The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Jackson.
Washington, May 3, 1910.
Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch, No. 40, of the 13th ultimo, requesting instruction as to the status of Americans residing in the Isle of Pines, in which you inquire whether their position diners from that of other Americans in Cuba.
The treaty recognizing Cuban jurisdiction over the Isle of Pines is still pending before the Senate of the United States.
In the meantime American citizens have the same right of peaceful residence in the Isle of Pines as they have in Cuba, and are just as much bound to render obedience to the laws of Cuba while residing in the Isle of Pines as they would be if residing in Cuba itself.
In this connection it may be said that the Supreme Court of the United States has said that:
It may be conceded that the action of both the political departments has not been sufficiently definite to furnish a conclusive interpretation of the treaty of peace as an original question, and as yet no agreement has been reached under the Piatt amendment. The Isle of Pines continues at least de facto under the jurisdiction of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, and that settles the question before us, because as the United States have never taken possession of the Isle of Pines as having been ceded by the treaty of peace, and as it has been and is being governed by the Republic of Cuba, it has remained “foreign country” within the meaning of the Dingley Act, according to the ruling in De Lima v. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 1, and cases cited; United States v. Rice, 4 Wheat., 246. There has been no change of nationality for revenue purposes, but, on the contrary, the Cuban Government has been recognized as rightfully exercising sovereignty over the Isle of Pines as a de facto government until otherwise provided. It must be treated as foreign, for this Government has never taken, nor aimed to take, that possession in fact and in law which is essential to render it domestic. (Pearcy v. Stranahan, 205 U. S., 257, 272.)
I am, sir, etc.,