Mr. Woodford to the President.

Nos. 62, 63.]

Dear Mr. President: Yesterday’s conference was a sorrow to me, for I have worked hard for peace. Last night I telegraphed you as follows:

Madrid, March 31, 1898.

President McKinley, Washington:

My No. 62. Have just telegraphed to the Department of State my official report of the adjourned conference held this afternoon, Thursday. It has turned, as I feared, on a question of punctilio. Spanish pride will not permit the ministry to propose and offer an armistice, which they really desire, because they know that armistice now means certain peace next autumn. I am told confidentially that the offer of armistice by the Spanish Government would cause revolution here. Leading generals have been sounded within the last week, and the ministry have gone as far as they dare go to-day. I believe the ministry are ready to go as far and as fast as they can and still save the dynasty here in Spain. They know that Cuba is lost. Public opinion in Spain has moved steadily toward peace. No Spanish ministry would have dared to do one month ago what this ministry has proposed to-day.


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The Spanish ministers said yesterday that their statement went as far as they could possibly go. Perhaps this is true, but they said the same some weeks ago and yesterday they yielded on two points. First, they are willing to arbitrate the Maine matter. Some days ago they talked fight if we should even suggest that they were responsible for the loss of the Maine. Secondly, they revoke the reconcentrado order, and place a large sum at General Blanco’s disposal for the relief of the necessitous. It is not long since they denied the very existence of the horrible conditions they now admit.

There is no real war spirit here among the middle and lower classes. Last September most of the people were ready for war. The war spirit has been diminishing steadily and now prevails only among the aristocracy, the political classes, and the generals and officers of the army. The army is still the controlling factor in Spanish politics, and the attitude of the army constitutes the real danger to-day.

Faithfully, yours,

Stewart L. Woodford.