Mr. Woodford to the President.

Nos. 58, 59.]

Dear Mr. President: Yesterday, March 26, I telegraphed you in cipher, as follows:

“Madrid, March 26, 1898.

“President McKinley, Washington:

“My personal No. 58. This morning I got memorandum from Spanish minister for foreign affairs. I telegraph verbatim all that refers to steamer Maine. The balance of memorandum is exactly what I telegraphed in my personal No. 56.

“At the time the cabinet was informed of the conference which had taken place on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, at the residence of the minister of state, between the latter, the minister for the colonies, and the United States minister, it was in possession of news somewhat altering tlie bearings of the questions briefly treated in the course of that interview.

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“It now appears that the captain of the U. S. cruiser Maine has asked leave to destroy with dynamite the wreck of his ship, thus annihilating the only proofs which, in case of doubt or disagreement, could be again examined in order to determine, if necessary, the cause and nature of a catastrophe in the midst of which Spanish sailors and officials displayed the greatest abnegation and oblivion of all personal risks and a generous wish to circumscribe or diminish the dreadful calamity which befell the crew of the American vessel.

“Even without seeing in the request of the captain of the Maine any other meaning than that personally expressed in the petition signed by him, the Spanish Government considers as utterly unjustifiable and inadmissible the resolution which submits to a political assembly the report drawn up by the official American board of inquiry on the causes and circumstances of the blowing up or explosion of the Maine. As yet nothing is known of the report of the Spanish commission. After having invited in vain the United States naval officers to take part in its labors and go through the necessary investigations conjointly with its members, it has finished and drawn up its conclusions with a complete knowledge of the scene of a disaster so deplorable and painful for all Spaniards. One of the principal, if not the principal, basis of judgment is therefore wanting for every individual or body of men who may wish to weigh the facts with perfect impartiality. Under these circumstances, to place before a popular deliberating assembly, without correction, explanation, or counterproof of any kind, a report which, issued by the fellow-citizens of the members of that body, must necessarily meet with approval, inspired rather by sentiment than by reason, is not only to resolve beforehand a possible future discussion, but apparently reveals an intention of allowing national enthusiasm, commisseration, or other like natural and comprehensible feelings, so frequently found in all numerous and patriotic assemblies, to form an a priori judgment not founded on proof and to reject, before even knowing its terms, any affirmation which may give rise to doubt or seem distasteful.

“The most elementary sense of justice makes it in these cases a duty previously to examine and discuss in an atmosphere of absolute calmness two different inquiries tending to one common end. Only in the supposition of an irreconcilable discrepancy or complete opposition between one and the other would it be proper to submit them as equity demands to evidence less prone to prejudice and, if necessary, to fresh investigations and different judges.”

Spanish memorandum ends here.

Minister for the colonies will be at my residence to-night. Will telegraph you probably to-morrow, Sunday.


Señor Moret called at my residence last evening, and after pleasant but brief conference, in which he said that Señor Sagasta, the president of the council, would be glad to talk with me informally on the subject of an immediate suspension of hostilities in Cuba through the means of an armistice or truce, I told him that I would lay the matter before my Government, and would be glad to meet Señor Sagasta as soon as I should receive the necessary authority.

I have to-day, Sunday, telegraphed Judge Day officially. That telegram will be on the tiles of the State Department and therefore I have not telegraphed you personally to day.

Faithfully, yours,

Stewart L. Woodford.