Mr. Uhl to Mr. Smythe.
Washington, February 15, 1894.
Sir: I have received your dispatches, No. 29, of January 20, and No. 33, of February 3, 1894,1 in reference to the case of William Wakeman, an American citizen.
In your No. 29 you inclosed a letter from Mr. Wakeman, and the Department about the same time received a communication on the same subject from the office of the West India Coffee Company in New York City.
It appears that Mr. Wakeman, who is the manager of the branch of the West India Coffee Company at Riviere de Nippes, had two of his native employés arrested on the charge of theft; that they were tried and convicted, but subsequently procured a reversal of the judgment, brought suit against Mr. Wakeman for false imprisonment, and were awarded large damages. The authorities threatened to close Mr. Wakeman’s place of business or imprison him unless the amount should be paid. You communicated With the minister of foreign affairs protesting against such action, and received satisfactory promises that Mr. Wakeman’s rights would be protected. Your No. 33 indicates that these promises will be fulfilled, and that Mr. Wakeman anticipates no further serious trouble. The Department approves your action.
The allowance of an appeal will afford an opportunity for the correction of any irregularities which may have occurred in the original proceedings. If an appeal is not allowed, and it is clearly shown that Mr. Wakeman was not afforded proper opportunity for defense in the suit against him, as alleged in his letter, this will afford ground for complaint by this Government.
You will watch the proceedings and see that there is no denial of justice, or discrimination against Mr. Wakeman on account of his citizenship. If any attempt is made to interfere with the property of the coffee company, you will protest in the name of your Government.
In the absence of a copy of the court proceedings and of any evidence in the case the Department can not instruct you more definitely.
I am, etc.,
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