The trade imports and exports of Ciudad Bolivar have to be made through the port of Guanta (State of Bermudez) and the trade imports and exports of Puerto Cabello have to be made through the port of La Guayra (State of Miranda).
  • Article 3. Every vessel bound to the ports of the Orinoco River or to Puerto Cabello, will be detained by the Government ships cruising at the mouths of said river and at the entrance of the bay of Puerto Cabello, and will be conducted to the nearest qualified port, to proceed with its cargo in conformity with the dispositions of the Codigo de Hacienda, and other laws that regulate the commerce of foreign origin or coasting trade.
  • Article 4. The authority of the foregoing article will take effect fifteen days after the publication of this necree in the “Official Gazette,” for ships hailing from the Antilles; thirty days after for ships hailing from the United States of America, and forty-five days after for those hailing from Europe.
  • Article 5. After the terms, conceded in favor of the importers, shall have become due, said ships will be considered as smugglers, persecuted and captured as such and conducted to the nearest qualified port, there to be tried in accordance with the ruling fiscal laws.
  • Article 6. The national or foreign vessels, armed for war by the insurgents, in the Orinoco or in its contiguity, or in the bay of Puerto Cabello or its contiguity, will be considered pirates, and as such will be persecuted and captured till brought to the power of the nearest competent tribunal.
  • Article 7. The ministers of foreign affairs and of Hacienda are charged with the execution of this decree and with transmitting it to the diplomatic and consular bodies of this city, to the consuls of the republic abroad, and other authorities to whom it may concern.

Guilleumo Tell Villegas.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Manuel Clemente Urbaneja


Lorenzo Adrian Arreaza.