Mr. Gresham to Mr. Thompson.
Washington, April 25, 1894.
Sir: I have received your No. 189, of the 4th ultimo, in regard to certain items printed in the newspapers of this country in December and January last, which reflected upon your supposed conduct and views touching the Mello-Gama revolt.
The Department is at a loss to account for these disparaging reports. Its instructions to you by cable and mail faithfully represent its views as to your course, and an examination of them does not suggest any criticism based on your supposed partiality for the insurgent cause. So far as your attendance at your post is concerned the published statements had some apparent foundation, but your response to the Department’s telegram of inquiry dispelled the apprehension that the public interests might suffer by reason of your continued residence at Petropolis.
The request cabled to you on the 30th of January for fuller reports in regard to the situation at Rio had its rise in the necessity of having more precise information concerning the progress of the events on land and the applications for belligerent recognition addressed to you by the revolted admirals. Captain Picking’s reports dealt mainly with the military aspects of the situation and the measures proposed for the protection of ligitimate commerce in the waters of Rio. The Department necessarily had to look to its legation for current advices as to the political and diplomatic phases of the problem.
I am pleased to believe that the reliance placed from the outset upon your discretion in dealing with the complex and embarrassing issues presented in the protracted course of the revolt was amply justified by the event.
On the whole, I can only suppose that the press items, which have naturally disquieted you, may have been due to the Department’s proper reticence in respect to your political reports as contrasted with the equally proper publicity given to the intelligence received from the naval commander as regards the military happenings at Rio. The propriety of conceding belligerent rights to the insurgents was obviously more appropriate for consideration in the executive councils of this Government than for discussion in the papers, especially in view of the supposed attitude of European powers.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,