Mr. Olney to Mr. Dupuy de Lôme.

Sir: Referring to our interview of yesterday, I beg to say that it seems to me best that our respective positions should be stated in writing, and not left to the risk of the misunderstandings which almost invariably attend reliance upon recollections of oral conversations.

It has already been suggested to your Government through our minister to Spain, Mr. Taylor, that if Spain can not without extreme inconvenience make immediate payment of the whole amount due to Mora she should make a substantial part payment on account at once. At our conference of yesterday the suggestion was further developed by making the sum to be immediately paid one-half, or at least a third, of the whole amount, coupled with a provision for paying the balance in two equal installments—one on the 1st of January next, and one on the 1st of the following April. You intimated that immediate payment should be taken to mean some time between this and the assembling of the next Congress. Exactly what color has been heretofore given to that idea—either yesterday or at any other time—I am not now able to recall. But I deem it advisable to suggest, without loss of time—that your Government may get no wrong impressions on the subject—that this first payment ought not to be deferred for the length of time that would be possible under the intimation above referred to. It should [Page 1167] be made at once, within the next sixty days at the latest, and I am constrained to say that any longer postponement of such first payment would not be considered satisfactory.

If your advices are that the Mora debt can be provided for without action by the Cortes, the matter will, of course, be greatly simplified. Otherwise, if the matter must go before the Cortes, it is necessary, I think, to insist that it be referred to them at once at the session now in progress. If the Cortes shall take such action as both the law and the justice of the case as well as the true interests of Spain require, a longstanding grievance and source of irritation between the two countries would be happily removed. If such action is refused, it would leave the United States to consider and determine what course its honor and interests and the due protection of its citizens call for.

Accept, etc.,

Richard Olney.