Mr. Scruggs to Mr. Foster.
Caracas , October 18, 1892 . (Received October 26.)
Sir: Since the date of my last report (No. 343, of October 7), order and tranquillity have been restored in the capital, and apparently in all parts of the Republic. The revolution has triumphed completely, and Gen. Crespo is now in unopposed possession of the machinery of government, with duly appointed cabinet ministers and public officers.
The new cabinet is made up of representative men of character and standing from the several States of the Republic, and seems to give very general satisfaction. The new minister to the United States is a gentleman of ability and large political experience, with an extensive following. He is understood to be particularly friendly to the United States, and to be an advocate of reciprocity.
The reputed breach between Gen. Crespo and ex-President Paul has been healed, if, indeed, any serious differences ever existed. The threatened “counter revolution” alluded to in my former dispatches seems to have broken down hopelessly. The remnant of Urdaneta’s forces at Maracaibo have dispersed, and Urdaneta himself has fled to Trinidad.
At Barcelona, in the State of Bermudez, there was at last accounts a remnant of some two thousand troops of the former government under command of Gen. Monagas; but they were closely besieged by a force of 6,000 men under command of one of Crespo’s generals, and the capitulation of the city was momentarily expected. The probabilities all are that every part of the Republic is now in the undisputed possession of the revolutionary forces. Public confidence has been restored, and already business has begun to revive.
On the 8th instant I had a personal informal conference with Gen. Crespo at his own solicitation. He said he had sought it in order to acquaint me with his hopes and plans for the future, and for the purpose of soliciting my moral support in his efforts to establish order and good government. I thanked him for his flattering manifestation of confidence, and said it would afford me pleasure to be of any service consistent with my official position and duty to my government. He said he had assumed the executive power of the nation only from necessity, that he had established de facto government which was intended to represent the dominant public sentiment of the country; that his government was without the semblance of opposition, and none was anticipated; that he had 25,000 men under arms in different parts of the country, 8,000 of whom were then in Caracas; that he had the power and purposed to carry out international obligations; that he felt particularly [Page 637] friendly towards the United States, and would be glad if I would at once formally recognize his government.
I said I was already prepared to enter into provisional relations with his government for the transaction of current business, but that any question of formal recognition would have to wait the decision of my government.
He said he had entertained the hope that in my quality of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary I might feel authorized to formally recognize his government de facto. I explained that formal recognition could be given only by special authorization through you from the President; but that I would keep you fully and accurately advised of the situation of affairs, and in due time notify him of your decision.
After some further conversation I asked him whether it was his purpose to convoke the national congress and provide for a constitutional election of President. He hesitated a moment, and then said a meeting of the old congress was thought impracticable; that aside from getting all the members together (nearly half of whom were out of the country), it would probably become an element of discord rather than peace; that a constituent assembly of the several States would more accurately represent the present sentiment of the people, and that such an assembly would be convened at the capital in due time, and a constitutional government established. “Under the new constitution?” I inquired. “Yes,” said he, “under the new constitution,” from which I infer he intends his present de facto government to continue for some time, possibly until February, 1894.
On the next day (the 9th instant) I cabled you. Your reply thereto was received on the 13th.
On the 14th (the day after your telegram was received) I had another informal conference with Gen. Crespo, in which I stated that on the assurances he had given of his ability and disposition to fulfill all international obligations, I was authorized to recognize his new government, and only awaited his convenience to do so formally.
On the 16th (Sunday) the minister of foreign affairs called at my house to say he would pass me the usual preliminary note on Tuesday, the 18th, and that immediately my note should be received the President would arrange for formal public audience. As the mail closes to-day at noon, I shall hardly expect the promised note in time to transmit the correspondence herewith. The delay is caused, I believe, by the Presidents desire to make the ceremonials as impressive as possible. It is understood, I believe, that Spain, Colombia, Brazil, Santo Domingo, and Salvador will follow.
Meantime, on the 17th, at noon, I received your cablegram of that date, inquiring what action had been taken, a copy of which, together with my reply thereto, is herewith inclosed.
I have, etc.,