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BELLIGERENT RIGHTS FOR CUBA.
HON. J. T. MORGAN,
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
January 29, February 5, 20, 24, 25, March 16, 17, 23, 24, and May 6, 1896; April 6, 7, 8, 13, and May 4, 1897.
Mr. PRESIDENT: I am directed by the Committee on Foreign Relations to report back a number of petitions on the subject of recognizing the belligerent rights of Cuba; also a joint resolution offered by the Senator from Florida [Mr. CALL], Senate joint resolution 4, declaring that a state of public war exists in Cuba, and that belligerent rights be accorded to the Cuban Government.
I report back as a substitute two resolutions, which I will read, accompanied by a written report. The report is brief, and explains the attitude of the committee toward these questions. I will read it:
The Congress of the United States, deeply regretting the unhappy state of hostilities existing in Cuba, which has again been the result of the demand of a large number of the native population of that island for its independence, in a spirit of respect and regard for the welfare of both countries, earnestly desires that the security of life and property and the establishment of permanent peace and of a government that is satisfactory to the people of Cuba should be accomplished.
And to the extent that the people of Cuba are seeking the rights of local self-government for domestic purposes, the Congress of the United States expresses its earnest sympathy with them. The Congress would also welcome with satisfaction the concession by Spain of complete sovereignty to the people of that island, and would cheerfully give to such a voluntary concession the cordial support of the United States. The near proximity of Cuba to the frontier of the United States, and the fact that it is universally regarded as a part of the continental system of America, identifies that island so closely with the political and commercial welfare of our people that Congress can not be indifferent to the fact that civil war is flagrant among the people of Cuba.
Nor can we longer overlook the fact that the destructive character of this war is doing serious harm to the rights and interests of our people on the island, and to our lawful commerce, the protection and freedom of which is safeguarded by treaty obligations. In the recent past and in former years, when internal wars have been waged for long periods and with results that were disastrous to Cuba and injurious to Spain, the Government of the United States has always observed, with perfect faith, all of its duties toward the belligerents.
It was a difficult task thus forced upon the United States, but it was performed with vigor, impartiality, and justice, in the hope that Spain would so ameliorate the condition of the Cuban people as to give them peace, contentment, and prosperity. This desirable result has not been accomplished. Its failure has not resulted from any interference on the part of our people or Government with the people or Government of Cuba.
The hospitality which our treaties, the laws of nations, and the laws of Christianity have extended to Cuban refugees in the United States has caused distrust on the part of the Spanish Government as to the fidelity of our Government to its obligations of neutrality in the frequent insurrections of the people of Cuba against Spanish authority. This distrust has often become a source of serious annoyance to our people, and has led to a spirit of retaliation toward Spanish authority in Cuba, thus giving rise to frequent controversies between the two countries. The absence of responsible government in Cuba, with powers adequate to deal directly with questions be