Mr. Durham to Mr. Foster.

No. 142.]

Sir: Continuing my dispatch of this morning, I beg leave to say that several attempts have been made by the Haitian authorities to have me depart from your verbal instruction to have no written correspondence on the subject of the Mevs case. To-day I received a memorandum from the minister of foreign relations in which several of my statements are distorted, obviously with a view to opening a controversy. I inclose a copy of the memorandum with translation, together with my reply, declining to write concerning the matter at that stage.

I shall continue to insist that some statement be made on the point of lack of courtesy.

I have, etc.,

John S. Durham.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 142.—Translation.]

Mr. Lespinasse to Mr. Durham.

The secretary of state of foreign relations has the honor to give the following résumé of the communication which was addressed to his excellency the President of Haiti and to himself at the National Palace, on the 4th instant, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, by the Hon. John S. Durham, minister resident of the United States of America at Port au Prince, who was accompanied by the vice-consul-general and by a clerk of his legation.

The minister resident of the United States of America stated that Mr. Frederick Mevs, an American citizen, and a merchant in this city, had been arrested on a charge of smuggling; that he had not been allowed, during the two days of his incarceration, to offer any evidence in rebuttal of the charges made against him, but that, after having been imprisoned for nine days, he had been acquitted by the correctional [Page 366]court of Port au Prince, at the instance of the Government attorney; that the vice-consul-general of the United States of America, who, at the time of the arrest of Mr. Frederick Mevs, was in charge of the legation of the United States of America at Port au Prince, having addressed a communication on that subject to the minister of foreign relations, had received no reply until three days after his letter had been sent, and that, in that reply, the secretary of state of foreign relations had contented himself with informing him that he was going to request the department of justice to report on the subject; that the Government of the United States of America, considering these acts as acts of great gravity, had instructed him to demand, laying diplomatic forms aside, and allowing no discussion of the facts, reparation from the Haitian Government, without specifying the nature of such reparation.

The Hon. John S. Durham, speaking in the name of his Government, requested his excellency the President of Haiti and the secretary of state of foreign relations to lay his demand before the Haitian cabinet, whose reply he would await, and he ended his official declaration by expressing the hope that the reparation which he asked for would be worthy both of the Government of the United States of America and of that of Haiti.

The secretary of state of foreign relations, before making the communications which he thinks proper to the council of the secretaries of state, would be glad to be informed by the minister resident of the United States of America whether the foregoing statement of his declarations is, in all respects, in harmony with what he really said; if the memory of the secretary of state of foreign relations has been treacherous on any point, he begs the minister resident of the United States of America to point out such corrections as may be necessary, and he avails himself, etc.

Ed. Lespinasse.
[Inclosure 2, in No. 141.]

Mr. Durham to Mr. Lespinasse.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a memorandum concerning the outrage perpetrated on Mr. Frederick Mevs, over your signature, bearing even date, which you ask me to verify.

I beg leave to remark that there seems to have escaped your attention my express statement that my instructions do not permit me to make any written communication to your Government at this stage.

You will, I am sure, Mr. Minister, accept this violation of my instructions as a demonstration of the high consideration with which I continue to be your humble and obedient servant,

John S. Durham.