Mr. Day to Mr. Dupuy de Lôme.
Washington , December 1, 1897 .
Sir: This Department is in receipt of dispatches from United States consuls in Cuba clearly indicating that, notwithstanding the efforts being made in that direction by the new Captain-General looking to the relief of the condition of the people known as reconcentrados, a great amount of distress and suffering still prevails, resulting in many cases in death. This condition the Spanish authorities seem powerless to relieve. There is reported lack of provisions, medicines, and other necessaries to adequately care for the needy and suffering.
The President feels very strongly that this condition should be promptly relieved. The devastating warfare which prevailed under the former Administration has left the island in such an impoverished condition that relief by local authorities or means seems impracticable, no matter what good intentions may actuate the new Administration. It seems imperative that provision for the prompt relief of these people must be sought elsewhere. The President feels sure that in this distressing situation the American people will be quick to respond to an appeal to their charitable instincts, and, if permitted so to do, will be found ready and willing to contribute the necessary means to relieve the distress and save the lives of these unfortunate people. To that end it is respectfully suggested that provisions may be admitted to Cuba free of duty and a hearty cooperation given by the Spanish authorities in Cuba to measures for the distribution of food, clothing, and medicines for the relief of the people suffering for lack of such assistance. May we not have from your Government a speedy assurance of hearty cooperation in these just measures of relief, which appeal so strongly to our feelings of humanity and sympathy for these suffering people?
I shall be happy to meet you and discuss the details of such measures of relief as are herein indicated, at your earliest convenience.