Mr. Hay to Mr. Merry.

No. 347.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 439, of the 25th ultimo, inclosing a copy of a letter to you from Mr. H. F. Bingham, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at San Juan del Norte, in which he says:

I hear that the local judge at 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.

You suggest that if the Nicaraguan Government, regardless of the agreement between its foreign minister and yourself, should now demand payment of the trust fund in the hands of Mr. Bingham without regard to this Government, a decisive note, concerning which there can be no misunderstanding, will become necessary.

The Department approves your suggestion. If it should become necessary, you may notify the Nicaraguan Government in courteous but firm and unmistakable terms that only a straightforward disposition of this matter in accordance with the understanding heretofore existing and reported by you would be acceptable to the Government of the United States.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.