Mr. Bayard to Mr. Strobel.
Washington, September 17, 1888.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 345 of the 9th ultimo, transmitting copy and translation of the note of the Spanish minister of state of the 7th ultimo, reiterating the impossibility of obtaining an appropriation from the Cortes for the payment of the Mora claim without an agreement between the United States and Spain to dispose of claims of the latter against this Government.
So far as the minister’s note declares the inviolability of the settlement arrived at in the Mora case, and its removal from the sphere of [Page 378] discussion, it is satisfactory to this Government, and fulfills The expectations that had been confidently entertained in regard to the observance by the Spanish Government of the agreement heretofore concluded. Nor has this Department been indisposed to include the payment by Spain of the Mora claim with the settlement of other claims pending between the two Governments, provided a fair arrangement for the adjustment of such cases could be arrived at within a reasonable period.
But it can not be admitted that the payment of the acknowledged debt of the Spanish Government in the case of Mora can, as the minister of state intimates, be “indefinitely postponed” until the disposition, or a method of disposition, shall have been reached of all the controverted demands of Spain against this Government.
The Department does not perceive in such a plan the element of reciprocity which the minister of state expresses a desire to introduce. On the contrary, its result appears to be practically to defeat the settlement arrived at in the Mora case by an indefinite postponement.
This view of the matter receives color from the delay of the Spanish Government in responding to the proposition for the settlement of claims submitted to it by your legation in accordance with the instructions of this Department on the 15th of December of last year. With the exception of vague suggestions on one or two occasions from the Spanish minister at this capital that the plan so submitted lacked reciprocity, this Department has received no response to its overtures for a general plan for the adjustment of mutual claims. In reply to those indefinite intimations this Department has long since expressly declared its readiness to take into consideration any counter proposition from the Government of Spain, and has pressingly invited specification of the particulars wherein its proposals were supposed by Spain to lack reciprocity.
The note of the minister of state now under consideration renews the objection heretofore suggested, but equally fails, with the notes of the Spanish minister, above referred to, to advance the negotiation.
The Department is, therefore, unable to accept the minister’s conclusion that the delay in the payment of the Mora claim can, in any degree, be justly attributed to this Government.
On the contrary, this Department is of opinion that the sum agreed to be paid in that case may, under the circumstances, fairly be treated as a debt due and withheld by Spain from the United States, upon which interest should justly be computed from the time the agreement was concluded.
I am, &c.,