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The worth of such a result in making known our national capacity to supply the world's markets is obvious.

Exhibitions of this international character are becoming more frequent as the exchanges of commercial countries grow more intimate and varied. Hardly a year passes that this Government is not invited to national participation at some important foreign center, but often on too short notice to permit of recourse to Congress for the power and means to do My predecessors have suggested the advisability of providing by a general enactment and a standing appropriation for accepting such invitations and for representation of this country by a commission. This plan has my cordial approval.


I trust that the Belgian restrictions on the importation of cattle from the United States, originally adopted as a sanitary precaution, will at an early day be relaxed as to their present features of hardship and discrimination, so as to admit live cattle under due regulation of their slaughter after landing. I am hopeful, too, of favorable change in the Belgian treatment of our preserved and salted meats. The growth of direct trade between the two countries, not alone for Belgian consumption and Belgian products, but by way of transit from and to other continental states, has been both encouraging and beneficial. No effort will be spared to enlarge its advantages by seeking the removal of needless impediments and by arrangements for increased commercial exchanges.

The year's events in Central America deserve more than passing mention.

A menacing rupture between Costa Rica and Nicaragua was happily composed by the signature of a convention between the parties, with the concurrence of the Guatemalan representative as a mediator, the act being negotiated and signed on board the United States steamer Alert, then lying in Central American waters. It is believed that the good offices of our envoy and of the commander of that vessel contributed toward this gratifying outcome.

In my last annual message the situation was presented with respect to the diplomatic representation of this Government in Central America created by the association of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Salvador under the title of the Greater Republic of Central America, and the delegation of their international functions to the Diet thereof. While the representative character of the Diet was recognized by my predecessor and has been confirmed during my Administration by receiving its accredited envoy and granting exequaturs to consuls commissic ned under its authority, that recognition was qualified by the distinct understanding that the responsibility of each of the component sovereign Republics toward the United States remained wholly unaffected.

This provicɔ was needful inasmuch as the compact of the three Republics was at the outset an association whereby certain representative functions were delegated to a tripartite commission rather than a federation


possessing centralized powers of government and administration. this view of their relation and of the relation of the United States to the several Republics, a change in the representation of this country in Central America was neither recommended by the Executive nor initiated by Congress, thus leaving one of our envoys accredited, as heretofore, separately to two States of the Greater Republic, Nicaragua and Salvador, and to a third State, Costa Rica, which was not a party to the compact, while our other envoy was similarly accredited to a union State, Honduras, and a nonunion State, Guatemala. The result has been that the one has presented credentials only to the President of Costa Rica, the other having been received only by the Government of Guatemala.

Subsequently the three associated Republics entered into negotiations for taking the steps forecast in the original compact. A convention of their delegates framed for them a federal constitution under the name of the United States of Central America, and provided for a central federal government and legislature. Upon ratification by the constituent States, the 1st of November last was fixed for the new system to go into operation. Within a few weeks thereafter the plan was severely tested by revolutionary movements arising, with a consequent demand for unity of action on the part of the military power of the federal States to suppress them. Under this strain the new union seems to have been weakened through the withdrawal of its more important members. This Government was not officially advised of the installation of the federation and has maintained an attitude of friendly expectancy, while in no wise relinquishing the position held from the outset that the responsibilities of the several States toward us remained unaltered by their tentative relations among themselves.

The Nicaragua Canal Commission, under the chairmanship of RearAdmiral John G. Walker, appointed July 24, 1897, under the authority of a provision in the sundry civil act of June 4 of that year, has nearly completed its labors, and the results of its exhaustive inquiry into the proper route, the feasibility, and the cost of construction of an interoceanic canal by a Nicaraguan route will be laid before you. In the performance of its task the commission received all possible courtesy and assistance from the Governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which thus testified their appreciation of the importance of giving a speedy and practical outcome to the great project that has for so many years engrossed the attention of the respective countries.

As the scope of the recent inquiry embraced the whole subject, with the aim of making plans and surveys for a canal by the most convenient route, it necessarily included a review of the results of previous surveys and plans, and in particular those adopted by the Maritime Canal Company under its existing concessions from Nicaragua and Costa Rica, so that to this extent those grants necessarily hold as essential a part in the deliberations and conclusions of the Canal Commission as they have held

and must needs hold in the discussion of the matter by the Congress. Under these circumstances and in view of overtures made to the Governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica by other parties for a new canal concession predicated on the assumed approaching lapse of the contracts of the Maritime Canal Company with those States, I have not hesitated to express my conviction that considerations of expediency and international policy as between the several governments interested in the construction and control of an interoceanic canal by this route require the maintenance of the status quo until the Canal Commission shall have reported and the United States Congress shall have had the opportunity to pass finally upon the whole matter during the present session, without prejudice by reason of any change in the existing conditions.

Nevertheless, it appears that the Government of Nicaragua, as one of its last sovereign acts before merging its powers in those of the newly formed United States of Central America, has granted an optional concession to another association, to become effective on the expiration of the present grant. It does not appear what surveys have been made or what route is proposed under this contingent grant, so that an examination of the feasibility of its plans is necessarily not embraced in the report of the Canal Commission. All these circumstances suggest the urgency of some definite action by the Congress at this session if the labors of the past are to be utilized and the linking of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by a practical waterway is to be realized. That the construction of such a maritime highway is now more than ever indispensable to that intimate and ready intercommunication between our eastern and western seaboards demanded by the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands and the prospective expansion of our influence and commerce in the Pacific, and that our national policy now more imperatively than ever calls for its control by this Government, are propositions which I doubt not the Congress will duly appreciate and wisely act upon.

