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Gresham, and the order to abandon the protectorate and haul down the flag was in accordance with the duty and honor of the United States. To haul down the flag of the United States was only an order to preserve its honor.
The diplomatic officers of the United States in Hawaii have the right to much larger liberty of action in respect to the internal affairs of that country than would be the case with any other country with which we have no peculiar or special relations. In our diplomatic correspondence with Hawaii and in the various treaties, some of them treaties of annexation, which have been signed and discussed, though not ratified, from time to time, there has been manifested a very near relationship between the two governments. The history of Hawaii in its progress, education, development, and government, and in Christianity, has been closely identified with that of the United States—so closely, indeed, that the United States has not at any time hesitated to declare that it would permit no intervention in the affairs of Hawaii by any foreign government which might tend to disturb the relations with the United States, or to gain any advantages there over the Americans who may have settled in that country. The United States has assumed and deliberately maintained toward Hawaii a relation which is entirely exceptional, and has no parallel in our dealings with any other people.
The justification for this attitude is not a matter with which the present inquiry is necessarily connected, but its existence furnishes a good excuse, if excuse is needed, for a very lively concern on the part of our diplomatic representatives in everything that relates to the progress of that people.
The causes that have led to this peculiar situation are altogether apparent. They are in every sense honorable, just, and benevolent. One nation can not assume such an attitude toward another, especially if the latter is, by contrast, small, weak, and dependent upon the good will or forbearance of the world for its existence, without giving to it a guaranty of external and internal security.
The attitude of the United States toward Hawaii, thus voluntarily assumed, gives to Hawaii the right to regard it as such a guaranty.
In the absence of a policy to establish a colonial system and of any disposition for territorial aggrandizement, the Government of the United States looked with approbation and gave encouragement to the labors and influence of their citizens in Hawaii, in laying the groundwork of a free and independent government there which, in its principles and in the distribution of powers, should be like our own, and ultimately become republican in form. This has been the unconcealed wish of the people of the United States, in which many of the native Hawaiians have participated.
Observing the spirit of the Monroe doctrine, the United States, in the beginning of our relations with Hawaii, made a firm and distinct declaration of the purpose to prevent the absorption of Hawaii or the political control of that country by any foreign power. Without stating the reasons for this policy, which included very important commercial and military considerations, the attitude of the United States toward Hawaii was in moral effect that of a friendly protectorate. It has been a settled policy of the United States that if it should turn out that Hawaii, for any cause, should not be able to maintain an independent government, that country would be encouraged in its tendency to gravitate toward political union with this country.
The treaty relations between Hawaii and the United States, as fixed by several conventions that have been ratified, and by other negotiations,
have been characterized by a sentiment of close reciprocity. In addition to trade relations of the highest advantage to Hawaii, the United States has so far interfered with the internal policy of Hawaii as to secure an agreement from that Government restricting the disposal of bays and harbors and the crown lands to other countries, and has secured exclusive privileges in Pearl Harbor of great importance to this Government.
This attitude of the two governments and the peculiar friendship of the two peoples, together with the advantages given to Hawaii in commerce, induced a large and very enterprising class of people from the United States to migrate to those islands and to invest large sums of money in the cultivation of sugar and rice, and in other trade and industry. The introduction of laborers from Japan and China in great numbers gave to the governing power in Hawaii a new and very significant importance, and made it necessary, for the protection of the interests of the white or European people and of the natives, that the safeguards of the organic law of the Kingdom should be carefully preserved. In the efforts to secure these guarantees of safe government, no distinction of race was made as to the native or Kanaka population, but Chinese and Japanese were excluded from participation in the government as voters, or as officeholders.
Apprehensions of civil disturbance in Hawaii caused the United States to keep ships of war at Honolulu for many years past, almost without intermission, and the instructions that were given to our diplomatic and consular officers and to the naval commanders on that station went beyond the customary instructions applicable to other countries. In most instances, the instructions so given included the preservation of order and of the peace of the country, as well as the protection and preservation of the property and of the lives and treaty rights of American citizens.
The circumstances above mentioned, which the evidence shows to have existed, create a new light under which we must examine into the conduct of our diplomatic and naval officers in respect of the revolution that occurred in Hawaii in January, 1893. In no sense, and at no time, has the Government of the United States observed toward the domestic affairs of Hawaii the strict impartiality and the indifference enjoined by the general law of noninterference, in the absence of exceptional conditions. We have always exerted the privilege of interference in the domestic policy of Hawaii to a degree that would not be justified, under our view of the international law, in reference to the affairs of Canada, Cuba, or Mexico.
The cause of this departure from our general course of diplomatic conduct is the recognized fact that Hawaii has been all the time under a virtual suzerainty of the United States, which is, by an apt and familiar definition, a paramount authority, not in any actual sense an actual sovereignty, but a de facto supremacy over the country. This sense of paramount authority, of supremacy, with the right to intervene in the affairs of Hawaii, has never been lost sight of by the United States to this day, and it is conspicously manifest in the correspondence of Mr. Willis with Mr. Dole, which is set forth in the evidence which accompanies this report.
Another fact of importance in considering the conduct of our diplomatic and naval officers during the revolution of January, 1893, is that the annexation of Hawaii to the United States has been the subject of careful study and almost constant contemplation among Hawaiians and their kings since the beginning of the reign of Kamehameha I. This
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