Mr. Taylor to Mr. Gresham.

No. 284.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that your telegram of the 5th instant, in reply to mine of the day before, was received on the morning of the 6th (Sunday). Yesterday at 5 o’clock the minister of state received me and I read the telegram to him, according to your instructions. I was careful to prepare a note, a copy of which is inclosed herein, in which I set forth what had actually transpired in the matter up to that moment. This note I delivered to the minister of state as my understanding of [Page 630] the facts, and it was accepted as a true and accurate statement by the minister after a careful perusal by the subsecretary. You will see that no reference whatever is made in my note to the provision of our present tariff as to bounties. The only addition suggested was that the new arrangement should remain in force without a day unless terminated by either party after six months’ notice to the other.

When I questioned the length of the notice suggested, I was told that it was the time expressed in like arrangements made by Spain with other countries. Seeing no real disadvantage to us in the suggestion, I accepted it, subject to your approval. It was then agreed that the modus vivendi should be perfected by an exchange of notes, and that it should then be submitted to the Cortes immediately for ratification, after which it is to go into instant effect. The minister said that he would request Señor Canovas, the leader of the opposition, to let it pass without contest, and in that way he hoped it would go through the Cortes in fifteen or twenty days. At the end of the interview I sent you a telegram. If I receive a favorable reply I hope to finally conclude the matter at once.

I am, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.

Mr. Taylor to Mr. Groizard.

Excellency: On the 17th ultimo I had the honor to read to you a telegram from my Government concerning the prohibitive duties now imposed upon American products in Cuba and Puerto Rico, a copy of which is appended. In the interview which then took place between us you were kind enough to express in a most friendly spirit a determination to take such action as would secure to American products in the Antilles the same favorable treatment now accorded by the Government of His Majesty to the most favored nations, and that purpose you were kind enough to reiterate in a note directed to me on the 31st ultimo. On the 4th instant you were good enough to send to this legation as your representative Señor Don Wenceslao R. de Villaurrutia, the subsecretary of state, who, after a full review of the whole subject, informed me that he was authorized to propose to my Government, through me, the making of a modus vivendi between the two nations providing that American products shall be subjected in the Antilles only to the lowest tariff rates, in consideration of a like agreement upon the part of the United States to guarantee to Spanish products the same most-favored-nation treatment. In accordance with the understanding then entered into between Señor Villaurrutia and myself, I at once communicated the proposition presented by him to my Government by telegraph. Yesterday I received the following reply of acceptance, which I have had the honor to read to you:

Taylor, Minister, Madrid.

Your telegram of 4th opportune. Friendly disposition manifested by Spanish Government appreciated. So long as Spain accords most-favored-nation treatment to American products President will refrain from exercising power of discrimination or exclusion against Spanish products. Read this to minister for foreign affairs.


[Page 631]

To this I am also instructed to add that—

We (the United States) will treat Spanish products on most-favored-nation basis so long as they accord similar treatment to American products.

By this acceptance upon the part of my Government of the proposition made by the Government of His Majesty through you I rejoice to know that the commercial conflict which seemed so imminent has been averted by a just and equitable agreement in perfect accord with the interests and honor of both nations. Please inform me at what moment this new commercial understanding will take effect.

I seize this opportunity, etc.,

Hannis Taylor.