Mr. Olney to Mr. Dupuy de Lôme.
Dear Mr. Minister: I duly received your two notes—one official and the other unofficial—of the 13th instant. The delay in answering has arisen from the fact that, not understanding the reason or effect of the discrepancy between the terms of the two notes, as well as between the terms of the official note and those of the signed memorandum of August 10, I caused the papers to be laid before the counsel of the parties in interest for their consideration. They are equally at a loss to understand what is intended. I must, therefore, call upon you to explain why, in the official note, the words “in funds current in the Island of Cuba “are added after the words “1,500,000 pesos Spanish gold.” What meaning and operation do you ascribe to the added words? By the signed memorandum the United States gives to Spain the benefit of the difference between $1,500,000 United States gold dollars and $1,500,000 Spanish gold pesos, and if the added words in question can by possibility enlarge that difference to the prejudice of the United States, they materially change the contract evidenced by the memorandum, and ought to be eliminated from your official note.
Very truly, yours,