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Mr. Ilay to Mr. White.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 8, 1903. (Mr. Hay states that the following telegram has just been received from Mr. Bowen:
I have just received the following from President Castro:
"MR. MINISTER: The Venezuelan Government-accepts the conditions of Great Britain and Germany; requests you to go immediately to Washington for the purpose of conferring there with the diplomatic representatives of Great Britain and Germany and with the diplomatic representatives of the other nations that have claims against Venezuela, and to arrange either an immediate settlement of said claims or the preliminaries for submitting them to arbitration.
"Constitutional President." If, as I understand, Great Britain and Germany want to know what guarantees they will have, please inform them it will be the custom-houses. Consequently I beg that the blockade be raised at once.
Mr. White is instructed to at once communicate the above to the foreign office, saying that Mr. Bowen will come immediately to Washington.)
Mr. White to Mr. Ilay.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, January 9, 1903. (Mr. White reports that he has carried out the instructions contained in Mr. Hay's telegram of January 8 and inquires date Mr. Bowen is expected to reach Washington.)
Mr. White to Mr. Hay. No. 1024.]
London, January 9, 1903. Sır: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a telegram which I received from you yesterday, of a note which I thereupon addressed to the Marquis of Lansdowne, and of a telegram in which I informed you that your instructions had been carried out; also of his lordship’s reply to my note. I bave, etc.,
Mr. White lo Lord Lansdowne.
AMERICAN EMBASSY, January 9, 1903. My LORD: I have the honor, in accordance with instructions from my Government, to communicate to your lordship the copy of a telegram which was received yester
a Printed ante.
day morning by Mr. Secretary Hay from Mr. Bowen, the American minister at Caracas.
“I have just received the following from President Castro:
"MR. MINISTER: The Venezuelan Government accepts the conditions of Great Britain and Germany, and requests you to go immediately to Washington for the purpose of conferring there with the diplomatic representatives of Great Britain, Germany, and with the diplomatic representatives of the other nations that have claims against Venezuela, and to arrange either an immediate settlement of said claims or the preliminaries for submitting them to arbitration.
" Constilutional President.' “If, as I understand, Great Britain and Germany want to know what guarantee they will have, please inform them that it will be the custom-houses; consequently I beg that the blockade be raised at once.
“Bowen." I am instructed, furthermore, to inform your lordship that Mr. Bowen will proceed to Washington immediately. I have, etc.,
Foreign OFFICE, January 9, 1903. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of to-day's date, in which you are so good as to communicate to me, in accordance with instructions from your Government, copy of a telegram received yesterday by Mr. Secretary Hay from Mr. Bowen, United States minister at Caracas, intimating that the Venezuelan Government accept the conditions proposed by Great Britain and Germany, and suggesting that Mr. Bowen should at once proceed to Washington to discuss the questions at issue with the representatives of the powers at Washington.
You add that Mr. Bowen will proceed to Washington immediately. This communication will receive immediate attention. I have, etc.,
Mr. Hay to Mr. White.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 10, 1903. (Mr. Hay states that Mr. Bowen will leave Caracas for Washington on January 11; that he is anxious for the raising of the blockade at the earliest possible moment on account of scarcity of provisions in Venezuela threatening general distress. Mr. Hay has answered Mr. Bowen that no preliminaries can be adjusted before his arrival, and that the raising of the blockade may depend on the sufficiency of the guarantee.
Mr. White is directed to suggest to the British minister for foreign affairs that the matter might be taken into consideration with a view to early determination.)
Mr. White to Mr. Ilay.
London, January 12, 1903. (Mr. White reports that he has had two interviews with Lord Lansdowne, one before and the other after he had discussed with the prime minister the question of raising blockade, which Mr. White suggested and expressed the hope that it might speedily take place. Lord Lansdown said in reply that in the opinion of the British Government it will be inexpedient, considering the past conduct of the Venezuelan Government, to remove pressure which has apparently brought them to a tardy recognition of their obligations until after Mr. Bowen has been able to satisfy the British ambassador at Washington that his instructions from the Venezuelan Government comply with the conditions laid down in the memorandum of December 23, 1902, and note of January 5, 1903, and particularly that he is authorized to effect a prompt and satisfactory settlement of those British claims included in the first of the three categories in the memorandum. Lord Lansdowne added that the question of guarantees for satisfaction of the remaining claims would also have to be carefully considered
Mr. White fears there is no probability of getting the blockade raised until after Mr. Bowen's arrival in Washington.)
Mr. White to Mr. Hay. No. 1026.]
London, January 14, 1903.. Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 1024 of the 9th instant, I have the honor to confirm your telegraphic instructions of January 8 and 10, and of my telegrams of January 9 and 12.
í sought an early interview with Lord Lansdowne on Monday the 12th instant at Lansdowne House and asked him whether he had considered the request conveyed by Mr. Bowen in his telegram to you of the 8th instant which I had communicated to his lordship on the 9th, with respect to the raising of the blockade. I added that I had just heard from you that Mr. Bowen was very anxious to have the blockade of the Venezuelan coast raised at the earliest possible moment on account of the scarcity of provisions in Venezuela, whereby general distress had been rendered imminent, and that you had authorized me to bring the matter to his lordship's attention in the hope that it might be taken into consideration with a view to an early determination of the blockade which, if possible, would, I said, be a source of gratification to our Government.
