[Extract from No. 30.]

Mr. Hay to Mr. Storer.

Sir: * * * You mention in your dispatch (No. 17, June 27, 1899) the reception of numerous letters relating to the Cubans said to be kept in military confinement in various places in Spain for political offenses. Upon this point you will note that article 6 of the treaty of peace makes the following provisions: First, that “Spain will, upon signature of the present treaty, release all prisoners of war, all persons detained or imprisoned for political offenses in connection with the insurrection in Cuba and the Philippines and the war with the United States,” and, second, “the Government of Spain will, at its own cost, return to the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines, according to the situation of their respective homes, prisoners released or caused to be released by them respectively under this article.” By reference to article 6 of the treaty of peace you will observe that while the release of prisoners in the actual possession of [Page 696] either country is a reciprocal arrangement, and the return of such prisoners to their respective countries of origin at the cost of the Government having them in possession is mutually agreed to; that the release of Spanish prisoners in the hands of the insurgents has not been assumed as an absolute obligation, because of its conditional character, and the United States simply undertakes to obtain such release. There is, therefore, no impropriety in insisting upon the release and return of political prisoners in Spain belonging to Cuba and Porto Rico, even though the Government of the United States be not yet able to accomplish its endeavors with regard to the Spanish prisoners in the Philippines. In the case of political prisoners from the Philippines still held in Spain, it will be well to await the suppression of the insurrection before arranging for their release.

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I have, etc.,

John Hay.