Minister Pearson to the Secretary of State.
Teheran, January 9, 1905.
Sir: Since the date of my dispatch of December 6,a the status of the Labaree case has completely changed. From its then confused and critical plight, the case has emerged into a definite and a measurably satisfactory condition.
After receiving the authorization of the Department to demand an indemnity and to press for settlement, I made on the 29th of November a formal and unequivocal presentation of our demands, requiring a categorical answer within five days and the payment of the indemnity in cash in gold within thirty days. The Persian Government at first refused, but at the end of fifteen days accepted all our demands, and at the end of thirty days the indemnity payment is in hand.
The murderer is in jail for life and a special commissioner sent by the Shah is in the field with orders to capture the accomplices, dead or alive.
I inclose a memorandum presented by me on December 20, which sets forth the conditions on which the indemnity was reduced from $50,000 to $30,000.
And also copy and translation of the reply of the minister for foreign affairs.
Also copies of letters from Mrs. Labaree, * * * which explain fully the proceedings, the conditions, the arguments, and the motives which led to the result.
I am sure that the President and the Secretary of State will share in my regret that perplexing and conflicting conditions made it expedient to accept less than the full $50,000, which the Persian Government agreed to pay in cash and had set apart at the time for the purpose.
I knew that my government expected an indemnity that would be at once exemplary and deterrent, and that it would concur in my belief that the higher the indemnity the greater the security of our citizens in foreign lands.
But under my instructions I felt obliged to defer in a measure to the urgent wishes of the widow and her advisers, though I took care that the $20,000 abated should not be thrown away, but should serve as a [Page 723]guaranty for the performance of the conditions in regard to punishment and as a guaranty against the usual methods of taxation and torture.
As it is, after being reduced by two-fifths, the indemnity is still three times greater than the maximum ever heretofore paid by the Persian Government for the murder of a private person. * * *
My difficult task was to obtain the concession that “the amount of the indemnity should not be recovered by special tax or by other device or pretext enacted from the innocent inhabitants of the province.”
In this, finally, I succeeded, and this satisfied Mrs. Labaree’s scruples and removed the foundation of her fears. * * *
* * * * * * *
I am, etc.,
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