Mr. Storer to Mr. Hay.

No. 121.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that at the request of the president of the council, Mr. Silvela, I had an interview with him this morning upon a matter which he deemed of the highest importance. He stated that the Filipinos had refused to allow any vessel carrying the [Page 690] American flag to land at or approach the place agreed upon for the liberation of the sick and wounded Spanish prisoners, while the military governor, General Otis, had refused to allow the vessel to fly any other than the American flag. The minister of state gave his assurance that the vessel appropriated for that purpose was totally unarmed and was a Spanish merchant craft. He had been interpellated in the Cortes on this subject and expected to be again, and considered it a matter of grave importance that no obstacle possible to avoid should be allowed to stand in the way of the release of these wounded prisoners. * * *

I consented, in view of the urgency of Mr. Silvela, to cable you immediately, without waiting for his official letter on this subject, which he said I should receive to-morrow.

I have accordingly cabled you to-day a message the true reading of which is as follows:

The Spanish Government embarrassed by refusal permission on the part of military authorities of the United States in Philippine Islands for unarmed vessel receiving sick, wounded Spanish prisoners from the Philippines to fly Spanish flag. Filipinos refuse return to any ship flying the flag of the United States. Earnest request of Spanish Government made to get permission to fly either the Spanish flag or the Geneva Red Cross.

Awaiting your advices, I have, etc.,

Bellamy Storer.