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vessels by insurgents in Honduras and the subsequent denial by the successful Government of commercial privileges to those vessels on that account.
A notable part of the southeasterly coast of Liberia between the Cavally and San Pedro rivers, which for nearly half a century has been generally recognized as belonging to that Republic by cession and purchase, has been claimed to be under the protectorate of France in virtue of agreements entered into by the native tribes, over whom Liberia's control has not been well maintained.
More recently negotiations between the Liberian representative and the French Government resulted in the signature at Paris of a treaty whereby as an adjustment certain Liberian territory is ceded to France. This convention at last advices had not been ratified by the Liberian Legislature and Executive.
Feeling a sympathetic interest in the fortunes of the little Commonwealth, the establishment and development of which were largely aided by the benevolence of our countrymen, and which constitutes the only inde pendently sovereign state on the west coast of Africa, this Government has suggested to the French Government its earnest concern lest territorial impairment in Liberia should take place without her unconstrained consent.
Our relations with Mexico continue to be of that close and friendly nature which should always characterize the intercourse of two neighboring republics.
The work of relocating the monuments marking the boundary between the two countries from Paso del Norte to the Pacific is now nearly completed.
The commission recently organized under the conventions of 1884 and 1889 it is expected will speedily settle disputes growing out of the shifting currents of the Rio Grande River east of El Paso.
Nicaragua has recently passed through two revolutions, the party at first successful having in turn been displaced by another. Our newly appointed minister by his timely good offices aided in a peaceful adjustment of the controversy involved in the first conflict. The large American interests established in that country in connection with the Nicaragua Canal were not molested.
The canal company has unfortunately become financially seriously embarrassed, but a generous treatment had been extended to it by the Government of Nicaragua. The United States are especially interested in the successful achievement of the vast undertaking this company has in charge. That it should be accomplished under distinctively American auspices, and its enjoyment assured not only to the vessels of this country as a channel of communication between our Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, but to the ships of the world in the interests of civilization, is a proposition which, in my judgment, does not admit of question.
Guatemala has also been visited by the political vicissitudes which
have afflicted her Central American neighbors, but the dissolution of its Legislature and the proclamation of a dictatorship have been unattended with civil war.
An extradition treaty with Norway has recently been exchanged and proclaimed.
The extradition treaty with Russia signed in March, 1887, and amended and confirmed by the Senate in February last, was duly proclaimed last June.
Led by a desire to compose differences and contribute to the restoration of order in Samoa, which for some years previous had been the scene of conflicting foreign pretensions and native strife, the United States, departing from its policy consecrated by a century of observance, entered four years ago into the treaty of Berlin, thereby becoming jointly bound with England and Germany to establish and maintain Malietoa Laupepa as King of Samoa. The treaty provided for a foreign court of justice; a municipal council for the district of Apia, with a foreign president thereof, authorized to advise the King; a tribunal for the settlement of native and foreign land titles, and a revenue system for the Kingdom. It entailed upon the three powers that part of the cost of the new Gov. ernment not met by the revenue of the islands.
Early in the life of this triple protectorate the native dissensions it was designed to quell revived. Rivals defied the authority of the new King, refusing to pay taxes and demanding the election of a ruler by native suffrage. Mataafa, an aspirant to the throne, and a large number of his native adherents were in open rebellion on one of the islands. Quite lately, at the request of the other powers and in fulfillment of its treaty obligation, this Government agreed to unite in a joint military movement of such dimensions as would probably secure the surrender of the insurgents without bloodshed.
The war ship Philadelphia was accordingly put under orders for Samoa, but before she arrived the threatened conflict was precipitated by King Malietoa's attack upon the insurgent camp. Mataafa was defeated and a number of his men killed. The British and German naval vessels present subsequently secured the surrender of Mataafa and his adherents. The defeated chief and ten of his principal supporters were deported to a German island of the Marshall group, where they are held as prisoners under the joint responsibility and cost of the three powers.
This incident and the events leading up to it signally illustrate the impolicy of entangling alliances with foreign powers.
More than fifteen years ago this Government preferred a claim against Spain in behalf of one of our citizens for property seized and confiscated in Cuba. In 1886 the claim was adjusted, Spain agreeing to pay unconditionally, as a fair indemnity, $1,500,000. A respectful but earnest note was recently addressed to the Spanish Government insisting upon prompt fulfillment of its long-neglected obligation.
Other claims preferred by the United States against Spain in behalf of American citizens for property confiscated in Cuba have been pending for many years.
At the time Spain's title to the Caroline Islands was confirmed by arbi. tration that Government agreed that the rights which had been acquired there by American missionaries should be recognized and respected. is sincerely hoped that this pledge will be observed by allowing our missionaries, who were removed from Ponape to a place of safety by a United States war ship during the late troubles between the Spanish garrisor and the natives, to return to their field of usefulness.
The reproduced caravel Santa Maria, built by Spain and sent to the Columbian Exposition, has been presented to the United States in token of amity and in commemoration of the event it was designed to celebrate. I recommend that in accepting this gift Congress make grateful recognition of the sincere friendship which prompted it.
Important matters have demanded attention in our relatious with the Ottoman Porte.
The firing and partial destruction by an unrestrained mob of one of the school buildings of Anatolia College, established by citizens of the United States at Marsovan, and the apparent indifference of the Turkish Government to the outrage, notwithstanding the complicity of some of its officials, called for earnest remonstrance, which was followed by promise of reparation and punishment of the offenders.
