Mr. Pulido to Mr. Andrade.

[Handed to Mr. Adee by Mr. Andrade, August 10, 1895.—Translation.]

Sir: The council of ministers, presided over by the chief magistrate, have taken into consideration the idea, often suggested to Venezuela by the United States, and persistently maintained by the President and Government of that Republic, of opening direct negotiations with Great Britain in order to bring to a peaceful and honorable termination, by means of arbitration, the pending differences as to the boundary between our Guiana and Her Majesty’s colony. The refusal of Venezuela to act upon this suggestion has hitherto been supported by facts of experience, which need not be repeated, since, while they constitute what is conceived to be a potent argument in support of the attitude of this Government, they have failed to lead to any modification of the opinion held by the Department of State on this subject.

In view of these circumstances, and of the last declarations and promises made to you, by direction of His Excellency Mr. Cleveland, especially those contained in Mr. Uhl’s note of the 25th of May last, and being actuated by motives of respect and deference, the President, acting in concert with the council of ministers, has resolved to accept the suggestion of the United States. He is therefore willing to send a minister to London, who shall present his credentials simultaneously with those presented here by an agent of like character duly accredited by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Yenezuela would then at once propose, through her representative at the Court of St. James, to settle, by a treaty of arbitration, the vexatious boundary question, always effectively assisted by that great Republic, in the manner already promised and now solemnly reiterated.

This step, which is due to a feeling of respectful deference to the United States, is taken with some apprehension lest Venezuela may soon be placed in a truly embarrassing position, such as would be the result of her again disagreeing with England, by reason of the insistence of the British Government upon excluding from arbitration territories which the Republic considers as its own. In that case her minister accredited in London would have to be recalled, and it would be necessary to give the British representative here his passports at once. This apprehension is enhanced by the recent fact of Her Britannic Majesty’s undersecretary of state having expressed in the House of Commons, on the 17th of June last, views with reference to the friendly mediation of the United States, showing England’s determination not to submit to arbitration any territories but those beyond the Schomburgk [Page 1487] line, which were never included in the dispute with Venezuela previously to 1890, but which England has now sought to include in her claim, possibly for the purpose of appearing not absolutely to reject the offer of arbitration.

At all events, however, the good will of the Republic and its sincere desire to proceed in harmony with the action of the Government at Washington would be manifested, even though by means deemed beforehand to be likely to produce an effect contrary to the one had in view.

In order to avoid the difficulty of a new rupture, it is deemed indispensable that the United States ambassador be assured beforehand of England’s readiness to submit the dispute to general arbitration, without exclusions likely to cause more vexatious differences.

When informed of the result of the steps to be immediately taken by Mr. Bayard in virtue of our assent to the view held by that Republic, Venezuela would forthwith proceed to name her representative in London and arrange to receive the one to be simultaneously accredited here by Great Britain.

In order to give to this decision of Venezuela a still more solemn character, you are instructed to transmit a copy of this note, together with an English translation, to the Department of State.

I am, etc.,

Lucio Pulido.