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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States with the address of the president to Congress December 2, 1913

Honduras,   pp. 590-607 PDF (6.2 MB)

Page 597

 *HOflUR&S. .3597 sNot printed. 
affirm that he Is willing to relinquish control and management of sliM ritmoad
and wharf provided his Interests be duly protected; but that he protests
against any act by the Government of Honduras bywhlch he might be deprived
In any measUre of his properties without adequate èompensatlon. 
 Your excellency adds that your Governmlint~ without discussing at present merits of the claim of Mr. Valentine, is convinced that his claim
* sesses certain eqpitles that should be adsfactorily. met; and that any
act viel~.ttve of such equities could not be considered by your Government
as an IndicAtion of the friendship with which It would like to see the acts
of myGov 
* :eramenttoward American enterprise animated. 
*Jn reply, and under Instructions of the President, to whom I have giveeLac-.
cQunt of your excellency's Important note, I have the honor to Inform you
that there Is uo reason whatever for complaint on the part of the repi~es~ptativeof
Mr. Valentine becaUse of the action of the Government in reSpect to the rail..
road of Puerto .Cortls, to which the decree issuóql yesterday fli~
sept to the Gqbernadpr Politico of CodS for execution was confined. . . 
 As your excellency must know, the railroad of Puerto Cortds, exclusive property
of the Government,.was turned over on August 1, 1908, to Mr. Valentine, with
whom a contract of lease was made which was never perfected In thU form prescribed
by the Constitution of the country, which requires for the validity of these
contracts the approval of Congress. Nevertheless Mr. Valentine has in fact
been administering and managing the railroad and enjoying the proceeds 
* from It without having itny right therEto. 
* The Congress now In session—In view, of the contracts entered Into
with Mr. Valentine and the ftct that, In spite of the ln~lidity of the same,
Mr. Valentine continued I; possession and control of the railroad—declared
by Decree 
* * No. 28 of the 5th Instant "that the Executive proceeded hastily and unconstitutionally
in delivering the railroad to Mr. Valentine by virtue ~ at contract which,
to be peçfected, needed the approval of the Legislative AsSembly;
End directed the said Executive Power, availing itself of the most profl
and effi' eaciouS means, to proceed' Immediately to recover thkt property
~ ' to determine the consequent obllgatthns to*ard (deducfr las reUponsabilidades
' conIguientes al) Mr. Valentine. 
* By ylrtue whereof and in compliance with the said decree the Government,
through the Ministry of Fomento end Public Works, Issued a decree, whibh
your eteellency will find enclosed1 as an annex to this uote~ In which It
Is ordered : (~i.) that ~'  the Gobernador Politico of the Department of
Cortds, with previous Injunction (requerimlento) and notlflc~tlon of the
Decree of Congress of which mention hAs been made and oX the present order
to the administrator or ag~nt of Mr. Washington 8. Valentine, take possession
of the railroad with the appurteaanoes and accessories, with formal judicial
Inventory, adtlslng thE said administrator or agent in order that he may
attend the. transfer and in. ventory If he wishes to:do en; (2) that Mr.
Valentine be régulredto give 
* account of the returns from the railroad during the time he has exploited
* End that ' liquidatlot be made in otder that there ilay be adjudiéated
to each of the parties the portion that belongs to It." 
 As your excellency will see, the Government In taking possession of the.
* road has taken possession of an enterprise entirely the property of the
nation and not of Mn Valentln4 a property that figures In the Inventories
of trpnsfer subsc'rthed by the. representative of the said Mr. Valentine
on August 1, 1908, 
* with a value of $~,140,97t85, plps the warehouses, etc., at $83,42&94,
* which illegally and without the approval of Congress as the Constitution
provides had been turned over to Mn Valentine. 
 But the Government In Issuing the order cited, In compliance with the legislative
decree to which'I have made reference, has desired to clothe the act with
every kind of guaranty for Mr. Valentine; wherefore It ' ordered that a formal
* judicial Inventory be made, being dlsg$esed, ppon liquidation of accounts,
to recoãlse aid pay the sum: or sums, If there should be any, due
to Mr. Valentine by reason of the transaction. * '  
 ' My'Government has no knowledg of any claim on the part of Mr. Valentine
connected with the railroad. It has confined Itself to~ the elercise of a
right theSrred'by the Cotstitution,' and your ercellency may be sure that
it' Is and 
ajwnyt"will be the most faithful guardian ' of the rights and privileges
of foi~ elgners that reside 1* Honduras, and very especially of Americans.

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