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On the night of the 18th of July, 1903, a mob of natives attacked the Syrian colony in Honda. The doors of dwellings and stores were broken open, furniture destroyed, and a large amount of merchandise stolen. The buildings were injured by rifle and revolver shots, stones and other missiles. Several of the Syrians were badly wounded, and all of them were forced to flee from the city and seek shelter in the forest. Anarchy reigned for a day or two, when the authorities were able to regain control. Among those who suffered was Simon Chemas, and his brother, citizens of the United States. I have asked our consular agent at Honda to furnish me with a report as to the damages sustained by these American citizens, but as they have not returned to Honda since the night of the attack, the report is not yet prepared. I have certain information, however, that their losses are trifling, and no claim for damages is likely to be made.
Upon receipt of telegraphic information from Honda, I addressed a note to the minister for foreign affairs, to which he afterwards replied. (Copies and translation inclosed.)
The occurrence in Honda has excited the populace in various parts of. the country where the Syrians are located, and there is almost a certainty of similar attacks. Mr. Ricardo Deeb, an American citizen, owns a large store in Chiquinquira, and upon receipt of news that a hostile demonstration was expected there I sought an interview with the minister for foreign affairs and asked his intervention to the end that protection should be extended to Mr. Deeb. This he promised, and said that orders would be sent at once to the local authorities.
To-day I was shown a telegram from Chiquinquira, saying that on the night of the 6th instant the house of Mr. Deeb had been stoned and that he was without procection. I at once addressed a note to the minister for foreign affairs, copy of which is inclosed.
There are not more than four or five Americans in the Syrian colony, which is fortunate, for there is certain to be more trouble. I am, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
Bogotá, August 20, 1903. Sir: It is with profound regret that I am compelled to call to your excellency's attention the case of Simon Chemas, Wehbe Chemas, and Abdalla Chemas, Syrians by nativity, but citizens of the United States of America by naturalization, who, according to telegraphic advices just received from Honda, have suffered mob violence, resulting in the destruction of much property, the probable breaking up of their business, and, withont the active interposition of your excellency, they may be banished from their houses.
This attack occurred on the night of the 18th instant, at Honda, and I have but incomplete information of the affair, and must beg that your excellency will cause an investigation to be made with the view of determining the full facts.
Your excellency is probably aware that there exists in Colombia a strong feeling of hostility to all resident Syrians, some of whom are American citizens. Because of this, and the outbreak at Honda, I have reason to fear that unless some measures are adopted to protect them there may be other similar or deplorable events.
In view of this I deem it my duty to make an earnest appeal to your excellency for the employment of means to secure to these American citizens the protection to their lives, their homes, and their property which is guaranteed to them by the treaty between our two governments. I avail, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
(Inclosure 2.—Translation.] Doctor Rico to Mr. Beaupré.
MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Bogotá, August 21, 1903. Mr. MINISTER: From the first inoment in which notice was received in this capital of the riot which took place in Honda on the 18th of the present month, and to which your excellency refers in your polite note of yesterday, it was ordered that the guard at that place be reinforced with troops sufficient to reestablish order. It has also been ordered that they take the necessary measures to investigate the case and punish those responsible.
The part of your excellency's communication to which I have had the honor to refer, which treats of the complaint of the Syrians Simon Chemas, Wehbe Cheinas, and Abdalla Chemas, naturalized citizens of the United States, for acts of violence enacted against them in that riot, has been called to the attention of the minister of government, in order that all measures may be taken that are deemed necessary to prevent a repetition of acts such as those mentioned. I beg, etc.,
LUIS CARLOS Rico.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, September 8, 1903. Sir: Referring to the conversation which I had the honor of having with your excellency a few days ago, concerning the American citizens who were outraged by a mob at Honda on the night of the 18th ultimo, and in which I earnestly called your excellency's attention to a similar danger which threatened an American citizen at Chiquinquira, I have now the honor to inform you that according to telegraphic advices just received, the house of Mr. Ricardo Beeb, at Chiquinquira, was stoned on the night of the 6th instant, and there are grave fears that the local authorities may not be able to protect him from mob violence.
