. . . We were all eagerly expecting a dispatch from Washington, but none had been received. Secretary Day revived my old suggestion about the possibility of an adjournment to Nice, and said we should evidently find something of that sort a great relief if the negotiations should be much prolonged. He wanted some scheme by which the Spanish Commissioners might be induced to propose it.
Senator Gray wanted to offer an article for the treaty, in which the United States should give definite guarantees for life and property during our occupation of Cuba. It was finally agreed to submit such a proposition first to Washington. It was also agreed that it would be better to adopt the articles we had first proposed to Spain rather than the shorter ones merely reproducing the protocol, which were afterwards merely put in as a substitute provided Spain would agree to the first ones…
At the meeting of the Joint Commission at the Foreign Office this afternoon nearly everybody seemed to be half an hour late. Four of us arrived first. Some little time later three of the Spaniards came in; later two others. And at last, just as we were beginning to think of sitting down, Senator Gray hurriedly came in. He had been caught on a shopping excursion with his younger daughter, had forgotten the time, and had finally rushed away . . . just in time to get to the Foreign Office by sacrificing his breakfast.
We began at once with the offer by Secretary Day of the first and second articles for a treaty in the form originally proposed. Montero Rios at once said that the acceptance filed yesterday by the Spanish Commissioners referred not to these but to the last articles we proposed, and was, of course, conditional upon the final acceptance of the treaty. The paper filed yesterday did not in any way prevent them from again presenting the second article of their own draft. The same remark might be made as to others, which they might be compelled to present again if we did not reach an agreement on the later parts of the treaty.
Secretary Day at once responded that the Americans were content to take their acceptance as already answered on their protocol in their own language. Montero Rios then said that although their answer as filed yesterday referred to the last (or substitute) articles we had filed, they were quite willing to take up and discuss the first articles we had filed to which reference had just been made. Secretary Day closed the question with the simple remark that we were quite content to let their acceptance apply to the articles last filed.
Montero Rios then asked, premising that he made no demand, whether it would be acceptable to the American Commissioners to incorporate in the text of the American article relating to Puerto Rico the words that it was ceded as indemnity for the war and payment for damage to American citizens.
Secretary Day said we would prefer to stand on the articles accepted. Montero Rios asked to have the question and this reply spread upon the protocol. Senator Frye asked him if he would permit the insertion before the word “indemnity” of the word “partial,” to which Montero Rios replied: “I only request that the question as already asked, and the reply given, be spread upon the protocol. I make no great point of it, but desire the fact that the question was asked be recorded, together with the reply.”
Senator Gray interposed that what Montero Rios asked was already embodied in the President’s message.
Montero Rios resumed, saying he wanted to know if there was any objection to having incorporated somewhere in the treaty the fact that this cession of Puerto Rico is by way of indemnity. Secretary Day replied that the United States would make no objection to that in some proper form when it came up. But he preferred not to confuse the acceptance of the present articles.
Montero Rios once more repeated that if the American Commissioners did not feel disposed to answer, or did not wish to answer, he did not insist. But, in any case, he wanted his question placed on the daily protocol. Senator Frye interjected the remark [that] in the treaty somewhere there will undoubtedly appear the fact that the territory ceded is by way of indemnity and as payment for damages to American citizens. Montero Rios instantly rejoined: “What I want to know is whether that is the individual opinion of the Commissioner, or is the position of the Commission.” Secretary Day said: “The cession of Puerto Rico is on account of indemnity and claims of American citizens. We do not intend to take any territory on other grounds.”
Montero Rios said then: “The two commissions are agreed. In view of the last remark we can proceed to other business. Before taking up other subjects in the first proposals of the American Commissioners, however, on which our differences are perhaps not very substantial,” he said, “I would like some explanation as to the last remark in your written reply yesterday as to the Philippines. I do not mean to be understood as pressing, but only want some answer.”
Secretary Day replied that in view of the importance of that subject, we must take some time to prepare and submit articles. We had not already formulated such articles, did not have them here now with us ready to present. Montero Rios replied: “Very well, then; we can now take up other matters in the first American draft, and I think it will be easy to reach an agreement.” Secretary Day then said: “What subjects does the Commissioner wish to take up first?” Montero Rios replied: “I understood the President of the American Commission to ask if our acceptance could be entered as referring to the first American draft. We have no objection, in view of what has been said, to take up now the points in that first draft relating to the preservation of records, etc.”
Secretary Day whispered to me an inquiry as to whether it might not be better to let the two secretaries formulate an article on this subject. I replied at once that this seemed to me simplest and wisest and that it would be well to take a recess for that purpose, and let the secretaries, on our reassembling, present their draft.
Secretary Day thereupon proposed this plan. Montero Rios at once said it was a very good idea. Day said the only question was, how long should the recess be. Ojeda protested that they were the hardest-worked persons in the Commission, and must have some time. Thereupon Montero Rios said that it might be left to the secretaries to report whenever they were ready. Secretary Day said the American Commissioners had no doubt these gentlemen could agree upon an article mutually satisfactory. [Then] at the next time we met, we should be prepared to take up and give undivided attention to the question of the Philippines. The only question was how much time should be taken to prepare and formulate proposals on that subject.
Montero Rios said that the Spanish Commissioners were entirely at the disposal of the American Commissioners on that subject. If they were not ready now to fix the day when they felt sure that they would be prepared, a further adjournment could be arranged in advance at any time on twenty-four hours’ notice. Or the two secretaries could give an even shorter notice to their respective Commissioners. Secretary Day proposed an adjournment until Tuesday. Montero Rios said that was All Saint’s Day, and that the following day was also a holiday. Secretary Day then proposed Monday, with the understanding that if [we] were not ready, we might avail ourselves of their courteous offer of further delay. It was so agreed.
At Secretary Day’s suggestion I sat down with him to frame a dispatch for [Secretary of State] Hay reporting results. Secretary Moore had already begun one, and so when mine was finished the two were read. The Secretary [Day] and Senator Gray [took] mine, as embracing somewhat more, and being shorter. The Secretary [Day] was at first inclined to give the Associated Press an announcement of the result, but both Senators Frye and Gray objected to this. It was believed that the result would undoubtedly be announced through Spanish sources. But, in the judgment of our friends, it was not advisable for us to give it out, at least [not] without consulting with the Spaniards and having their consent. . . .