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the proposed elimination of what are known as "Bancos," small isolated islands formed by the cutting off of bends in the Rio Grande, from the operation of the treaties of 1884 and 1889, recommended by the commissioners and approved by this Government, but still under consideration by Mexico; and the subject of the "Equitable distribution of the waters of the Rio Grande," for which the commissioners recommended an international dam and reservoir, approved by Mexico, but still under consideration by this Government. Pending these questions it is nec essary to extend the life of the commission, which expires December 23 next.
The coronation of the young Queen of the Netherlands was made the occasion of fitting congratulations.
The claim of Victor H. McCord against Peru, which for a number of years has been pressed by this Government and has on several occasions attracted the attention of the Congress, has been satisfactorily adjusted. A protocol was signed May 17, 1898, whereby, the fact of liability being admitted, the question of the amount to be awarded was submitted to the chief justice of Canada as sole arbitrator. His award sets the indemnity due the claimant at $40,000.
The Government of Peru has given the prescribed notification of its intention to abrogate the treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation concluded with this country August 31, 1887. As that treaty contains many important provisions necessary to the maintenance of commerce and good relations, which could with difficulty be replaced by the negotiation of renewed provisions within the brief twelve months intervening before the treaty terminates, I have invited suggestions by Peru as to the particular provisions it is desired to annul, in the hope of reaching an arrangement whereby the remaining articles may be provisionally saved. His Majesty the Czar having announced his purpose to raise the Imperial Russian mission at this capital to the rank of an embassy, I responded, under the authority conferred by the act of March 3, 1893, by commissioning and accrediting the actual representative at St. Petersburg in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. The Russian ambassador to this country has since presented his credentials.
The proposal of the Czar for a general reduction of the vast military establishments that weigh so heavily upon many peoples in time of peace was communicated to this Government with an earnest invitation to be represented in the conference which it is contemplated to assemble with a view to discussing the means of accomplishing so desirable a result. His Majesty was at once informed of the cordial sympathy of this Government with the principle involved in his exalted proposal and of the readiness of the United States to take part in the conference. The active military force of the United States, as measured by our population, territorial area, and taxable wealth, is, and under any conceivable prospective
conditions must continue to be, in time of peace so conspicuously less than that of the armed powers to whom the Czar's appeal is especially addressed that the question can have for us no practical importance save as marking an auspicious step toward the betterment of the condition of the modern peoples and the cultivation of peace and good will among them; but in this view it behooves us as a nation to lend countenance and aid to the beneficent project.
The claims of owners of American sealing vessels for seizure by Russian cruisers in Bering Sea are being pressed to a settlement. The equities of the cases justify the expectation that a measure of reparation will eventually be accorded in harmony with precedent and in the light of the proven facts.
The recommendation made in my special message of April 27 last is renewed, that appropriation be made to reimburse the master and owners of the Russian bark Hans for wrongful arrest of the master and detention of the vessel in February, 1896, by officers of the United States district court for the southern district of Mississippi. The papers accompanying my said message make out a most meritorious claim and justify the urgency with which it has been presented by the Government of Russia.
Malietoa Laupepa, King of Samoa, died on August 22 last. According to Article I of the general act of Berlin, "his successor shall be duly elected according to the laws and customs of Samoa."
Arrangements having been agreed upon between the signatories of the general act for the return of Mataafa and the other exiled Samoan chiefs, they were brought from Jaluit by a German war vessel and landed at Apia on September 18 last.
Whether the death of Malietoa and the return of his old-time rival Mataafa will add to the undesirable complications which the execution of the tripartite general act has heretofore developed remains to be seen. The efforts of this Government will, as heretofore, be addressed toward a harmonious and exact fulfillment of the terms of the international engagement to which the United States became a party in 1889.
The Cheek claim against Siam, after some five years of controversy, has been adjusted by arbitration under an agreement signed July 6, 1897, an award of 706,721 ticals (about $187,987.78), with release of the Cheek estate from mortgage claims, having been rendered March 21, 1898, in favor of the claimant by the arbitrator, Sir Nicholas John Hannen, British chief justice for China and Japan.
An envoy from Siam has been accredited to this Government and has presented his credentials.
Immediately upon the outbreak of the war with Spain the Swiss Government, fulfilling the high mission it has deservedly assumed as the patron of the International Red Cross, proposed to the United States and Spain that they should severally recognize and carry into execution, as a
modus vivendi, during the continuance of hostilities, the additional articles proposed by the international conference of Geneva, October 20, 1868, extending the effects of the existing Red Cross convention of 1864 to the conduct of naval war. Following the example set by France and Germany in 1870 in adopting such a modus vivendi, and in view of the accession of the United States to those additional articles in 1882, although the exchange of ratifications thereof still remained uneffected, the Swiss proposal was promptly and cordially accepted by us, and simultaneously by Spain.
This Government feels a keen satisfaction in having thus been enabled to testify its adherence to the broadest principles of humanity even amidst the clash of war, and it is to be hoped that the extension of the Red Cross compact to hostilities by sea as well as on land may soon become an accomplished fact through the general promulgation of the additional naval Red Cross articles by the maritime powers now parties to the convention of 1864.
The important question of the claim of Switzerland to the perpetual cantonal allegiance of American citizens of Swiss origin has not made hopeful progress toward a solution, and controversies in this regard still continue.
The newly accredited envoy of the United States to the Ottoman Porte carries instructions looking to the disposal of matters in controversy with Turkey for a number of years. He is especially charged to press for a just settlement of our claims for indemnity by reason of the destruction of the property of American missionaries resident in that country during the Armenian troubles of 1895, as well as for the recognition of older claims of equal justness.
