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ITALY.

DIFFICULTY WITH VENEZUELA GROWING OUT OF NONPAYMENT OF CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF THAT COUNTRY OF NATIONALS OF ITALY AND OTHER COUNTRIES.a

Mr. Hay to Mr. Meyer.
[Telegram.- Paraphrase.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, December 16, 1902. (Mr. Hay directs Mr. Meyer to represent, should occasion offer, the desirability of Venezuelan arrangement by way of arbitration.)

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay.

No. 214.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Rome, December 17, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to inform you that yesterday, in the Chamber of Deputies, an interrogation was put to the minister for foreign affairs by the deputies Signori De Marinis and Santini, who desired to know what steps Italy was taking at present to protect Italian interests in Venezuela. The reply of the minister for foreign affairs, Signor Prinetti, will be found inclosed.

The direct reply having been finished, one of the interrogating deputies then inquired further of the minister what the attitude of the United States had been toward Italy in relation to the Venezuelan question. Signor Prinetti replied that in an exchange of views on this matter between Italy and the United States the Government of Washington had shown itself both just and courteous. I am, etc.,

G. V. L. MEYER.

[Inclosure.- Translation.] Speech of Signor Prinetti, minister for foreign affairs, about the Venezuelan matter.

Offenses to citizens, violation of trading vessels, nonpayment for years of loans made in behalf of Venezuela, nonfulfillment of Government contracts, serious damages caused to the private property of their subjects during several years past, caused the Governments of England and Germany, after exhausting diplomatic

a For other correspondence on this subject, see under Germany, page 417; Great Britain, page 452, and Venezuela, page 788.

Protocols submitting question of preferential treatment of claims of blockading powers to arbitration at The Hague, printed page 611.

action, which was industrious and patient, to resort, in order to obtain just compensation, to an action against Venezuela of which the first part is now taking place.

Italy has also considerable claims to make against Venezuela for damages to the property of Italian citizens during the insurrections which have now been going on for years in that Republic. As early as April last the royal minister at Caracas, having exhausted all efforts for a friendly settlement, had presented to the Government of Venezuela a list of the claims examined by him, and which had been reduced to the smallest amount possible, to be duly paid, and amounting to 2,810,255.95 bolivars; and he asked formally for payment thereof. At that time there were still other claims to be examined, when the recent revolution broke out, during which new and serious damages have been caused to our fellow-citizens; the extent of the damages has not been ascertained. As the Chamber sees, a total of joint and considerable interests to be protected, calls for the attention of the Government of the King; and not only for to-day.

Therefore, as soon as I was informed of the action of Germany and England I communicated with the cabinets of Berlin and London, proposing to join in the action and agreements which they were about to adopt to support the similar claims of their subjects. Italy's proposal was willingly accepted. Therefore, while I am pleased to notice the friendly attitude of the two Governments toward us, I believe that this, my statement, will reassure our fellow-citizens that they will not lack efficient protection, similar to that enjoyed by English and German subjects.

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay.

[Telegram.- Paraphrase.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,

Rome, December 18, 1902. (Mr. Meyer reports that Italy, while well disposed to arbitration, will be governed in her action by the attitude of Germany and Great Britain.)

Mr. Hay to Mr. Meyer.

[Telegram.-Paraphrase.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, December 18, 1902. (Mr. Hay states that the United States minister to Venezuela telegraphs that the Government of Venezuela confers upon him full powers to enter into negotiations on the part of Venezuela to settle the present difficulties with Italy, Germany, and Great Britain.

Mr. Meyer will communicate the Venezuelan proposition to the Government of Italy and ascertain if it is disposed to assent thereto.)

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay. No. 216.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Rome, December 20, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on December 19, of your telegram of December 18.

I immediately called to see the minister for foreign affairs, who expressed himself as appreciative of the offices of the American Government in this matter and promised a response as soon as possible. A note from his excellency, dated December 19, was received this

morning, and I inclose herewith a copy of it and a translation. It indicates, as you will observe, that Italy will probably follow the course of England and Germany. I have, etc.,

G. V. L. MEYER.

Inclosure.- Translation.]
Mr. Prinetti to Mr. Meyer.

Rome, December 19, 1902. MR. AMBASSADOR: In a note of to-day, in pursuance of instructions received from the Department of State at Washington, your excellency informed me that the Government of Venezuela has conferred upon Mr. Bowen, United States minister at Caracas, full power to undertake negotiations in behalf of Venezuela for the settlement of its present difficulties with the Government of the King and with the Governments of England and Germany. Your excellency adds that should the Government of His Majesty be disposed to assent to the Venezuelan proposal you will be glad to communicate such assent to the Department of State.

While I thank your excellency for your communication, and beg you to convey to the Government of the United States the appreciation of the Government of the King for the courteous offer, I hasten to inform your excellency that I immediately placed myself in communication on this subject with the cabinets of London and Berlin, with which Italy has associated itself in the present action toward Venezuela. Pray accept, etc.,

PRINETTI.

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay.
[Telegram.- Paraphrase.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,

Rome, December 21, 1902. (Mr. Meyer reports the receipt on this date from the Italian minister for foreign affairs of an official note, dated December 20, announcing that Italy had decided to participate with her naval forces in the blockade of Venezuelan ports declared by the Governments of Great Britain and Germany.)

