Mr. Foster to Mr. Scruggs.

No. 287.]

Sir: I have received your dispatch No. 326, of the 8th instant, transmitting a copy of executive decree of August 26, purporting to close the ports of Ciudad Bolivar and Puerto Cabello to commerce by declaring the custom-houses there to be “suppressed.”

Your comments indicate that you have formed a just opinion of the in effectiveness of such a measure under existing circumstances.

Quite recently, on the occasion of a similar measure being decreed by the Government of Honduras, purporting to close the custom-house at Trujillo and La Ceiba, which were at the time in full possession of insurgent forces, I instructed Mr. Pacheco as follows:

Should this measure apply to any ports of which insurgents may gain possession, it would of course involve the question of blockade of ports held by insurgents, as in Chile during the late revolution.

The closure of domestic ports actually occupied and administered by the titular government, is in itself an extreme measure, working in many cases hardship to foreign commerce; but is entitled to respect so long as it may be duly enforced by adequate means.

I am, etc.,

John W. Foster.