to Mr. Blaine.
Madrid , August 20, 1881. (Received September 7.)
Sir: I had the honor to receive this morning, at 8.30, your cipher telegram to General Fairchild, directing him to read to the minister of state your instruction No. 148, relating to the convention lately concluded between Costa Rica and the United States of Colombia, referring certain questions of boundary to arbitration.
As the minister of state is absent from Madrid (in the north of Spain), and as he is not to return until about the middle of September, I went this afternoon to the ministry of state, taking with me a copy of your instruction, and had an interview with the subsecretary, Señor Mendez de Vigo. I read to him the instruction, after first explaining my reasons for so doing, and asked, unofficially, if he could properly tell me whether or not the King had yet been invited to act as arbitrator.
Señor Mendez de Vigo replied that he would be very frank with me (in an unofficial manner) and say that he knew nothing about the question further than that the minister of state had said something to him in regard to the conversation had with General Fairchild at La Granja on the subject. (This conversation was reported to you in General Fairchild’s dispatch No. 179.) He further stated that he was unable to tell me whether or not such an invitation had been received—that it certainly had not come to the ministry of state—but, as the court has, until very lately, been at La Granja, it was possible that it might have been sent there. He then asked if I would leave a copy of the instruction with him for transmission, to-morrow, to the minister of state. I replied that I was only instructed to read it to the minister of state, but under the circumstances, and as he had requested it, I thought there could be no objection to my doing so. I accordingly left the copy with him, and on returning to the legation sent you the following telegram:
Minister of state absent in north Spain. Have read 148 to under secretary of state. At his request I left a copy with him to be forwarded to minister of state to-morrow. He was unable to inform me whether or not the King had been invited to act as arbitrator.
I have, &c.,