Mr. Foster to Mr. Scruggs.

No. 283.]

Sir: Since the Department’s instruction, No. 278 of the 30th ultimo, was sent to you in care of the commander of the U. S. S. Concord, the anarchic condition of Venezuela and the prevalence of acts of lawlessness affecting the persons and interests of foreigners have rendered it expedient to dispatch another ship of war to that quarter, and the Kearsarge, which was on service in the waters of Haiti and Jamaica, has been ordered by telegraph to proceed with all possible dispatch to La Guayra, to coöperate with the Concord for the necessary protection of the persons and interests of citizens of the United States in that quarter.

In addition to this, the Philadelphia, now at New York, has been relieved from the detail to which she had been assigned, and is under orders to sail for La Guayra, to serve as flagship of the squadron on the Venezuelan coast, should events so require.

The latest information that reaches the Department through unofficial channels, indicates the eventual success of the revolutionary party led by Gen. Crespo, and it is trusted that order in some shape may speedily be restored, and a responsible government be in de facto and efficient control of the power and authority of the State.

Through the same unofficial channels the Department learns that, as late as the 30th ultimo, when the Venezuelans mail left La Guayra, [Page 623] there were in that port war vessels of Germany, France and Spain, while an English and a Dutch man-of-war were expected to arrive there on the 1st instant. This circumstance does not entirely tally with the somewhat excited application of the diplomatic body at Caracas communicated by the unsigned telegram received here in the legation cipher and which it is supposed was transmitted by you.

The German, French and Spanish men-of-war are stated to have shown a most commendable readiness in case of need to prevent arbitrary interference with the movements of the mail steamers in port, and the arrival of the Concord and Kearsarge will doubtless suffice for the further security of any vessels under our flag.

As communication by cable with La Guayra and Caracas appears to be open, the Department awaits advices from you of any changes in the political situation calling for precise instructions. For the present, and by way of anticipation, I can only say that in the event of a de facto government being established possessing a reasonable ability to administer the national affairs, you may forthwith enter into provisional relations therewith, leaving any question of formal recognition to await the restoration of authority and order with a reasonable promise of stability.

You will keep in communication with the commanders of the Kearsarge and Concord, advising them of any information you may have that will suffice to guide them in the discharge of the duties to which they have been assigned under the order they have received from the Secretary of the Navy.

I am, sir,

John W. Foster.