Spain to Use Privateers
An Official Decree Declares that She is Determined to Reserve This Right
A STATE OF WAR DECLARED
Regulations of the Declaration of Paris to be Adhered to With the Exception
of That Relating to Privateering
Madrid, April 24 - The following decree was gazetted to-day:
"Diplomatic relations are broken off between Spain and the United States,
and, the state of war being
begun between the two countries, numerous questions of international law arise, which must be
precisely defined, chiefly because the injustice and provocation come from our adversaries, and it is
they who, by their detestable conduct have caused this grave conflict.
"We have observed with the strictest fidelity the principles of international
law, and have shown the
most scrupulous respect for morality and the right of government. There is an opinion that the fact that
we have not adhered to the Declaration of respecting the principles therein enunciated. The
principle Spain unquestionably refused to admit then was the abolition of privateering. The
Government now considers it most indispensable to make absolute reserve on this point, in order to
maintain our liberty of action and uncontested right to have recourse to privateering when we consider
it expedient, by organizing immediately a force of cruisers, auxiliary to the navy, which will be
composed of vessels of our mercantile marine, and with equal distinction in the work of our navy."
The rules which Spain will observe during the war are outlined as follows:
"Clause 1. - The state of war existing between Spain and the United States
annuls the treaty of
peace and comity of Oct. 27, 1895, and the protocol of Jan. 12, 1877, and all other
agreements, treaties, or conventions in force between the two countries.
"Clause 2. - From the publication of these presents, thirty days are granted
to all ships of the
United States, anchored to our harbors, to take their departure free of hindrance.
"Clause 3. - Notwithstanding that Spain has not adhered to the Declaration
of Paris, the
Government, respecting the principles of the law of nations, proposed to observe, and hereby orders
to be observed, the following regulations of maritime law:
"First - Neutral flags cover the enemy's merchandise, except contraband of war.
"Second- Neutral merchandise, except contraband of war, is not seizable under the enemy's flag.
"Third - A blockade, to be obligatory, must be effective, viz.: It must
be maintained with sufficient
force to prevent access to the enemy's littoral.
"Fourth - The Spanish Government, upholding its right to grant letters
of marque, will at present
confine itself to organizing, with the vessels of the mercantile marine, a force of auxiliary cruisers,
which will co-operate with the navy, according to the needs of the campaign, and will be under naval
"Fifth - In order to capture the enemy's ships and confiscate the enemy's
contraband of war under whatever form, the auxiliary cruisers will exercise the right of search on
the high seas, and in the waters under the enemy's jurisdiction, in accordance with international law
and the regulations which will be published.
"Sixth - Defines what is included in contraband of war, naming weapons,
engines, and in general, all the appliances used in war.
"Seventh - To be regarded and judged as pirates, with all the rigor of
the law are Captains, masters,
officers, and two-thirds of the crew of vessels which, not being American, shall commit acts of
war against Spain, even if provided with letters of marque issued by the United States."