Mr. Olney to Mr. Tillman.
Washington, November 6, 1895.
Sir: I have received your No. 30, of the 7th of September last, reporting the further progress of the successful revolutionary party of Ecuador toward the establishment of a Government and the administration of public affairs.
I am gratified that your personal relations with General Alfaro have been cordial and satisfactory. It was entirely proper that you should [Page 249] testify to him the courtesy and good will suitable in your relations with one who, with the apparent assent of the greater part of the population of Ecuador, has been elevated to unopposed power. I note that in acknowledging the communication of Señor Carbo, minister of foreign affairs, you say that you must hear from the Secretary of State before you can further take action in your character as minister to Ecuador.
The precedents by which the intercourse of the United States with foreign nations is governed have established the clear right, under the law of nations and treaties, to maintain, through its properly appointed agents, communication with the de facto authorities of a foreign state upon all matters affecting either this Government or its citizens, the only limit to this proviso being that our agents are bound to avoid interference in the domestic questions of the state. In the present instance no such interference appears likely, or even possible, as the government of General Alfaro is understood to be in full possession of the machinery of the State. The right and propriety, therefore, of your conducting all current relations with it in your capacity as minister to Ecuador can not be questioned.
As to formal recognition, the practice of this Government has been to enter into effective relations with the de facto government when it shall have been fully established with the general consent of the people. I assume from the communication of Señor Carbo that such a government has been organized in Ecuador, although its style and title are not stated by him. It would seem to be a provisional government, controlled by a council of ministers, with General Alfaro as its president and supreme head of the State. On this understanding, and being satisfied that the new Government is in possession of the executive forces of the nation, and administering the same with due regard for the obligations of international law and treaties, you will enter into full relations with it.
I am, etc.,