Mr. Hay to Mr. Merry.

No. 292.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 347, of the 25th ultimo, reporting that Mr. Clancy, the United States consular agent at Bluefields, has advised American merchants to refuse to comply [Page 814] with the summons to appear in the Nicaraguan district court in the Bluefields trust-fund case.

You state that Mr. Clancy has gone beyond his instructions, and you express the opinion that he has acted injudiciously in giving such advice.

If the American merchants are summoned as witnesses before Judge Roman they must obey and testify as to the facts. The Nicaraguan Government has a right to investigate the facts connected with the Reyes movement and to ascertain whether the merchants participated in and aided the movement. While the Government of the United States protects its citizens in the enjoyment of their lawful rights it does not protect them in the prosecution of unlawful acts and enterprises.

The Government of the United States is disposed to respect the dignity of the Government of Nicaragua, which maintains that controversies over the payment of customs duties are ordinarily to be determined in the first instance by the local tribunals. The Government of the United States is not inclined to dispute the general principle; but in the present case, having taken diplomatic jurisdiction, it is constrained to adhere to its position. But I am happy to say that the controversy over the claims of the Bluefields merchants, as well as over the Orr and Laubenheimer and the Post-Glover Electric Company’s claims is in course of satisfactory adjustment, which will be favorable to those merchants not shown to be in complicity with the Reyes movement.

The anticipated satisfactory solution of these controversies is due in large measure to the ability, skill, and courtesy displayed by Dr. Corea, the Nicaraguan minister, who has manifested a just disposition toward all, while at the same time tenaciously upholding the rights and dignity of his own Government, and who has deepened the respect already entertained by this Government for the ability, integrity, and high character of President Zelaya.

You will congratulate the Nicaraguan Government on the happy solution of these controversies already negotiated and arranged between Dr. Corea and the Department of State, and you will furnish it a copy of this instruction.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.