No. 701.

The request is indefinite. No time is named within which the facts may be ascertained. Past experience in cases of reclamation for offenses in Cuba will not warrant us in entering into an agreement which practically amounts to an indefinite postponement.
It will be impossible for the President to refrain from communicating the facts to Congress. It is his constitutional duty to do so, and the importance and gravity of the case are such as will doubtless lead Congress to desire immediately to have a full knowledge of all the facts known to the President.
Generally the points of offense are, the capture on the high seas by the Spanish war-steamer Tornado, during the time of peace, of the regularly-documented United States vessel Virginius, under the flag of the United States, on or about the 31st day of October last, and the conveyance of the vessel, with her passengers, officers, and crew, into the port of Santiago de Cuba, within Spanish jurisdiction, and the execution of a large number of such passengers, officers, and crew, and the detention of the remainder and of the vessel.

These acts are regarded as violations of international law and of treaty stipulations.