Mr. Bayard to Mr. Olney.

No. 575.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note from Mr. Secretary Chamberlain, dated January 16 instant, to the foreign office, in relation to arrest of a number of the leading citizens of Johannesburg, and their imprisonment by the South African Government, among them being several citizens of the United States.

The comity and kindness of her Majesty’s Government in extending their protection over these American citizens, in a distant and disordered region, has been made known to you, and evoked expressions of your gratitude, which have heretofore been made the subject of my correspondence with the foreign office and yourself.

I am glad to see in the newspaper press proof of a recognition in the United States of the voluntary and friendly action by Her Majesty’s Government toward our fellow-countrymen held in durance under distressing and trying circumstances.

Mr. Chamberlain’s announcement that their cases will be watched by legal counsel employed under his direction, in common with British subjects in like condition, is very satisfactory, and I inclose a copy of a note I have addressed to Lord Salisbury, expressing appreciation of the comity and kindness thus exhibited toward our countrymen in South Africa.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 575.]

Mr. Meade to Under Secretary of State, foreign office.

Sir: I am directed by Mr. Secretary Chamberlain to acquaint you, for the information of the Marquis of Salisbury, that on learning that [Page 565] numerous arrests had been made in the South African Republic of the leading residents of Johannesburg, including, besides British subjects, many citizens of the United States of America and other nationalities, he sent a telegram, of which a copy is inclosed, to the high commissioner, Sir H. Robinson, asking for information on the subject.

A reply has been received from Sir H. Robinson stating that the accused are between fifty and sixty in number, and are mostly members of the reform committee at Johannesburg.

They have been arrested on charges of treason and of seeking to subvert the State by inviting the cooperation and entrance into it of an armed force.

It is understood that the proceedings are based on sworn information, and that the trials will take place before the high court of the South African Republic, and it is alleged that the Government of the Republic are in possession of documentary evidence of the existence of a widespread conspiracy to seize upon the Government and to make use of the wealth of the country to rehabilitate the finances of the British South African Company.

The accused are being well treated and are represented by able counsel.

Sir H. Robinson, on taking leave of the President of the South African Republic, urged upon him to exercise moderation in regard to the accused persons, so as not to alienate the sympathy he now enjoys of all right-minded persons.

He adds that the question of admitting the accused to bail is a matter entirely in the hands of the attorney-general; that the Government seem to be acting within their legal rights, and that the mines are at work, and industry does not seem to be disorganized.

Mr. Chamberlain desires me to add that counsel will be employed to watch the trials on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and on behalf of British and Belgian subjects and United States citizens, and he would be glad if Lord Salisbury would communicate this information to the United States and Belgian Governments.

I am, etc.,

R. H. Meade.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 575.—Telegram.]

Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Hercules Robinson.

Press telegrams state numerous arrests of leading residents on the Rand, including many Americans, Germans, and other nationalities. Fear that number of these arrests of active managers, representatives, may disorganize industry on the Ran d. Wish to know of what accused, when brought to trial, whether bail allowed, and what penalties prescribed by law. Shall be glad to learn from President of South African Republic what his intentions are in this matter, which affects the subjects of so many States. Propose to communicate President’s reply to American and Belgian Governments, which have already asked us to take charge of interests of their respective citizens.

[Page 566]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 575.]

Mr. Bayard to Marquis of Salisbury.

My Lord: I have the honor to acknowledge, with many thanks, the copy of the note (inclosed by Mr. Bertie at your lordship’s request) of Mr. Secretary Chamberlain, transmitting to the foreign office information relating to the arrests of the leading inhabitants of Johannesburg in the South African Republic, among whom were several citizens of the United States—and announcing that counsel will be employed to watch the trials on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and on behalf of British and Belgian subjects and United States citizens—and suggesting that this information should be communicated to the United States Government.

I shall lose no time in fulfilling the wishes of Mr. Secretary Chamberlain thus expressed, and beg to indicate the full appreciation of my Government for the comity and courtesy thus exhibited by Her Majesty’s Government toward it and its citizens.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.