Mr. Blaine to Mr. Douglass.
Washington, March 27, 1890.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 45 of the 13th instant, in relation to refugees in foreign legations and consulates in Haiti, has been received.
So far as the general question of asylum is concerned, there appears to be no occasion to add to the Department’s instructions on this subject heretofore. In the particular instance reported by your No. 45, it is considered fortunate that you found it convenient to answer Mr. Firinin’s note as you did, assuring him that no refugees were with you, and that no one had applied to you for asylum. This negative reply in nowise prejudices your course under the Department’s previous instructions. Your competency to furnish, at the request of the minister of foreign affairs, a list of fugitives under your protection charged with offenses against the common law during the last civil strife in the country and not covered by the amnesty of November 15, 1889, is not apparent. It would involve the exercise on your part of a discrimination or judicial function not pertaining to your position as the representative of this Government; for it is not at all clear that, even if it were proper for you to furnish such a list, you would find it practicable to ascertain justly who might and who might not be excluded from benefits of the amnesty in question, or, for that matter, any other amnesty or discriminative provision of defense.
I am, etc.,