Mr. Taylor to Mr. Olney.

No. 612.]

Sir: In reference to Department’s No. 582, of October 14, and my No. 587, of October 29, 1896, I now have the honor to inclose herewith a copy, with translation, of a note received from the Spanish minister for foreign affairs relative to the matter of the arrest and expulsion from the Island of Cuba of the American citizen, Mr. Samuel T. Tolon.

I am, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.
[Inclosure in No. 612.—Translation.]

The Duke of Tetuan to Mr. Taylor.

Excellency: For the purpose of complying with the desires expressed by your excellency in the name of the Washington Cabinet, a telegraphic request was sent to Cuba for information upon the detention and expulsion from the island of the naturalized American subject Samuel T. Tolon. Said information was added to that also recently received upon the subject by the ministry for the colonies, and it appears that said Samuel T. Tolon is of Spanish origin, a resident of Cardenas, where, as the delegate of the revolutionary junta, he was engaged, together with his brother, Mr. Francis, in recruiting men for the insurgent forces. Besides, and as an important point to judge of the proceedings instituted against the same, it is necessary to bear in mind that he is a relation of the insurgent chief Rojas and that he has three nephews among the insurgents.

With these points in view and in the face of the explicit statements of Messrs. Escalante and Herrera, neither your excellency nor the Government of the United States can find it strange that the Cuban authorities should proceed to the detention of Tolon as a gubernative measure, and much less considering that by his origin, language, and family ties he seemed to be a Spanish subject and not an American citizen. The right of lawful defense enjoyed by all states, as well as by individuals, confers upon the former the faculty to act in the most expedient manner [Page 653] in matters in which no less is involved than the maintenance of the integrity of the national territory.

During the twenty-three days that he appears to have been detained and through the intervention of the consul-general of the United States at Habana the change of nationality which he had experienced was proved, and then, in view of that, instead of submitting him to a criminal procedure, which would have resulted in his deprivation of liberty for a long time, and in consideration of the observations made by the American consul, his expulsion was decreed, the execution of which measure was necessary as a safeguard to the legitimate rights of Spain.

Therefore there has been in this case no infraction whatever of the agreements actually existing between Spain and the United States. Mr. Tolon conspired against the sovereignty of Spain in Cuba, and being thought a Spaniard, as he seemed to be prima facie, he was detained on board the ship Seneca, which was lying in the port of Habana. Under such circumstances there could not be a deliberate purpose of infringing article 48 of the law of foreigners.

Both the treaty of 1795 and the protocol of 1877 refer to the proceedings which must be followed against American subjects after the detention, apprehension, or arrest has been carried out, and not to the act itself. As T had the honor to state to your excellency in my note of the 17th of August last, the detention is ordered as a preventive measure, and when it is effected the nationality of the party in question is not known in the majority of the cases. After the detention is effected the fact that the party interested alleges his American nationality can not be sufficient to let him begin instantly to enjoy the benefits accorded by the above mentioned agreements; but it is absolutely necessary that said American nationality be proved, because otherwise many individuals might enjoy, without any right, those exceptional benefits with grave damage to the general interests of the country. That is the reason why, in practice, and in spite of the best wishes to comply with the treaties, some case may present itself, like that of Tolon, of which no responsibility may be assumed by the Spanish authorities or by the Government of His Majesty.

From the documents in the case it appears that on account of the discussion of the same at Habana the question was again brought forward which had already been presented during the command of Gen. Martinez Campos, of the greater or less extension of the power of American consuls to present claims when, in their opinion, the treaties have been infringed or some abuse has been committed of which their fellow-citizens complain. Then it was perfectly expressed that the Government, applying to American consuls by virtue of the clause of most favored nation, the ninth article of the consular treaty with Germany of February 27, 1870, acknowledged in them the powers granted in said articles. Any other sense or interpretation which may have been given in Cuba surely must have been the result of some material and involuntary error, and in this belief the necessary instructions are repeated to the ministry of ultramar.

To make this matter clearer, and for the greater justification of the conduct of the Spanish authorities, inclosed I have the honor transmit to your excellency a copy of the report sent to the Governor-General of the Island of Cuba by the civil governor of Habana, and also a copy of the reasonable decree of expulsion which was issued in consequence of that report.

I hope that the reading of those documents and the reasonings above stated will convince your excellency and the Government of the United [Page 654] States that there has been no infraction of the agreements now in force, and that if some observation may be made upon certain points of the proceedings followed in this case that observation is fully answered and to a certain extent compensated for by the leniency of the final decision.

I avail myself, etc.,

The Duke of Tetuan.
[Subinclosure 1 to inclosure No. 612.—Translation.]

The Civil Governor of Habana to the Governor-General of the Island of Cuba.

Excellency: I have the honor to transmit to your excellency the written proceedings instituted against Don Samuel T. Tolon y Casado, and to inform your excellency that, although the accusation therein formulated against the American subject Samuel Tolon (horn in Cuba) would be enough to justify a criminal proceeding, however, as a measure of more rapid effects I propose his expulsion from the island. Said Tolon is a relation of the insurgent chief Rojas, and besides has three nephews among the insurrectionists. I also have the honor to propose to your excellency the deportation or expulsion of Don Francisco Tolon, who, having three sons in the insurrection, must of course sympathize with it, as well as that of Dr. Saez, who is the James Wilson who was ordered to be watched some time ago, and against whom there are very grave charges in these proceedings.

