Mr. Hay to Mr. Powell.
Washington , September 2, 1899 .
Sir: I have received your dispatch No. 151, of the Santo Domingo series, dated August 14, in which you report your refusal of solicited asylum to a Dominican who thereby sought to escape proceedings in [Page 255] extradition upon the demand of the Government of Santo Domingo in virtue of a secret treaty with Haiti for the mutual surrender of political disturbers.
The reasons leading to your decision appear to have rested mainly on the assumption that the applicant was in fact a conspirator against the peace of Santo Domingo, and might seek to conduct or consummate plots against that Government while enjoying immunity from arrest. You contrast his case with those of the Haitians recently sheltered by you, the latter having been so far as you know not conspirators, but innocent.
The Department does not think it necessary to discuss the reasons assigned by you for your action in this incident further than to question your capacity to judge of the guilt or innocense of persons applying to you for shelter, and to make your individual impression on this point the basis of your action in your character as to the representative of a friendly Government.
Your course may, however, properly be approved, not for the reasons given by you, but because it is not shown there existed such circumstances of danger from lawless violence as makes it sometimes permissible to afford shelter.
I am, etc.,