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officials during the past season towards our fishermen has been such as to seriously threaten their continuance.
Although disappointed in my efforts to secure a satisfactory settlement of the fishery question, negotiations are still pending, with reasonable hope that before the close of the present session of Congress announcement may be made that an acceptable conclusion has been reached.
As at an early day there may be laid before Congress the correspondence of the Department of State in relation to this important subject, so that the history of the past fishing season may be fully disclosed and the action and the attitude of the Administration clearly comprehended, a more extended reference is not deemed necessary in this communication.
The recommendation, submitted last year, that provision be made for a preliminary reconnoissance of the conventional boundary line between Alaska and British Columbia is renewed.
I express my unhesitating conviction that the intimacy of our relations with Hawaii should be emphasized. As a result of the reciprocity treaty of 1875, those islands, on the highway of Oriental and Australasian traffic, are virtually an outpost of American commerce and a stepping-stone to the growing trade of the Pacific. The Polynesian Island groups have been so absorbed by other and more powerful governments, that the Hawaiian Islands are left almost alone in the enjoyment of their autonomy, which it is important for us should be preserved. Our treaty is now terminable on one year's notice, but propositions to abrogate it would be, in my judgment, most ill-advised. The paramount influence we have there acquired, once relinquished, could only with difficulty be regained, and a valuable ground of vantage for ourselves inight be converted into a stronghold for our commercial competitors. I earnestly recommend that the existing treaty stipulations be extended for a further term of seven years.
A recently signed treaty to this end is now before the Senate.
The importance of telegraphic communication between those islands and the United States should not be overlooked.
The question of a general revision of the treaties of Japan is again under discussion at Tokio. As the first to open relations with that empire, and as the nation in most direct commercial relation with Japan, the United States have lost no opportunity to testify their consistent friendship by supporting the just clainis of Japan to autonomy and independence among nations.
A treaty of extradition between the United States and Japan, the first concluded by that empire, has been lately proclaimed.
The weakness of Liberia and the difficulty of maintaining effective sovereignty over its outlying districts, have exposed that republic to encroachment. It cannot be forgotten that this distant community is an offshoot of our own system, owing its origin to the associated benevolence of American citizens, whose praiseworthy efforts to create a nucleus of civilization in the dark continent have commanded respect and sympathy everywhere, especially in this country. Although a formal protectorate over Liberia is contrary to our traditional policy, the moral right and duty of the United States to assist in all proper ways in the maintenance of its integrity is obvious, and has been consistently announced during nearly half a century. I recommend that, in the reorganization of our Navy, a small ves no longer found adequate to our needs, be presented to Liberia, to be employed by it in the protection of its coastwise revenues.
The encouraging development of beneficial and intimate relations between the United States and Mexico, which has been so marked within the past few years, is at once the occasion of congratulation and of friendly solicitude. I urgently renew my former representation of the need of speedy legislation by Congress to carry into effect the Reciprocity Commercial Convention of January 20, 1883.
Our commercial treaty of 1831 with Mexico was terminated, according to its provisions, in 1881, upon notification given by Mexico in pursuance of her announced policy of recasting all her commercial treaties. Mexico has since concluded with several foreign governments new treaties of commerce and navigation, defining alien rights of trade, property, and residence, treatment of shipping, consular privileges, and the like. Our yet unexecuted Reciprocity Convention of 1883 covers none of these points, the settlement of which is so necessary to good relationship. I propose to initiate with Mexico negotiations for a new and enlarged treaty of commerce and navigation.
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate, I communicated to that body on August 2d last, and also to the House of Representatives, the correspondence in the case of A. K. Cutting, an American citizen, then imprisoned in Mexico, charged with the commission of a penal offense in Texas, of which a Mexican citizen was the object.
After demand had been made for his release the charge against him was amended so as to include a violation of Mexican law within Mexican territory.
This joinder of alleged offenses, one within and the other exterior to Mexico, induced me to order a special investigation of the casepending which Mr. Cutting was released.
The incident has, however, disclosed a claim of jurisdiction by Mexico, novel in our history, whereby any offense, committed any. where by a foreigner, penal in the place of its commission, and of which a Mexican is the object, may, if the offender be found in Mexico, be there tried and punished in conformity with Mexican laws.
This jurisdiction was sustained by the courts of Mexico in the Cutting case, and approved by the executive branch of that government, upon the authority of a Mexican statute. The appellate court, in releasing Mr. Cutting, decided that the abandonment of the complaint by the Mexican citizen aggrieved by the alleged crime (a libelous publication), removed the basis of further prosecution, and also declared justice to have been satisfied by the enforcement of a small part of the original sentence.
The admission of such a pretension would be attended with serious results, invasive of the jurisdiction of this Government, and highly dangerous to our citizens in foreign lands; therefore I have denied it, and protested against its attempted exercise, as unwarranted by the principles of law and international usages.
