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the manner in which these claims were presented was not such as to promote a calm discussion of the questions involved; but this may well be attributed to the excitement and indignation which the crime naturally evoked. The views of this Government as to its obligations to foreigners domiciled here were fully stated in the correspondence, as well as its purpose to make an investigation of the affair with a view to determine whether there were present any circumstances that could, under such rules of duty as we had indicated, create an obligation upon the United States.
The temporary absence of a Minister Plenipotentiary of Italy at this Capital has retarded the further correspondence, but it is not doubted that a friendly conclusion is attainable.
Some suggestions growing out of this unhappy incident are worthy the attention of Congress. It would, I believe, be entirely competent for Congress to make offenses against the treaty rights of foreigners domiciled in the United States cognizable in the Federal courts. This has not, however, been done, and the Federal officers and courts have no power in such cases to intervene either for the protection of a foreign citizen or for the punishment of his slayers. It seems to me to follow, in this state of the law, that the officers of the State charged with police and judicial powers in such cases must, in the consideration of international questions growing out of such incidents, be regarded in such sense as Federal agents as to make this Government answerable for their acts in cases where it would be answerable if the United States had used its constitutional power to define and punish crimes against treaty rights.
The civil war in Chile, which began in January last, was continued, but fortunately with infrequent and not important armed collisions, until August 28, when the Congressional forces landed near Valparaiso and, after a bloody engagement, captured that city. President Balmaceda at once recognized that his cause was lost, and a provisional government was speedily established by the victorious party. Our minister was promptly directed to recognize and put himself in communication with this Government so soon as it should have established its de facto character, which was done. During the pendency of this civil contest frequent indirect appeals were made to this Government to extend belligerent rights to the insurgents and to give audience to their representatives. This was declined, and that policy was pursued throughout, which this Government, when wrenched by civil war, so strenuously insisted upon on the part of European nations. The Itata, an armed vessel com
manded by a naval officer of the insurgent fleet, manned by its sailors and with soldiers on board, was seized under process of the United States court at San Diego, California, for a violation of our neutrality laws. While in the custody of an officer of the court the vessel was forcibly wrested from his control and put to sea. It would have been inconsistent with the dignity and selfrespect of this Government not to have insisted that the Itata should be returned to San Diego to abide the judgment of the court. This was so clear to the Junta of the Congressional party, established at Iquique, that, before the arrival of the Itata at that port, the Secretary of Foreign Relations of the Provisional Government addressed to Rear-Admiral Brown, commanding the United States naval forces, a communication, from which the following is an extract:
“The Provisional Government has learned by the cablegrams of the Associated Press that the transport Itata, detained in San Diego by order of the United States for taking on board munitions of war and in possession of the marshal, left the port, carrying on board this official, who was landed at a point near the coast, and then continued her voyage.
If this news be correct, this Government would deplore the conduct of the Itata, and, as an evidence that it is not disposed to support or agree to the infraction of the laws of the United States, the undersigned takes advantage of the personal relations you have been good enough to maintain with him since your arrival in this port to declare to you that as soon as she is within reach of our orders his Government will put the Itata, with the arms and munitions she took on board in San Diego, at the disposition of the United States."
A trial in the district court of the United States for the southern district of California has recently resulted in a decision holding, among other things, that, inasmuch as the Congressional party had not been recognized as a belligerent, the acts done in its interest could not be a violation of our neutrality laws. From this judgment the United States has appealed, not that the condemnation of the vessel is a matter of importance, but that we may know what the present state of our law is; for, if this construction of the statute is correct, there is obvious necessity for re sision and amendment.
During the progress of the war in Chile this Government tendered its good offices to bring about a peaceful adjustment, and it was at one time hoped that a good result might be reached; but in this we were disappointed.
The instructions to our naval officers and to our minister at Santiago, from the first to the last of this struggle, enjoined upon them the most impartial treatment and absolute non-interference. I am satisfied that these instructions were observed and that our representatives were always watchful to use their influence impartially in the interest of humanity, and, on more than one occasion, did so effectively. We could not forget, however, that this Government was in diplomatic relations with the then established Government of Chile, as it is now in such relations with the successor of that Government. I am quite sure that President Montt, who has, under circumstances of promise for the peace of Chile, been installed as President of that Republic, will not desire that, in the unfortunate event of any revolt against his authority, the policy of this Government should be other than that which we have recently observed. No official complaint of the conduct of our minister or of our naval officers during the struggle has been presented to this Government; and it is a matter of regret that so many of our own people should have given ear to unofficial charges and complaints that manifestly had their origin in rival interests and in a wish to pervert the relations of the United States with Chile.
