[May 25, 1908.—Read; referred to the Committee on Foreign
Relations and ordered to be printed.]
I transmit herewith a report by the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying papers, concerning the claim of the owners of the [Page 606] Mexican steamship Tabasqueño and of her cargo against the United
In view of our admitted liability in principle in this case, I recommend
the claim to the favorable consideration of Congress, and that an
appropriation of the sum mentioned by the Secretary of State be made in
settlement of the claim.
I have the honor to inclose herewith copies, in duplicate, of a
memorandum prepared by the solicitor for this department, and
copies, also in duplicate, of other papers, all in relation to the
claim of the owners of the Mexican steamship Tabasqueño and of her cargo against the United States.
The claim was submitted to this department by the Mexican embassy,
and is based upon the arrest and detention of the ship and damage to
her cargo during the war with Spain. The claim is made in the name
of the owners of the vessel and cargo, all Mexican citizens.
The papers which have been furnished this department by the Mexican
Embassy, supplemented by the investigation of the case which has
been made by this department, show that the vessel sailed from Vera
Cruz on July 25, 1898, for Sagua la Grande, Cuba, with a general
cargo of provisions, and was seized by the U. S. S. Hawk off the latter port on July 30, 1898.
Sagua la Grande was not a blockaded port, the vessel was a neutral
vessel, and the cargo was not contraband. The vessel was taken to
Key West, and on August 17, 1898, was released at the instance of
this department, after protest by the Mexican Embassy.
The department, having admitted liability in principle in this case,
has been engaged upon the question of the determination of the
amount of damage which should be paid. The amount claimed by the
Mexican Embassy aggregated $73,977. The amount which the department
proposes in settlement as the result of an extended investigation of
the claim is $13,485.70, calculated as follows:
|Claim for cargo
|Demurrage at Key West
|Attorney’s fees at Key West
with interest at 6 per cent per annum from the date
The Mexican Embassy has accepted the calculation of the department
with regard to the first three items above set forth; but no mention
has been made by it in its recent negotiations with the department
of the item of port charges, although vouchers showing the actual
payment of this amount by the claimants have been presented to the
department, as will appear from the detailed memorandum accompanying
this report. It is therefore considered just that the item of
$135.70 for port charges should be included among those for which
reimbursement should be made.
The claim is accordingly referred to the President, with the
recommendation that it be transmitted to Congress with a request for
favorable consideration. The inclosed memorandum contains a history
of the negotiations which have been conducted with the Mexican
Embassy regarding this case, and a full discussion of its merits in
law and in fact. Correspondence between the Mexican Embassy and this
department is also inclosed, showing the acceptance by the Mexican
Government of the offer of settlement made by the department.