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devising a comprehensive remedy, by which an effective limitation of Chinese emigration, joined to protection of those Chinese subjects who remain in this country, may be secured.
Legislation is needed to execute the provisions of our Chinese convention of 1880 touching the opium traffic.
While the good will of the Colombian government toward our country is manifest, the situation of American interests on the Isthmus of Panama has at times excited concern, and invited friendly action looking to the performance of the engagements of the two nations concerning the territory embraced in the interoceanic transit. With the subsidence of the Isthmian disturbances, and the erection of the State of Panama into a federal district under the direct government of the constitutional administration at Bogotá, a new order of things has been inaugurated which, although as yet somewhat experimental and affording scope for arbitrary exercise of power by the delegates of the national authority, promises much improvement.
The sympathy between the people of the United States and France, born during our colonial struggle for independence and continuing to-day, has received a fresh impulse in the successful completion and dedication of the colossal statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World" in New York harbor-the gift of Frenchmen to Americans.
A convention between the United States and certain other powers for the protection of submarine cables was signed at Paris on March 14, 1884, and has been duly ratified and proclaimed by this Government. By agreement between the high contracting parties this convention is to go into effect on the ist of January next, but the legislation required for its execution in the United States has not yet been adopted. I earnestly recommend its enactment.
Cases have continued to occur in Germany giving rise to much correspondence in relation to the privilege of sojourn of our naturalized citizens of German origin revisiting the land of their birth, yet I am happy to state that our relations with that country have lost none of their accustomed cordiality:
The claims for interest upon the amount of tonnage dues illegally exacted from certain German steamship lines were favorably reported in both Houses of Congress at the last session, and I trust will receive final and favorable action at an early day.
The recommendations contained in my last annual message in relation to a mode of settlement of the fishery rights in the waters of British North America—so long a subject of anxious difference between the United States and Great Britain—was met by an adverse vote of the Senate on April 13th last; and thereupon negotiations were instituted to obtain an agreement with Her Britannic Majesty's government for the promulgation of such joint interpretation and definition of the article of the Convention of 1818, relating to the territorial waters and inshore fisheries of the British Provinces, as should secure the Canadian rights from encroachment by United States fishermen, and, at the same time, ensure the enjoyment by the latter of the privileges guaranteed to them by such convention.
The questions involved are of long standing, of grave consequence, and from time to time for nearly three-quarters of a century, have given rise to earnest international discussions, not unaccompanied by irritation.
Temporary arrangements by treaties have served to allay frictionwhich, however, has revived as each treaty was terminated. The last arrangement, under the treaty of 1871, was abrogated after due notice by the United States on June 30, 1885, but I was enabled to obtain for our fishermen for the remainder of that season, enjoyment of the full privileges accorded by the terminated treaty.
The Joint High Commission by whom the treaty had been negotiated-although invested with plenary power to make a permanent settlement-were content with a temporary arrangement, after the termination of which the question was relegated to the stipulations of the treaty of 1818, as to the first article of which no construction satisfactory to both countries has ever been agreed upon.
The progress of civilization and growth of population in the British Provinces to which the fisheries in question are contiguous, and the expansion of commercial intercourse between them and the United States, present to-day a condition of affairs scarcely realizable at the date of the negotiations of 1818.
New and vast interests have been brought into existence ; modes of intercourse between the respective countries have been invented and multiplied ; the methods of conducting the fisheries have been wholly changed ; and all this is necessarily entitled to candid and careful consideration in the adjustment of the terms and conditions of intercourse and commerce between the United States and their neighbors along a frontier of over 3,500 miles.
This propinquity, community of language and occupation, and similarity of political and social institutions, indicate the practicability and obvious wisdom of maintaining mutually beneficial and friendly relations.
Whilst I am unfeignedly desirous that such relations should exist between us and the inhabitants of Canada, yet the action of their 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 coriespondence of the Department of State in relation to this iinportant 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 might 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 claims of Japan to autonomy and independence among nations.
A treaty of extradition between the United States and Japan, the fitst 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 forinal 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 vessel, 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, theri 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 anywhere 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 résults, 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 concocted 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