The collapse of the government of Balmaceda brought about a condition which is unfortunately too familiar in the history of the Central and South American States. With the overthrow of the Balmaceda government, he and many of his councilors and officers became at once fugitives for their lives and appealed to the commanding officers of the foreign naval vessels in the harbor of Valparaiso and to the resident foreign ministers at Santiago for asylum. This asylum was freely given, according to my information, by the naval vessels of several foreign powers and by several of the legations at Santiago. The American minister, as well as his colleagues, acting upon the impulses of humanity, extended asylum to political refugees whose lives were in peril. I have not been willing to direct the surrender of such of these persons as are still in the American legation without suitable conditions.
It is believed that the Government of Chile is not in a position, in view of the precedents with which it has been connected, to broadly deny the right of asylum, and the correspondence has not thus far presented any such denial. The treatment of our minister for a time was such as to call for a decided protest, and it was very gratifying to observe that unfriendly measures, which were undoubtedly the result of the prevailing excitement, were at once rescinded or suitably relaxed.
On the 16th of October an event occurred in Valparaiso so serious and tragic in its circumstances and results as to very justly excite the indignation of our people and to call for prompt and decided action on the part of this Government. A considerable number of the sailors of the United States steamship Baltimore, then in the harbor of Valparaiso, being upon shore leave and unarıned, were assaulted by armed men nearly simultaneously in different localities in the city. One petty officer was killed outright and seven or eight seamen were seriously wounded, one of whom has since died. So savage and brutal was the assault that several of our sailors received inore than two, and one as inany as eighteen, stab wounds. An investigation of the affair was promptly made by a board of officers of the Baltimore, and their report shows that these assaults were unprovoked, that our men were conducting themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner, and that some of the police of the city took part in the assault and used their weapons with fatal effect, while a few others, with some well-disposed citizens, endeavored to protect our men. Thirty-six of our sailors were arrested, and some of them, while being taken to prison, were cruelly beaten and inaltreated. The fact that they were all discharged, no criminal charge being lodged against any one of them, shows very clearly that they were innocent of any breach of the peace.
So far as I have yet been able to learn no other explanation of this bloody work has been suggested than that it had its origin in hostility to these men as sailors of the United States, wearing the uniform of their Government, and not in any individual act or personal animosity. The attention of the Chilean Government was at once called to this affair, and a statement of the facts obtained by the investigation we had conducted was submitted, accompanied by a request to be advised of any other or qualifying facts in the possession of the Chilean Government that inight tend to relieve this affair of the appearance of an insult to this Government. The Chilean Government was also advised that if such qualifying facts did not exist this Government would confidently expect full and prompt reparation.
It is to be regretted that the reply of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Government was couched in an offensive tone. To this no response has been made. This Government is now awaiting the result of an investigation which has been conducted by the criminal court at Valparaiso. It is reported unofficially that the investigation is about completed, and it is expected that the result will soon be communicated to this Government, together with some adequate and satisfactory response to the note by which the attention of Chile was called to this incident. If these just expectations should be disappointed or further needless delay intervene, I will, by a special message, bring this matter again to the attention of Congress for such action as may be necessary. The entire correspondence with the Government of Chile will at an early day be submitted to Congress.
I renew the recommendation of my special message, dated January 16, 1890, for the adoption of the necessary legislation to enable this Government to apply in the case of Sweden and Norway the same rule in respect to the levying of tonnage dues as was claimed and secured to the shipping of the United States in 1828 under article 8 of the treaty of 1827.
The adjournment of the Senate without action on the pending acts for the suppression of the slave traffic in Africa and for the reform of the revenue tariff of the Independent State of the Congo left this Government unable to exchange those acts on the date fixed, July 2, 1891. A modus vivendi has been concluded by which the power of the Congo State to levy duties on imports is left unimpaired, and, by agreement of all the signatories to the general slavetrade act, the time for the exchange of ratifications on the part of the United States has been extended to February 2, 1892.
The late outbreak against foreigners in various parts of the Chinese Empire has been a cause of deep concern in view of the numerous establishments of our citizens in the interior of that country. This Government can do no less than insist upon a continuance of the protective and punitory measures which the Chinese Government has heretofore applied. No effort will be omitted to protect our citizens peaceably sojourning in China, but recent unofficial information indicates that what was at first regarded as an outbreak of mob violence against foreigners has assumed the larger form of an insurrection against public order.
The Chinese Government has declined to receive Mr. Blair as the Minister of the United States on the ground that, as a participant, while a Senator, in the enactment of the existing legislation against the introduction of Chinese laborers, he has become unfriendly and objectionable to China. I have felt constrained to point out to the Chinese Government the untenableness of this position, which seems to rest as much on the unacceptability of our legislation as on that of the person chosen, and which, if admitted, would practically debar the selection of any representative so long as the existing laws remain in force.
You will be called upon to consider the expediency of making special provision by law for the temporary admission of some Chinese artisans and laborers in connection with the exhibit of