Chargé Vignaud to the Secretary of State.

No. 103.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge receipt of your cable of the 8th [7th] instant concerning the taking charge, by our consuls, of the archives of the Venezuelan consulates at certain posts in France, which formed the basis of a note addressed to the foreign office on the same day.

Receiving no reply, I called on the minister and ascertained that the delay was due to the fact that the Government had not yet been exactly informed as to the true character of the action of the Venezuelan Government with regard to the French consuls and that M. Jusserand had been telegraphed to for information on the subject.

On the 14th instant M. Rouvier wrote that there was no objection to the proposed arrangement, provided our consuls would confine themselves simply to the custody of the Venezuelan archives and would not presume to exercise any consular function for the Venezuelan Government. This being in accordance with what this embassy was instructed to ask by your cable of the 8th, I notified the consuls accordingly.

Inclosed please find copy of your cable, of Mr. Rouvier’s note, together with a translation of the same, and of my circular notice to the consuls named in your cable.

I have, etc.,

Henry Vignaud.
[Inclosure 1.—Translation.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Chargé Vignaud.

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: In reply to your letter of the 8th instant, I have the honor to inform you that our ambassador in Washington has acquainted me with a communication from the Government of the United States to the effect that the American consuls in France should take charge of archives of the Venezuelan consulates.

I have instructed M. Jusserand to reply to the Secretary of State that the Government of the Republic had no objection to such an arrangement, under [Page 1436] the reserve that the intervention of the consuls of the United States in France would be limited, in conformity with the terms of your own afore-mentioned communication of February 8, to the custody of the archives of the Venezuelan consulates; it could not extend to the working of these consulates, which has been rendered impossible by the action of President Castro’s Government. That Government has indeed taken the initiative to withdraw their exequaturs from the French consular agents, and to recall its consuls exercising in France. It even appears from a telegram from the American minister at Caracas that French vessels and merchandise coming from France are no longer admitted in Venezuelan ports. The commercial relations between the two countries would be thus severed by the action of Venezuela, and such measures, as long as they shall be maintained, entail, as a necessary consequence, the application of the Venezuelan consulates in France of the ruling applied to the French consular agencies in Venezuela, and which for the time being seems to consist of the complete suppression of their function.

Accept, etc.,

[Inclosure 2.]

Chargé Vignaud to Consul-General Mason.

Sir: By direction of the Secretary of State, I have to instruct you to take charge of the archives of the Venezuelan consulate-general at Paris. This is done with the consent of the French Government and with the understanding that you will confine yourself simply to what is stated above.

Very respectfully, yours,

Henry Vignaud, Chargé.

Letters to the same purport sent to—

Robert P. Skinner, consul-general at Marseilles;

Dominic I. Murphy, consul at Bordeaux;

Alphonse Gaulin, consul at Havre;

Harold S. Van Buren, consul at Nice;

Louis Goldschmidt, consul at Nantes, and

John F, Jewell, consul at Fort de France.