Mr. Swenson to Mr. Hay.
Copenhagen, February 16, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 11th instant and to confirm mine of the 15th in reply.
On the same day that your telegram reached me I communicated its contents to the minister of foreign affairs in a note, of which you will find a copy herewith. I also called at the foreign office and had a long interview with the minister regarding your proposal. His [Page 259] excellency began by saying that the proposal did “great honor to Mr. Hay.” He liked the moderate and discreet language in which it was couched, and expressed warm admiration of the just, humane, and broad minded views it represented. He was very frank in discussing the matter, assuring me that he approved your suggestions unreservedly, and that he would lay them before the King at the earliest opportunity. On the following day, February 13, my note was read at a council of state, attended by the King and the crown prince. In the evening the crown prince and minister of foreign affairs were present at a dinner which I gave in my apartments, and both took occasion to speak of your proposal and of the Danish Government’s attitude with regard to it. I understood that the opinions of the King, crown prince, and the ministry had all been favorable to your plan. * * *
Yesterday, February 15, I again called at the foreign office to ascertain if favorable action had been taken, or would soon be taken, on your suggestion. The minister told me that no instructions had as yet been sent to St. Petersburg, Tokyo, and Peking. He had been informed by Danish diplomatic representatives at the principal European capitals that the governments which had replied to the American proposal had accepted it only in principle. That being the case, Denmark could not well take the lead in so important a matter; but as soon as some of the other powers—for instance, England, Germany, and France—announced their acceptance Denmark would follow without delay.
The Danish proclamation of neutrality was issued on the 10th instant. The neutral obligations are recited, and all concerned are warned to heed the same. The Rigsdag has subsequently passed a law increasing the penalties imposed by the statutes relating to neutrality. Fifteen hundred reserves have been called in to increase the garrisons at the various fortifications. The navy is also put in better readiness for an emergency.
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I have, etc.,