Mr. Woodford to Mr. Day.

No. 166.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning of Department dispatch by telegraph in cipher, which I translate as follows:

Washington, March 4, 1898.

Woodford, Minister, Madrid:

Spanish chargé d’affaires presented here yesterday matter covered in yours fourth. Explained to him that vessels are the Montgomery and Nashville, small cruiser and gunboat. Montgomery has called at Cuban ports recently. At the request (of) relief committee these ships will take load of supplies Key West to Matanzas and Sagua next week. This is the most prompt and efficient means of getting supplies to people greatly in need.


My dispatch to which you refer as dated March 4 was delivered at the telegraph office here in Madrid on Thursday evening, March 3, at about half past 9 o’clock, Madrid time. If Señor du Bosc saw you on March 3, he must have had instructions from Minister Gullon at the same time that Gullon was seeing me and getting me to send his request.

I can see no just ground of complaint by the Spanish Government because the United States put war vessels at the disposal of charity to feed starving women and children. The United States is not responsible for the policy of reconcentration, with its horrible results of famine, disease, and wholesale murder. Spain has no just cause of complaint, but should be grateful that our people and Government are [Page 679] doing so much to protect Spanish citizens against the results of Spanish methods of administration and warfare. I appreciate all the difficulties of the present Liberal Government, but I am not sure that it is wisest to be over punctilious with them in these matters of detail in the performance of a great work of humanity and charity. I shall be very careful and very considerate in my conversations and correspondence with the Spanish foreign office, but I am inclined to tell the Spanish minister very courteously, but so that he will not misunderstand me, that our Government and people can not see old men, women, and children dying with starvation by our very shores and not help them in the most prompt and effective manner.

I have the honor, etc.,

Stewart L. Woodford.