XYZ Affair

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John Adams (1735—1826) president of the United States of America

Talleyrand (1754—1838) French statesman

Federalist Party

Foreign relations

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An episode (1797–98) in US–French diplomatic relations. A three-man mission was sent to France to resolve a dispute caused by the USA's unwillingness to aid France in the French Revolutionary wars in spite of treaty obligations made in 1778. Talleyrand refused to see the delegation and indirect suggestions of loans and bribes to France came through Mme de Villette, a friend of Talleyrand. Negotiations were carried on through her with X (Jean Conrad Hottinguer), Y (a Mr Bellamy, a US banker in Hamburg), and Z (Lucien Hauteval). A proposal that the Americans should pay Talleyrand $250,000 created outrage in the USA. President Adams, however, ignored calls for war and reached agreement with the French at the Convention of Mortefontaine (30 September 1800).

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — History.

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