Mr. Olney to Mr. Taylor
Washington, May 22, 1896.
Motive influencing leaf-tobacco ordinance fully appreciated. No unfriendliness to United States imputed or imagined; neither is there any desire here to embarrass Spain in exercise of its legitimate sovereign rights. But how can this Government waive or ignore treaty provisions which are explicit, and, as to tobacco actually owned by United States citizens before ordinance promulgated, clearly protect it from embargo or detention? Matter is serious. Action should be prompt, and it is earnestly hoped will conform to treaty obligations. Without any modification of ordinance as issued, why may not Cuban authorities be instructed to receive proof through consul or consul-general of bona fide ownership of tobacco by United States citizens prior to ordinance, and such proof being furnished, to permit exportation as heretofore? Communicate with Spanish foreign office at once and cable result.