to Mr. Foster.
Washington, January 15, 1879.
Sir: Your dispatches No. 849, of the 9th ultimo, and No. 850, of the 10th, have been read with attention. The first of these relates to the general question of extraordinary taxes, and the complaints preferred to you by American residents in Mexico against their exaction, while [Page 773] the second refers to the special case of the forced loan imposed on the late Walter Henry, and transmits the recent correspondence between yourself and Mr. Avila on that subject. Your note to the minister meets with the full approval of this Department. It is observed that the ground taken by Mr. Avila in regard to the recent decision of the supreme court of Mexico amply justifies the conclusions reached here in November last, and made the occasion of an instruction to you of the 22d of that month, which you have already acknowledged. The guarantees of the treaty securing to our citizens in Mexico the protection of the laws of that country cannot but be regarded as illusory and unsubstantial so long as those laws are ignored through the acts of subordinate military authorities, and the judgments of the highest tribunals of the land are unheeded.
The situation is one which in the highest degree warrants and demands diplomatic intervention, the right to which is certainly not debarred by the unsatisfactory assurance that the wrongs of our citizens are shared in common with those of natives.
The Department concurs in your belief that further discussion of the question of forced loans must be fruitless, unless the Mexican Government can give assurance of its willingness to take up the subject with a view to reaching an international agreement thereon.
I am, &c.,