Mr. Hay to Mr. von Holleben.

Dear Excellency: I inclose a memorandum by way of reply to that which you did me the honor to leave with me on Saturday and am, as ever, etc.,

John Hay.


The President in his message of the 3d of December, 1901, used the following language: “The Monroe doctrine is a declaration that there must be no territorial aggrandizement by any non-American power at the expense of any American power on American soil. It is in no wise intended as hostile to any nation in the Old World.” The President further said: “This doctrine has nothing to do with the commercial relations of any American power, save that it in truth allows each of them to form such as it desires. * * * We do not guarantee any State against punishment if it misconducts itself, provided that punishment does not take the form of the acquisition of territory by any non-American power.”

His excellency the German ambassador, on his recent return from Berlin, conveyed personally to the President the assurance of the German Emperor that His, Majesty’s Government had no purpose or intention to make even the smallest acquisition of territory on the South American Continent or the islands adjacent. This voluntary and friendly declaration was afterwards repeated to the Secretary of State, and was received by the President and the people of the United States in the frank and cordial spirit in which it was offered. In the memorandum of the 11th of December, his excellency the German ambassador repeats these assurances as follows: “We declare especially that under no circumstances do we consider in our proceedings the acquisition or the permanent occupation of Venezuelan territory.”

In the said memorandum of the 11th of December, the German Government informs that of the United States that it has certain just claims for money and for damages wrongfully withheld from German subjects by the Government of Venezuela, and that it proposes to take certain coercive measures described in the memorandum to enforce the payment of these just claims.

The President of the United States, appreciating the courtesy of the German Government in making him acquainted with the state of affairs referred to, and not regarding himself as called upon to enter into the consideration of the claims in question, believes that no measures will be taken in this matter by the agents of the German Government which are not in accordance with the well-known purpose, above set forth, of His Majesty the German Emperor.