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crew of the vessel, has stood and been enforced upon the theory that it was consistent with our numerous treaties on the subject of the restoration of seamen.

This would seem to raise a presumption in favor of the harmony of the statute with the treaties, and of the acquiescence of numerous foreign governments in the construction placed upon the treaties by Congress.

The treaty with Germany is certainly not clearly opposed to such a construction. The first sentence of article 14 provides that consuls may arrest officers, sailors, etc., who may be guilty, or be accused of having deserted ships, for the purpose of sending them on board, or back to their country. The next paragraph provides for the delivery up to the consuls of "the deserters."

The treaty thus makes a distinction between persons belonging to the crew and away from the vessel in this country who are deserters and such persons who are accused of desertion. It provides, not that those accused, but that "the deserters" shall be delivered up. The ambassador reads this differently and says that the word "deserters," in the second paragraph, includes those accused of desertion. The first paragraph provides for arresting, the other for delivering up to the consuls. Hence, there may well have been a difference of treatment intended, and only "the deserters" may have been intended to be delivered up. If so, an inquiry to distinguish the deserters from members of the crew away from the ship and accused of desertion, would be necessary. This inquiry is provided for by the law which has stood so long upon our statute books.

But this statute and treaty provide a method whereby the judicial authorities may determine this question. According to either the consul may apply to the proper court. If it should be held by the court that the statute is obligatory, notwithstanding differences which may be held to exist between it and the treaty, which the ambassador regards, and is probably right in regarding as of later date than the statute, then it will be necessary to modify the statute.

In conclusion, the Attorney-General suggests that the question be fully presented by the German consul-general to the proper court. Mr. Knox has no doubt that should Baron von Sternberg's contention be correct, the court will so decide.

The two original inclosures with the ambassador's note will be returned to you in a few days.

Accept, etc.,



Mr. Dodge to Mr. Hay.

No. 2153.]

Berlin, November 28, 1902.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the following telegram was published this morning by the semiofficial Wolff telegraphic bureau: The Kieler Zeitung announces that the Imperial department of the navy has sent telegraphic orders for the three cruisers Amazone, Ariadne, and Niobe to be immediately got ready for service in Venezuela. The necessary orders for supplies were given last evening. The ships will be ready to sail by the middle of next week.

The ships in question are all small cruisers, and added to the six German ships already in South American waters, will give to Germany a squadron of ten cruisers there, including the two school ships.

I have, etc.,


a For other correspondence on this subject, see under Great Britain, page 452; Italy, page 601, and Venezuela, page 788.

FR 1903-27

No. 2154.]

Mr. Dodge to Mr. Hay.

Berlin. December 3, 1902.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I attended the usual diplomatic reception at the foreign office yesterday in order to present myself to the secretary for foreign affairs. In the course of a general conversation Doctor von Muehlberg, the under secretary, who received instead of Baron von Richthofen, spoke of the recent events in Venezuela. He said in substance that Germany's position had been explained, and was perfectly understood by the United States Government, and that all Germany desired was that Venezuela should not shield herself behind the United States from fulfilling her just obligations. He stated emphatically that the telegram was entirely incorrect, which was published by the semi-official Wolff Telegraphic Bureau, to the effect that three more German cruisers were ordered to proceed to Venezuela (dispatch No. 2153 of November 28 last). No such orders had been given.

In the Koelnische Zeitung of last evening it is stated that these three small cruisers are to go with the first squadron to Norway, and that they have taken aboard landing guns. Their fitting out for war, however, has not been completed, as during their two days in dock they took in little besides coal. No ships have received orders for South America, but all preparations for fitting out ships are being made at the yards. Two old dispatch vessels are being got ready to take the places of any small cruisers which may be sent abroad. I have, etc.,


Mr. Hay to Mr. Dodge.

[Telegram - Paraphrase.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 5, 1902.

