File No. 763.72/4495

The Venezuelan Minister ( Domínici) to the Secretary of State

[A copy of the following extract from the message of Provisional President Marquez Bustillos of Venezuela to the National Congress, was handed by the Minister to the Secretary of State on May 8, 1917.]

There has been no interruption in our diplomatic relations with the nations whose friendship we have always cultivated, and we are at peace with all. We have adjusted our conduct to the precepts of international law by maintaining the strictest neutrality in the gigantic struggle in which for nearly three years the great European nations have been engaged, and no one can reproach us with the slightest violation of our duty as neutrals. In conformity with this line of conduct, when on February 23 of this year the German Legation by order of its Government informed our Foreign Office of the unusual extension that said Government had resolved to give submarine warfare in open disregard of the practices accepted until now, it was answered that Venezuela would adjust its conduct to the principles of international law regulating the rights and duties of neutrals. Until now nothing has taken place whereby we have directly suffered in consequence of the operations of the German submarines; we have not found ourselves, therefore, involved in the complications that have forced the United States to go to war against the German Empire. Venezuela, consistent with its policy of respect to right, preserves unimpaired the right of defending the life and property of its citizens and follows the course of events with a solicitous regard growing out of the principles in the defense of which the United States has entered the war, as well as on account of the traditional friendship which binds it to this nation and the general interests common to the republics of the continent.