HC Deb 11 July 1898 vol 61 cc474-5
MR. PRYCE-JONES (Montgomery Boroughs)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that W. Freeman Halstead a native of Canada, holding a British passport granted by the Governor or Jamaica, was arrested in February last in San Juan, Porto Rico, while acting as special correspondent for the New York Herald, and that, after being imprisoned for over two months without trial, he was sentenced by court-martial to nine years' imprisonment as a spy; and whether any, and, if so, what steps have been taken to secure his release or a commutation of his sentence?


The facts that have been reported to us about the case of Mr. Halstead are as follows: He was arrested at San Juan in the early part of the year for photographing the fortifications of San Juan, Port Rico, but was released on its being ascertained that he was a British subject. A short time after he was again discovered photographing the forts and guns, and was re-arrested, tried by court-martial, and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment. Further reports have recently been received from Her Majesty's Consul and, as it appears from these that the conditions of Mr. Halstead's imprisonment have been altered in a manner which is likely to seriously affect his health, Her Majesty's Ambassador at Madrid has been instructed to represent the case to the Spanish Government, with a view to his being treated in a more humane manner during his confinement, and to express their hope that there may be some eventual mitigation of the term of the sentence imposed upon him.