Mr. Sampson to Mr. Hay.
Quito , April 10, 1899 .
Sir: Your No. 72, February 27, received. When I promised asylum, if need be, to the chief officials of this Government, as communicated in my No. 89, I had fully considered paragraph 51 of Diplomatic Instructions, Wharton’s Digest (not here, for this legation has not these Digests), and Foreign Relations, 1895, but did not consider either of these an inhibition against what I agreed to do. Paragraph 51 refers to “unsuccessful insurgents” and “offenders against the laws.” Foreign Relations, 1895, refers to “harboring offenders against the laws,” as cited by Mr. Frelinghuysen. In the case therein passed upon those receiving asylum had assumed the offices by revolution, while in the case reported in my No. 891 offered asylum to the regularly elected officers of the Government, and so recognized for years, from possible outrage at the hands of “offenders against the laws,” virtually “cut-throats” and “outlaws.” Had these taken the palace and made asylum necessary, it would not have meant their establishing a government to succeed the present, for President Alfaro, at the head of a large force, would have come from Guayaquil to dislodge the “offenders against the laws” and reestablish the Government officials in the palace. I would have saved from death the legitimate heads of the Government until such a time as they could again assume the functions of their respective offices.
Was I right? While the “revolution” is now ended, it does not mean that it will stay ended. It may come again while I am here, and I want to know if my interpretation of the law is not right. I can not see that the law cited applies to such a case as I reported; but, of course, I will obey your instructions.
I have, etc.,