General Sickles to Mr. Fish.
Madrid, January 31, 1874. (Received March 20.)
Sir: I learn that, in consequence of information it had received, the Chinese government has appointed a commission to proceed to Cuba, and investigate the condition and treatment of the Chinamen held there in a sort of bondage, represented to be even worse than slavery, and [Page 857] that, meanwhile, the farther migration of these people to Cuba has been prohibited. It appears that the commission includes, besides a mandarin, an American and a Frenchman employed in the Chinese administration. These appointments, and especially that of the American, are regarded as offensive to Spanish dignity, and loud protests have come from Cuba against what is called an American intrigue to deprive the planters of Chinese laborers by means of an unfavorable report to be made by the investigating committee. I have reason to believe that this government, through its representative at Pekin, has remonstrated against the appointment of any other than native Chinese officials as members of the commission, and that Spain proposes to insist upon the removal of the restrictions imposed by China on the coolie-trade with the Spanish possessions in America.
I am, &c,