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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 7, 1903

Venezuela,   pp. 788-808 PDF (6.6 MB)

Page 808

  k/~. Hay to Jib. Hussett~ 
     Was/iin~~ton, Play 15, 1903. 
 SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 170, of the 26th ultimo,
in which attention is called to article 14 of the law passed by the Venezuelan
Congress approved April 16, 1903, which reads as follows: 
 The National Executive can not issue consular or vice-consular exequaturs
to perSons engaged in commerce. 
 You ask for specific instructions in case an exequatur is refused an American
vice-consul or consular agent who comes within the category of persons engaged
in commerce. 
 The right of consular representation between civilized states is established
by the law of nations, and this unquestionable right is implied by the language
of the article quoted. Yet it imposes such restrictions on its practical
enjoyment as goes far to impair the advantageous enjoyment of the right itself.
For, as is well known, many of these minor officials receive such small salaries
and emoluments from their governments that it would be impossible for them
to exercise and enjoy their official functions unless they were permitted
to engage in commerce. 
 The effect, therefore, of carrying out the provisions of article 14 would
in these cases be the denial to the friendly Government of the United States
of the right of consular representation. This Government, however, would
be reluctant to believe that the friendly Government of Venezuela would decline
to allow to the United States the privilege in question, if such would be
the effect of putting into operation the article. You will, therefore, should
the case mentioned in your dispatch arise, bring these views to the attention
of the Venezuelan Government and earnestly express the grave concern with
which the United States Government would regard the refusal to or the withdrawal
from its vice-consuls or consular agents of their exequaturs on account of
their enjoyment of the customary privilege of engaging in commerce. For it
would practically result in an abnormal limitation of the right of consular
representation, which is sanctioned by the usages/and customs of nations
and is one of the most striking evidences of their common civilization. 
 I am, etc., JOHN HAY. 

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