Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 439.]

Sir: I beg reference herewith to a communication from Hon. H. F. Bingham, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua, which is self-explanatory. When last at Managua I was assured by Señor Sanchez, minister of foreign affairs, that instructions had been sent Judge Roman to arrange for the repayment of the Bingham trust fund to the American merchants at Bluefields. This assurance, added to what I had received from the Department in relation to the matter, caused me to consider it satisfactorily settled, and the consul’s letter comes to me in the nature of a surprise. I have written to him in reply that any decision of a local judge can not affect him as the [Page 815] custodian of the fund, which can not be demanded of him except by joint request of the two Governments.

I beg to respectfully suggest that if the Nicaraguan Government, regardless of the agreement between its foreign minister, Mr. Sanson, and myself, should now demand payment of that trust fund without reference to the United States Government, a decisive note, regarding which there can be no misunderstanding, will become necessary.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.
No. 439.]

My Dear Captain Merry: You wrote me in January last that you had been informed by the State Department at Washington that repayment of the trust fund placed in my keeping by the American merchants at Bluefields was in process of adjustment, and that you presumed I should soon receive a joint request from the two Governments interested that would satisfactorily close the incident.

I have not up to the present received this request, but I hear that the local judge of Bluefields has taken legal action against the different merchants to recover the amount of the duties paid to Reyes, and has notified them that he has decided that the amount of the duties must be refunded to the Nicaraguan Government, and condemning them to the payment of costs.

This decision of the local judge does not, I presume, affect me, as the money was placed in my keeping by the representatives of the United States and Nicaragua, and can therefore, I consider, be only paid out by me at the joint request of the representatives of the same nations.

Would you kindly give me your opinion in this matter and believe me to be,

Yours, very sincerely,

H. F. Bingham.