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It has been devolved upon the United States' Minister at Peking, as Dean of the Diplomatic Body, and in the absence of a Representative of Sweden and Norway, to press upon the Chinese Government reparation for the recent murder of Swedish missionaries at Sung-pu. This question is of vital interest to all countries whose citizens engage in missionary work in the interior.
By Article XII of the General Act of Brussels, signed the 2nd July, 1890, for the suppression of the Slave Trade and the restriction of certain injurious commerce in the Independent State of the Congo and in the adjacent zone of Central Africa, the United States and the other Signatory Powers agreed to adopt appropriate means for the punishment of persons selling arms and ammunition to the natives and for the confiscation of the inhibited articles. It being the plain duty of this Government to aid in suppressing the nefarious traffic, impairing as it does the praiseworthy and civilizing efforts now in progress in thắt region, I recommend that an Act be passed prohibiting the sale of arms and intoxicants to natives in the regulated zone by our citizens.
Costa Rica has lately testified its friendliness by surrendering to the United States, in the absence of a Convention of Extradition, but upon duly submitted evidence of criminality, a noted fugitive from justice. It is trusted that the negotiation of a Treaty with that country to meet recurring cases of this kind will soon be accomplished. In my opinion, Treaties for reciprocal extradition should be concluded with all those countries with which the United States has not already Conventional arrangements of that character.
I have deemed it fitting to express to the Governments of Costa Rica and Colombia the kindly desire of the United States to see their pending boundary dispute finally closed by arbitration in conformity with the spirit of the Treaty concluded between them some years ago.
Our relations with the French Republic continue to be intimate and cordial. I sincerely hope that the Extradition Treaty with that country, as amended by the Senate, will soon be operative.
While occasional questions affecting naturalized citizens returning to the land of their birth have arisen in our intercourse with Germany, our relations with that country continue satisfactory.
The questions affecting our relations with Great Britain have been treated in a spirit of friendliness.
Negotiations are in progress between the two Governments with a view to such concurrent action as will make the award and Regulations agreed upon by the Behring Sea Tribunal of Arbitration practically effective, and it is not doubted that Great Britain will co-operate freely with this country for the accomplishment of that purpose.
The dispute growing out of the discriminating tolls imposed in the Welland Canal, upon cargoes of cereals bound to and from the lake ports of the United States, was adjusted by the substitution of a more equitable schedule of charges, and my predecessor thereupon suspended his Proclamation imposing discriminating tolls upon British transit through our canals.
A request for additions to the list of extraditable offences covered by the existing Treaty between the two countries is under consideration.
During the past year an American citizen, employed in a subordinate commercial position in Hayti, after suffering a protracted imprisonment on an unfounded charge of smuggling, was finally liberated on judicial examination. Upon urgent representation to the Haytian Government, a suitable indemnity was paid to the sufferer.
By a law of Hayti, a sailing-vessel, baving discharged her cargo. is refused clearance until the duties on such cargo have been paid. The hardship of this measure upon American ship-owners who conduct the bulk of the carrying trade of that country has been insisted on with a view of securing the removal of this cause of complaint.
Upon receiving authentic information of the firing upon an American mail-steamer touching at the port of Amapala, because her captain refused to deliver up a passenger in transit from Nicaragua to Guatemala upon demand of the military authorities of Honduras, our Minister to that country under instructions protested against the wanton act and demanded satisfaction. The Government of Honduras, actuated by a sense of justice, and in a spirit of the utmost friendship, promptly disavowed the illegal conduct of its officers, and expressed sincere regret for the occur rence.
It is confidently anticipated that a satisfactory adjustment will soon be reached of the questions arising out of the seizure and use of American vessels by insurgents in Honduras, and the subsequeat denial by the successful Government of commercial privileges to those vessels on that account.
A potable part of the south-easterly 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 independently Sovereign State on the West Coast of Africa, this Government has suggested to the French Government its earnest concern lest territorial impairment iu 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 neighbouring 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 has 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 sea-boards, 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 bas also been visited by the political vicissitudes wbich have afflicted her Central American neighbours; 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 Government 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 fulfilment 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 fur 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 were held as prisoners under the just 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 dollars. A respectful but earnest note was recently addressed to the Spanish Government insisting upon prompt fulfilment of its long-neglected obligation.
Other claims, preferred by the United States against Spain, in behalf of American citizens for property confiscated in Cuba, hare been pending for many years.
At the time Spain's title to the Caroline Islands was confirmed by arbitration, that Government agreed that the rights which had been acquired there by American missionaries should be recognized and respected. It 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 garrison and the natives, to return to their field of usefulness.
The reproduced caraval, 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 bave demanded attention in our relations 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 promises of reparation and punishment of the offenders.
Indemnity for the injury to the buildings bas 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 American 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
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