Mr. Bayard to Mr. Curry.

No. 249.]

Sir: I transmit for your information a copy of a further letter from the secretary of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, in relation to the case of the Rev. Mr. Doane, and expressing an apprehension that Mr. Doane’s safety is yet imperiled.

It is scarcely necessary to say that the Department does not adopt the view presented at the end of the letter, that the Government of the United States should assume the position of requiring the Spanish Government to assure to citizens of the United States engaged in missionary labors in the Spanish dominions the privileges which missionaries, together with other foreigners, enjoy in Turkey and China, under special rules of international law and treaties expressly guarantying extraterritoriality.

Such a doctrine has never been suggested in the case of Spain, which is not classed as a non-Christian country, in which Christian nations have asked for the exemption of their citizens from the local law.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in 249.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Bayard.

Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your polite favor of the 1st instant, and to express my hearty thanks therefor.

One statement in a letter from one of our missionaries on Ponape, written September 4, 1887, and recently received, seems to require explanation, as it certainly arouses our anxiety. Speaking of the arrival of Rev. Mr. Doane at Ponape, the letter adds these words: “The governor-general of Manila has sent Mr. Doane back without either condemning or acquitting him, so that the affair is not settled yet. He still rests under the charge (a false one) of trying to encourage insurrection and treasonable speeches.”

This statement surprises and alarms us. Mr. Voigt’s letters have created the impression that the charges against Mr. Doane were all dismissed, and he returned to his former residence without reproach and freed from blame. What is the understanding of our Government upon this point? Is Mr. Doane still regarded as standing under the silly and outrageously unjust charges laid against him by the late governor of Ponape? This disability and most serious injustice ought to be lifted from Mr. Doane at once and by the Government at Madrid, in its most authoritative form. Mr. Doane is evidently exposed to most serious danger on Ponape so long as those charges are allowed to remain against him. I shall be very anxious to learn from you the understanding of our Government, and such information as is in your possession bearing on this point.

Considering the outbreak that has actually taken place on Ponape, caused by Spanish oppression and misrule alone, precipitated by the overt act of the late governor, and most stoutly resisted and deeply deplored by all the American missionaries then on the island—bearing this in mind, it seems plain that Mr. Doane’s safety is greatly imperiled by the assumption that he still is unacquitted of the charge of raising insurrection. I am sure that you will fully appreciate the force of this observation and that you will exert yourself to the full limit of the powers of our Government to set this matter right, to free Mr. Doane from these malicious and gratuitous charges, and to deliver him from the peril that seems so near.

The Government of Spain either has already acknowledged the injustice and offense of Mr. Doane’s arrest and imprisonment and has promised full and ample indemnity therefor, or it will be firmly and instantly pressed by our Government to this simple act of justice and regard for treaty rights. No unreasonable delay can safely be tolerated. At this juncture, with such interests at stake in the Caroline Islands, interests that pertain first to the personal safety of American citizens there, [Page 414] and secondly to the invaluable missionary and civilizing work done in those islands these thirty-five years past by those American citizens—at this juncture it is doubly important that Spain should make quick and ample restitution for an acknowledged wrong, and that she should be effectually persuaded to afford to our Christian mission in those islands as adequate protection and assured toleration as the Sublime Porte affords to our work in Turkey or the Imperial Government at Peking to our work in the Chinese Empire.

The energy and efficiency of your exertions in this case hitherto assures us of the promptest action and the most satisfactory results.

I am, etc.,

Judson Smith,
Foreign Secretary American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.