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Act. Sec. of Treas., July 3, 1886, id. 639; Mr. Bayard to At. Gen., July 3, 1886, id. 636.
See, further, as to action taken upon allegations as to attempts to send out filibustering expeditions, Mr. Adee, Acting Sec. of State, to Mr. Garland, At. Gen., Sept. 16, 1887, 165 MS. Dom. Let. 388; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Sec. of Treasury, Nov. 3, 1887, 166 MS. Dom. Let. 56; same to same, April 25, 1888, 168 MS. Dom. Let. 203 (referring to a proclamation of martial law by the governor-general of Cuba in the provinces of Havana, Pinar del Rio, and Santa Clara); same to same, personal, April 25, 1888, ibid.
Where reports of intended violations of neutrality are brought by foreign ministers to the notice of the Department of State, it is the practice of the Department to transmit a copy of the minister's note to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney-General, with the request that the agents of their respective departments in the localities named shall take, in cooperation so far as practicable, all proper precautions to frustrate any violations of law. At the same time the minister is reminded that the officials of his government on the spot should be instructed to make, or cause to be made, before the proper judicial authorities, formal declaration of any facts within their knowledge which may inculpate the authors of any such violations of law, and thus to set in motion the machinery necessary to the administration of justice.
For. Rel. 1887, 1026–1029.
See, also, For. Rel. 1885, 773.
In February, 1886, Mr. Valentine, consul-general of Guatemala at New York, communicated to Mr. Bayard, who was then Secretary of State, a letter from the minister of foreign relations of Guatemala, advising him of reports that persons residing at New York were endeavoring to send out filibustering expeditions against Honduras and Salvador, and instructing him to do all in his power to impede such expeditions, just as if they were directed against his own Government. Mr. Valentine asked Mr. Bayard to authorize him to cable his Government that the assistance of the United States was at its command "to prevent expeditions against Central America." Mr. Bayard replied that, while the Government of the United States was disposed to use all possible means to prevent the setting on foot of hostile. expeditions, he was unable to give an assurance that the power of the United States would be "allied" with that of Guatemala to prevent alleged violations of neutrality against the peace of other Central American States. He added, however, that if evidence of any such violation was presented in a proper way in respect of any of those states, no efforts would be spared to prevent and punish any persons concerned in a violation of the neutrality laws.
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, No. 329,
The Department of State will take prompt measures whenever information is laid before it to advise the proper authorities to inquire into an alleged movement to violate the neutrality laws, but prompter action would be assured if the agents of the foreign government at any place within the United States where such an expedition is supposed to be preparing were to apply directly to the United States district attorney and present to him full information.
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Preston, Haytian min., Oct. 29, 1888, For.
"As you were informed by my telegram of the 10th instant, the collector of customs at New York, under instructions communicated to him by the Secretary of the Treasury, had taken steps to prevent the departure of the said steamer pending an investigation.
"In that telegram I had the honor to advise you to lay such proofs as you might possess before the collector, and in my telegram of today, of which I inclose a copy herewith, I further requested you to confer with the United States attorney for the southern_district of New York with a view to instituting by competent complaint, under oath and with submission of proofs, the judicial proceedings necessary in such cases.
"Your note of the 10th instant appears to suggest your impression that it is the province of the Government of the United States to continue the proceedings and determine whether or not the vessel in question has violated the neutrality laws of the United States. Such a determination, however, can only be reached by due process of law, and, following the rule established in such cases, the direct intervention of the Executive Department of this Government is limited to taking such steps as may afford a reasonable opportunity for substantial complaint before the competent judicial authorities, and for the adoption by them of such measures as may bring the case within the jurisdiction of the court.
"Under all the circumstances, I need not impress upon you the necessity for immediate action in order that the machinery of justice may be duly set in motion; and I am sure, Mr. Minister, that you will appreciate the urgency of promptly doing so in order that the temporary and purely precautionary intervention of the Executive in this relation may be replaced by regular judicial process of libel and trial."
Mr. Adee, Act. Sec. of State, to Mr. Bolet Peraza, Venezuelan min., Sept. 12, 1892, For. Rel. 1892, 640–641.
The steamer referred to was the South Portland. She was not libeled, and a proceeding against the master having failed to establish any
violation of the neutrality laws, was discharged and permitted to sail. "The essential charge having failed, no room remained for the libeling of the vessel. The [United States] attorney having so reported, the executive discretion of this department to request the further detention of the South Portland by the customs authorities came to an end, and it became my duty so to advise the Secretary of the Treasury." (Mr Foster, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bolet Peraza, Venezuelan min., Sept. 22, 1892, For. Rel. 1892, 645.)
See Mr. Foster, Sec. of State, to U. S. dist. attorney, New York, tel., Sept. 14, 1892, 188 MS. Dom. Let. 165; same to same, tel., Sept. 17, 1892, id. 214; Mr. Foster to Sec. of Treasury, Sept. 17, 1892, id. 220.
