Mr. Hay to the Duke de Arcos.
Washington, December 9, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to advise you that the Government of the United States has carefully considered the request made in your interview with me of the 7th instant for an extension of the time granted by the treaty of peace to Spanish subjects to make their election of nationality in the islands formerly under the dominion of Spain.
It is thought by this Government that the treaty having specified the date at which this power of election should cease, it is not in the power of the Executive of the United States to change this provision.
I am, moreover, informed by the Secretary of War, that as this declaration of election can be made before any court of record, it is in the power of Spanish subjects to avail themselves of the privilege granted by the treaty at any time within the period prescribed.