to Mr. Bell.
Washington , April 2, 1887.
Sir: This Department has been informed through Mr. Hatfield, United States consul at Batavia, under date of January 21 last, that Mr. E. R. Connell, a citizen of the United States, who is temporarily residing, but not domiciled, in Batavia as agent for an American house, is subjected to compulsory semi-weekly drills, which greatly interfere with his performance of his business duties. Were the object of these drills merely of a police character, or for the purpose of temporary defense, this Department would not interpose to relieve him from such service; but as the drilling complained of appears to be of a permanent character, such as to prepare those subjected to it for incorporation in the permanent military service of the Dutch Government, you will take an early opportunity to lay before that Government the objections of this Department to such a course.
It is important to the business interests of both countries that mercantile houses in the United States should have agents in Batavia who can give their entire time to their principals’ affairs; but this can not be done if such agents are subjected to military drill such as that imposed on Mr. Connell.
I am, etc.,