Mr. Strobel to Mr. Bayard.

No. 388.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s No. 6 of the 17th ultimo, to Mr. Belmont, I have the honor to inclose a copy of a note which I have addressed to the minister of state in reference to the retention by the governor of Ponape of title deeds to land in that island belonging to the American missionary, Mr. Doane.

I have, etc,

Edward H. Strobel.
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
[Page 424]
[Inclosure in No. 388.]

Mr. Strobel to the Marquis de la Vega de Armijo.

Excellency: In my note of September 17, 1887, to your excellency’s distinguished predecessor, Señor Moret, in reference to the arrest and imprisonment at Ponape of the American missionary, Mr. Doane, I took occasion to quote the explicit and emphatic assurance of Señor Elduayen given to this legation in his note dated October 15, 1887, as to the aid and protection which would be extended to the American missionaries in the Caroline Islands after their active occupation by the Spanish Government. It may not be improper for me again to refer to the above note of Senor Elduayen in presenting to your excellency the following facts:

Mr. Doane, after his return to Ponape, was called upon by the governor resident at that place to submit to him the deeds which he held of mission lands in different parts of the island. These deeds are very simple documents, but they bear the signature or mark of the chief who made the gift of the land occupied by the church, the schoolhouse, or the missionary’s residence, as the case may be. While not the formal documents used in civilized countries, they are as complete and satisfactory as, under the circumstances, it is possible to secure.

The reason stated by the governor of Ponape for requiring the presentation of the deeds to him was, that he desired to forward them to Manila to the governor-general of the Philippine Islands, who would, after examination, give them his approval and return them.

Although many months have passed, and there have been several occasions for communicating with Manila, the deeds still remain in the hands of the governor, and have never been restored.

I have, therefore, been instructed to make an earnest representation on this subject to your excellency, in the hope that the Government of Spain, which has so clearly expressed its good-will towards the American missionaries in the Caroline Islands, will take measures to effect the early restoration to their owners of these important proofs of title.

I gladly avail myself of this occasion to renew, etc.,

Edward H. Strobel.