Mr. Wharton to Mr. Scruggs.

No. 299.]

Sir: I have received your No. 342 of the 7th instant, inclosing copies of correspondence with the minister of foreign affairs of Venezuela in regard to the alleged violation by the American steamship Philadelphia and the U. S. S. Kearsarge of the so-called blockade of Puerto Cabello.

If, as appears from the fasts stated, no serious and continuous visible blockade of that port was maintained and a mere pretense of blockade kept up by sending a vessel there only on the periodical occasions when [Page 636] the Red D steamers were scheduled to touch at that port, it could not be respected as effective under international law.

Blockade to be effective must be maintained against all commerce and aim to visibly close the port, not be directed to interference with particular ships at intervals.

The consul at Puerto Cabello will be instructed to explain his remissness in not keeping you advised of what has transpired at that port.

I am, etc.,

William F. Wharton,
Acting Secretary.