Mr. Lazo Arriaga to Mr. Olney.
Narragansett Pier R. I., June 17, 1895. (Received June 20.)
Mr. Secretary: The minister of foreign relations writes me, under date of May 25, that he received a telegram on that day from the United States minister accredited to the Government of Honduras, whereby the said minister informs him that his Government is not satisfied with the result of the investigations relative to the murder of Mr. C. W. Renton, and the aforesaid minister of foreign relations consequently instructs me to furnish the following explanations to your excellency:
Mr. C. W. Renton is said to have been murdered on the 16th day of March, 1894, in his own dwelling house, in the uninhabited portion of the Mosquito Territory; it is suspected that his murderers were persons of foreign nationality, several of them being Americans, while no natives or citizens of Honduras appear to be charged with complicity in this criminal act.
The region in which it is stated that the deed was committed is the most lonely part of Honduras; in it there are no towns, even of minor importance, and, as a consequence, the action of the authorities can not be as easy or as efficient as it could in a district that was inhabited, or at least near to cities or towns enjoying the advantages of civilized life.
For this reason, and also perhaps because some of the few persons of foreign nationality who live in that section may have been interested in preventing this matter from coming to light, some time elapsed before Renton’s death came to the knowledge of the authorities; the latter, as soon as the case was brought to their notice, held a suitable investigation and made every effort to detect the guilty parties; their efforts, however, have thus far been unsuccessful, either owing to the difficulties peculiar to that wild region, or mainly because some of the persons who could have assisted the authorities with their testimony, thus clearing up the mystery which surrounds this crime, have left Honduras—their whereabouts being unknown—and the others, who are of foreign nationality, have refused to testify; and, as there are not sufficient data to warrant coercion, it has been impossible to compel them to testify concerning the occurrence without giving cause for the presentation by their Governments of complaints or claims against the Government of Honduras on the ground that their citizens or subjects have been wrongfully coerced.
My Government, Mr. Secretary, which is most deeply interested in having all crimes and offenses committed within the Republic brought to light and punished according to law, has endeavored with all possible diligence to cause the authorities to investigate, as they have done and are still doing, in order to find out who was guilty of the murder of Mr. C. W. Renton, and who were guilty of complicity in that crime, to the end that they may be brought to justice. In taking this course my Government has endeavored to fulfill its constitutional duty of seeing that the laws are enforced and that justice is promptly and faithfully administered by the authorities, and at the same time, by the diligent investigations which have been made (as is shown by the reports of proceedings—a copy of which has already been sent to the American minister residing at Guatemala—and by those which as I am authorized to give your excellency the most positive assurance, will be made hereafter), my Government, I repeat, seeks to give that of your excellency the most conclusive evidence of its desire that foreigners in general, and Americans in particular, shall enjoy in Honduras the same [Page 890] guaranties that are enjoyed among all other enlightened nations by the citizens and subjects of other countries.
The copy to which I refer, and which I presume has already been sent to the Department of State by the United States minister, confirms my assertions; and the proceedings which are now being held, and which will be continued until all means of investigation have been exhausted, and a copy of which I will send your excellency in due time, will not leave the slightest doubt, I trust, at the Department under your worthy charge that Honduras has done everything that can in justice be required of a Government that is constantly giving evidence of its desire and its firm purpose to fulfill its international obligations.
Be pleased, Mr. Secretary, etc.,