HC Deb 21 July 1898 vol 62 cc647-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any confirmation of the statement that Mr. W. T. Halstead, special correspondent for the New York Herald was re-arrested and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment by the Spanish authorities at Porto Rico, not, as at first alleged, for a repetition of the offence of photographing the fortifications of San Juan, but for the original offence for which he had previously been arrested and discharged; and whether, if this statement be confirmed, Her Majesty's Government have taken any steps to procure the release of Mr. Halstead; and, if so, what success has attended their efforts?


No official confirmation of this statement has been received, but telegraphic instructions have been sent to Her Majesty's Consul at San Juan that if the report is true he is to apply to the Captain-General at once for Mr. Halstead's release on the ground that he has been sufficiently punished and that it is contrary to usage to re-arrest and sentence a prisoner for an offence upon which he has already been discharged. Her Majesty's Ambassador at Madrid has also on more than one occasion represented the case to the Spanish, Government, who are inquiring into it.