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Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 270.)


Managua, May 21, 1894. (Received June 12.) Sir: It is a pleasure to be able to announce iny safe return to the legation from my visit to the Mosquito Reservation, which visit was of exactly one month's duration.

On arrival at this place I promptly called upon the President to discuss the condition of affairs in the reserve and to bring to his immediate attention the grievances of my Government in the Braida and the Wilson cases.

There were present at this conference the vice-president and minister of war, General Ortiz; the minister for foreign affairs and special commissioner to the reserve, Hon. José Madriz, in addition to the President and myself.

At this conference I was assured by all three of the gentlemen named, and in the most earnest manner, that no effort would be spared to recapture the culprit Argüello. I was told, also, that Argüello's trial would not be postponed on account of his escape, but that he would be cited to appear in court, and that a most searching investigation would be made of the whole criminal affair, and that then, when caught, he should be adequately punished.

I was also privately assured by the President, in the most positive terms, that he would remove Commissioner Lacayo for his part in this affair, and for other reasons, in response to my numerous complaints of his arbitrary, unlawful, and insulting course toward American citizens. I have, etc.,


Mr. Uhl to Mr. Baker.


WASHINGTON, May 22, 1894. Your dispatch and Watson's report prove culpable responsibility for Argiiello's escape. Ask instant effective rebuke and redress. Instruction mailed 12th to demand Torres' removal. Lacayo's culpability appears even greater because more directly responsible.

Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 274.]


Managua, May 24, 1894. (Received June 12, 1894.) SIR: Your dispatch dated April 26, in regard to the insecure manner in which Norberto Argiiello was imprisoned, was awaiting my return from Bluefields. I at once addressed to the Government of Nicaragua the inclosed note, to which a verbal statement was made, that a complete answer would be furnished me in writing within a short time. I have patiently waited until this moment for that promised explanation, now nearly four days, without realizing the fruits of that promise. Not having received the answer, I dispatched to the palace another communication, numbered inclosure 2, of this date. I have, etc.,


(Inclosure 1.)

Mr. Baker to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.


Managua, May 21, 1894. MR. MINISTER: On my return from the Mosquito Reservation I find instructions from the U. S. Government awaiting me in regard to the treatment which has been accorded by the Nicaraguan officials to Don Norberto Argüello, the murderer of William Wilson, at Rama, at a time when said Argüello was acting as an official of your Government. These instructions contain a review of the case, and close with the fol. lowing paragraph:

This incident, which has naturally produced a most painful impression, calls for prompt and energetic action on the part of the authorities to secure the apprehen. Bion and trial of Argiiello. You will express the President's earnest hope that full justice shall be done.

It is my duty to ask from your Government an early official statement as to what steps have been taken for the apprehension and bring. ing to trial of the man who, at latest accounts received by me, was still at large, having walked out of the prison, whose doors were open and unguarded, on the evening of May 10.

Embracing this opportunity to renew to you, Mr. Minister, my high consideration and regard, I am, etc.,


(Inclosure 2.)
Mr. Baker to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Managua, May 24, 1894. MR. MINISTER: In a personal interview on the 21st instant with His Excellency the President, I was assured of his purpose to do what laid in his power and in the power of his Government to recapture and properly punish the escaped prisoner Argüello, who, while a public officer of Nicaragua, shot down and murdered an American citizen, William Wilson by name. In the same conversation, in order to show the friendship of this Government for its good friend, the United States, he announced his purpose of punishing the culpable officer through whose lax administration, if not actual connivance, the prisoner was allowed to walk out of an unguarded jail.

I have waited with much patience until this time for an announcement of the fulfillment of this purpose. Having heard nothing further from his excellency on the subject, I now must carry out my imperative cable instructions from the President of the United States, in " asking instant and effective redress,” and “to demand the immediate removal of Governor Torres,” whose failure to obey the instructions of his superior officers in regard to the confinement of the prisoner was a scandal to your own Government and an insult to mine, and the removal from the office of commissioner to the Mosquito Reservation of Carlos A. Lacayo," who is held by the President “to be even more culpable than Torres." I have, etc.,


Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 278.)


