Mr. Combs to Mr. Hay.

No. 160.]

Sir: I have the honor to state, in reply to your No. 104 and in connection with my No. 131, that danger of an interpretation inimical to [Page 350]American interests of decree No. 639 seems to have been removed by the prompt action taken by this legation at the time it was issued.

The honorable Secretary of the Treasury, not being familiar with previous decrees, did not understand the full scope of the decree submitted to his consideration. Decree No. 595, issued June 9, 1899, had made the paper currency legal tender for silver, so the effect of decree No. 639, in public opinion, was to make gold obligations, where collected by judicial decree, payable in currency at the exchange between gold and silver.

While giving me satisfactory oral assurances and assenting by silence to my written summary of these assurances, the Government here has escaped making similar announcements to other diplomatic representatives.

* * * * * * *

It is gratifying to the legation that its course in this matter has received the commendation of the Secretary of the Treasury.

I have, etc.,

Leslie Combs.