No. 888.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 300.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 113, under date of February 3, 1888, relating to the compulsory enrollment of Mr. Connell in the Dutch schuttery at Batavia, which was the subject also of your instruction No. 86, of April 2, 1887, and of my dispatch No. 262, of August 24, 1887.

After having carefully considered your instruction I called upon the minister of foreign affairs and presented to him verbally and in a frank and friendly manner, the views expressed by you.

The minister of foreign affairs said that in his opinion and in the opinion of his Government there was nothing in the law or its operation which in any way conflicted with international usage, and that it would not therefore be possible for him to enter into any investigation of the law or its operation with a view to its modification.

His excellency urged that the services exacted were simply of a police nature for mutual protection, and as the organization had never at any time been mobilized or mustered into the regular military service of the country or such an event even contemplated, such an emergency could not be discussed.

His excellency did not contend that the remoteness of the colony from the home Government prevented it from being completely administered within the range of international law, nor did his excellency intimate that the disturbed state of affairs in Atcheen had in any way affected the condition of affairs at Batavia.

Without citing any circumstance or condition in justification of the provisions of the law, his excellency concluded by saying that the similar [Page 1330] law existed in the Netherlands, and that such laws were regarded by this Government as necessary and not in conflict with international usage.

In my opinion there is no excuse for the contention that it is a case of necessity.

The whole Dutch schuttery system is only machinery for effecting a saving of national expenditure, and has no positive value for the Government beyond its economical features.

It further seems to me not only illogical, but absolutely irrational, for this Government, while providing that citizenship must be vacated by Dutch subjects who render foreign military service without the consent of this Government, to resolutely insist upon considering all foreign residents within its jurisdiction as liable to compulsory military service.

It is for the Department to say whether it accepts the conclusions of the minister of foreign affairs, that there can be no well-founded objection to the principles or operation of the law.

I am, etc.,

Isaac Bell, Jr.