He is also instructed to seek an adjustment of the dispute growing out of the refusal of Turkey to recognize the acquired citizenship of Ottomanborn persons naturalized in the United States since 1869 without prior imperial consent, and in the same general relation he is directed to endeavor to bring about a solution of the question which has more or less acutely existed since 1869 concerning the jurisdictional rights of the United States in matters of criminal procedure and punishment under Article IV of the treaty of 1830. This latter difficulty grows out of a verbal difference, claimed by Turkey to be essential, between the original Turkish text and the promulgated translation.
After more than two years from the appointment of a consul of this country to Erzerum, he has received his exequatur.
The arbitral tribunal appointed under the treaty of February 2, 1897, between Great Britain and Venezuela, to determine the boundary line between the latter and the colony of British Guiana, is to convene at Paris during the present month. It is a source of much gratification to this Government to see the friendly resort of arbitration applied to the settlement of this controversy, not alone because of the earnest part we
have had in bringing about the result, but also because the two members named on behalf of Venezuela, Mr. Chief Justice Fuller and Mr. Justice Brewer, chosen from our highest court, appropriately testify the continuing interest we feel in the definitive adjustment of the question according to the strictest rules of justice. The British members, Lord Herschell and Sir Richard Collins, are jurists of no less exalted repute, while the fifth member and president of the tribunal, M. F. De Martens, has earned a world-wide reputation as an authority upon international law.
The claim of Felipe Scandella against Venezuela for arbitrary expulsion and injury to his business has been adjusted by the revocation of the order of expulsion and by the payment of the sum of $16,000.
I have the satisfaction of being able to state that the Bureau of the American Republics, created in 1890 as the organ for promoting commercial intercourse and fraternal relations among the countries of the Western Hemisphere, has become a more efficient instrument of the wise purposes of its founders, and is receiving the cordial support of the contributing members of the international union which are actually represented in its board of management. A commercial directory, in
two volumes, containing a mass of statistical matter descriptive of the industrial and commercial interests of the various countries, has been printed in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and a monthly bulletin published in these four languages and distributed in the LatinAmerican countries as well as in the United States has proved to be a valuable medium for disseminating information and furthering the varied interests of the international union.
During the past year the important work of collecting information of practical benefit to American industries and trade through the agency of the diplomatic and consular officers has been steadily advanced, and in order to lay such data before the public with the least delay the practice was begun in January, 1898, of issuing the commercial reports from day to day as they are received by the Department of State. It is believed that for promptitude as well as fullness of information the service thus supplied to our merchants and manufacturers will be found to show sensible improvement and to merit the liberal support of Congress.
The experiences of the last year bring forcibly home to us a sense of the burdens and the waste of war. We desire, in common with most civilized nations, to reduce to the lowest possible point the damage sustained in time of war by peaceable trade and commerce. It is true we may suffer in such cases less than other communities, but all nations are damaged more or less by the state of uneasiness and apprehension into which an outbreak of hostilities throws the entire commercial world. should be our object, therefore, to minimize, so far as practicable, this inevitable loss and disturbance. This purpose can probably best be accomplished by an international agreement to regard all private property at sea as exempt from capture or destruction by the forces of belligerent M P-VOL. X-8
The United States Government has for many years advocated this humane and beneficent principle, and is now in position to recommend it to other powers without the imputation of selfish motives. therefore suggest for your consideration that the Executive be authorized to correspond with the governments of the principal maritime powers with a view of incorporating into the permanent law of civilized nations the principle of the exemption of all private property at sea, not contraband of war, from capture or destruction by belligerent powers.
The Secretary of the Treasury reports that the receipts of the Government from all sources during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898, including $64,751,223 received from sale of Pacific railroads, amounted to $405,321,335, and its expenditures to $443,368,582. There was collected from customs $149,575,062 and from internal revenue $170,900,641. Our dutiable imports amounted to $324,635,479, a decrease of $58,156,690 over the preceding year, and importations free of duty amounted to $291,414, 175, a decrease from the preceding year of $90,524,068. Internalrevenue receipts exceeded those of the preceding year by $24,212,067.
The total tax collected on distilled spirits was $92,546,999; on manufactured tobacco, $36,230,522, and on fermented liquors, $39,515,421. We exported merchandise during the year amounting to $1,231,482,330, an increase of $180,488,774 from the preceding year.
It is estimated upon the basis of present revenue laws that the receipts of the Government for the year ending June 30, 1899, will be $577,874,647, and its expenditures $689,874,647, resulting in a deficiency of $112,000,000.
On the 1st of December, 1898, there was held in the Treasury gold coin amounting to $138,441,547, gold bullion amounting to $138,502,545, silver bullion amounting to $93,359,250, and other forms of money amounting to $451,963,981.
On the same date the amount of money of all kinds in circulation, or not included in Treasury holdings, was $1,886,879,504, an increase for the year of $165,794,966. Estimating our population at 75,194,000 at the time mentioned, the per capita circulation was $25.09. On the same date there was in the Treasury gold bullion amounting to $138,502,545.
The provisions made for strengthening the resources of the Treasury in connection with the war have given increased confidence in the purpose and power of the Government to maintain the present standard, and have established more firmly than ever the national credit at home and abroad. A marked evidence of this is found in the inflow of gold to the Treasury. Its net gold holdings on November 1, 1898, were $239,885,162 as compared with $153,573,147 on November 1, 1897, and an increase of net cash of $207,756, 100, November 1, 1897, to $300,238,275, November 1, 1898. The present ratio of net Treasury gold to outstanding Government liabilities, including United States notes, Treasury notes of 1890, silver certificates, currency certificates, standard silver dollars,