Mr. Cushing to Mr. Fish.
Madrid, December 17, 1874. (Received January 26, 1875.)
Sir: I have noted from time to time, for the purpose of communiating them to you, several incidents bearing on the subject of neutral rights and obligations, which I proceed briefly now to submit:
- So soon as the great European powers, acting under the impulsion,
or at any rate in sequence of the initiation, of Germany, had
concluded to enter upon official diplomatic relations with General
Serrano’s government, Spain anticipated their action in some
instances by at once sending ministers to several of them, and among
the rest to France. The minister selected for France was a man of
rank of considerable political importance, the Marques de la Vega de
Armijo, appointed in the grade of ambassador. Almost immediately on
his arrival in Paris, he addressed the minister of foreign affairs,
setting forth, in much detail, alleged violations of neutrality on
the part of France, in furnishing, or in allowing to be furnished,
assistance in various forms to the insurgent Carlists. This dispatch
was so grave in its character, and so positive in its tone, as to
have led to the rumor that it was delivered at the instance, and
with the implied backing, of Germany. It is noticeable, at any rate,
that its contents first became known in detail by means of
publication in one of the semi-official journals of Berlin. Copious
extracts from the document have also been published in the
newspapers of Paris and London. I have endeavored to obtain a copy
of this document for transmission to you, but have not succeeded in
doing so. But I derive from the discussions in various public
journals, and in other ways, a pretty distinct idea of the main
points of this dispatch. These points are the following, namely:
- Complaint that the French government has allowed supplies of arms, munitions of war, and equipments to be collected in France and passed across the line into the frontier Spanish provinces of Navarre and Guipuzcoa.
- That the French government has allowed men, both Spaniards and foreigners, to be enlisted or collected in the south of France, for employment in the military service of the rebel Carlists.
- That the French government has suffered Carlist juntas or committees to act publicly as such in the south of France, especially at Bayonne and Pau.
- That the prefect of the department of the Lower Pyrenees, the Marquis de Nadaillac, has been encouraged or allowed to protect or favor the continuation of Carlist manifestations, intrigues, and conspiracies [Page 1080] on the part of rebel Spanish agents of the Carlists, within this department. The French government has, in effect, admitted all these charges by taking efficient steps to put a stop to each of the things complained of, not only checking the transit of military supplies and of officers or soldiers, but compelling the Carlist conspirators at Pau and Bayonne to leave that part of France and pass beyond Loir. And, although Mr. de Nadaillac has not yet been superseded, yet he has been ordered to Paris, and so practically separated from official duty in his department. Meanwhile, the Due Decazes has recently, after a long delay of months, responded to the Marques de la Vega de Armijo in a memorandum, which is said to be highly satisfactory to the Spanish government. The important issue in this controversy, and the question most debated, is whether or not it be a breach of neutrality for one government to suffer its territory to be made the seat of political conspiracy on the part of the rebels of another government, such rebels not possessing the rights of recognized belligerence, and the two governments being associated by treaties of amity. The acquiescence of the French government in the premises asserted by the Spanish government in this respect appears to me to constitute an important incident in the history of the international relations of the great powers of Europe.
- Much has been said here, from time to time, on the subject of communications addressed to the cabinet of St. James by Mr. Comyn, minister of Spain in Great Britain, remonstrating against expeditions fitted out in the ports of that country for the service of the Carlists. It would seem that all these expeditions were for the supply of arms and munitions of war, without possessing especially military, but rather a commercial character. I am not aware what reception has been accorded to these communications of Mr. Comyn on the part of the British government.
- As to another point, that is, the relation of the British government to cuban laborantes in the West Indies, my information is more complete.
I learn, in the first place, on good authority, that, in relation to this matter, the British government has given “satisfactory assurances” to the Spanish government. My information goes no further than the general statement; but, thus far, it is confirmed by particular facts reported here with appearance of authenticity. It is stated that the active agents of the insurrection in Cuba have transferred the theater of their operations from the United States to the British islands of Jamaica and the Bahamas, and on two recent occasions the governor of Jamaica has interposed to put a stop by force to meetings of political agitation on the part of Cubans, in one of which meetings figured conspicuously the so-called General Quesada. * * * *
I have, &c.,