Mr. Porter to Mr. Blaine.
Rome , November 7, 1890. (Received November 20.)
Sir: An opportunity has not existed until yesterday since the receipt of your dispatch No. 79 of the 19th of September to have an interview with Mr. Damiani respecting the case of Mileo.
I was somewhat surprised to find him quoted in your dispatch as having admitted that prior to Mileo’s desertion, Mileo had undergone a month’s imprisonment at Alessandria for the offense of renitenza, and I therefore immediately referred to the clause in his note which was supposed to contain the admission and sought to find a copy of the translation which Mr. Dougherty, while in charge of the legation, transmitted to you. Unfortunately, however, no copy had been preserved. On referring to the original, I found that Mr. Damiani had said that Mileo had been sentenced to suffer a month’s imprisonment for the renitenza, which was, however, not to be inflicted until the period of his becoming entitled to “unlimited leave,” and that Mileo having effected an escape before that time arrived, no punishment had, in fact, been undergone.
In order that if any doubt could exist regarding the meaning of the clause it should be resolved, I took with me Mr. Damiani’s note and invited his attention to the passage. He repeated that it meant that there had been no infliction of punishment, because the time when the sentence was to be executed had not arrived when Mileo deserted from the army.
It is proper to add that the Italian Government denies that any obstacles were at any time interposed to the departure of Mrs. Mileo to the United States.
I shall follow the interview with Mr. Damiani by a note expressing regret that the overtures repeatedly made to enter into treaty stipulations with Italy similar to those negotiated with several other powers by the United States, in order to prevent a renewal of the irritating questions presented in cases having a likeness to that of Mileo, have not met with any favorable response, and expressing an earnest sense of disappointment that some common ground of agreement can not be reached.
I am, etc.,