No. 163.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. West.

Sir: With reference to my reply of the 20th of December last to your note of the 12th of that month, with reference to the removal of the remnant of Sitting Bull’s band of Sioux Indians from Canada back to the United States, I now have the honor to inform you that no action looking to the return of these Indians to this country can be taken by the Interior Department until an appropriation shall have been made by Congress, there being no fund at present available for their care and support. In view of this fact, my colleague the Secretary of the Interior has submitted the subject to the proper committee of Congress, [Page 240] and has asked for an appropriation to enable him to take charge of the Indians in question in case satisfactory arrangements can be made for their return, provided that in no event shall this Government be required to receive them till the spring opens.

Adding that should Congress take favorable action in reference to the appropriation which has been asked for, this Government will be prepared at the proper time to receive the remnant of Sitting Bull’s band, and to give them a guarantee of indemnity for passed offenses in case they agree to return to this country and behave themselves,

I have, &c.,