Managua; May 28, 1894. (Received June 12.) SIR: This Government has officially notified me that, responding to the desire of the Government of the United States, they have removed Governor Torres from the office which he occupied at Rama.

I have also been assured in two separate personal interviews with the President that Commissioner Lacayo's removal had been fully determined upon, and that the delay was occasioned only on account of the difficulty of securing as his successor a man possessing the necessary qualities for the position, and one who would be likely to make himself fully acceptable to the American residents of the reserve, I have, etc.,



Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham. No. 304.)


Managua, June 11, 1894. (Received July 3.) SIR: Referring to yours, dated May 12, and received by me June 6, I have to say: After carefully reading this communication, I had a copy made of it, which I lost no time in taking in person to the office of the minister of foreign affairs. I slowly read the communication over in the presence of that officer and his subsecretary. In closing, I repeated the reading of the closing paragraph in full, that no misapprehension might possibly exist.

I deemed it not inappropriate to make known to the minister, in this connection, the following cable from Captain Watson, which I had received before your instructions reached me:

Have copies of instructions sent you dated May 12 and 24 concerning demands in Argüello case. Ready to assist with all my force.

After the conclusion of my official visit I quietly called attention to the tenor of Captain Watson's cable and remarked that I would be pleased . to have this Government's response at the earliest convenient moment,

since Captain Watson was awaiting at Colon a reply from me. A response was promised within a few hours, positively that afternoon at latest. Just fifty-three hours bad elapsed when I received the paper marked inclosure No. 1. I regret to find no assurance in this communication that the murderer's accomplice, Noyles, shall be dealt with according to his deserts," or that this Government will “adopt such measures as will leave no doubt of its sincere purpose and ability to protect the lives and interests of the peaceable citizens of the United States dwelling in the Mosquito Indian Reservation and to punish crimes committed against them."

In this unofficial conversation I stated that I was at Bluefields at the time Argüello walked out of prison the second time; that it was a misnomer to call his going an escape; that he simply walked out of a door that had stood wide open all day and through which he had passed in and out at pleasure, substantially unguarded; that his mistress had come and gone at intervals during the day and for some time previous; that he deliberately walked out in the full light of day, going into the forests near by at an hour so near nightfall as to make a successful parsuit, unless promptly made, difficult; that Mr. Lacayo's chief officer, General Ruhling, who was immediately responsible under Lacayo for the safe-keeping of the prisoner, had been notified by an American resident, whose affidavit I had to that effect, of the manner in which Argüello was left unguarded and permitted to walk about the grounds, 100 yards distant from the prison building; that General Ruhling made no move, until after the news of the prisoner's absence had been received, looking to a greater degree of security; that General Lacayo stated his conviction that Argüello's mistress bad bribed the guard to allow him to escape, and when inquired of as to whether this derelict (or bribed) guard had been placed in prison for his supposed crime, replied that he had been sent to recapture the prisoner.

I stated to him that I had General Ruhling's admission, made to me in person, that during the afternoon of the day following the prisoner's walkout, he (General Ruhling) saw him (Argüello) in the outskirts of Bluefields, not 100 yards from him; and when asked why he did not give the alarm and arrest the culprit, replied with a smile that he (Argüello) did not wait to be arrested. I mention this as an evidence of the lack of energy and earnestness which characterized the pursuit of the so-called fugitive.

I stated further, in this unofficial way, and for the purpose of con. tributing my mite to the minister's information assisting him in seeing his duty in the premises, that Mr. Lacayo's everyday actions created uneasiness among the foreign residents; that his continuance in office is a menace to the peace of that community, and made it impossible (if there were no other reason) for the United States to withdraw her war ships from those waters; that Nicaragua, by the continuance of this irresponsible man in this highly responsible position, was her own worst enemy.

