Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Langston.
Washington , December 15, 1883.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 594, of the 20th ultimo, relative to the notification made by President Salomon that Jérémie and Jacmel would be bombarded on fixed dates if not sooner surrendered.
It is observed that in response to the announcement thereof made to you by the provisional secretary of state, you confined yourself to simple acknowledgment and reservation of the rights of any American citizens in those towns. As a technical precaution this was very good as far as it went, but it does not appear that you took any active measures in their behalf; indeed, it is not known that any American citizens were endangered. But if they were, their first right was the privilege as non-combatants of leaving the place, for which purpose an apparently sufficient delay was granted. If no national vessel was within your reach to dispatch to Jérémie and Jacmel for the purpose of taking off any Americans known or believed to be there, it might at least have [Page 298] been proper to make an arrangement through one of your colleagues for the reception of American fugitives and their personal property on a vessel of another nationality.
This right of alien non-combatants to quit a place which is to be bombarded is one to be sedulously guarded in every proper way by their national representatives.
I am, &c.,