Indemnity for the injury to the buildings has already been paid, permission to rebuild given, registration of the school property in the name of the American owners secured, and efficient protection guaranteed.
Information received of maltreatment suffered by an inoffensive Amer. ican woman engaged in missionary work in Turkish Koordistan was followed by such representations to the Porte as resulted in the issuance of orders for the punishment of her assailants, the removal of a delinquent official, and the adoption of measures for the protection of our citizens engaged in mission and other lawful work in that quarter.
Turkey complains that her Armenian subjects obtain citizenship in this country not to identify themselves in good faith with our people, but with the intention of returning to the land of their birth and there engaging in sedition. This complaint is not wholly without foundation. A journal published in this country in the Armenian language openly counsels its readers to arm, organize, and participate in movements for the subversion of Turkish authority in the Asiatic provinces. The Ottoman Government has announced its intention to expel from its dominions Armenians who have obtained naturalization in the United States since 1868.
The right to exclude any or all classes of aliens is an attribute of sovereignty. It is a right asserted and, to a limited extent, enforced by the United States, with the sanction of our highest court. There being no
naturalization treaty between the United States and Turkey, our minister at Constantinople has been instructed that, while recognizing the right of that Government to enforce its declared policy against naturalized Armenians, he is expected to protect them from unnecessary harshness of treatment.
In view of the impaired financial resources of Venezuela consequent upon the recent revolution there, a modified arrangement for the satisfaction of the awards of the late revisory claims commission, in progressive installments, has been assented to, and payments are being regularly made thereunder.
The boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana is yet unadjusted. A restoration of diplomatic intercourse between that Republic and Great Britain and reference of the question to impartial arbitration would be a most gratifying consummation.
The ratification by Venezuela of the convention for the arbitration of the long-deferred claim of the Venezuelan Transportation Company is awaited.
It is hardly necessary for me to state that the questions arising from our relations with Hawaii have caused serious embarrassment. Just prior to the installation of the present Administration the existing Government of Hawaii had been suddenly overthrown and a treaty of annexation had been negotiated between the Provisional Government of the islands and the United States and submitted to the Senate for ratification. This treaty I withdrew for examination and dispatched Hon. James H. Blount, of Georgia, to Honolulu as a special commissioner to make an impartial investigation of the circumstances attending the change of government and of all the conditions bearing upon the subject of the treaty. After a thorough and exhaustive examination Mr. Blount submitted to me his report, showing beyond all question that the constitutional Government of Hawaii had been subverted with the active aid of our representative to that Government and through the intimidation caused by the presence of an armed naval force of the United States, which was landed for that purpose at the instance of our minister. Upon the facts developed it seemed to me the only honorable course for our Government to pursue was to undo the wrong that had been done by those representing us and to restore as far as practicable the status existing at the time of our forcible intervention. With a view of accomplishing this result within the constitutional limits of executive power, and recognizing all our obligations and responsibilities growing out of any changed conditions brought about by our unjustifiable interference, our present minister at Honolulu has received appropriate instructions to that end. Thus far no information of the accomplishment of any definite results has been received from him.
Additional advices are soon expected. When received they will be promptly sent to the Congress, together with all other information at hand, accompanied by a special Executive message fully detailing all the facts necessary to a complete understanding of the case and presenting a history of all the material events leading up to the present situation.
By a concurrent resolution passed by the Senate February 14, 1890, and by the House of Representatives on the 3d of April following the President was requested to "invite from time to time, as fit occasions may arise, negotiations with any government with which the United States has or may have diplomatic relations, to the end that any differences or disputes arising between the two governments which can not be adjusted by diplomatic agency may be referred to arbitration and be peaceably adjusted by such means." April 18, 1890, the International American Conference of Washington by resolution expressed the wish that all controversies between the republics of America and the nations of Europe might be settled by arbitration, and recommended that the government of each nation represented in that conference should communicate this wish to all friendly powers. A favorable response has been received from Great Britain in the shape of a resolution adopted by Parliament July 16 last, cordially sympathizing with the purpose in view and expressing the hope that Her Majesty's Government will lend ready cooperation to the Government of the United States upon the basis of the concurrent resolution above quoted.
It affords me signal pleasure to lay this parliamentary resolution before the Congress and to express my sincere gratification that the sentiment of two great and kindred nations is thus authoritatively manifested in favor of the rational and peaceable settlement of international quarrels by honorable resort to arbitration.
Since the passage of the act of March 3, 1893, authorizing the President to raise the grade of our envoys to correspond with the rank in which foreign countries accredit their agents here, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany have conferred upon their representatives at this capital the title of ambassador, and I have responded by accrediting the agents of the United States in those countries with the same title. A like elevation of mission is announced by Russia, and when made will be similarly met. This step fittingly comports with the position the United States hold in the family of nations.
During my former Administration I took occasion to recommend a recast of the laws relating to the consular service, in order that it might become a more efficient agency in the promotion of the interests it was intended to subserve. The duties and powers of consuls have been expanded with the growing requirements of our foreign trade. Discharging important duties affecting our commerce and American citizens abroad, and in certain countries exercising judicial functions, these officers should be men of character, intelligence, and ability.
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