Mr. Pulido to Mr. Andrade.

[Handed to Mr. Uhl by Mr. Andrade, May 13, 1895.—Translation.]

Sir: It is seen, from the context of your communication of the 27th ultimo, No. 81, that His Excellency Mr. Gresham still thinks that it is proper and necessary for us to send a Venezuelan representative to London in order that he may reach a direct understanding with England in relation to the boundary question in Guiana. With a view to securing a modification of the view expressed by that eminent statesman, my predecessor addressed to you the dispatch of March 20 (No. 355), to which I must acid a few considerations.

When, in 1890, I was appointed confidential agent, in order that I might seek a peaceful settlement of this long-standing dispute, I passed through the United States, where I was treated with the utmost kindness by Mr. Blaine, then Secretary of State, who even went so far as to instruct Mr. Lincoln, the minister of that Republic in London, to offer to England the good offices of the United States for a mutually satisfactory settlement of the dispute. The foreign office did not accept those good offices, nor did it accept general arbitration, although it did agree to enter into negotiations with me. The result of those negotiations was that the foreign office declared its willingness to give up the mouths of the Orinoco to Venezuela in exchange for other territory, which, in the opinion of the British commissioner, would compensate Great Britain for the entire abandonment of the entrance to that river and the adjacent territory. Lord Rosebery left this circumstance wholly out of consideration when, three years afterwards, a new commissioner from Venezuela proposed arbitration as a means of final and satisfactory settlement. Then, as before, England excluded from arbitration the territory within the Schomburgk line, and no willingness was manifested to accept that method of settlement, except as regarded territory lying on this’side of that line, to which Great Britain had laid no claim until a few years previously.

This mode of proceeding shows that the conditional acceptance of arbitration by England is nothing but a diplomatic expedient, designed to create the impression that she desires or is willing to have the case subjected to an examination such as justice demands. The opinion which I formed when I had charge of the matter in London leads me to believe that England will hardly accept any arbitration whatever as regards the territory within the Schomburgk line, unless her acceptance is demanded in a way that will show her the danger of a refusal, either from a political or a commercial point of view.

In order that Venezuela should determine for the third time to send an agent accredited as minister, it would be necessary for the United States to say that Great Britain is prepared to modify, in some measure, the claims which she has hitherto advanced.

The good offices of that Republic would be, to a certain extent, nugatory, if Venezuela, after resuming diplomatic relations with Great Britain, should thereby secure no evidence of good will save the acceptance of arbitration as regards the territory situated on this side of the Schomburgk line, and therefore not involved in the dispute. The resumption of diplomatic relations would then be equivalent to an additional source of embarrassment to the Republic, which would have no reason to regard England, notwithstanding the existence of apparently friendly relations, otherwise than as the seizor of a portion of her territory, and as the violator of her dearest rights and privileges.

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The foregoing considerations are based, to a great extent, as I have already remarked, upon my private opinion. I do not wish, however, to withhold these views, as I think that the subject under consideration, which is most highly important, should be examined from a practical point of view, since we are aiming to secure the most positive result possible from the friendly interposition of the United States of America.

You are requested to bring the contents of this dispatch to the knowledge of His Excellency Mr. Gresham, and to leave a copy of it in his hands if he desires it.

I am, etc.,

Lucio Pulido.