Mr. Bayard to Mr. Romero.
Washington, March 18, 1887.
Dear Mr. Romero: Referring to the conversation I had the pleasure to hold with you on the 8th instant, in relation to the recent occurrence at Nogales, I deem it proper to advert to a report which I have just received from Mr. Manning, and which seems to indicate a wide misapprehension by the Mexican authorities of the views and expressions of this Department.
I communicated to you the purport of my telegraphic instruction of the 7th instant to Mr. Manning, in which, recognizing the good disposition of which you had assured me in the name of your Government, I stated that the prisoners rescued should at once be restored to the American jurisdiction and their Mexican rescuers punished by that Government, or else extradited.
I sent that instruction to Mr. Manning on the 7th instant, and the following afternoon received his reply, conveying Señor Mariscal’s assurance that the Mexican Government had ordered the immediate ‘ restoration of the rescued prisoners and the punishment of the rescuers; thus clearly showing a perfect and gratifying agreement of views.
On the following day, the 9th, Mr. Manning visited the foreign office, at Señor Mariscal’s request, and was informed that a telegram had been received from you, dated the 8th, in which it was stated that 1 “had given the Mexican Government the option to deliver the offenders at Nogales to the American authorities for punishment, or for the Mexican Government itself to inflict adequate punishment;” that the Mexican Government had determined to follow the latter alternation, “and would punish the perpetrators of the outrage promptly and adequately;” and further, that Lieutenant Gutierrez, who, it was explained, had been arrested on the American side, and there rescued by the Mexican soldiery, was still at large, but that the Mexican Government “is on his track, and will catch and punish him.”
No such “option” was created or tendered by me to the Mexican Government as to the punishment of the prisoners rescued from the jurisdiction of the United States authorities. Having in mind the provision of our extradition treaty which relieves Mexico from the obligation to extradite her own citizens, I refrained from formal demand for the surrender of those Mexican soldiers who had invaded our territory and forcibly rescued a prisoner then in legal custody, and intimated that if Mexico did not herself assert the right she claims in respect of punishing her own citizens, the extradition of the rescuers might reasonably be expected. As to the prisoners so rescued from the custody of the United States officials in Arizona, no such alternative was contemplated or suggested by me. Armed invasion of our territory and rescue of a prisoner from our lawful jurisdiction could confer upon the rescued person no asylum in Mexico, nor bring him within the formalities of extradition. It becomes, under such circumstances, the simple international duty of the Mexican Government to undo the wrong committed by the officers and soldiers of its own army by restoring the rescued prisoners to the jurisdiction from which they had been wrongfully taken, and the obligation to do so was cheerfully admitted by the Mexican Government on the 8th instant by Señor Mariscal before the receipt of your telegram to him.[Page 872]
I have telegraphed to Mr. Manning, correcting the evident misapprehension which has arisen; and I have the honor to beg that, if it is due to any misconception on your part of our conversation on the 8th instant, you will at once aid me in its correction.
I am, etc.,