Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 454.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of my No. 115, dated July 28, addressed to Senor Don Dr. Fernando Sanchez, minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua, written in relation to the extraordinary action of Judge Roman at Bluefields in ignoring the agreement of April 29, 1899, approved by both Governments, whereby the Bingham trust fund was placed in the custody of Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at San Juan del Norte, and its ultimate disposition referred to the foreign affairs departments of both Governments.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.

Mr. Merry to Señor Sanchez.

Esteemed Sir: I am instructed by the Government of the United States to call the attention of your excellency’s Government to the extraordinary procedure of Judge Roman, of the local court at Bluefields, in “sentencing” the American merchants to pay a third time the customs duties already paid to the Bluefield authorities between February 3 and 25, 1899. Your excellency is aware that the first payments were made to the revolutionary government of General Reyes, which was defeated largely by the aid of the British and United States naval forces, to whom General Reyes surrendered.

The second payments were made in trust to Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at San Juan del Norte, Mr. Bingham (then at Bluefields), subject to the convention of April 29, 1899, between His Excellency Senor Don Dr. Joaquin Sanson, minister of foreign affairs of Nicaragua, and the undersigned. By the terms of this convention the entire question was removed from the local government at Bluefields to the foreign affairs department of your excellency’s Government and that of the United States, to be settled by friendly diplomatic action.

On December 15, 1899, I was officially informed by my Government-that the matter was in process of satisfactory adjustment at Washington.

During my visit to Managua last April I was advised both by your excellency and Hon. Mr. Salcedo, subsecretary of foreign affairs, that instructions had been sent to the Bluefields authorities to permit the return of the second payments alluded to by Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul Bingham to the merchants, presumably in accord with the result of conferences alluded to at Washington. It now appears that Judge Roman, of the Bluefields local court, has issued his “sentence” ordering a third payment of these duties, regardless and in violation of the international convention of April 29, 1899, which had been approved by both Governments. The mere suggestion that the judge of a local court has the right to violate an international agreement approved by both Governments interested is so subversive of international courtesy and of equity that I am assured your excellency will agree with me that a discussion of the point is superfluous.

My Government consequently instructs me to state that “only a straightforward disposition of this matter, in accordance with the understanding heretofore existing, will be acceptable to the Government of the United States.” I may add that I am quite confident that your excellency will not claim for Judge Roman’s court the attribute of national sovereignty which he assumes in violating an international convention approved by both Governments and that I shall receive advice from your excellency to that effect. The Government of the United States can not permit itself to recognize his extraordinary and unprecedented action herein as affecting the property or rights of its citizens.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.