As regards Messrs. Escalante and Herrera, although it is true that they have endeavored to join the insurgent bands at Matanzas, by the mere fact of their depositions appearing in these proceedings they have proved their repentance and have brought upon them the wrath of the revolutionists, which makes them the more worthy of protection than of punishment. The opinion of the undersigned is that they may be considered as presented and free from all responsibility.

God guard your excellency many years.

José Porrua
[Subinclosure 2 to inclosure in No. 612.—Translation.]


In the proceedings instituted on the ground of disloyalty against the residents of this capital Don Alberto Escalante y Zenovello and Don Adolfo Herrera y Herrera, which was made extensive on the same grounds to the residents of Cardenas, the brothers Don Samuel and Don Francisco Tolon y Casado and Don José Saez Medina.

Resulting that about the middle of October last Messrs. Escalante and Herrera, provided with a letter of introduction from Dr. Saez, although signed with the pseudo name of James Wilson, went to Cardenas in search of Don Samuel T. Tolon, so that the fatter might add them to one of the insurgent bands of that province. Having held an interview with said gentlemen, at which his brother Don Francisco was present, and having delivered to him their letter of recommendation, he promised to give them the means to carry out their purpose, in the same manner as he said he had already done with others. The plan agreed upon could not be carried out, because on the following day Escalante and Herrera were detained by the police and sent to this capital as suspects.

Resulting that two days afterwards they were both placed in liberty, no charges appearing against them and no full knowledge being as yet had of their true purpose in going to Cardenas nor of the above-mentioned interview. But after several days had elapsed, and it being suspected that they might have an understanding with Don Samuel T. Tolon, of whom it was already said that he was the delegate of the revolutionary junta in that city, and that he intended very soon to embark for the United States, new proceedings were instituted, and Messrs. Escalante and Herrera stated in their depositions the facts set forth in the preceding paragraph. They also stated that they had no doubt that Mr. Tolon was the delegate of the revolutionary junta, because they already knew it before going to Cardenas and because of the acts, statements, and promises made to them by him during their interview. Both of them stated that they repented of the act that through thoughtlessness they had intended to commit.

Resulting that in view of the depositions made by Escalante and Herrera it was ordered that Don Samuel Tolon should be detained the moment he should embark for the United States, in order to take from him any documents or effects he might [Page 655] possess relative to his capacity of agent. In consequence he was detained on the 8th instant on hoard the steamer Seneca, which was going to leave port that very afternoon. A search was immediately made on his person and of his luggage, but nothing was found against him, after which he was taken to the office of the chief of police, where he made a deposition in which he denied all the charges made against him, stating in answer to the general questions that he was an American citizen. He was kept detained at the office of the chief without being allowed to communicate with anyone.

Resulting that the proceedings having been transmitted to this Government-General I ordered that Don Francisco T. Tolon and Don José Saez, alluded to by Escalante and Herrera in their depositions, should be also detained and taken to the office of the chief of police. This order was complied with and a search was made, also without result, in the house and office of Dr. Saez. They also denied in their respective depositions their knowledge of and participation in the facts narrated, and both of them were kept detained and deprived of communication with anyone in the chief’s office.

Considering that the antecedents and reports received in regard to Don Samuel Tolon and José Saez have been confirmed by the known statements of Escalante and Herrera, and that it is proved in an unmistakable manner that Tolon as delegate in Cardenas, and Saez as agent in Habana, had been lending important services to the revolutionist junta, and that both were in intelligence and combination, for which reason their permanence in the territory of the island is extremely dangerous to the cause of Spain.

Considering that no less dangerous is the permanence of Francisco Tolon who, in being present at the conference held between his brother and Messrs. Escalante and Herrera, as well as in boasting of having three sons in the insurrection, shows his separatist ideas, and that he is a dangerous person, whom it is also convenient to send away from the Cuban soil.

Considering that Messrs. Escalante and Herrera, on account of the palpable proofs they have given of their repentance, by declaring the whole truth, thereby efficaciously contributing to the investigation of the facts, deserve indulgence, because, as observed by the governor, they may be considered as being in the same position as that of an insurgent who, convinced of his fault, presents himself to the authorities and claims amnesty.

In conformity with the proposition of the governor of this region and by virtue of the powers granted me,

I order (1) that Don Samuel T. Tolon y Casado, in view of his character of American citizen, be expelled from this island and prohibited from returning to its territory without express authorization to do so; (2) that Don Francisco T. Tolon y Casado and Don José Saez Medina be sent to the Chafarine Islands, where they shall remain as forcibly domiciled as long as the abnormal circumstances existing in this island shall make it necessary, and (3) that Don Alberto Escalante y Zenovello and Don Adolfo Herrera y Herrera shall be definitely placed in liberty for the motives and considerations existing in their favor.

Let the necessary orders be issued so that Don Samuel Tolon shall leave this island by the first steamer leaving for the United States, and so that his brother Don Francisco and Don Jose Saez shall be conducted to their destination by the mail steamship leaving on the 30th instant, and let his excellency the minister of ultramar be informed acccrding to law.