Mr. Loomis to Mr. Hay.
Caracas, March 9, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to suggest that if the North Atlantic Squadron under Admiral Sampson is to call at La Guaira, as the published itinerary indicates, it would produce a very excellent effect here if a number of the officers were to come to Caracas to call upon the President.
I take the liberty of making this suggestion for the reason that when the Italian squadron was here late last autumn a large number of its officers came with the commander to call on President Andrade, and took pains to create a pleasant impression upon the Venezuelans. At present the most active competitors of the Americans in Venezuela in large financial and business enterprises are the Italians, and I should be glad to see the visit of our ships made as effective as possible.
I found, too, in my recent visit to Guanta, on the U. S. S. Wilmington, that an Italian man-of-war had been there a few weeks before and landed 200 men and had them go by special train to Barcelona to participate in a street parade, an incident which seems to indicate that the Italians are taking unusual pains to build up their influence here.
I have, etc.,