Mr. Uhl to Mr. Young.

No. 109.]

Sir: I have received Mr. Pringle’s No. 75, of April last, in regard to the cases of the American citizens compromised in the late revolution in Honduras.

Mr. Pringle’s action at Amapala appears to have been discreet. He was right in declining to make any “agreement” whereby the eventual expulsion from Honduras of the American citizens who took part with President Vasquez in the late troubles might be acquiesced in.

On general principles it is not compatible with the obligations of a citizen to his own state to take active part in the internal dissensions of another state. The neutrality which it behooves his Government to observe in such cases is equally incumbent upon him as an individual. Although this Government may not uphold any right on the part of these men to engage in the service of either contending faction, it may fuel morally bound to protect them as American citizens against any exceptional or unduly harsh treatment, based on the fact of their being American citizens, and especially so in view of the fact that their association with the titular Government, with which this Government at the time maintained relations, only exposed them to penalties in the event of its overthrow.

It is hoped that the circumstance of Mr. Pringle’s visit with the Ranger to Amapala may suggest the interest which the Government feels in the incident, and that whatever steps may be eventually taken against these men will be tempered by due consideration and be free from all appearance of vindictiveness or harshness. The vicissitudes of government in that region, and the benefits accruing to the State through the invited influx of foreign capital and enterprise, would seem to counsel the avoidance of repellant treatment whereby such aids to national development may be discouraged for the future.

Mr. Peterson appears to have been something of an alarmist in this matter, and Mr. Pringle has acted wisely in not allowing himself to be influenced by his not very practical suggestions.

I am, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl,
Acting Secretary.