HC Deb 12 May 1896 vol 40 cc1142-3
Mr. JAMES O'KELLY (Roscommon, N.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether a British subject has been tried by court-martial in Cuba for the offence of smuggling arms and condemned to death; whether a recognised state of war exists in Cuba; and, if not, by what right has a British subject been tried before a Military tribunal; and, whether Her Majesty's Government has made representations to the Spanish Government as to the danger of executing a British subject by an illegal process; and, if not, whether the Foreign Secretary will at once communicate with the Spanish Government at Madrid and the British Consul-General in Havana, in order to prevent the execution of the British subject now a prisoner in the hands of the Spaniards?


Her Majesty's Consul-General at Havana has reported that one of the prisoners who have been tried by Court-martial and sentenced to death for an expedition to assist the insurrection in Cuba is a British subject named William Gildea. It is stated in the newspapers that he was naturalised as a United States citizen, in which case he would have lost his title to British nationality. Inquiry is being made on this point. Her Majesty's Government have been informed by Her Majesty's Chargéd' Affaires at Madrid that orders have been sent by the Spanish Government to suspend the execution of the sentence passed on the prisoners, and to send home immediately all the papers connected with the case for examination by the Supreme Military Tribunal at Madrid. Her Majesty's Government must await further information before deciding whether any representations can properly be made on the prisoner's behalf.