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Mr. Barney to Mr. Gudger.
Cali, August 12, 1902. DEAR SIR: Your favors of June 26, July 12 and 25 came to hand by the last mail, which was received here on the 8th instant.
I beg to say that I am somewhat suprised myself that you find anything new regarding the situation here in my-notes to you of June 21, as I have copies of my former communications addressed to you bearing dates of December 19, 1899, December 3, 1901, January 14, 1902, March 22, 1902, May 18, 1902, and June 26, 1902, in which I endeavored to acquaint you with what was taking place here and asking instructions.
However, I hope that something can be done to relieve the trying situation here, and I inclose a letter which I received yesterday from the firm of Holman & Shearer, Americans, doing business here, which merits attention and on which I await your comments and instructions.
On the 9th of this month the military authorities here in Cali took from me, without asking or consulting me in any way whatsoever, 40 mules, unloading the animals and leaving the loads out in the open, without cover and subject to the weather and thieves, and later sent the animals off with soldiers in different directions, without acknowledging my ownership in any manner.
They have no excuse for this action under any circumstances, but less in view of the faci that there has never been an occasion when the Government has sent to me asking for animals that I have not given them those which they needed, and never received pay for the services rendered, either. I have furnished them with animals in large numbers at least a dozen times.
It is not too late as yet to make an effort to correct matters and to enforce respect for the property of the Americans located here, which I most earnestly ask you to do, for the situation is really most serious for all of us. I am, etc.,
WILLIAM A. BARNEY, United States Consular Agent.
Messrs. Holman & Shearer to Mr. Barney.
REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA,
Cali, August 11, 1902. Dear Sir: I beg to call your attention to the circumstances under which the local military authorities took from one of our pastures a lot of 32 animals during the night of the 9th instant, against which action we earnestly protest, and most respectfully ask your assistance in recovering the animals, and, furthermore, asking that the matter may be brought to the attention of our home Government with the object of obtaining some redress and preventing the recurrence of these outrages, of which this, as you are aware, is not the first we have suffered.
Last week I sent to our pastures near the town of Pavas and had brought to this city 32 mules, intending to use them in a trip to the railroad terminus loaded with hides, which we wish to ship to New York, and to return with merchandise, for which we are in urgent necessity.
I put these animals into our pasture, located about a mile from the center of this city, on the road to the “ Paso de Juanchito.” Some time during the night of Saturday, the 9th, they were taken from this place, although the gate was locked, and Sunday morning, after our men had discovered that the animals were missing, they were found scattered through the streets of this city, some loaded with camp equipage and others ridden by officers and soldiers of the troops which were preparing to march. During the day battalion “ Pastuso” took some of the animals with them when they left for Popayan, and battalions Nos. 31, 35, and 36 took the others with them to Cordoba.
We were not advised that the Government needed animals, nor were we asked to rent them or to sell them, nor were we advised that the Government intended to take them or that they had taken them, and, having taken them because they had need for animals, were willing to arrange with us for their use. We have no receipt for these animals nor any contract or promise to pay for their use or order for their
return to us, nor have we any promise that they will be returned or to recompense us for their use or loss.
The Government has not and will not assume any responsibility in the question of the return of the animals. Yesterday the military alcalde sent me word by an employee of that they were not responsible for the animals, and if I objected to the Government using them and wished to avoid losing them, I should not own animals at all."
Having stolen our animals, they are now using them precisely as though they were actually of their own legitimate property. We have no voice as to their use, management, disposition, destination, or return. In fact, we have purchased and maintained nearly 200 animals practically for the sole use of the Government, and we are told that we have no right to object. We have absolutely no use or security of our own property. We not only have no use of the amount invested in our animals, þut risk and are likely to lose the entire amount. We have lost a few animals at a time all during the war, having been taken from out pastures or off the road.
We bought these animals and have had them for several years for the purpose of carrying our own export products toward the coast and to bring from there our imported merchandise, but on account of the interference of the Government we are unable to use them for our own purposes, and as a consequence we have lost many thousands of dollars' worth of goods of different kinds during the last months, as we have been unable to move them and have had to leave them to perish.
