Mr. Gresham to Mr. Young.
Washington, October 25, 1894.
Sir: I have received your No. 127, of September 20 last, inclosing a complaint preferred jointly by W. H. Argall, Henry Thomas, and Robert Pardee, against the Government of Guatemala, and a separate complaint of Argall against that Government.
In your dispatch, as well as in the accompanying memorial, it is stated that the complainants are American citizens. It further appears that on the 25th day of August last they were in the employ of Herbert Yan de Putte, a Belgian, on the latter’s farm near Guatemala [Page 315] City, removing a shed or outbuilding which had been erected by an officer of the Guatemalan Government on land which Van de Putte claimed to be his; that while so engaged in obedience to the orders of their employer, and without any intention of violating the law, they were arrested and imprisoned by Guatemalan officers, that they were not served with warrants or informed of the charges against them; that an application for bail made by you in their behalf was refused; a messenger sent by you to confer with them in the penitentiary where they were confined was denied entrance there, and your written request to the minister of foreign affairs for permission to send the U. S. vice consul-general to confer with the prisoners was not replied to; that when first taken to the prison Argall, on asking an officer how he could see Colonel Lopez, the commandant, was given four severe blows across the back with a rawhide, the marks of which he subsequently showed to you.
These men now ask this Government to see that a proper indemnity is made to them by Guatemala.
You will present the matter promptly to the Guatemalan Government for such explanation as it may have to offer.
I am, sir, etc.,