(Mr. Hay states that, at the request of J. and W. Seligman & Co., bankers, New York, who are trying to make an arrangement to effect a settlement of the Venezuelan debt, it gives him pleasure to say that the President would be glad if such an arrangement could be made as might obviate the necessity of any exhibition of force on the part of Germany and Great Britain. Mr. Dodge will understand, however, that the United States Government assumes no obligation whatever in the nature either of a material or moral guarantee of any liabilities. created by the transaction.

This instruction is sent for Mr. Dodge's information in case any one in interest makes inquiry of him.)

Mr. Dodge to Mr. Hay.

No. 2161.]

Berlin, December 10, 1902.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on the 6th instant

of your cable instruction.

Referring to my dispatch No. 2154 of the 3d instant, I have the honor to report that in the course of a general conversation at the usual diplomatic reception at the foreign office yesterday, Doctor von Muehlberg, who received instead of Baron von Richthofen, spoke of the events in Venezuela, saying substantially that negotiations were now pending between the British and German Governments, but that nothing had so far been decided as to what form any armed intervention would take. Germany had presented her claims in her ultimatum and had offered to refer to a mixed commission all those of the correctness of which she had not already assured herself. No satisfactory answer had been received to this offer. Doctor von Muehlberg made no mention of Messrs. Seligman & Co.'s efforts to make an arrangement to effect a settlement of the Venezuelan debts, and upon my referring to the rumors current in the newspapers, he said that he knew nothing of these efforts except what he had read in the newspapers. I did not mention your instruction which was "for my information in case inquiry was made of me by anyone in interest." No one has made as yet any inquiry of me regarding this matter.

On the overleaf is also a clipping from the London Times of the 9th instant, giving in translation the material part of a memorandum presented by the Imperial chancellor to the Reichstag on the 8th instant on the subject of Germany's claim against Venezuela.

I have, etc.,



Clipping from the London Times.


BERLIN, December 8, 1902.

Owing to the evasive attitude of General Castro, President of Venezuela, the British and German Governments presented formal ultimatums at Caracas at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon. If the demands of the two Governments are not satisfied, joint military action will immediately be undertaken.

The notes are identical in form, only the demands being different.

A memorandum by the Imperial chancellor on the subject of Germany's claims against Venezuela was presented to the Reichstag to-day. It says:

"Venezuela, by her treatment of German representations, has given the Imperial Government cause for serious complaint. The questions at issue relate to demands from Germans living in Venezuela, and claims of German contractors on account of the nonfulfillment by the Venezuelan Government of obligations entered into by contract. During the last civil war the Germans settled in Venezuela had, up to 1900 suffered, through forced loans, the seizure of cattle, and the pillage of their houses and estates, a loss of about 1,700,000 bolivars, and during the last civil war that amount has been increased by about 3,000,000 bolivars. As the result of numerous applications the Venezuelan Government, on January 24, 1901, issued a decree by which a commission consisting solely of Venezuelan officials was to decide upon all claims. That decree appeared to be unsatisfactory because, in the first place, all claims originating before the presidency of Señor Castro were ignored; in the second place, any diplomatic protest was precluded; and in the third place, payments were only to be made with bonds of a new revolutionary loan, which in the light of previous experiences, would evidently be almost worthless. After every attempt on the part of the minister resident at Caracas to get the decree altered on those three points had failed, the minister declared plainly that the Imperial Government now felt compelled to refuse to recognize the decree altogether.

"Šimilar declarations were made by Great Britain, the United States, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. But, as Venezuela insisted that foreigners could not be treated differently from Venezuelan subjects and that the claims must be considered as coming within the scope of internal affairs, the Imperial Government examined the German claims itself, and, so far as they appeared well founded, made the Venezuelan

Government responsible for them. Venezuela thereupon held out the prospects of a satisfastory solution through Congress, but the latter simply again took up the same unsatisfactory decree. Venezuela declined further discussion, maintaining that the settlement of foreign war claims by diplomatic means was out of the question. That is not in accordance with international law.

