I found out afterwards, following the Japanese training ship which had arrived from San Francisco, and in the meantime the training ship had gone up to Hilo. We found out from what appeared to be a reliable source that some political action in concert with natives was in view. There was no proof of that except as this messenger conveyed it to us in writing and the manner he had gained the information. That might not be so, but there were outward signs of it.
The Provisional Government felt, as I felt, if the Queen's adherents should make that promise, and they could get the aid of the 700 or 800 Japanese soldiers, a revolutionary attempt would be dangerous. In the meantime the English minister, who had always insisted upon a tripartite action in anything that took place in Honolulu, expected the arrival of a British ship. The Provisional Government got the information that the attempt would be made for two purposes: First, that those representing the Queen and Mr. Neumann would want the information to go to Washington that there was a chaotic condition of things in Hawaii, and that the Provisional Government had no real, stable, authority—that an outbreak, although it might and would be crushed out, would have a very bad effect.
Fear on the part of the mob of adventurers who had surrounded the Queen—fear of the use of the Japanese force that might be used, the fear of the pressure of the Japanese commissioner, with two ships at his command (one of them larger than the Boston, with the attitude of the British minister, with the ship he expected, all combined to make me yield to the request to put up the flag. And the understanding on their part was expressed in their note and was expressed in my answer when we put it up—"That this must only go to the extent of supporting the Government against these outside contingencies," both from the English vessel and Japanese, but much more from the Japanese, because he was thoroughly in earnest to get that right of suffrage for his thousands of Japanese. Now, we may have been unduly alarmed, but the Provisional Government was alarmed, and that was the state of the case.
It was specifically understood that there should be no interference with the internal affairs of Hawaii, and there was no period in which I was more absolutely unconnected with internal affairs than in that period when the flag was up.
The Chairman. Did you receive any official or other information prior to the time of the raising of this flag that any government represented in Hawaii was opposed to the project of annexation, which information had been submitted to the United States?
Mr. Stevens. Opposition from any Government? I had this information, that Mr. Wodehouse, when he found that the Provisional Government was in favor of annexation, thought they ought to submit it to popular vote, and they thought that was a very cool proposition for any English minister to make. He made that proposition very soon after he found out that they favored annexation, and I think sent a note to that effect to the Provisional Government.
The Chairman. You had that information?
Mr. Stevens. I had that positively from Mr. Dole himself, and other information. I had repeated interviews with the Japanese commissioner. He stated his point, and wanted me to assent to the idea that the Japanese should have the right to vote. I had in a formal, diplomatic way, given him to understand that that was beyond my province and responsibility.
The Chairman. At the time of the raising of the flag, as well as
before, the Japanese commissioner insisted upon the suffrage proposition?
Mr. Stevens. Yes. And he furthermore said if we were to annex the islands he hoped the American Government would give the Japanese the same rights as Americans or Englishmen or Germans. And he was very earnest and very tenacious about it. And the sending of a great war vessel under the circumstances was the one that caused the most outside fear.
The Chairman. And those were the reasons?
Mr. Stevens. The fear of anarchy and the fear of the Japanese, and the fear that Mr. Wodehouse and the Japanese commissioner would insist upon the same right with dealing with the affairs that I had, which I knew my Government was opposed to.
The Chairman. Those were the reasons which influenced you to accept the proposition from the Provisional Government for a protectorate?
Mr. Stevens. It was a modified and strictly limited protectorate.
The Chairman. It is a protectorate?
Mr. Stevens. To the extent specified, yes.
The Chairman. After that flag was raised and that protectorate was declared, did you, as the American minister, or in any other capacity, take any control or direction of any of the affairs of the Provisional Government, or any control or direction of the people there in any way?
Mr. Stevens. Not in the remotest degree. For two reasons, if you will allow me to state the reasons.
The Chairman. Never mind the reasons. I can think of a dozen reasons why you would not want to do it. Did you intend it, or did the Hawaiian Provisional Government intend it, so far as you know, as an attempt on the part of the United States to establish the right of sovereignty over the islands of Hawaii—I mean this protectorate?
Mr. Stevens. No; I understood then, as I understand now, that that was to sustain the sovereignty of the Provisional Government— that their sovereignty was threatened under the circumstances.
The Chairman. To prevent other governments from coming in there to interfere?
Mr. Stevens. That is it exactly.
The Chairman. It was pending the protectorate that Mr. Blount arrived?
Mr. Stevens. Yes.
The Chairman. Had you, before Mr. Blount arrived, received information from Mr. Secretary Foster that your act in establishing that protectorate had been disavowed?
Mr. Stevens. No; I understood his note as I understand it now. It is in exact accordance with the little document I have just read. In the liability of its being misunderstood, he thought it best to enlarge upon it and define how far our limited protectorate could go. I so understood it at the time. Secretary Foster went on to decide what we could do and what we could not; and what we could do was what we did.
The Chairman. When he disavowed what seemed to be a protectorate?
Mr. Stevens. Yes; he defined how far our protectorate could go.
The Chairman. Then he disavowed what seemed to be a protectorate. We will take his own language as conveying his actual meaning. Did you understand that that disavowal reached the point or