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No. 246.]

Mr. Springer to Mr. Rockhill.

UNITED STATES CONSULATE-GENERAL, Habana, December 3, 1896. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your cablegram, reading:

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 28.

I do not believe that protest at this preliminary stage of proceedings against "Competitor" prisoners can be of any avail. Obtain conclusions of preliminary inquest as soon as they are reached and cable Department. Watch all proceedings carefully.

ROCKHILL.

With respect to the prisoners, after the usual formalities a clerk from this office was allowed to visit them yesterday morning. He reports that Laborde returned from the hospital on November 26. All the prisoners had again made declarations before the military judge of instruction, Laborde having declared four times and Melton three times. Nothing is yet known respecting the conclusions of the preliminary examination. Their treatment and food continue the same. I am, etc.,

No. 251.1

JOSEPH A. SPRINGER.

Mr. Springer to Mr. Rockhill.

UNITED STATES CONSULATE-GENERAL,
Habana, December 5, 1896.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that I received from Mr. William L. Delaney, of Key West, an affidavit, made at Aurora, Ark., respecting the American citizenship of D. W. Melton, and birth of Ona Melton, one of the Competitor prisoners, which I sent to the Governor-General to be transmitted to the court having cognizance of the case of said Competitor prisoners.

I am, etc.,

No. 260.]

JOSEPH A. SPRINGER.

Mr. Springer to Mr. Rockhill.
UNITED STATES CONSULATE-GENERAL,
Habana, December 15, 1896.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a letter received from Alfred Laborde, one of the Competitor prisoners, respecting certain phases of his examination by the authorities in the prosecution of the case against him.

I am, etc.,

JOSEPH A. SPRINGER.

[Inclosure in No. 260.]
Mr. Laborde to Mr. Springer.

FORT CABAÑA, December 11, 1896. SIR: I beg to inform you that yesterday afternoon I was ordered by the actual military judge of the prosecution of the Competitor's crew to dress a military's suit, with the purpose of being recognized by some one. Of course I formally protested of such act and refused to be disguised that way. He answered immediately that he was going to compel me by force, and fearing to become the victim of his brutality, I obeyed. As he did not allow my protest to be considered, I hurry to let you know this, and afford a proof in the way justice is dealt with me.

I am, sir, your humble servant,

ALFRED LABORDE, Master.

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