Chiquinquira being one of the principal cities of the republic, and within a short distance of this capital, I must insistently urge upon your excellency the necessity of immediate measures to effectually prevent this apprehended trouble.
I fully appreciate the friendly disposition of the Colombian Government toward the citizens of my country who may be temporarily residing within its limits, and I know that your excellency sincerely regrets the occurrence at Honda. I am equally sure that in compliance with its obligations your excellency's Government will strenuously assert its power to secure the protection of my countrymen within its jurisdiction. I avail, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
Mr. Beaupré to Mr. Hay. No. 137.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, September 17, 1903. Sir: Referring to my No. 131, of September 8, 1903, concerning the hostility shown towards the Syrians in this country, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy and translation of a note from the minister for foreign affairs in answer to mine of the 8th instant. I am, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
[Inclosure.-Translation.] Doctor Rico to Mr. Beaupré.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS,
Bogotá, September 15, 1903. Mr. MINISTER: It has been ascertained from the information given us by the minister of war, that as soon as notice was received, on the 19th of August last, of what had happened in Honda on the two days preceding, against the Turks residing there, orders were given for the guard at Guaduas to immediately reinforce the battalion of
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260 men at that place, to give their aid to the civil authorities in the suppression of the riot.
Notice has been given to the minister of government as well as the minister of war of the representations made by your excellency and the other foreign representatives in this matter, and means have continued to be employed for the reestablishment and preservance of peace and order in that place.
The second of said ministries has ordered, through the medium of an employee of the national police, the investigation of the criminal acts which have been committed against the Turks in Honda, with a view to punishing those to blame and recovering and protecting the property which said foreigners say they have lost. The local authority states that some of said property has already been recovered, and that several persons who were present at the riot and were imprisoned have been set at liberty under a heavy bond, promising not to again attempt a riot against the Syrian colony and to present themselves to the authorities each time they are ordered.
In presenting what I have said to your excellency, I refer to your polite notes of the 20th of August and the 8th of the present month, the first relative to the complaints of Simon Chemas, Wehbe Chemas, and Abdalla Chemas, and the second to Ricardo Deeb, Syrians by birth, to whom your excellency gives protection as naturalized citizens of the United States. I ought to add that, to Chiquinquira, where the first of said individuals lives, the ministry of government has been informed that the president of the tribunal of Tunja has gone to investigate what happened in that place.
If it be considered that, already arriving in the country temporarily, or with a desire of permanent residence in it, foreigners have always been well received in Colombia, whose laws favor and protect them in their persons and property equally with natives, and that, notwithstanding that manifestations against the Turks have been suppressed from the very beginning, these have been occurring frequently, it is plainly recognized that there exists and grows in society a spirit of repulsion against these individuals, as stated in the first of said notes, in which your excellency asks the employment of means to secure to the Syrian citizens of the United States the protection of their lives, their homes, and their property, guaranteed by the treaty between the two nations.
The government regrets that sentiments adverse to the Turks should have been produced in the country, and is always disposed to protect them in their persons and interests; but, notwithstanding precautions which were taken to prevent conflicts
tions may perhaps continue, and are made inevitable, by appearing suddenly in places where there is not sufficient guard, or in places separated from those points where forces exist to give protection and reestablish order, and it ought to be borne in mind that if such should happen, it could not be imputed to a failure to comply with the treaty except in the cases in which, being able to give such protection, it should not be done with complete efficiency. I beg, etc.,
Luis Carlos Rico.
Mr. Hay to Mr. Beaupre.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 9, 1903. SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 131, of the 8th ultimo, reporting the hostile demonstration on the part of Colombians against the Syrian “Turks.”
The Department approves your course in requesting the protection of the Colombian Government for such of them as are naturalized citizens of the United States. I am, etc.,
ADOPTION OF GOLD STANDARD BY COLOMBIA.
Mr. Beaupré to Mr. Hay. No. 194.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, October 30, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to report that one of the most important measures presented for the consideration of the present extraordinary
session of the Colombian Congress passed during the last week and has been signed by the President. It is with regard to the free stipulation in currency (libre estipulación), under the title of “for the regulation of the monetary system and the redemption of the paper money."
