Mr. Storer to Mr. Hay.

No. 17.]

Sir: I have to report that yesterday, the 26th of June, I had my first private audience and personal conversation with the Queen Regent. The interview was, on her part, one of entire graciousness and courtesy, fitted and probably meant to show the strong desire on the part of the Queen Regent that the representative of our Government should meet with all the regard shown those of all other countries. The Queen Regent with evidence of deep feeling and interest inquired whether her minister of state had yet arranged an interview with me to discuss the question of the fate of the Spaniards now [Page 683] prisoners to the natives of the Philippine Islands. She added that the petitions she was receiving every day, and the audiences begged for, with herself, by the families and relatives of these prisoners showed the intense natural interest of her people in the sufferings of these unfortunates and filled her with unspeakable pity. She entreated that I should urge on the President in the name of universal humanity that something be speedily arranged to rescue these prisoners and restore them to Spain.

No criticism of our Government, either for action or nonaction, was suggested in any of the remarks of the Queen Regent; and no feeling was apparent, save the sympathy of a good woman for the suffering, and the wearing responsibility of a good Sovereign to whom her people were looking for aid. * * *

I am practically ignorant of the facts, outside the general historic trend of the march of events, as the discrepancies and contradictions of the American press, when read at this distance, and ten days behind, are so glaring as to afford no guidance, even as to what has been decided or what has been done.

It would be an idle farce to try to glean any clear idea or accurate knowledge from the European press of what is doing or not being done in the Philippines.

Evidently I shall soon be asked by the Spanish Government some pressing and searching questions regarding the President’s intentions and his policy concerning article 6 of the treaty of Paris, as interpellations and debates are frequent occurrences in the Cortes on this subject, and the opposition is trying to force the ministry to the defensive on the matter. Unless it be thought by the Department more advisable that I should be left in the attitude of knowing nothing and having no response except that of general good will to make when these questions come, I respectfully ask that I be instructed as to the President’s policy, how our Government in general is proceeding to carry it out, and the explanations and grounds of justification of the delay experienced. * * *

I have, etc.,

Bellamy Storer.