No. 284.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 81.]

Sir: I have been compelled to protest decidedly against a renewed attempt on the part of the Government to seize the Trujillo railroad, and of the property afloat and ashore being landed by the administrators, acting under an assignment by Larrañaga, as explained in my No. 58.

The position I have taken is that the details of Larrañaga’s performance of his contract do not affect the question; that the Governments of Peru, whenever exercising control in that part of Peru, have recognized Larrañaga’s contract; that Chili had recognized the validity of his contract with his creditors, and had not, in consequence, seized and carried off the property as had been done in the case of other roads; and that, even if Larrañaga’s contract has been justly forfeited, or if his contract with his creditors be invalid, these are matters to be determined by the proper tribunals of the country, and that the United States cannot permit the rights of their citizens to be assailed and their property seized upon the decision of a minister of a government which is itself a party to the contracts declared by that officer to have been forfeited; that there must first have been a full, fair, and impartial hearing of the case by the proper court of law, and the property be taken possession of in pursuance of a decree of such court.

I trust that some understanding will now be reached satisfactory to the American firm.

I have, &c.,