Mr. Armstrong to Mr. Olney.

No. 524.]

Sir: I have the honor of inclosing herewith the formal reply, with translation, of the Spanish minister for foreign affairs to your telegrams of the 20th and 23d instant as confirmed in Mr. Taylor’s No. 521.

You will observe that the order to respect contracts and property rights was of a general character and applicable to all nationalities.

I am, etc.,

H. Clay Armstrong, Jr.,
Chargé d’Affaires
[Page 686]
[Inclosure in No. 524.—Translation.]

Duke of Tetuan to Mr. Armstrong.

My Dear Sir: I duly read the note which Mr. Taylor had the kindness to deliver personally to me on the 21st instant, and afterwards that which he has been pleased to address to me under date of the 23d, both relative to the order issued by the Governor-General of Cuba, prohibiting the exportation of leaf tobacco from the island.

Not being then sufficiently informed to form an accurate judgment in the matter, I limited myself to inform Mr. Taylor verbally that I would ask for such information, with all haste, from my colleague, the minister of ultramar, and that, while pending the receipt and examination of that information, I deemed it my duty to tell him that the order in question, which from its general character included all nationalities, had been given on account of the fact that, the insurrection having destroyed a great part of the tobacco harvest in Cuba, chiefly in the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Habana, and the manufactories being in danger of having to stop their work through want of raw material, it was absolutely necessary to remedy that condition of things in order to avoid a conflict which would have plunged thousands of families into hunger through want of work.

I can now add, based on the data furnished me by the minister of ultramar, that on the 8th instant telegraphic orders were sent to the superior authority of Cuba pointing out to him, very especially, the necessity of respecting contracts of foreigners entered into before the issuance of the order in question, and he was also instructed to take measures to prevent abuses, having especial care in the decision of all cases to be guided by the strictest spirit of justice and equity.

These orders, which have been repeated to-day by cable to General Weyler, I think are the same which the Government of the United States requests from that of His Majesty, through Mr. Taylor, in his kind note of the 23d instant.

If, during their application, there should arise some difference of opinion between the superior authority of Cuba and the consul-general or any subject of that nation who should deem himself prejudiced, in regard to the proof of the authenticity of the contract as being entered into before the date of the order, that difference would surely be adjusted by both parties guiding themselves by the above-mentioned spirit of justice and equity.

I believe that the friendly and considerate statements contained in the last telegram of the Secretary of State, transmitted to me by Mr. Taylor, and the satisfactory fact that the Government of His Majesty has spontaneously anticipated the desire of that of the United States, render it unnecessary to enter into an examination of the true meaning of clause 1st, of article 7th, of the treaty of 1795, so far as it relates to the subject of this note. As I entertain the hope that the Secretary of State will share this opinion, I have only to renew to you the assurance, etc.,

The Duke of Tetuan.