This law has not been published in the Diario Oficial, so that I am unable to furnish a complete copy and translation in time for the next mail, but its principal features are as follows:
The monetary unit of the country to be the gold dollar of 1,672 milligrams of weight and .900 fine, to wit, the gold dollar of the United States of America.
The gold coinage of other nations may circulate freely, as well as silver coins .835 and .900 fine.
Future emission of paper money, whether by central or départmental governments, absolutely prohibited.
The paper money heretofore legally emitted by the national and departmental governments to preserve its character of a forced currency and its liberatory power in those places where it now circulates according to the following rules:
(a) In public or private transactions contracts may be made at the will of the parties either in the gold unit or in paper money.
(6) When payment has been contracted for in gold, the obligation can be carried out by the payment of an equivalent sum of paper money at the rate of exchange ruling on the day of payment.
(c) In the departments and provinces where silver has hitherto been current that coinage shall keep its character of circulating medium, in relation to the gold unit, according to the price of silver in the market, and contracts may be made in that currency.
(d) Obligations contracted, or which may be contracted, with foreign houses or interests, shall be carried out in accordance with the terms of article 203 of the commercial code.
(e) Obligations contracted in legal tender (moneda corriente) in which a particular coinage is not expressed will be understood as contracted for and payable in the forced paper currency.
A council to be created, known as the council of national amortization, to be composed of five members, two nominated by the senate, two by the chamber of representatives, and one by the executive power. They are to be chosen from the most distinguished members of commerce, known for their rectitude and competency.
(a) The gold which the council collects to be sold in lots of $1,000 at public auction for paper money.
C) The paper money which the council shall collect by the abovementioned sales and by contribution to be publicly burned.
(C) The council shall have the full management of the funds confided to it and of its own constitution.
(d) The council to fix, day by day, the rate of exchange, based upon the actual transactions in the open market, and that rate will hold good in all judicial matters. The council to appoint sectional councils in the country for the changing of deteriorated bills, buying up paper money, and burning the same.
The following sources of income to be at the disposal of the council for the amortization of the paper money: The rent from the emerald mines of Muzo and Cosquez; from the mines of Santa Ana, La Manta, Supia, and Marmato; from the pearl fisheries of the Republic; from the produce of the exploitations of the national forests; harbor and light-house dues, tonnage, etc. The product coming from the export duties to include those on vegetable ivory, which, it is proposed, shall be made the same as levied by the Republic of Ecuador. The council authorized to rent the Muzo and Cosquez mines for the period of ten years. Estimates of income and expenditure to be fixed in the gold unit heretofore mentioned (the United States dollar).
(a) Customs duties to be levied in gold, or in bills at the exchange of the day.
(6) The rents of national property, such as the mines of Muzo, etc., to be levied exclusively in gold.
(c) Rents not mentioned above to be fixed in gold, but levied in paper, in periods of three months.
(d) For the fixing of exchange, in the periods of three months, the figure of the national council of amortization will be taken, but for the first three months liquidations will be made at 10,000 per cent.
The personnel of the national council to be reappointed every four years, but the members appointed this year to hold office until September 30, 1908.
The national council to cause a new edition of bills to be printed, to be exchanged for those deteriorated. For this purpose they may appropriate the sum of $250,000 gold, to be taken from the funds they shall receive for the purposes of amortization. I am, etc.,
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING THE CONVENTION BETWEEN
REPORT FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE, WITH ACCOMPANYING PAPERS,
To the Senate and House of Representatives :
I transmit, for the information of the Congress, in connection with the correspondence already transmitted relating to the recent revolution on the Isthmus of Panama, and contained in House Document No. 8, Fifty-eighth Congress, first session, parts 1 and 2," a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers concerning the convention between the United States and Colombia for the construction of an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus of Panama.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT. WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, December 18, 1903.
The undersigned, Secretary of State, has the honor to lay before the President, with a view to their transmission to Congress for the information of that body, in connection with the correspondence already transmitted, relating to the recent revolution on the Isthmus of Panama and contained in House Document No. 8, Fifty-eighth Congress, first session, parts 1 and 2, copies of the correspondence between the Department of State and the legation of the United States
a Printed pp. 230 and 252.