In this particular case we risk the loss of not less than $192,000 as the value of the mules, about $55,000 as the value of the freight charges on the goods which these animals could carry if they were now in our service, at least $600,000 as the value of the merchandise which they would bring and which we are now forced to leave in the wet climate of the coast, where the resulting damage is quick and complete, and at least $130,000 as the value of the exportable goods of a perishable character which for pur inability to use our animals we are obliged to leave, with the probability that before we can move them they will be a complete loss.
This is only an approximate estimate in paper money and does not include the amount of the probable profit which we would reasonably expect to realize on the sale of the goods mentioned nor the interests on the amounts involved in the cost of the property.
As you know, we have suffered other similar and equally severe losses, about which we will not particularize now.
We further feel it necessary to advise you that we have recently been informed privately that the chief military commanders here have said that they intended to send to our other pastures and take all of our animals. We will further state that we have complied with the requirements of the law and have our “patents” giving us the right to use our animals. It is evidently their intention to ruin us if they are allowed to do so, and we can do very little to prevent them.
We have endeavored to the best of our ability to avoid interference by the Government and not to place ourselves or our property in a position to suffer by any act of the Government. We have taken pains to avoid collisions with the officials, and on this and other similar occasions we have tried to arrange matters quietly and with as little trouble and friction as possible. It seems to be of no use, as they manifest no intention or desire to treat us fairly.
Trusting that you will take such measures as you see fit, and that such may be be prompt and, we hope, of some avail, we are, etc.,
H. M. SHEARER, for Holman & Shearer.
Mr. Tay to Mr. art.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 6, 1902. Sir: Acknowledging the receipt of your No. 650, of August 23 last, in the matter of expropriation by the Colombian military authorities of the property of American citizens, I refer, in response, to the Department's cablegram of August 27. The treaty provision and the cablegram referred to cover the question generally. I am, etc.,
Mr. Mart to Mr. Flay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, October 23, 1902. Sir: Referring to the Department's No. 421, of September 6, 1902, and to various dispatches of this legation representing the hardships to which American citizens sojourning in this country are subjected, and having in mind the Department's consequentinstructions, I assume that the only course open to Mr. Barney and Messrs. Isolman & Shearer is to prepare their claims and forward them to the Department of State. I shall bring their cases to the attention of the foreign office; but since I know of no way to compel the immediate payment of indemnity, I presume the cases will rest where they are until the Department of State shall instruct me to present and press the claims. I am, etc.,
CHAS. BURDETT HART.
Mr. Hay to Mr. llart.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 18, 1902. Sir: In compliance with the suggestions contained in your No. 678, of October 23 sast, claims circulars have been sent to the United States consulate-general at Panama for the benefit of American citizens who have lost their property by military expropriations. I am, etc.,
NEUTRALITY OF ALIENS—“CERTIFICATES OF NEUTRALITY" NOT TO BE ISSUED BY LEGATIONS TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS.
Mr. Beaupré to Mr. Ilay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, June 8, 1902. SIR:
Transit in the country is as difficult as ever. In the case of foreigners desiring passports the authorities are very strict, indeed. On the appointment of General Fernandez as minister of war he issued a note stating that all foreigners were to be considered as enemies of the Government, and that passports were on no account to be granted to them. This order had the effect of confining foreigners to the capital for a time, although it is a notorious fact that native
amigos del Gobierno" were allowed free transit during that period. Fortunately, before the result had become seriously prejudicial an arrangement was made that all foreigners requiring passports should produce a certificate of neutrality from their respective legations countersigned by the minister for foreign affairs. Up to the present time this procedure has worked successfully. The Colombian foreign office has been notified that all foreigners applying for such certificates will be considered as neutral so long as no proof shall be shown to the contrary.
Postal and telegraphic communication is still very slow. The line to Buenaventura, the cable station on the Pacific, works by fits and starts. The director-general explains this as being due to a band of guerrillas near Honda, whose business it is to cut the telegraph wires. The Government is sending out and bringing in mails with more regularity and frequency, but owing chiefly to the slow transit on the Magdalena River it is not safe to figure on much less than two months for the going or coming of correspondence for Washington. I am, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
Mr. Hill to Mr. Beaupré.
DEPARTMENT OF STAT
Washington, July 22, 1902. Sir: Your dispatch No. 622 of the 8th ultimo, reporting the political situation in Colombia up to that date, was received here on the 16th instant, thus bearing out your statements touching the delays of the mails owing to the disturbed condition of the country.
