« AnteriorContinua »
contract with D. Isaac D. Marks, relative to the same payment, and had directed the undersigned to endeavor to procure from the government of the United States the acceptance of the drafts which had been remitted, for the payment of said indemnity, which payments were 10 take place at the various times stipulated to that effect in the treaty of peace.
The undersigned had begun to negotiate verbally with the Secretary of State for the acceptance of said drafts when he received a note from his government, in which he was told that in case the Secretary of State should already have been compromised in favor of any contract, not to offer any opposition on the part of this legation to any arrangement which the Secretary of State might have made—not at least in such a manner as to give any ground of offence by such oppositionbut to persist in the mode which he thought most prudent in asking for the acceptance of the drafts, as this would be very agreeable to the interests of Mexico. The undersigned then spoke again to the Secretary of State about the importance which his government placed upon the acceptance of the drafts, and endeavored to convince him of the fact that ihe interests of the United States would not suffer on account of this acceptance.
The undersigned remembers that in these interviews something was said—the connexion of things rendering such allusions indispensableabout the contract with Mr. Marks; but the undersigned did not persist in going very deeply into this matter, for he did not deem it necessary, at any time, to make known the object of the Mexican government for desiring the acceptance of the drafts.
While this was passing, the Secretary of State said to the undersigned, that he had reason to believe that this legation must have received certain communications from the Mexican government, of which the Department of State ought to have been informed. The undersigned merely remarked, that he had not received the communications alluded to, but that as soon as they reached him the Secretary of State should be made acquainted with their contents. On the following day he received from Messrs. Corcoran & Riggs a duplicate of the communications referred to. The undersigned gave to the Secretary of State a literal
As these communications do not inform the undersigned that the government of Mexico had annulled the contract which it had made with Mr. Marks, nor direct him positively to desist from negotiating the acceptance of the drafts, he was compelled to believe, and he still believes, ihat although the government of Mexico thinks it a difficult matter for Marks to carry his contract into operation, it does not consider it as annulled, and is always disposed to fulfill the same, as far as practicable, in the same good faith with which it stipulated from the beginning.
The undersigned may have forgotten some of the circumstances which may have transpired during his interviews with the Secretary of State; he believes, however, that he has herein laid down all the most important facts that have occurred up to the day when the Senate of the United States received the information communicated through the Secretary of State.
The undersigned begs to enclose a copy of Mr. Mark's official communication. From it the Secretary of State will perceive that a very heavy claim may probably be brought against Mexico; and although, up to the present moment, said claim would be unfounded, yet it might assume the appearance of a just claim, if, by his silence on this occasion, the Mexican minister were to induce the belief that he had in any way opposed the sucessful issue of Mr. Mark's, proceedings, before the Senate of the United States, with a view of carrying his contract into effect. It is not the province of the undersigned to pass any opinion upon Mr. Marks's pretensions; it behooves not him either to support or to oppose them before the Senate.
As it was Mr. Marks, and not the government of Mexico, who assumed the responsibility of procuring the acceptance of the drafts on the part of the government of the United States, and as the undersigned has moreover received, on this day, fresh instructions from his
government, dated December 30th, in which he is directed not to press the acceptance of the drasis if, in his opinion, the abandonment of that object should be necessary in order to preserve the relations of friendship and good understanding which happily exist between Mexico and the United States, the undersigned desists entirely from pursuing said negotiations any further.
The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to renew to the Secretary of State the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.
LUIS DE LA ROSA. Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, &c., &c.
Letter of Mr. Marks to Mr. De la Rosa, of same date.
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1851. Most Excellent Sir: I have had the honor to transmit to your excellency a copy of the reply of Mr. Webster to the resolution of inquiry of the Senate, calling upon the President for all the information communicated by your excellency in relation to the drafts drawn by the Mexican government on the treasury of the United States, under the contract made with me by that government, and the wishes of the Mexican government in relation thereto. Your excellency informed me by your note of the 30th ultimo, that you had had several conferences with Mr. Webster in relation to my contract, and referred the Senate of the United States to Mr. Webster for the information which you had communicated to him in relation to this subject.
Your excellency will see that Mr. Webster, in his reply to the resolution of inquiry, based on your said note to me of the 30th ultimo, has said that your excellency has made no communication to the Department of State on the subject of the said drafts or contract. I have, therefore, to request that your excellency will at once present the drafts for acceptance, and communicate to this government the wishes of your government in this matter, or that you will inform me of the substance of the conference which you have had with Mr. Webster in relation thereto.
I have again to inform your excellency that all that is necessary to obtain the acceptance of the drafts is, that your excellency will communicate the wishes of your government, and that if such notice is not given and the drafts not presented by you officially, I will sustain great loss and injury, for which the Mexican government will be bound in good faith to indemnity me. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. D. MARKS. To his Excellency Don LUIS DE LA Rosa,
E. E. and M. P. of the Mexican Republic.
Mr. Webster's reply thereto of the 21st February, 1851.
Mr. Webster to Mr. de la Rosa.
DEPARTMENT OF State,
Washington, February 21, 1851. The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of the 17th instant, addressed to him by Mr. De la Rosa, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Mexican republic. That communication appears to have been suggested by what Mr. De la Rosa calls information communicated to the Senate of the United States by the undersigned. This department has communicated no such information. The Senate, by a resolution of the 10th instant, requested from the President all the information communicated to him by Mr. De la Rosa relative to certain drafis drawn by the Mexican government on the treasury of the United States. It is presumed that in adopting this resolution the Senate was led to suppose that the President might have such information, and had that been the case, the request would probably have been complied with. But as the President had received no such information from Mr. De la Rosa, he referred the resolution to this department, with directions to the undersigned to report thereon. The undersigned reported accordingly, that no information, such as the resolution called for, was in this department. The President transmitted this report 10 the Senate, with a message to that body.
