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Saturday, November 5th, 1898

The Commissioners began early this morning on the translation as far as it had advanced, reading and pausing, from time to time, for discussion. Judge Day was more than ever convinced of the ease with which he could dispose of the whole Spanish contention as to the protocol, and indignant over the improper use they had made of the obvious lapse in the yellow book. The effort to drag in the Cuban debt again so soon after having waived that question seemed to all of us extraordinary, if not offensive, and I finally said I would like to write something on that subject. The arguments from international law and otherwise concerning Manila troubled some of the Commissioners somewhat. Senator Frye repeated his belief that we seemed to have no right to hold the Spanish army there as prisoners. I dissented from this on the ground that we owed it to the insurgents not to turn the Spaniards loose upon them. Senator Davis [dissented] on the ground that since the protocol made no exemption of the soldiers, it was a fair inference that they were to be held with the city. Senator Davis finally said he believed he could make a good argument on the ground that the doctrine of military occupancy under an armistice would fully warrant everything we had done at Manila, and expressed his intention of writing a reply to that part of
the paper.

A summary of the Spanish document had been prepared by Mr. Moore to be telegraphed to the State Department; but we all felt that it was too brief, and I insisted especially that it gave no adequate idea of the offensive tone the Spaniards had assumed both with reference to the debt, and with reference to Merritt and Dewey in connection with the capture of Manila. I took out several of the most offensive sentences and insisted on incorporating them in the dispatch. Senator Gray at first protested, claiming that it was not fair to the Spaniards to single out the worst things they said, as if these fairly indicated the tone of the whole document. But after my additions had been incorporated and the dispatch was read to him, he professed entire satisfaction with it, and it was accordingly hurried off.