Page images

434, of the 24th of that month, that you had reliably ascertained that such a petition would not be entertained, and that similar requests in behalf of prisoners of war of other nationalities had been refused.

In your No. 473, of January 7 last, you reported that Edward C. Janse, who had been taken prisoner, had been released on parole. In that case, however, the correspondence does not show that Mr. Janse had been taken with arms in hand or that he had violated in any way his duties as a neutral.

In your Nos. 504, 592, and 610, of February 9, June 15, and July 3, respectively, you report in each case that the British Government is unable to release the American citizens, prisoners of war, named in the dispatches, because it would not be in accordance with the practice followed by His Majesty's war office, under which prisoners are only released if they are suffering from serious or dangerous illness."

Upon this question I now inclose a copy of a dispatch from the consul at Colombo, from which it appears that three prisoners of war held at Ragama Camp, Ceylon, were recently released on parole and allowed to return to Germany. If it prove true that prisoners of war of other nationalities are being released, you may sound the Government of His Majesty as to the reopening of the cases of the American citizens whose release has heretofore been refused. It may be that the persons named in Mr. Morey's dispatch were released on account of sickness, although the letter to him, inclosed with his dispatch, says that the men were well.

The consul will be instructed to forward to you directly any proof he may be able to obtain regarding the circumstances of the liberation of the German prisoners. I am, etc.,


Acting Secretary.


Mr. Morey to the Department of State.


Colombo, August 27, 1901. SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter received from Messrs. Harry McGaw Wood, F. M. Hearn, John P. Doherty, and John Riley, prisoners of war, interned at the Boer prisoners' camp Ragama, propounding three inquiries respecting the propriety of their continued detention in Ceylon as prisoners of war, and stating that three prisoners captured in South Africa under similar conditions as themselves have lately been liberated and allowed to return to Germany. I am, etc.,

W. Morey, Consul.


Harry McGaw Wood et al. to Mr. Morey.

RAGAMA CAMP, August 12, 1901. SIR: Whereas the British commander in chief in South Africa has made public proclamation and announcement of the annexation of the territories of the Orange Free State and South African Republic to the British Crown, and the same are daily referred to in the British official reports and in the British press as Crown colonies;

And whereas in the official parole, written and signed by the camp commandant in charge of Ragama camp, reference is made to “the late Government of the Orange River Colony;"

And whereas three prisoners of war, namely, C. Lavino, Wynburg, and R. Wilkie, who have taken an active part, under arms, in this war, and who, at the time of their release were in good health, have been allowed to return to Germany, either on parole or under no obligations;

We therefore beg that you will communicate with the home Government and advise us:

1. Whether the foreign governments recognize the extinction of the Governments of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic; and

2. Whether, if these governments have ceased to exist and their territories have been annexed to the British Crown, we can still be properly detained as prisoners of

3. Whether, considering that we are properly so detained, we should not be allowed the same privilege of parole as has been granted to the three prisoners of war mentioned above.

Similar addresses are being forwarded by this mail to the various consuls in
Colombo. You will greatly oblige by notifying us of your receipt of this.
Very truly,


war; and

Mr. Adee to Mr. Choate.

No. 736.1


Washington, October 1, 1901. Sır: I inclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 23d ultimo from the Hon. W. A. Clark, United States Senator, with inclosure from Mr. Patrick Lennon, who states that he is a citizen of the United States and was formerly resident in Montana, and after emigrating to South Africa was made a prisoner by the British at Johannesburg and is now detained as such at Camp Ragama, Ceylon.

Mr. Lennon claims to have been a noncombatant, “ carefully obserying all the terms of Lord Roberts's proclamation.'

The Department would be pleased to have you inquire into the matter and report the facts in the case. I am, etc.,


Acting Secretary.


Mr. ('lark to Mr. Hay.


Washington, September 23, 1901. My Dear Sir: Inclosed please find a communication dated at Ragama Camp, Cey. lon, August 10, 1901, from Patrick Lennon, who alleges that he is an American citizen and a legal resident of Butte, Mont., and a constituent of mine. It will be observed that Mr. Lennon states that he has been a citizen of Montana for twelve years, voting regularly in Silverbow County, and that his wife and family are still residents of Butte. Also, details the circumstances under which he has become a prisoner of war and is detained in the camp at Ragama by the English authorities.

I respectfully refer to you Mr. Lennon's letter for your consideration and whatever action the Department of State may think proper to take. Very respectfully,



Mr. Lennon to Mr. Clark.

RAGAMA CAMP, CEYLON, August 10, 1901. DEAR SIR: I take the liberty of placing before you the circumstances under which I, a citizen of Montana, became and still remain a prisoner of war in the hands of the English, in the hope that you will be able to move the Government to interest itself for my release.

I had been a citizen of Montana for twelve years, voting regularly in Silverbow County, and my wife and family are still residents of Butte; but in March, 1897, I proceeded to the Transvaal mines, being employed at the Rose Deep Gold Mining Company. I was in the country at the time of the British occupation of Johannesburg and was, of course, compelled to secure a pass from the military governor authorizing me to pass freely to and from my work. This pass I duly paid for and received, continuing to observe carefully all the terms of Lord Roberts's proclamations; but notwithstanding all this, I was suddenly arrested some four months after the Occupation of Johannesburg and thrown into the fort as a prisoner of war.

1 presented my American citizenship papers, but the officer in command refused to recognize them and hinted that he did not believe them to be actually mine, so took them from me. I have since procured certified copies. Later on I was told that I might regain my liberty either by putting up £500 ($2,500) bail, or by taking the oath of allegiance to the British, but I refused both alternatives and was transported to Ceylon, where I am now detained in this camp at Ragama. I am thus deprived of my liberty and unable to attend to the requirements of my wife and family.

