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DECEMBER 3, 1889,




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To the Senate and House of Representatives :

There are few transactions in the adininistration of the Government that are even temporarily held in the confidence of those charged with the conduct of the public business. Every step taken is under the observation of an intelligent and watchful people. The state of the Union is known from day to day, and suggestions as to needed legislation find an earlier voice than that which speaks in these annual communications of the President to Congress.

Good-will and cordiality have characterized our relations and correspondence with other Governments, and the year just closed leaves few international questions of importance remaining unadjusted. No obstacle is believed to exist that can long postpone the consideration and adjustment of the still pending questions upon satisfactory and honorable terms. The dealings of this Government with other states have been and should always be marked by frankness and sincerity, our purposes avowed, and our methods free from intrigue. This course has borne rich fruit in the past, and it is our duty as a nation to preserve the heritage of good repute which a century of right dealing with foreign Governments has secured to us.

It is a matter of high significance, and no less of congratulation, that the first year of the second century of our constitutional existence finds, as honored guests within our borders, the representatives of all the independent states of North and South America met together in earnest conference touching the best methods of perpetuating and expanding the relations of mutual interest and friendliness existing among them. That the opportunity thus afforded for promoting closer international relations and the increased prosperity of the states represented will be used for the mutual good of all, I can not permit myself to doubt. Our people will await with interest and confidence the results to flow from so auspicious a meeting of allied and, in large part, identical interests.


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The recommendations of this international conference of enlightened statesmen will doubtless have the considerate attention of Congress, and its co-operation in the removal of unnecessary barriers to beneficial intercourse between the nations of America. But while the commercial results, which it is hoped will follow this. conference, are worthy of pursuit and of the great interest they have excited, it is believed that the crowning benefit will be found in the better securities which may be devised for the maintenance of peace among all American nations and the settlement of all contentions by methods that a Christian civilization can approve. While viewing with interest our national resources and products, the delegates will, I am sure, find a higher satisfaction in the evidences of unselfish friendship which everywhere attend their intercourse with our people.

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Another international conference, having great possibilities for good, has lately assembled and is now in session in this Capital. An invitation was extended by the Government, under the act of Congress of July 9, 1888, to all maritime nations to send delegates to confer touching the revision and amendment of the rules and regulations governing vessels at sea and to adopt a uniform system of marine signals. The response to this invitation has been very general and very cordial. Delegates from twenty-six nations

are present in the conference, and they have entered upon their useful work with great zeal, and with an evident appreciation of its importance. So far as the agreement to be reached may require legislation to give it effect, the co-operation of Congress is confidently

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relied upon.

It is an interesting if not indeed an unprecedented fact, that the two International Conferences have brought together here the accredited representatives of thirty-three nations.

Bolivia, Ecuador, and Honduras are now represented by resident envoys of the plenipotentiary grade. All the states of the American system now maintain diplomatic representation at this Capital.

In this connection it may be noted that all the nations of the western hemisphere, with one exception, send to Washington envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary, being the highest grade accredited to this Government. The United States, on the contrary, sends envoys of lower grade to some of our sister republics. Our representative in Paraguay and Uruguay is a minister resident, while to Bolivia we send a minister resident and consulgeneral. In view of the importance of our relations with the states

of the American system, our diplomatic agents in those countries should be of the uniform rank of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. Certain missions were so elevated by the last Congress with happy effect, and I recommend the completion of the reform thus begun, with the inclusion also of Hawaii and Hayti, in view of their relations to the American system of states.

I also recommend that timely provision be made for extending to Hawaii an invitation to be represented in the International Conference now sitting at this Capital.

Our relations with China have the attentive consideration which their magnitude and interest demand. The failure of the treaty negotiated under the administration of my predecessor for the further and more complete restriction of Chinese labor-immigration, and, with it, the legislation of the last session of Congress dependent thereon, leave some questions open which Congress should now approach in that wise and just spirit which should characterize the relations of two great and friendly powers. While our supreme interests demand the exclusion of a laboring element which experience has shown to be incompatible with our social life, all steps to compass this imperative need should be accompanied with a recognition of the claim of those strangers now lawfully among us to humane and just treatment.

The accession of the young Emperor of China marks, we may hope, an era of progress and prosperity for the great country over which he is called to rule.

The present state of affairs in respect to the Samoan Islands is encouraging. The conference which was held in this city in the summer of 1887 between the representatives of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain having been adjourned because of the persistent divergence of views which was developed in its deliberations, the subsequent course of events in the islands gave rise to questions of a serious character. On the 4th of February last, the German minister at this Capital, in behalf of his Government, proposed a resumption of the conference at Berlin. This proposition was accepted, as Congress, in February last, was informed.

Pursuant to the understanding thus reached, commissioners were appointed by me, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who proceeded to Berlin, wliere the conference was renewed. The deliberations extended through several weeks, and resulted in the .conclusion of a treaty which will be submitted to the Senate for its approval. I trust that the efforts which have been made to effect

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