Mr. Dupuy de Lôme to Mr. Sherman.
Washington, July 3, 1897.
Mr. Secretary: I have not forgotten the correspondence which passed between His Majesty’s legation and the Hon. Richard Olney [Page 517] when lie was at the head of the Department now under your worthy charge, nor my note of April 1, 1896, whereby I gave assurances, to which your excellency refers as gratifying, with respect to the expropriation for military purposes of property belonging to citizens of the United States, and to the enforcement of Article VII of the treaty of 1795.
For this reason, as I had received no complaint for more than a year, and as I had no information that any complaint based upon justice, which had not been satisfied, had been presented, I was deeply pained that your excellency, in informing me of the case of the sugar estate “Confianza,” belonging to Dona Enriqueta de Farres, deemed it necessary to make use of the tone which characterizes your note of the 2d. instant, to which I now have the honor to reply.
Your excellency appears, in your note, to entertain doubt as to whether there was not ignorance on the part of the authorities of the Island of Cuba as to the fact of the aforesaid estate’s being the property of an American citizen; it is clearly deduced from your note that you are still unaware of the reasons which the authorities of the island had to resort to the measure which occasions the complaint; you do not appear to have any knowledge that the interested party or the nearest consular officer made such remonstrances as would appear to be natural, if any right was disregarded; you add that the United States consul-general has received instructions to present a complaint (demand), and even a protest, which I think can not be pertinent unless in case of the complaint’s receiving no attention, or of a denial of justice; under these circumstances, and until it has been shown by an actual study of the facts and circumstances that there has been a deliberate violation of the treaty, or that just reparation has been denied, I think that a simple appeal to the sentiments of justice and benevolence of His Majesty’s Government toward American citizens (to which sentiments appeal has never been made in vain) would have been more conducive to the object which your excellency has in view. A simple statement of facts and the presentation of evidence that an injustice has been committed, a right violated or an international agreement disregarded, will always have greater force for Spain than protests, peremptory demands, and what there may be of concealed menace in certain phrases.
Your excellency refers in your note to what you said in that of the 26th ultimo, a matter which is remotely connected with the case of this complaint. I should devote no attention to this, having done so already, if your excellency did not appear to mean that the agricultural zones are something new, whereas they were established simultaneously with the concentration, or even before the adoption of that measure.
Your excellency informs me, in concluding your note, that you will be glad if I will add my influence to yours in order to avoid any just cause of complaint.
I will do so, continuing the course which I have pursued for more than two years, and continuing the efforts which I have made during that time to maintain and draw closer, to the best of my ability, the relations between the two Governments, basing them upon justice and mutual respect. Your excellency will understand, however, that I should be wanting in my duty to myself if I could receive manifestations like those which you make to me without telling you, on my own responsibility and before I have been able to communicate with my Government, that I think that it is a shorter and safer way to consider, from the outset, that His Majesty’s Government is inspired by the [Page 518] loftiest sentiments of justice, and not to think that energy and asperity of phraseology can add anything to the bases of justice or expedite and facilitate solutions.
I avail myself, etc.,