The undersigned flattered himself, that after the expression of the sentiments of this government, contained in the note of Mr. Buchanan to Mr. De la Rosa, of the 15th February, 1849, Mr. De la Rosa would have abstained from making a message of the President to either House of Congress a subject of diplomatic representation. He has, however, thought proper to adopt a different course, and although the undersigned, for the reasons mentioned by Mr. Buchanan, might, without disrespect of the Mexican government, decline to enter into a discussion of such a topic, he is willing, upon the present occasion, to waive any appeal to forms, lest his silence might lead to the inference that there is something substantial in Mr. De la Rosa's note, which requires an explanation or reply, such as cannot be satisfactorily given. That note is principally occupied with a statement of oral communications made to the undersigned by Mr. De la Rosa, relative to drafts of the Mexican government upon the treasury of the United States. The undersigned will not deny that that statement may be substantially correct. As he has preserved no memorandum of the conferences, he
is willing to impute any inaccuracies to the fact that Mr. De la Rosa spoke to him through an interpreter. The undersigned, however, is confident that Mr. De la Rosa said nothing respecting a contract between the Mexican government and any individual, and he is pleased to see that Mr. De la Rosa himself is doubtful upon this point. Mr. De la Rosa's purpose seemed to be to bring about an acceptance by this government of the drafts referred to. The transaction thus sought to be effected seemed to the undersigned so irregular, that he promptly declined to have any agency in gratifying Mr. De la Rosa's wish. În adopting this course, the undersigned was actuated by the considerations that he could find no stipulation in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo authorizing the Mexican government to draw bills on the treasury of the United States, or authorizing that department to accept or to pay them. It seemed to him that the relative rights and duties of the two governments in regard to the indemnity due under that treaty, and the mode of paying it, were well defined in the treaty itself; that if Mexico desired a change in that respect she was bound to ask for it in a proper manner, through her accredited officers; that such a proceeding as that proposed would imply either that an alteration in the treaty had already been made, by competent authority, or that it was in the power of the executive branch of this governinent to make such alteration, should that be the wish of Mexico. All this appeared to the undersigned to be objectionable and inadmissible ; and Mr. De la Rosa will also hardly fail to recollect that the undersigned, soon after he became charged with the duties of this department, informed him that he could not entertain any proposition from Mexico to change the mode of payment of the indemnities as it stood in the treaty.
Mr. De la Rosa may be assured that, so far as any citizen of the United States may be concerned, the anxiety which he expresses lest the omission to accept the drafts adverted to may give rise to a claim against the Mexican government, which this government will urge, is quite unfounded. The government of the United States is not in the habit of prosecuting claims against foreign governments founded on contracts. It has hitherto experienced, and continues to experience, sufficient difficulties in obtaining reparation from some of those governments for claims of another description. If it should ever deviate from this policy, it will carefully scrutinize any contract for which its protection may be invoked. If it shall then find that the parties to such a contract had no authority to enter into it, or that its subject or the circumstances connected with it were such as it could not approve, any foreign government which might be charged with deliquency need not apprehend any advocacy of such a claim on the part of this government.
The undersigned is gratified to notice that Mr. De la Rosa concludes his note with an expression of an intention not to pursue the subject further. The undersigned has no doubt of the wisdom and propriety of this determination.
DANIEL WEBSTER. To Señor Don LUIS DE LA Rosa, &c., &c.
Mr. De la Rosa's rejoinder of the 24th of February, 1851.
Washington, February 24, 1851. The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the republic of Mexico, has the honor of addressing himself to the Secretary of State, for the purpose of apprising him that he has received his note of the 21st instant, relative to some information which has been communicated to the Congress of the United States, concerning the drafts on the treasury of the United States, which the government of Mexico had purposed to remit for the payment of the indemnity.
The undersigned was extremely solicitous that the aforesaid note of the Secretary of State had been of a character to put an end to all the disagreeable misunderstandings which the information alluded to had occasioned. But, such not being the case, the undersigned finds himself under the necessity of addressing some remarks on the subject to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State lays it down as a principle, that a message addressed to one of the Houses by his excellency the President of the United States cannot be made the subject of diplomatic communications. The undersigned regrets that he cannot agree with the Secretary of State in this mode of thinking.
The Secretary of State says that he is certain that the undersigned made no mention, at the conferences held between them, of a contract made by the Mexican government with a private individual for the advancement of funds, by mortgaging the indemnity. The undersigned is sure of having spoken on that subject, and, being unwilling to trust to his own memory alone, he has questioned two persons connected with this legation on the subject, who were present at those interviews in the capacity of interpreters. It is not strange that the Secretary of State should have forgotten what was said incidentally in regard to this matter: first, because it was not the principal object of the interview; secondly, because his attention was very little drawn to this point; thirdly, owing to the grave and multitudinous matters which occupy his mind; and, finally, because no mernorandum was made of what took place at the interviews.
The undersigned might, perhaps, feel it to be his duty to say something in regard to other points, touched upon in the aforesaid note of the Secretary of State. He abstains doing so, because, in obedience to the promptings of his own feelings and the instructions he has received from his government on this subject, he desires to make this note as concise as possible, lest any phrase or expression might be misunderstood, and, therefore, seem offensive to the Secretary of State.
The undersigned renews to the Secretary of State the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.
LUIS DE LA ROSA. Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, &c., &c., &c.