Mr. Woodford to the President.


No. 53. The minister for the colonies called this afternoon (Thursday) at my residence. The interview was purely personal and in no sense official and binds only the future action of the minister himself. He proposed that the Spanish Government, in answer to the statement made by the American minister March 23, instant, shall officially suggest that the question of an early and honorable peace in Cuba be submitted to the Cuban congress, as soon as assembled, which will be at Habana on May 4, and that the Spanish Government will give such Cuban congress all necessary authority to negotiate and conclude such peace.

I asked him what about military operations in Cuba between now and May 4. He replied an immediate armistice or truce to be enforced by the Spanish Government upon its army provided the United States can secure the acceptance and enforcement of like immediate truce by the insurgents.

I then asked, supposing the insular government and congress can not arrange terms for permanent peace with the insurgent government before the 15th of next September, which will be the end of the rainy season? He replied that he would personally advise his minister that the Government of Spain and the United States should, in such event, jointly compel both parties in Cuba to accept such settlement as the two Governments should then jointly advise, such terms to be arranged between the two Governments of Spain and the United States before the 15th of next September. He told me that the minister for foreign affairs would probably communicate some such proposition to me officially to-morrow (Friday) in answer to my official statement of yesterday (Wednesday).

I replied that I could give him no assurance or intimation as to whether such proposition would be acceptable to you, but that I would telegraph this report of our personal interview at once to you; and, at his request, I give him copy so that he may know that I telegraph just what was said between us.

Should I receive official communication from minister for foreign affairs, I will telegraph same immediately to State Department. Should I get no such communication, to-morrow (Friday) I will also telegraph.