File No. 837.911/17.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

No. 621.]

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 619 of the 6th instant and to other correspondence in regard to the libelous campaign being conducted by the newspaper “Cuba” against this Legation, I have the honor to report more recent developments in the situation as follows:

A few minutes after the receipt of the Department’s telegram of February 7, Dr. Patterson, Sub-Secretary of State, called at the Legation and I took occasion to impress upon him with great earnestness the gravity of the present situation and the imperative necessity for the Cuban Government to proceed with energy and effectiveness in the prosecution of those responsible for the libelous and slanderous statements concerning the personnel of this Legation. Dr. Patterson expressed great indignation at the character of the articles which have been published in “Cuba,” and stated that both the President and Secretary of State had been shocked upon reading these articles and were prepared to do anything within their power to see that proper reparation was made. Dr. Patterson added, however, that there would appear to be some doubt as to how effective prosecution would be in view of the fact that the newspaper was protected by the parliamentary immunity of a congressman who was paid a salary, not for any work done on the paper, but simply for the protection gained by printing his name at the head of the editorial column. In response to this I pointed out very bluntly that there was no need to allow any such defiance of the laws to interfere with the proper course of justice; that congressional immunity was very clearly intended to cover nothing more than the official acts of a congressman and not to protect [Page 408] libelous and blackmailing newspapers from the consequences of their crimes.

I asked Dr. Patterson to say to the President for me that the leaders of the Conservative party had volunteered to instruct their congressmen to vote to allow the prosecution of this congressman, and that I was convinced, if he showed equally good feeling, he could, by the use of entirely legitimate and proper influence upon Liberal congressmen, insure a majority which would enable the Department of Justice to bring the guilty parties before the courts.

I immediately prepared a note (copy enclosed) which was delivered to Mr. Sanguily personally at 7 o’clock, making formal request for the prosecution of the responsible individuals in compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instruction.

* * * In conclusion I venture to express the belief that all elements of Cuban official life now realize the seriousness of the question and that both parties will cooperate to make the prosecution effective.

I have [etc.]

A. M. Beaupré.

The American Minister to the Cuban Secretary of State.

No. 479.]

Your Excellency: I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed copies of the afternoon edition of the newspaper “Cuba” of the 5th and 6th instant. Your excellency will observe that these papers contain outrageous and abusive attacks upon me and upon Mr. Gibson, the First Secretary of this Legation.

I am just in receipt of specific telegraphic instructions from my Government, directing me to immediately bring this matter to the attention of your excellency’s Government with the request that it undertake without delay the adequate and active prosecution of the persons responsible for the scurrilous and libelous statements contained in these articles.

I cannot too strongly impress upon your excellency the importance which my Government attaches to prompt and effective action by the Cuban Government in response to this formal request.

I avail [etc.]

A. M. Beaupré.