Your remarks in regard to the difficulties of individual travel have attracted attention in view of the extraordinary measures affecting foreigners. You say:
In the case of foreigners desiring passports the authorities are very strict indeed. On the appointment of General Fernandez as minister of war he issued a note stating that all foreigners were to be considered as enemies of the Government and that passports were on no account to be granted to them. This order had the effect of confining foreigners to the capital for a time, although it is a notorious fact that native * amigos del Gobierno" were allowed free transit during that period. Fortunately, before the result had become seriously prejudicial, an arrangement was made that all foreigners requiring passports should produce a certificate of neutrality from their respective legations, countersigned by the minister for foreign affairs.' Up to the present this procedure has worked successfully. The Colombian foreign office has been notified that all foreigners applying for such certificates will be considered as neutral as long as no proof shall be shown to the contrary.
The declaration of the minister of war that all foreigners should be deemed public enemies can not but be regarded as gratuitously offensive, and this Government must remonstrate against such characterization of its citizens availing themselves of their conventional rights of visit and sojourn in Colombia. It should have been made the occasion of instant and vigorous protest. Even though the immediate urgency seems to have passed with the adoption of the scheme of diplomatic certification which you report, the Colombian Government should be energetically advised that this Government can not acquiesce in such an extraordinary measure toward citizens of the United States.
Moreover, this Department is unable to approve the wholly irregular and unauthorized certification of the neutrality of its citizens. As good citizens they are bound by the laws of neutrality which the United States aims to uphold, and if they are unlawfully molested this Government will protect them. If they engage in proven acts violative of neutrality they do so with full liability for the consequences, but even then it is the duty of this Government to see that full justice and opportunity of defense are assured to them. This normal treatment of the matter is not to be set aside for the abnormal procedure you report. It is not deemed competent for the diplomatic
agent to certify to the neutrality of his countrymen. That must be presumed until the contrary be shown. The fact which the certificate purports to certify can not be within the official knowledge of the legation. If within the personal knowledge of the diplomatic agent, he can not be expected to make official certification thereof. Thé absence of any extraterritorial jurisdiction over the acts of the citizen excludes responsibility on the part of the legation for the repression or chastisement of any unlawful act done by the citizen. The certificate is, in its nature, alike incompetent and irresponsible, and, therefore, an absurdity.
You do not give the language of the certificate, and the Department would like to be assured that it does not exceed your authority by implying accountability on the part of the legation.
Your statement that the Colombian foreign office had “been notified that all foreigners applying for such certificates will be considered as neutral so long as no proof shall be shown to the contrary” is not clearly understood. The presumption of alien neutrality exists under international law and comity. Application to the legation for the certificate in question does not fortify the presumption which the legation is bound to entertain. It is its duty to consider the individual neutral until the contrary be shown.
You are instructed to communicate the substance of this instruction to the Colombian Government in order that the attitude of this Government may be clearly and firmly defined, and that the Colombian Government may be informed that the legation's action thus disapproved should not be taken as a precedent. I am, etc.,
DAVID J. HILL,
Mr. llart to Mr. Tay. No. 660.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogoti, September 9, 1902. Sir: Referring to the Department's No. 410, of July 22, 1902, I have the honor to inclose copy and translation of the certificate spoken of by Mr. Beaupré in this legation's No. 622, of June 8, 1902, also a copy of my note to the Colombian foreign office pursuant to the Department's instructions above referred to.
The situation has been extremely difficult for foreigners sojourning in the country, and for the legations in their efforts to reduce to a minimum the inconvenience and loss resulting therefrom to persons under their protection.
The central civil power, speaking through the ministry for foreign affairs, has seemed to desire to cooperate in this respect with the legations, but the military branch of the Government has been practically omnipotent, so that the ministry for foreign affairs, disavowing such views as those to which the Department's instructions refer, has in turn asked the legations to lend their cooperation in the hope of improving the situation as much as possible for foreigners. The ministry of foreign affairs, being helpless as against the ministry for war, realized the hopelessness of antagonizing that department. In the matter of passports this was realized as well by the legations, which have tried to make the best of a situation by no means ideal.
There were many foreigners held fast in Bogotá, for example, by the refusal to issue passports to them, and without passports they