A convention providing for the revival of the late United States and Chilean Claims Commission and the consideration of claims which were duly presented to the late commission, but not considered because of the expiration of the time limited for the duration of the commission, was signed May 24, 1897, and has remained unacted upon by the Senate. The term therein fixed for effecting the exchange of ratifications having elapsed, the convention falls unless the time be extended by amendment, which I am endeavoring to bring about, with the friendly concurrence of the Chilean Government.

The United States has not been an indifferent spectator of the extraordinary events transpiring in the Chinese Empire, whereby portions of its maritime provinces are passing under the control of various European powers; but the prospect that the vast commerce which the energy of our citizens and the necessity of our staple productions for Chinese uses has built up in those regions may not be prejudiced through any exclusive

treatment by the new occupants has obviated the need of our country becoming an actor in the scene. Our position among nations, having a large Pacific coast and a constantly expanding direct trade with the farther Orient, gives us the equitable claim to consideration and friendly treatment in this regard, and it will be my aim to subserve our large interests in that quarter by all means appropriate to the constant policy of our Government. The territories of Kiao-chow, of Wei-hai-wei, and of Port Arthur and Talienwan, leased to Germany, Great Britain, and Russia, respectively, for terms of years, will, it is announced, be open to international commerce during such alien occupation; and if no discriminating treatment of American citizens and their trade be found to exist or be hereafter developed, the desire of this Government would appear to be realized.

In this relation, as showing the volume and value of our exchanges with China and the peculiarly favorable conditions which exist for their expansion in the normal course of trade, I refer to the communication addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by the Secretary of the Treasury on the 14th of last June, with its accompanying letter of the Secretary of State, recommending an appropriation for a commission to study the commercial and industrial conditions in the Chinese Empire and report as to the opportunities for and obstacles to the enlargement of markets in China for the raw products and manufactures of the United States. Action was not taken thereon during the late session. I cordially urge that the recommendation receive at your hands the consideration which its importance and timeliness merit.

Meanwhile there may be just ground for disquietude in view of the unrest and revival of the old sentiment of opposition and prejudice to alien people which pervades certain of the Chinese provinces. As in the case of the attacks upon our citizens in Szechuen and at Kutien in 1895, the United States minister has been instructed to secure the fullest measure of protection, both local and imperial, for any menaced American interests, and to demand, in case of lawless injury to person or property, instant reparation appropriate to the case. War ships have been stationed at Tientsin for more ready observation of the disorders which have invaded even the Chinese capital, so as to be in a position to act should need arise, while a guard of marines has been sent to Peking to afford the minister the same measure of authoritative protection as the representatives of other nations have been constrained to employ.

Following close upon the rendition of the award of my predecessor as arbitrator of the claim of the Italian subject Cerruti against the Republic of Colombia, differences arose between the parties to the arbitration in regard to the scope and extension of the award, of which certain articles were contested by Colombia, while Italy claimed their literal fulfillment. The award having been made by the President of the United States, as an act of friendly consideration and with the sole view to an

impartial composition of the matter in dispute, I could not but feel deep concern at such a miscarriage, and while unable to accept the Colombian theory that I, in my official capacity, possessed continuing functions as arbitrator, with power to interpret or revise the terms of the award, my best efforts were lent to bring the parties to a harmonious agreement as to the execution of its provisions.

A naval demonstration by Italy resulted in an engagement to pay the liabilities claimed upon their ascertainment; but this apparent disposition of the controversy was followed by a rupture of diplomatic intercourse between Colombia and Italy, which still continues, although, fortunately, without acute symptoms having supervened. Notwithstanding this, efforts are reported to be continuing for the ascertainment of Colombia's contingent liability on account of Cerruti's debts under the fifth article of the award.

A claim of an American citizen against the Dominican Republic for a public bridge over the Ozama River, which has been in diplomatic controversy for several years, has been settled by expert arbitration and an award in favor of the claimant amounting to about $90,000. It, however, remains unpaid, despite urgent demands for its settlement according to the terms of the compact.

There is now every prospect that the participation of the United States in the Universal Exposition to be held in Paris in 1900 will be on a scale commensurate with the advanced position held by our products and industries in the world's chief marts.

The preliminary report of Mr. Moses P. Handy, who, under the act approved July 19, 1897, was appointed special commissioner with a view to securing all attainable information necessary to a full and complete understanding by Congress in regard to the participation of this Government in the Paris Exposition, was laid before you by my message of December 6, 1897, and showed the large opportunities opened to make known our national progress in arts, science, and manufactures, as well as the urgent need of immediate and adequate provision to enable due advantage thereof to be taken. Mr. Handy's death soon afterwards rendered it necessary for another to take up and complete his unfinished work, and on January 11 last Mr. Thomas W. Cridler, Third Assistant Secretary of State, was designated to fulfill that task. His report was laid before you by my message of June 14, 1898, with the gratifying result of awakening renewed interest in the projected display. By a provision in the sundry civil appropriation act of July 1, 1898, a sum not to exceed $650,000 was allotted for the organization of a commission to care for the proper preparation and installation of American exhib its and for the display of suitable exhibits by the several Executive Departments, particularly by the Department of Agriculture, the Fish Commission, and the Smithsonian Institution, in representation of the Government of the United States.

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