Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Baker.
Washington , May 12, 1884.
Sir: I have received your No. 902, of the 18th ultimo, in the matter of the arrest of Mr. John Dalton, United States consul at Ciudad Bolivar, by order of the President of Venezuela, and have to approve your request of Mr. Dalton to be immediately furnished with full particulars in the premises.
My instruction No. 294, of the 7th instant, will have shown you the action thus far taken with Mr. Soteldo, the Venezuelan minister here, in regard to the case. You will have observed from that instruction the Department’s intention to await details before formulating a specific complaint.
Mr. Dalton belongs to a class of consuls authorized to transact business. If he does, he is for all purposes of such business subject to the same treatment as any other American resident engaged in trade in Venezuela. He is manifestly subject to no less favorable treatment, although he may have no specific personal exemptions or privileges by reason of his office. But if he, a consul, has been subjected to treatment to which no American citizen under the treaty can be, that is, to imprisonment in virtue of an executive order without trial or opportunity for legal defense, then the fact of his being known as the representative of a friendly power might be deemed to aggravate the injury committed.
You should lose no time in sending hither copies of all documents, the petition, the order of arrest, the correspondence between yourself, the Venezuelan Government, and Mr. Dalton, and any other information bearing upon the case, in order that the Department may give to it a full and impartial consideration.
I am, &c.,