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Special Message

January 30, 1861

To the Senate of the United States:

I have received the resolution of the Senate of the 24th instant, requesting the return to that body of the convention between the United States and the Republic of Venezuela on the subject of the Aves Island. That instrument is consequently herewith returned. It was approved by the Senate on the 24th June last with the following amendment:

Article III: Strike out this article, in the following words:

In consideration of the above agreement and indemnification, the Government of the United States and the individuals in whose behalf they have been made agree to desist from all further reclamation respecting the island of Aves, abandoning to the Republic of Venezuela whatever rights might pertain to them.

The amendment does not seem necessary to secure any right either of the United States or of any American citizen claiming under them. Neither the Government nor the citizens in whose behalf the convention has been concluded have any further claims upon the island of Aves. Nor is it known or believed that there are any claims against the Government of Venezuela having any connection with that island other than those provided for in this convention. I therefore recommend the reconsideration of the subject.

No steps have yet been taken toward making known to the Venezuelan Government the conditional approval of the convention by the Senate. This might have been necessary if the instrument had stipulated for a ratification in the usual form and it had been ratified accordingly. Inasmuch, however, as the convention contains no such stipulation, and as some of the installments had been paid according to its terms, it has been deemed preferable to suspend further proceedings in regard to it, especially as it was not deemed improbable that the Senate might request it to be returned. This anticipation has been realized.


James Buchanan, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202096

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