Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.
Managua, Nicaragua, October 24, 1894.
(Received November 13.)
Sir: In my No. 412, of October 11, 1894, I gave you an account of some financial changes which this Government proposed, for the benefit of its treasury.
After the lapse of a number of days the Government concluded that the basis for the liquidation of certain custom-house bonds which had been agreed upon at a conference of the merchants and other business men and the Government could not be carried out; and the latter sent out invitations to the former, inviting them to a second conference to be held at the palace on the evening of the 18th instant, in order to reconsider the matter.
It appears that very few of the bondholders attended this conference; and I think none of the foreign citizens, who happen to be in possession of the larger share of the bonds.
At this meeting the Government announced its conclusion that, in issuing the new bonds in liquidation of the old, it would not recognize the “bonuses” and “benefits” guaranteed by the laws authorizing the original issue, but would include only the principal and accumulated interest., Therefore, the new bond will represent 100 cents principal and 38 cents interest—$1.38 instead of $2.05, on the face value of the original bond, as at first agreed. The merchants are much stirred up over this action and express deep dissatisfaction.
A peculiarity of the action of the Government in this regard is found in their first declining to receive these bonds for 40 per cent of the customs, as provided for in the law authorizing their issue—cash only would be received; and when the merchants protested against this breach of contract and faith, they now declare that after the 1st of next March 30 per cent of all customs must be paid in these bonds, whether the merchant has the bond or not. All cash will not be received. The bonds are held in few hands.
I have, etc.,