Mr. Hay to Mr. Day.
Washington , November 13, 1898 .
A treaty of peace is of the highest importance to the United States if it can be had without the sacrifice of plain duty. The President would regret deeply the resumption of hostilities against a prostrate foe. We are clearly entitled to indemnity for the cost of the war. We can not hope to be fully indemnified. We do not expect to be. It would probably be difficult for Spain to pay money. All she has are the archipelagoes of the Philippines and the Carolines. She surely can not expect us to turn the Philippines back and bear the cost of the war and all claims of our citizens for damages to life and property in Cuba without any indemnity but Puerto Rico, which we have, and which is wholly inadequate. Does Spain propose to pay in money the cost of the war and the claims of our citizens, and make full guaranties to the people of the Philippines, and grant to us concessions of naval and telegraph stations in the islands and privileges to our commerce, the same as enjoyed by herself, rather than surrender the archipelago? From the standpoint of indemnity both the archipelagoes are insufficient to pay our war expenses; but, aside from this, do we not owe an obligation to the people of the Philippines which will not permit us to return them to the sovereignty of Spain? Could we justify ourselves [Page 949] in such a course, or could we permit their barter to some other power? Willing or not, we have the responsibility of duty which we can not escape.
You are therefore instructed to insist upon the cession of the whole of the Philippines, and, if necessary, pay to Spain $10,000,000 to $20,000,000, and if you can get cession of a naval and telegraph station in the Carolines and the several concessions and privileges and guaranties, so far as applicable, enumerated in the views of Commissioners Frye and Reid, you can offer more. The President can not believe any division of the archipelago can bring us anything but embarrassment in the future. The trade and commercial side, as well as the indemnity for the cost of the war, are questions we might yield. They might be waived or compromised, but the questions of duty and humanity appeal to the President so strongly that he can find no appropriate answer but the one he has here marked out. You have the largest liberty to lead up to these instructions, but unreasonable delay should be avoided.