Mr. Hay to Mr. Merry.

No. 352.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 446 of the 7th ultimo, in reference to the judicial decision of the Nicaraguan judge at Bluefields for the payment by the merchants of the contested duties, has been received.

The Department concurs in your view of the matter. The United States Government has not forgotten the understanding between the two Governments with reference to the repayment of the customs dues deposited with the British consul. It expects that understanding to be carried out without delay by the repayment to the American merchants of the moneys deposited by them with the British consul pending the settlement of the controversy. You will, if necessary, now demand of that Government the return of said moneys and notify it that the judgments rendered by Judge Roman, and which he has notified the merchants to pay, are simply null and void and will receive no consideration or respect from the Government of the United States.

This Government has been anxious from the outset to afford a friendly solution to the controversy, in accordance with the principles of plain good faith and honest dealing between government and government, and in so doing has constantly sought to bring about the result which could be least injurious to the Government of Nicaragua. It can not conceive that the Government of Nicaragua is in its turn inspired by any less high and honorable purposes, and it can not therefore admit, even by way of conjecture, that the Government of Nicaragua is privy to the action attempted by Judge Roman. Nevertheless, the course of the proceedings in this matter, in painfully marked contrast with the professions of the Nicaraguan Government, can not pass unnoticed, and the controversy has reached the stage where it can be settled only by action in accordance with the just expectation of the United States.

The interested merchants should be advised that in the event of a renewal of any attempt to enforce the judgment they should still refuse to pay.

In this connection I have also to acknowledge the receipt of your later dispatch, No. 453, of the 22d ultimo. Your proposed intention to address a communication to the foreign office in the sense of the Department’s instruction of July 9 is approved. It is hoped that your representations will result in a satisfactory settlement of this troublesome question.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.