Mr. Snowden to Mr. Foster.
Madrid , January 7, 1893 . (Received January 23.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information a copy of my first communication to the Marquis of Vega de Armijo relating to the claims presented through this legation for the restoration of the missionaries and their compensation for property destroyed or taken from them by the Spanish authorities in the Caroline Islands.
I wrote this note previous to the arrival of Commander Taylor as an entering wedge to future personal negotiations which I shall inaugurate at once.
You will observe that in my note to the minister of state I do not go beyond a reply to the argument presented by the Duke of Tetuan in the note of January last.
My first endeavor in making a personal presentation of the case will be to obtain permission for the immediate return of the missionaries to Ponapé, after which I shall press for a suitable indemnity for the losses sustained and for the personal injuries inflicted.
The evidence on file in this legation is so complete and exhaustive as to require nothing further in making a clear and unanswerable presentation of the case to the Spanish Government. Nevertheless the presence of Commander Taylor at this juncture will serve an admirable purpose; especially as indicating the unusual interest our Government takes in a prompt and honorable settlement.
I shall follow instructions in the exercise of “prudence and patience” in pressing the case, but if I shall find no indication of a willingness on the part of the Spanish Government to meet our just expectation in a speedy redress of the grievous wrongs inflicted upon unoffending and helpless American citizens I shall deem it a duty to request such instructions as will indicate clearly the purpose of our Government to submit no longer to the denial of justice.
Some claims between nations may be permitted to drag along for many years awaiting settlement, without loss in national self-respect. [Page 560] But the ease under consideration, involving as it does, not only the redress of grave injuries inflicted, but to some extent our national honor and prestige, has been permitted, in my judgment, to await for too long a period a settlement that should have been promptly and generously accorded by the Spanish Government on its first presentation.
I sympathize in the desire of the President and the Department for an early adjustment of the case, and to that end I shall give earnest and persistent endeavors.
I have, etc.,