(Mr. Meyer his of an officiarticipate

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Ilay. No. 217.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Rome, December 23, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to confirm herewith the telegram sent to you day before yesterday, December 21.

A copy of the official note itself, on which the telegram was based, is inclosed herewith with a translation. I have, etc.

G. V. L. MEYER.

[Inclosure.—Translation.] Mr. Prinetti to Mr. Meyer.

Rome, December 20, 1902. MR. AMBASSADOR: The Republic of Venezuela not having satisfied the Italian claims, His Majesty's Government has decided to participate with its naval forces in the blockade of Venezuelan ports declared by the British and German Governments.

I have the honor to bring to your excellency's knowledge all that is mentioned above, and ask you to inform your Government of same. Copy of the notification of the blockade is inclosed herein. Pray accept, etc.,

PRINETTI.

(Subinclosure.- Translation.)

MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Rome, December 19, 1902.

Notification of participation of Italy in the Anglo-German blockade of l'enezuelan ports.

The United States of Venezuela not having satisfied Italian complaints, His Majesty's Government, with its naval forces, has resolved to participate in the blockade of Venezuelan ports declared by the British and German Governments.

This blockade will take effect on and after December 20, under the following conditions of delay:

First. Ten days for steamers and twenty days for vessels starting before December 20 from the ports of the West Indies and ports of the eastern coast of the American continent.

Second. Twenty days for steamers and forty days for sailing vessels starting from all other ports.

Third. Fifteen days for ships which are in the blockaded ports.

Ships which try to run the blockade render themselves liable for all the measures authorized by the law of nations and by the various treaties between His Majesty the King of Italy and the other neutral powers.

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay.
[Telegram.- Paraphrase.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,

Rome, December 24, 1902. (Mr. Meyer reports that he has just received an official note from the minister for foreign affairs expressing appreciation at the prospect of settling Venezuela difficulties by arbitration of President Roosevelt. The note continues, however, to state that if the President is unwilling to act Italy has no objection to the submission of the claims to the permanent court at The Hague. Italy proposes only two conditions as to arbitration: First, that the arbitration shall include all her claims against Venezuela so as to leave nothing for further dispute; second, that her claim shall receive precisely the same treatment and guaranties as the claims of other countries receive.)

Mr. Meyer to Mr. Hay.

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Rome, December 25, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to confirm the telegram sent to you on December 24 instant.

A copy of the official note upon which this telegram was based is inclosed herewith with a translation. I have, etc.,

G. V. L. MEYER.

(Inclosure.— Translation.)

Mr. Prinetti to Mr. Meyer.

ROME, December 24, 1902. MR. AMBASSADOR: Your excellency has, within the last few days, informed me, first verbally and afterwards in your note of the 19th instant, concerning the pro

posal of the Venezuelan Government to settle, through arbitration, the controversies which have resulted in the present action of the Governments of Italy, Germany, and England. As I said to your excellency at our first interview, His Majesty's Government always prefers a peaceful solution of every controversy which may arise, and accepts, therefore, very willingly, the suggestion that the present conflict be submitted to arbitration.

Having the most unbounded confidence in the great wisdom and rigid impartiality of the President of the United States, we should be very glad if the office of arbitrator of the claims which the Governments of Italy, Germany, and England have against Venezuela inight be assumed by Mr. Roosevelt. However, if President Roosevelt is unwilling to act, we for our part should have no objection to submit the claims of the three governments to the permanent court of The Hague.

As regards the matter of the arbitration, we have for our part two conditions of a general kind to announce, which are as follows, viz:

First. That the arbitration procedure shall be extended to all our claims against Venezuela, so as to leave nothing for further dispute.

Second. That our claims shall receive precisely the same treatment and guaranties as the claims of the other powers receive.

I pray your excellency to bring kindly and speedily the aboye statements to the knowledge of your Government, and I avail, etc.

PRINETTI.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Meyer.

[Telegram.- Paraphrase.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, December 26, 1902. (Mr. Hay states that the President appreciates profoundly the courtesy with which the powers in interest have suggested his name as arbitrator in the matters now pending with Venezuela. If no other or better means of settling the subjects in dispute presented themselves the President would willingly comply with the wishes of the powers and give his best efforts to an end so laudable. But he has thought from the beginning that it was most desirable that the entire controversy should be submitted to the judgment of that high tribunal at The Hague which has been created by the principal powers of the world for the consideration of precisely such cases, involving, as the present controversy does, no question of national honor or the cession of territory. After a thorough consultation with all the powers, in wbich he bas found an honorable spirit of candor and mutual consideration animating every one of them, the President has been greatly gratified to learn that in the event of his not undertaking the important duty to which the powers have invited him, they would all be willing to accept a reference to The Hague. He has therefore the greatest pleasure in announcing to the Governments of Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Venezuela that all of them have accepted in principle the proposition of a reference of pending questions to the tribunal of The Hague.

If the President can be of any further service in arranging the preliminaries of such an understanding, he will gladly hold himself at the disposition of the powers concerned, and if their representatives should find it desirable to meet in Washington he would be happy to welcome them there and to facilitate their labors in every possible way.)

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