Mr Woodford to the President.

Nos. 56, 57.]

Dear Mr. President: Yesterday afternoon, March 25, at the request of the minister for foreign affairs I called at his office. Last night I telegraphed you in full the substance of interview. He then agreed to send me last night or this morning written memorandum or statement in reply to that which I handed him at our official interview, in the presence of the minister for the colonies, at his residence on the afternoon of March 25. The memorandum came in two parts. That which related to the general question of peace in Cuba was received last evening, March 26, and was embodied verbatim in my personal telegram to you, No. 56. That part which related to the steamer Maine is only received to-day. It is being translated into cipher and will be telegraphed you at once. It will be my No. 58.

I translate my No. 56 as follows:

Madrid, March 25, 1898.

President McKinley, Washington:

My No. 56. Official interview this afternoon (Friday) with minister for foreign affairs. He assures me positively that Spain will do all the highest honor and justice require in the matter of the Maine.

As to the larger matter of peace in Cuba he sends me this (Friday) evening the following official memorandum, which I telegraph verbatim, as follows:

“As to the last part of the document handed to the minister of state by his excellency the United States minister—that is to say, as to a suggestion or proposal which might be made by Spain in order to secure an immediate and honorable peace—Her Majesty’s Government are at present, more than ever, of opinion that the suggestions and means repeatedly mentioned to the United States would in a very short time bring about the peace so eagerly desired by all. If, however, the United States Government in making known in different terms and under fresh aspect this requirement of an honorable and immediate peace has in mind conditions for the making or consolidation of peace, which are or may be directly or indirectly connected with the political system already established in Cuba, Her Majesty’s ministers consider it their duty to remind in all sincerity the said Government that nothing can be done in this direction without the natural participation of the insular parliament, which is to meet on the already near date of May fourth proximo, and will give its special attention either spontaneously or on the motion of the representative of the central government to the measures most appropriate for rapidly bringing about a lasting peace in the island.”

Spanish memorandum ends here.

It is so vague that it involves uncertainty. I asked Spanish minister for foreign affairs whether his Government would grant and enforce immediate armistice if insurgents will do the same. He can not answer until he consults his cabinet. Personally he opposes armistice. After getting the official memorandum to-night, I called upon minister for colonies at his house. He insists that memorandum means that the question of an early and honorable peace shall be submitted by Spanish Government to Cuban Congress on May 4, and that Spanish Government [Page 704] will give such Cuban Congress all necessary authority to negotiate and conclude peace, provided such authority shall not diminish or interfere with the constitutional power vested by the Cuban constitution in the central government. He says that if we asked for immediate armistice, he believes Spanish Government will grant and enforce armistice on sole condition that insurgent government does same. If you approve these suggestions and believe they will lead to immediate peace, I ask authority to put these two direct questions to Spanish minister for foreign affairs: First. Does your memorandum mean exactly what the minister for colonies says, employing his precise words? Second. Will you decree and enforce immediate armistice until end of the rainy season if insurgent government will do the same? I believe that if immediate peace can be secured now, lasting until September 15, hostilities will not be resumed. * *


I expect to see Minister Moret this (Saturday) evening at my house.

Faithfully, yours,

Stewart L. Woodford.