Lord Lansdowne replied that, although he had not conferred with his colleagues in the Government on the subject, he felt bound to say that it struck him as altogether premature to think of raising the blockade until His Majesty's Government should be in full possession of the nature of the instructions furnished to Mr. Bowen by the Venezuelan Government. He suggested, however, that if I could make it convenient to call upon him at the foreign office in the afternoon he would see the prime minister meanwhile on the subject and inform me of the result of their discussion of the matter.
In the afternoon I again called upon Lord Lansdowne in accordance with his suggestion, when he gave me the answer, which I cabled you immediately afterwards. I asked him in the course of our interview whether, if President Castro should be willing to make an immediate cash payment in full settlement of those British claims included in the first category, the amount of which is, I understand, in the neighborhood of £5,000, there would be any possibility of this Government's assenting to the immediate raising of the blockade, but he replied that
he feared that course would not be practicable now that it had been arranged that everything should be discussed, and if possible settled, by Sir Michael Herbert and Mr. Bowen at Washington. I therefore asked Lord Lansdowne whether it might not be practicable to raise the blockade, in view of the general distress it was apparently causing, with a prospect of its possible reimposition in case it should turn out that Mr. Bowen had not been properly or fully authorized to effect a settlement upon the lines laid down in this Government's memorandum of December 23 and in his lordship's note of the 5th instant, but he replied that it would obviously be very inconvenient to renew a blockade which had once been raised. .
I have just been again to see Lord Lansdowne-to-day being his reception day for foreign representatives—in case he might have something further to say on the subject of the blockade, and also to let him know that I had heard nothing of a rumor published in all the morning newspapers to the effect that President Castro had made the raising of the blockade a condition precedent to the negotiations upon which Mr. Bowen is now on his way to enter, and that this condition would have the support of Italy.
Lord Lansdowne had nothing further to say about the blockade and had heard nothing of the Venezuelan condition suggested in the inclosed paragraph, nor did he believe for a moment that Italy would separate herself from this country or Germany and initiate a separate policy with regard to Venezuela.
I ascertained during my conversation with his lordship that the instructions from this Government to His Majesty's ambassador at Washington with respect to the negotiations upon which he is to enter upon Mr. Bowen's arrival in Washington will be transmitted to his excellency to-day. I have, etc.,
Mr. White to Mr. Hay.
London, January 26, 1903. (Mr. White reports that he finds at the foreign office and at the prime minister's office hopeful view of an early settlement; that Mr. Bowen's arrangements for payment of first claims are satisfactory, and the only obstacle now, apparently, is the desire of the three allied powers to secure priority for their claims upon Venezuelan customs over those of other powers. The British Government is making strenuous efforts to get settlement sufficiently advanced to raise the blockade, which Mr. White understands may be on January 27 or 28.)
Mr. White to Mr. Hay.
London, January 30, 1903. (Mr. White reports that he has had an interview with the minister for foreign affairs, the prime minister and the first lord of the Admiralty being present. They informed him that to their very great regret the deadlock had been created by Mr. Bowen's demands, of which the British Government first heard on January 24, that all powers having claims against Venezuela be placed on an equal footing with respect to the customs. It appears that Germany has reduced her demand for cash payment on first-rank claims to the same sum as England obtained, viz, £5,500, the remainder, £61,000, of these claims to have, by agreement with Great Britain, priority of treatment over the latter's second-class claims, and but for Mr. Bowen's demand the blockade would already have been raised. The ministers further explained that the blockading powers would probably have agreed to be content with a sum less than the £213,000, which represents the 30 per cent of the customs of the two ports, provided that sum were sufficient to extinguish their claims within, say, six years. This would, it is estimated, leave about £50,000 each year for claims of other powers, with prospect of the whole 30 per cent at their disposal a few years hence. The prime minister said that the British Government can not assent to Mr. Bowen's demand without submitting it to some tribunal of arbitration, and read Mr. White instructions to be cabled the British ambassador at Washington setting forth the situation, and stating that if Mr. Bowen's demand be not withdrawn they must insist on the whole case going to The Hague tribunal. The ministers suggested, however, that the President of the United States might possibly be prepared, in the interest of a speedy settlement, to decide the single point at issue, and they expressed the pleasure it would afford them were this course to be adopted. Mr. White is given to understand that the moment reference to either of the foregoing authorities is agreed upon, or Mr. Bowen's demand withdrawn, the blockade will be raised.
The ministers expressed themselves most anxious to terminate the situation, and asked Mr. White to invoke Mr. Hay's good office, with the President toward that end. They hope the unfairness of expect. ing powers, through whose action eventual settlement will be effected of all claims which otherwise would have been ignored, to place themselves on the same footing with other powers who have done nothing to effect settlement, will strike the President and Mr. Hay.)
Mr. White to Mr. Ilay.
London, February 3, 1903. (Mr. White reports that he has just seen copies of sundry telegrams recently exchanged between Lord Lansdowne and the British ambassador at Washington. The latest British proposal is that the 30 per cent of customs of the two ports, estimated at £213,861, be added to the 13 per cent of entire Venezuelan customs receipts, estimated at £61,782, making a total of £275,643, of which one-half be taken by the three allied powers and the other half by all other powers baving claims against Venezuela. If Mr. Bowen refuses assent the British