The Secretary of State to Minister Bowen.
Washington, March 28, 1904.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 265, confidential, of the 5th instant, relative to the application of 30 per cent of the customs revenues of La Guaira and Puerto Cabello to the payment of the claims of the judgment creditors of Venezuela. Your telegram of the 23d instant is acknowledged and repeated.
You will advise the Department of the total amount of the awards rendered in favor of Great Britain, Germany, and Italy, severally, as soon as the work of the Mixed Claims Commission is finished. The Department understands that Mr. Ralston, the umpire for Italy and Venezuela, has not yet completed his work.
You will also ascertain and report the total amounts which have been paid on the awards of Great Britain, Germany, and Italy out of the 30 per cent of the revenues of La Guaira and Puerto Cabello. This will enable the Department to know how long it will be before the claims of the allied powers will be fully paid and satisfied.
You will ascertain the total amount of the awards rendered in favor of each of the creditor nations, severally, and the length of time it will take to satisfy those claims on the basis of the 30 per cent of said revenues out of the annual yield of 5,084,577.50 bolivars. It may turn out that the 30 per cent of the annual yield of those revenues will pay and fully satisfy the claims of the other creditor nations without undue delay.
If there should be a further decrease in the yield of those revenues, so as to unduly postpone the satisfaction of the said claims, the Department would be inclined to adopt your suggestion—that at least 5,400,000 bolivars be set aside annually and be paid in monthly installments to the creditor nations, or that Belgian customs officials be put in charge of the two custom-houses above mentioned, in order to assure the satisfactory collection of the revenues and the application of 30 per cent thereof to the payment of the said claims.
Your zeal and vigilance in seeing that the terms of the protocols are faithfully performed are appreciated and approved by the Department.
I am, etc.,