Accompanying inclosure No.1 are many documents bearing upon the Wilson murder and the efforts to discover and punish his murderer, which I may not succeed in having translated in time to accompany this in the mail which should depart to-morrow. They are telegrams and orders to officers in regard to the imprisonment, trial, etc., of the culprit, and throw no new light upon the transaction. I shall forward them in this mail if possible; if not possible, then in the next mail.

Inclosure No. 2 is a communication in answer to one I sent to the minister on the day of my arrival from Bluefields, May 21. Although dated May 26, it did not reach me until the 27th, too late to get into the mail that was due to depart on that day for the United States. All of which is respectfully submitted. I have, etc.,


[Inclosure.- Translation.] Mr. Madriz to Mr. Baker.


Managua, June 8, 1894. MR. MINISTER: The day before yesterday morning I had the honor to receive a visit from your excellency, during which you read me a dispatch from the Secretary of State of the United States, dated at Washington on May 12, last, relative to the murder of an American, William Wilson, at Rama, and that Government's complaints against the Nicaraguan authorities who had charge of the custody and trial of the culprit.

After briefly reviewing the information received by that Government concerning the incident, Mr. Gresham says that the whole business is marked by such contempt for the most obvious dictates of justice and such disregard of the simplest obligations of international luty as to call for urgent and solemn protest on the part of that Goverument.

He concludes by demanding (1) that the Government of Nicaragua shall manifest its disapproval of the conduct of its officers in terms admitting of no misapprehension; (2) that the culprit, Argüello, be brought to immediate trial; (3) that Governor Torres be dismissed from office; (4) that the murderer's accomplice, Noyles, be dealt with accord. ing to his deserts; (5) that the Government of Nicaragua shall adopt such measures as will leave no doubt of its sincere purpose and ability to protect the lives and interests of the peaceable citizens of the United States dwelling in the Mosquito Indian Reservation and to punish crimes committed against them.

On many different occasions, by word and letter, this Government's feelings regarding this matter have been explained to your excellency, and the pain with which it has seen Governor Torres fail so greatly in his path of duty by not complying with the demands of public vengeance. Its disapproval of that officer's conduct, demonstrated by his prompt removal, as your excellency knows, has been made clear and manifest, so that the responsibility resulting from his acts can not be attributed to the Government.

The Government has not made those explanations merely as a matter of duty, but because it wishes to demonstrate the fact that its course is prompted by a high sense of right and justice.

As commissioner of the Supreme Government to the Atlantic Coast I did everything in my power, always conforming strictly to law, in the case of ex-Governor Argüello, and it was the undersigned who dismissel Governor Torres as soon as he had evidence of his culpability. I think, therefore, that the following words, quoted from the said dispatch, can not apply to the officer who now addresses your excellency: “And emphasize the indifference of the superior Nicaraguan agents to their plain duty in the matter."

In regard to the other remarks of Mr. Gresham in the dispatch, I inclose documents which will go to prove that from the beginning this Government has been animated by an unchangeable purpose of having justice done.

Consequently I decline the protest which was directed to you, and trust that your excellency's Government will find the explanations satisfactory.

Your excellency's Government may rest assured that mine will strictly fulfill its duty with as much zeal as you defend your rights.

Captain Watson's telegram, a copy of which was joined to the dispatch, seems to indicate the possibility of his employing forcible means in our territory; and my Government sees a certain similarity between his ideas and your excellency's, as expressed to me in a recent interview when you said that Captain Watson was awaiting your instructions to commence action.

My Government, feeling sure that it has faithfully fulfilled its duties, awaits calmly and without fear anything which may occur. In the same interview your excellency explained this point to me more clearly, but conforming to your desires it will be considered as a personal statement.

I hope that your excellency will inform me of any objections you may have to this explanation.

I have the honor to reiterate to your excellency the expressions of my esteem and most distinguished consideration.


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