"Consequently, as the whole attitude of the Venezuelan Government up to the present indicates only an endeavor to deny foreign claims the settlement that is due to them according to international law, and as, moreover, in the last civil war Germans have been treated by the Venezuelan Government troops with especial violence, which if it remains unpunished might give rise to the impression that Germans in Venezuela are to be left unprotected to the mercy of foreign tyranny, the Imperial chargé d'affaires at Caracas on December 7 handed to the Venezuelan Goverment an ultimatum demanding the immediate payment of the war claims up to 1900, and a satisfactory statement regarding the fixing and guaranteeing of the amount of the claims arising out of the recent civil war. At the same time the claims of German firms for the building of a slaughterhouse at Caracas and those of the German Great Venezuelan Railway Company for the guaranteed interests due to them are to be settled. It was finally stated in the ultimatum that should a satisfactory reply not be immediately forthcoming the Imperial Government would, to its regret, be compelled itself to take measures for the satisfaction of the German claims.”

Mr. Hay to Mr. Tower.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 12, 1902.

(Mr. Hay, referring to the promemoria" of the Imperial German embassy of December 20, 1901, stating that the proposed pacific blockade of Venezuelan harbors "would touch likewise the ships of neutral powers, inasmuch as such ships, although a confiscation of them would not have to be considered, would have to be turned away and prohibited until the blockade should be raised," directs Mr. Tower to say to the German Government that the United States adheres to the position taken by it in relation to the Cretan blockade in 1897 [see Foreign Relations, 1897, p. 255], and therefore does not acquiesce in any extension of the doctrine of pacific blockade which may adversely affect the rights of states not parties to the controversy, or discriminate against the commerce of neutral nations; and that the Government of the United States reserves all of its rights in the premises.)

Mr. Hay to Mr. Tower.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 12, 1902.

(Mr. Hay states that the Venezuelan Government requests the United States minister to communicate a proposition to Great Britain and Germany that the present difficulty respecting the manner of settling claims for injuries to British and German subjects during the insurrection be submitted to arbitration.

Mr. Tower is instructed to communicate this proposal to the German minister for foreign affairs, and to advise the Department of State of his reply.)

a Printed Foreign Relations, 1901, page 196.

Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.


Berlin, December 14, 1902.

(Mr. Tower reports that he has been informed by the German Government, in reply to the Department's telegram relating to Venezuelan blockade, that Germany was at first inclined to a pacific blockade, but that Great Britain insisted on establishing a warlike blockade. Consequently Germany has yielded to the wishes of Great Britain, and intends to unite in a joint declaration of a warlike blockade in a few days.

Mr. Tower has been assured by the secretary of state for foreign affairs that Germany at present has no intention whatever to declare war or to proceed beyond the establishment of warlike blockade.)

Mr. Hay to Mr. Tower.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 16, 1902.

(Mr. Hay directs Mr. Tower to ascertain discreetly what is intended by warlike blockade without war, especially as regards neutrals, and to represent the desirability of arbitration, which Venezuela now earnestly wishes.)

Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.

No. 2.]

EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES, Berlin, December 17, 1902. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on Saturday morning, the 13th of December, of your telegram in relation to the blockade of Venezuelan ports by the combined fleets of Germany and Great Britain and the attitude which the Government of the United States intends to take in order to maintain its rights during the continuance of a peaceful blockade.

Immediately upon the receipt of this telegram I proceeded to the ministry for foreign affairs, where I presented a memorandum of its contents to Doctor von Muehlberg, the under secretary of state for foreign affairs, who received me in the absence and as the representative of Baron von Richthofen, the secretary of state for foreign affairs. Doctor von Muehlberg accepted my communication with the assurance that he would bring it immediately to the attention of the Imperial Government.

Upon the following morning, Sunday, I returned to the ministry for foreign affairs by appointment, and had personal interviews there with Baron von Richthofen and Doctor von Muehlberg, the latter of whom informed me, in further reply to my communication of the day before, that it had been the intention of Germany to confine the combined operations in Venezuelan waters to a merely peaceful blockade, but that Great Britain had declined to accept a proposal to that end

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