Mr. Haselton to Mr. Gresham.
Caracas, December 10, 1894. (Received December 29.)
Sir: Pursuant to your instruction No. 20, of October 25 last, I had an interview with the minister of foreign affairs regarding the opening to vessels of the United States of the various mouths or bayous of the Orinoco River which are now closed to them.
Subsequently we exchanged notes upon the subject, copies of which are inclosed, together with a translation of the communication of the [Page 801] minister. Nothing was said in our conversation above referred to which is not in substance embodied in the notes.
It will be seen that the Government of Venezuela urges the prevention of contraband trade as the reason for its restrictive measures, and suggests the establishment of a port upon the Gulf of Paria as a means of facilitating commerce without prejudice to its revenues.
I shall make inquiries as to the practicability of establishing a satisfactory port upon the above-named gulf, about, which I have some doubts, with a view to determining and reporting how far the announced purpose of Venezuela is in its results likely to meet the views of our Government and the commercial requirements of the future.
I have, etc.,