Mr. Moore to Mr. Cambon.

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 17th instant, in which you state that the Spanish Government, not wishing to make use any longer of the good offices which the Government of France has rendered it in its diplomatic communications with the United States, wishes to send to Washington one of its consuls from Canada, who would be authorized to attend to all the questions of detail the settlement of which the cessation of hostilities will naturally permit or necessitate. You therefore inquire, by order of your Government, whether the Government of the United States is disposed to permit such a consul to be sent to Washington in the capacity of an unofficial agent.

The general terms in which the Spanish Governmant has caused its suggestion to be conveyed leave the Department in some doubt as to the precise object with which it is made or as to the precise capacity in which the proposed unofficial agent is to act, but the statement that the Spanish Government does not wish any longer to make use of the good offices which your Government has rendered it in its diplomatic communications with the United States indicates that such agent, who, although a consul accredited to another Government, would have no official standing with reference to this Government, would be expected to discharge in some sense diplomatic functions.

To such a measure there are, it is conceived, two objections. In the first place, although hostilities have been suspended, the state of war between the United States and Spain still continues.

In the second place, the Department is not informed as to the questions of detail to which the suggestion of the Spanish Government refers. Arrangements have already been made for the treatment of the particular matters with reference to which the suspension of hostilities was proclaimed. The immediate evacuation of Cuba, Porto Rico, and other Spanish islands in the West Indies is to be carried out by commissioners specially appointed for that purpose, and the question of peace is to be treated of by specially appointed commissioners who are to meet in Paris.

Under these circumstances, it seems to this Government to be desirable that diplomatic communications between the United States and Spain in relation to any questions other than those above mentioned should for the present continue to be conducted through the very acceptable channel through which they have heretofore been made since the beginning of the war.

Accept, etc.,

J. B. Moore, Acting Secretary.