Minister Pearson to the Secretary of State .

No. 126.]

Sir: The terms of the agreement in the Labaree case accepted by the Persian Government on the 3d day of January, 1905, contained the following provision, to wit:

2. If the leading accomplices notoriously identified as participants in the crime, and living within the jurisdiction of Persia, shall not have been captured and punished, according to the measure of their guilt, before March 9, 1906, * * * then, and in any such event, so much of the indemnity as is hereby [Page 1209] remitted, to wit, the sum of $20,000, shall immediately become due and payable just as if no reduction had been made in the total amount conceded by the Persian Government, it being the purpose and intent of both Governments in concluding this form of settlement to prevent, as far as possible, the recurrence of similar crimes.

By reference to the telegram of the late Secretary Hay, dated December 29, 1904, it will be seen that the other conditions set forth by me and demanded as a basis of settlement were specifically approved, but as to the payment of this $20,000, conditionally abated, he was significantly silent, and I inferred that he did not intend to enforce this penalty. In the dispatch confirming his telegram he was again silent on this subject.

In a note which I addressed to the Persian minister for foreign affairs, on October 4, 1905, I used the following language, to wit:

I have been led to believe that the Kurdish tribes in sympathy with the accused are willing to pay to the widow of Mr. Labaree the $20,000, which was conditionally abated from the amount of the indemnity, and that the prisoners expect release upon such terms, but I now notify your excellency in the most emphatic terms that my Government will never assent to, or even consider, such a disposition of this case. Gold can not atone for American blood. “Punishment according to the measure of their guilt” is the only reparation which my Government will accept, and for this it relies upon the strict performance of the pledge above set forth, in which you solemnly bind the honor and faith of Persia.

The period within which the Persian Government undertook to punish the accomplices will expire March 9, 1906.

The department is aware that the chief accomplices were captured last February, brought to Teheran, held here for seven months, and then remanded to Uroomia for trial; they escaped or were liberated on the way, and have since defiantly refused to surrender and appear at the trial. The probability is that they will not be caught or tried before March 9, and anticipating this eventuality, I write now for specific instructions to guide me, (1) in the event that the Persian Government does nothing, (2) in the event that they offer $20,000 more for the widow and children of Mr. Labaree.

I am preparing a full transcript of the voluminous correspondence in relation to the case, but in advance of its completion I send now the essential facts in order that the department may instruct me in the premises before the 9th of March.

I am, etc.,

Richmond Pearson.