You would confer a great obligation upon me if you would interest yourself in repairing the injustice under which I am suffering. I am, etc.,


Mr. White to Mr. Hay.

No. 687.]


London, October 19, 1901. Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 735, of the 30th ultimo, I have the honor to inform you that I attended the Marquis of Lansdowne's reception at the foreign office yesterday and called his attention to the cases of the three prisoners of war of German nationality who are alleged to have been released in Ceylon and allowed to return to their homes. I also left with him a copy of the dispatch from our consul at Colombo on the subject, with its inclosure." His Lordship naturally had no personal knowledge of the matter, but promised at my request to cause inquiry to be made on the subject and to let me know the result. I said to him that if it should turn out that prisoners of German nationality, in good health, had been released from Ceylon and allowed to return to their homes, I felt sure that my Gorernment would expect the same treatment to be accorded our fellowcitizens similarly situated, and would doubtless reopen the cases of the American citizens whose release has hitherto been refused.

I shall no fail to transmit promptly to the foreign office any information which may reach this embassy from our consul at Colombo, tending to prove the circumstances under which the liberation of the German prisoners took place.

I may add that upon the receipt, several weeks ago, of urgent letters from Mrs. Wood, mother of Harry McGaw Wood, one of the signers of the letter to Consul Morey, and from his brother, asking me to bring any personal influence which I might possess to bear in favor of the release on parole—“ parole of the island” they called it-of that

prisoner, I communicated on the subject with Mr. Secretary Brodrick, who is a friend of mine, and afterwards wrote him a private letter, asking him to do what he could toward granting to Mr. Wood the desired privilege. He promised to have inquiry made on the spot and then to see what he could do in the matter, but there has not yet been time enough for him to hear from Ceylon, and I have consequently heard nothing from him yet in reply. I have, etc.,


Mr. Till to Mr. White.

No. 749.)


Washington, October 22, 1901. Sir: I inclose, in original, the petition of Hugh B. Molloy, of Boston, who, stating that his brother, James L., served with the Boers in South Africa as a member of the Irish-American hospital corps, and that he was taken prisoner and is believed to be in Bermuda, asks whether his whereabouts can not be ascertained, and whether he cannot be released.

The Department has, in several cases, instructed the embassy to learn whether American citizens, prisoners of war on Ceylon, might not be released on parole, and has been informed that His Majesty's Government could not accede to the request except in case the prisoner were seriously or dangerously ill. It is possible that the British Government may not apply such a stringent rule in the case of prisoners detained on Bermuda. You will ascertain whether the request for Mr. Molloy's release can be granted, and in any event you will ask whether His Majesty's Government will not be good enough to inform the inquirer of the prisoner's whereabouts. I am, etc.,

DAVID J. Hill,

Acting Secretary.

Mr. White to Mr. Flay.

No. 692.]


London, October 28, 1901. Sir: With reference to my dispatch No. 687, of the 19th instant, in relation to prisoners of war in Ceylon, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a memorandum, dated the 26th instant, which I have just received from the foreign office, setting forth the exceptional circumstances under which Messrs. Lavino and Wilke were released, and stating that the authorities are only prepared to entertain applications for the release of prisoners of war in those cases in which such prisoners are certified to be dangerously ill.

It further appears that nothing is known of the Mr. Wynburg referred to in your instruction above mentioned. I have, etc.,



FOREIGN OFFICE, October 26, 1901.


On October 18 the United States chargé d'affaires communicated to the Marques of Lansdowne a copy of a dispatch from the United States consul at Colombo, forwarding a letter from four United States citizens detained as prisoners of war in Ceylon, in which they state that three of their fellow-prisoners, Messrs. C. Lavino, Wynburg, and R. Wilke, have been released by His Majesty's Government, although in good health, and inquire whether they might not be allowed a like privilege.

Mr. Lavino was released at the request of Lord Kitchener, who, no doubt, had special reasons for recommending such an act of clemency.

The circumstances attending the release of Mr. R. Wilke were very exceptional. He was seriously ill, and his mother, who had a short while ago lost her husband, Mr. Wilke's father, was in a dying state.

Of Mr. Wynburg nothing is known in this department.

The only cases in which His Majesty's secretary of state for war is prepared w consider applications for the release of prisoners of war are those in which the prisoners are certified to be dangerously or seriously ill.

Mr. Hay to Mr. White.

No. 758.]


Washington, October 30, 1901. Sir: Your No. 687, of the 19th instant, regarding the reported release of three German prisoners of war who were detained on Ceylon, been received. The matter is commended to your attention. I am, etc.,


Mr. White to Mr. Ilay.

No. 699.]


London, November 6, 1901. Sir: With reference to Mr. Hill's instruction No. 749, of October 22, I hav the honor to inform you that I have been several times informed by officials of the foreign and war offices that the refusal of His Majesty's Government to release prisoners of war, except in cases of serious or dangerous illness, as set forth in Lord Lansdowne's menorandum of the 26th ultimo, forwarded in my dispatch No. 692, of the 28th ultimo, applies to those detained in any part of the British dominions, as well as in Ceylon. In accordance with Mr. Hill's instructions, I have, however, addressed a note to the Marquis of Lansdowne, asking whether the request for Mr. Molloy's release can not be granted, and in any case, that I may be informed as to his whereabouts. I have, etc.,


Mr. White to Mr. Hlay.

No. 710.]


London, November 22, 1901. Sir: With reference to your instructions No. 749, of the 22d ultimo, which inclosed a petition from Mr. H. B. Molloy in relation to the

« PreviousContinue »