Mr. Seward to Mr. Hale.
Sir: I transmit a copy of correspondence between this department and the vice-consul general of the United States at Havana, on the subject of the bond required by Cuban authorities on account of every person of African extraction who may repair to that island in a vessel of the United States.
The stipulation of the bond is that such persons shall not go ashore during the stay of the vessel in which they may have arrived.
This exaction must have been inconvenient and burdensome, even when such persons were much fewer than they now are, on board of United States vessels proceeding to that quarter. It is very desirable that there should be a repeal, or some relaxation of the regulation. To that end you will present the subject to the Spanish minister for foreign affairs.
You may say to him that while the enactment and enforcement of the regulation are acknowledged to be entirely within the discretion of the Spanish authorities, its necessity or even its expediency under existing circumstances is believed by us to be at least questionable.
Those authorities may be assured, however, that there is no disposition on our part to intervene, or to encourage intervention of any sort, in the domestic affairs of Cuba.
The great change of the political relations between the races in this country has made it the duty of this government to see that no unjust or unnecessary discriminations are made in foreign countries between citizens of the United States of different birth, extraction, or color.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
John P. Hale Esq., &c., &c., &c.[Page 10]