A sovereign has jurisdiction of offenses which take effect within his territory, although concoated or commenced outside of it; but the right is denied of any foreign sovereign to punish a citizen of the United States for an offense consummated on our soil in violation of our laws, even though the offense be against a subject or citizen of such sovereign. The Mexican statute in question makes the claim broadly, and the principle, if conceded, would create a dual responsibility in the citizen, and lead to inextricable confusion, destructive of that certainty in the law which is an essential of liberty.
When citizens of the United States voluntarily go into a foreign country they must abide by the laws there in force, and will not be protected by their own Government from the consequences of an offense against those laws committed in such foreign country; but watchful care and interest of this Government over its citizens are not relinquished because they have gone abroad; and if charged with crime committed in the foreign land a fair and open trial, conducted with decent regard for justice and humanity, will be demanded for them. With less than that this Government will not be content when the life or liberty of its citizens is at stake.
Whatever the degree to which extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction may have been formerly allowed by consent and reciprocal agreement among certain of the European states, no such doctrine or practice was ever known to the laws of this country or of that from which our institutions have mainly been derived.
In the case of Mexico there are reasons especially strong for perfect harmony in the mutual exercise of jurisdiction. Nature has made us irrevocably neighbors, and wisdom and kind feeling should make us friends.
The overflow of capital and enterprise from the United States is a potent factor in assisting the development of the resources of Mexico, and in building up the prosperity of both countries.
To assist this good work all grounds of apprehension for the security of person and property should be removed; and I trust that in the interests of good neighborhood the statute referred to will be so modified as to eliminate the present possibilities of danger to the peace of the two countries.
The government of the Netherlands has exhibited concern in relation to certain features of our tariff laws, which are supposed by them to be aimed at a class of tobacco produced in the Dutch East Indies. Comment would seem unnecessary upon the unwisdom of legislation appearing to have a special national discrimination for its object, which, although unintentional, may give rise to injurious retaliation.
The establishment, less than four years ago, of a legation at Teheran is bearing fruit in the interest exhibited by the Shah's government in the industrial activity of the United States and the opportunities of beneficial interchanges.
Stable government is now happily restored in Peru by the election of a constitutional President, and a period of rehabilitation is entered upon. But the recovery is necessarily slow from the exhaustion caused by the late war, and civil disturbances.
A convention to adjust, by arbitration, claims of our citizens has been proposed, and is under consideration.
The naval officer who bore to Siberia the testimonials bestowed by Congress in recognition of the aid given to the Jeannette survivors, has successfully accomplished his mission. His interesting report will be submitted. It is pleasant to know that this mark of appreciation has been welcomed by the Russian government and people as befits the traditional friendship of the two countries.
Civil perturbations in the Samoan Islands have during the past few years been a source of considerable embarrassment to the three governments, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States, whose relations and extraterritorial rights in that important group are guaranteed by treaties. The weakness of the native administration and the conflict of opposing interests in the Islands have led King Malietoa to seek alliance or protection in some one quarter, regardless of the distinct engagements whereby no one of the three treaty powers may acquire any paramount or exclusive interest. In May last Malietoa offered to place Samoa under the protection of the United States, and the late consul, without authority, assumed to grant it. ceeding was promptly disavowed and the overzealous official recalled. Special agents of the three governments have been deputed to examine the situation in the Islands. With a change in the representation of all three powers, and a harmonious understanding between them, the peace, prosperity, autonomous administration, and neutrality of Samoa can hardly fail to be secured.
It appearing that the government of Spain did not extend to the flag of the United States in the Antilles the full measure of reciprocity requisite under our statute for the continuance of the suspension of discriminations against the Spanish flag in our ports, I was constrained in October last to rescind my predecessor's proclamation of February 14, 1884, permitting such suspension. An arrangement was, however, speedily reached, and upon notification from the government of Spain that all differential treatment of our vessels and their cargoes, from the United States or from any foreign country, had been completely and absolutely relinquished, I availed myself of the discretion conferred by law, and issued on the 27th of October my proclamation, declaring reciprocal suspension in the United States. It is most gratifying to bear testimony to the earnest spirit in which the gov ernment of the Queen Regent has met our efforts to avert the initiation of commercial discriminations and reprisals, which are ever disastrous to the material interests and the political good will of the countries they inay affect.
The profitable development of the large commercial exchanges between the United States and the Spanish Antilles is naturally an object of solicitude. Lying close at our doors, and finding here their main markets of supply and demand, the welfare of Cuba and Porto Rico and their production and trade, are scarcely less important to us than to Spain. Their commercial and financial movements are so naturally a part of our system that no obstacle to fuller and freer intercourse should be permitted to exist. The standing instructions of our representatives at Madrid and Havana have for years been to leave no effort unessayed to further these ends, and at no time has