Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

municate 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 indemnily 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. 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 cerlain drafts 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

As he has preserved no memorandum of the conferences, he

correct.

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.

Rep. 142— 2

Mr. De la Rosa's rejoinder of the 24th of February, 1851.

[Translation.)

Mexican LEGATION,

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 memorandum 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.

Question by committee. Have you any testimony to sustain 2d and 3d specifications of charge 2d?

Answer. I have.

Question by committee. Is it of facts within your own personal knowledge ?

Answer. No; I was absent from the city when the debate of the first session thirty-second Congress took place.

Question by committee. What is the nature of the testimony?

Answer. It is the record of the proceedings and debates of the House of Representatives. At some of these debates I was present, and at some absent. I refer to the remarks of Mr. Bayly, first session thirtysecond Congress, page 340, beginning, “Sir, our government has had some dear-bought experience," down to “I have seen many a man consigned to the penitentiary."

MR. BAYLY'S REMARKS.

Sir: Our government has had some dear-bought experience in conducting money transactions with Mexico through irresponsible persons. It will be recollected, that, in 1844, our minister in Mexico informed us that the April and July instalments of the indemnity due our citizens from Mexico, under the treaty of 1843, had been paid to our agent, and paid in money, which the Mexican government had great difficulty in raising. After this dispatch came in, these claimants went to the treasury to get their funds, but they were informed that nothing had been received. The Mexican government had our receipt for the money, our minister said that it had been paid, and had been paid in money

The following is the part of Mr. Shannon's dispatch :

“ The instalments, which fell dụe on the 30th April and the 30th of July last, under the convention of the 30th of January, 1843, were paid to the agent of the government appointed to receive and transmit the same, on the 27th ultimo. I am inclined to believe that this government will, hereafter, be more prompt in meeting its engagements under the above named treaty than it has heretofore been; and, if it should turn out otherwise, it will be owing to a real inability to raise the means. I am advised that it is with the utmost difficulty that this government was able to raise the money to pay the two last instalments. That is what Mr. Shannon says.

I have here also the official dispatch of the secretary of the State of Mexico, to Mr. Shannon :

[Translation.)

NATIONAL PALACE, MEXICO,

September 2, 1844. The undersigned, minister of foreign relations, has the honor of informing his excellency the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, that, on the 27th of last August, he was apprised by his excellency the minister of finance, that the quarterly instalment due on the 30th July last, had been paid

to the agent appointed by the government of said States according to the terms of the convention of January 30th, 1843, and that this notice had been delayed in consequence of the vast amount of business which engrossed the attention of that department. The undersigned avails himself of this occasion, &c., &c.

MANUEL CRESIENCIO REJON. To his Excellency Wilson SHANNON,

Envoy Extraordinary, fc., of the United States of America.

In November, 1844, Mr. Shannon again addressed this government on the subject of the payment of the Mexican instalments. It is full of complaints of Mexico. In it he informs our government that the October installments had not been paid, and he complains bitterly of it, yet he says not a word about the July and April instalments, which he before had informed this government had been paid. In consequence of the assurance that it had been paid, and paid in money, the American Congress passed the following provision, for paying the April and July instalments of the Mexican indemnities, due in 1844, the sum of $275,000. Provided it shall be ascertained to the satisfaction of the American government that said instalments have been paid by the Mexican government to the agents appointed by the United States to receive the same, in such manner as to discharge all claims on the Mexican government, and said agent to be a delinquent in remitting the money to the United States. After the passage of the law to which I have referred, Mr. Polk, through Mr. Slidell and our consul in Mexico, Mr. Black, instituted an inquiry to ascertain, if possible, whether the contingency provided for it had happened. He became satisfied it had, and the money was paid.

The appropriation was on the condition that the money had been received, that the Mexican government had been fully discharged, and that our agent was delinquent in sending the money to the treasury. Now, sir, who was that agent? It was Benjamin E. Green, one of these memorialists. Here is the authority: On the 26th of April he was appointed by Mr. Tyler the agent to receive the April instalment, and he importuned the Mexican government almost daily for the payment of it, from the time it became due to the 24th July. In his letter of the 24th July, he protests in the strongest manner against the failure of the government of Mexico to pay the April instalment. From the 24th July nothing is heard from him. Why did bis importunities cease from that day if the money had not been paid, as he says it was not?

It is true Green, by his power of attorney, was authorized to appoint a sub-agent. But he was on the spot and ought to have been advised what his sub-agent was doing. Besides, he had positive instructions from the Treasury Department. Here they are:

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

April 26, 1844. Sir: It is the wish and direction of this department that any payment made you under the convention with Mexico may be transmitted

« AnteriorContinua »