Mr. Shannon to Mr. Foster.

No. 258.]

Sir: Referring to your No. Ill of the 3d ultimo, relative to the case of Henry R. Myers, late consul of the United States at San Salvador, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of two notes recently addressed [Page 175] by me to his excellency the minister for foreign affairs of Salvador, repeating the views expressed in your No. 111. One of these notes refers to the nature and terms of the agreement entered into by Lieut. Denfield, U. S. Navy, with the secretary-general of the Provisional Government of Salvador, and the other replies to the propositions set forth in the note of Dr. Gallegos of the 26th of last May.

It is now my intention to set out at once for San Salvador in the execution of your instructions, and expect to reach that capital about the 19th instant. In due time you will be fully advised of the result of my efforts to settle the question.

I have, etc.,

Richard Cutts Shannon.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 258.]

Mr. Shannon to Señor Gallegos.

Mr. Minister: Referring to the courteous note of your excellency of the 28th of last may, requesting me to furnish a certified copy of the original of the agreement concluded between the minister-general of the Provisional Government of that Republic and Lieut. Denfield of the U. S. Navy, I have the honor now to state that as certain documents relating to that agreement were not to be found in the archives of this legation, I was obliged to refer your excellency’s request to the Department of State at Washington.

I am now able, after some considerable delay, which I assure your excellency has been unavoidable, to make reply, and beg to say that so far as the Department of State is informed there was no formal written agreement signed by Lieut. Denfield and the Salvadorean secretary-general. It is true that in my note to your excellency of May 2, 1892, I stated that the agreement referred to was “expressed in writing.” But those words had reference simply to the fact that an agreement was made to carry out certain conditions, which were at the time in writing, so that every occasion for misunderstanding with respect thereto was removed.

In order that your excellency may have a full and complete understanding of the nature of this agreement, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of all the documents relating thereto, which I have this day received from the Department of State.

Your excellency will observe that Lieut. Denfield says in his report, that after the first two conditions had been complied with, and the third in so far as the property and archives were remaining, he “then called on the secretary-general,” who “agreed to comply with the remaining articles contained in the United States minister’s letter of instructions.”

That this correctly expresses the understanding which was arrived at, I believe has never been questioned.

With renewed assurances, etc.,

Richard Cutts Shannon.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 258.]

Mr. Shannon to Señor Gallegos.

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to state that, a translation of your excellency’s courteous note of the 26th of last May was promptly forwarded by me to the Department of State at Washington, and if I have not been able before this to make reply it has been due to causes beyond my control, resulting in an unavoidable delay, which I trust your excellency will excuse.

In accordance with instructions received this day from Washington, I beg now to communicate that your excellency’s note above referred to has received attentive consideration from my Government, though it fails, I regret to say, to change its [Page 176] views with respect to this unfortunate affair and the proper principles which should govern its settlement.

Inasmuch as your excellency recognizes the “principles of justice upon which rest the right to an indemnity for all the damage caused to the American consulate,” and inasmuch as your excellency has repeated that recognition in the name of the Government of Salvador, the honorable Secretary of State is unable to understand the contention of your excellency that the Government of the United States should be entirely excluded from the determination of its amount.

The simple statement of the difference between the respective positions of the two governments furnishes its own comment. The Government of the United States insists that the question of the amount of indemnity is one for common agreement between the two governments; it makes no claim of any right to determine it alone, but only to participate in its determination. The Government of Salvador on the other hand maintains it is a question for its own exclusive settlement through its own tribunals.

Did it promise any good purpose there might be a reconsideration in detail of all the points that have been so fully elaborated in your excellency’s note, but as it is evident that this already prolonged discussion is not serving to bring the views of the two governments into accord, your excellency will permit me, without reiterating the views of my Government, which are maintained as heretofore expressed, to proceed at once to the offers mentioned at the close of your excellency’s note.

Your excellency proposes to submit to the Salvadorean tribunal of public credit “to decide regarding the indemnity to be paid, fixing the amount and the mode of payment.” This proposition I am instructed to say is no wise different in principle from the general one which was made in your excellency’s note of January 2, last, to refer the matter to the tribunals of Salvador. My Government is necessarily as constrained to refuse the one as it was the other. If the Government of your excellency desires for its own information to take the advice of its tribunal of public credit with respect to the amount of damage which was done, it of course can do so, and should the sum recommended by that tribunal be thought by my Government to be reasonably sufficient, it would gladly accept it. But it could not otherwise.

As to the minor and incidental question with respect to the justice of making some reparation for the personal injury done to Mr. Myers, your excellency proposes that this be referred to the arbitration of a friendly power. My Government always welcomes such a mode of adjustment of international differences, in every proper case where such a resort becomes necessary. But I am sure that your excellency will agree with me that it would be quite futile to refer to international arbitration simply an incidental feature of this case, and that its least important one. Then, too, the whole affair is hardly worthy to be dignified by a proceeding of that importance.

My Government still feeling confident that your excellency and myself could, in a personal conference, easily agree upon a settlement of this matter mutually satisfactory to both governments, I propose shortly to visit that capital, when, if agreeable to your excellency, I shall hope to be favored with a personal conference to that end.

In conclusion I am instructed to say that any reasonable sum sufficient to reimburse my Government for the destruction of its property and the property of its consul, and to afford some slight reparation to Mr. Myers for his injuries, would be entirely satisfactory. And should the Government of your excellency upon further consideration desire of itself to propose such a sum, the spontaneity of such an offer could but strengthen the already happily existing bonds of friendship uniting the two republics.

With renewed assurances, etc.,

Richard Cutts Shannon.