"I note your concluding request that, in obedience to the cordial sentiments of the United States for Venezuela, orders be sent by telegraph to the commanders of the naval vessels of the United States now in Venezuelan waters not to permit the South Portland, which has been cleared for Trinidad, to land contraband of war at Puerto Cabello, which port you state to be now occupied by a revolutionary faction. Even were a state of belligerency duly recognized and the obligations of international neutrality flowing therefrom actually incumbent upon this Government, I need hardly point out to you that no duty to assist one of the combatants to blockade a hostile port, or to assume to exercise belligerent rights and powers in respect of such contraband of war, could exist. The function of blockade and the rights to be exercised in respect to contraband of war pertain exclusively to combatants, and may not be assumed by a neutral power, however friendly."
Mr. Foster, Sec. of State, to Señor Bolet Peraza, Venezuelan min., Sept. 28, 1892, For. Rel. 1892, 647.
The South Portland had been detained by Executive order at New York, pending the arrest and examination of her master on a charge of violation of the neutrality laws, but the charge not being substantiated had been permitted to sail. (For. Rel. 1892, 624, 625, 627, 639–646.)
On June 11, 1895, the Treasury Department issued circular instructions to all collectors and deputy collectors at the sixty-four ports and subports on the Atlantic coast, from New York City to Brownsville, Texas, enjoining vigilance in the enforcement of the neutrality laws in order to prevent any illegal aid to the insurrection in Cuba. These instructions were, on the next day, followed by a proclamation of the President warning all persons against any violation of the neutrality laws. The length of coast covered by the Treasury instructions of June 11, 1895, was 5,470 miles. Nevertheless, during the two and a half years of the insurrection, it was alleged in an elaborate report made by the legal adviser of the Spanish legation that only six American vessels, of an aggregate of 1,331 registered tons, had successfully landed expeditions from the United States in
Cuba. Three foreign vessels, of an aggregate of 1,772 registered tons, were alleged to have been successful in landing such expeditions in Cuba.
Mr. Gage, Sec. of Treasury, to Sec. of State, Nov. 30, 1897, Treasury
This document contains an elaborate review of the neutrality cases that
March 1, 1899, the Secretary of the Navy, pursuant to representations of the Secretary of State, telegraphed to the commanding officer of the U. S. S. Machias, then at Puerto Cortez, Honduras, a report that the steamer Managua had left New Orleans, ostensibly for Puerto Barrios, in Guatemala, with a numerous, well-organized, armed expedition intended to foment insurrection in Honduras, and instructed him to take such action as might be necessary under the neutrality laws of the United States "to prevent the commission of hostile acts by this expedition, fitted out in the United States against a friendly government." Measures were also taken by the President of Guatemala to prevent the landing of the alleged filibusters in that country, and the legation of the United States in Guatemala was instructed if there were reasonable grounds of suspicion not to oppose the action of the Government of Guatemala in refusing to permit them to land. At the same time the customs authorities at New Orleans were directed by the Treasury Department to prevent any violation of the laws of the United States. On the 2d of March the collector at New Orleans telegraphed the Treasury that 116 alleged filibusters had arrived there from Kansas City on the preceding day. Inspectors were placed at the various steamship landings and other points of exit from the city, with instructions to prevent the departure of any suspicious passengers. The leaders of the expedition, finding it impossible to take the men out without a clash with the authorities, abandoned the project and paid the fare of 67 of the men back to Kansas City. The rest remained and sought to get away in small groups, but they were placed under close watch and prevented from departing. Clearance was withheld from two steamers until certain passengers could be examined, some of whom, being found to belong to the expedition, were not allowed to sail. The collector further reported: "This office is of opinion that no contraband goods nor men who propose to engage in the filibustering enterprises have left this port recently. Acting in conjunction with the United States attorney, this office has been careful, in all instances where a question arose as to the propriety of a shipment of goods or departure of men, to act without exercising its authority, the agents or owners of vessels in each instance taking upon themselves, by advice of this office, the
responsibility of refusing the shipments or passengers." The President of Honduras subsequently telegraphed to the chargé d'affaires of Honduras in Guatemala that by the action of the President of that Republic and of the United States the menace of filibusters had disappeared.
For. Rel. 1899, 364–370.
As to alleged expeditions against Honduras, especially in connection with the steamer San Domingo, see Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Sec. of Treasury, Feb. 9, 1886, 159 MS. Dom. Let. 33; Mr. Bayard to Attorney-General, Feb. 11, 1886, id. 50; same to same, March 10, 1886, id. 274; Mr. Bayard to Mr. Helder, March 16, 1886, id. 332. See, also, Mr. Bayard to Gov. Gordon, of Georgia, June 7, 1887, 164 MS. Dom. Let. 337, as to an expedition supposed to be fitting out at Savannah, Ga.
4. JUDICIAL ACTION.
"[The district courts shall take cognizance of all complaints, by whomsoever instituted, in cases of captures made within the waters of the United States, or within a marine league of the coasts or shores thereof.] In every case in which vessel is fitted out and armed, or attempted to be fitted out and armed, or in which the force of any vessel of war, cruiser, or other armed vessel is increased or augmented, or in which any military expedition or enterprise is begun or set on foot, contrary to the provisions and prohibitions of this Title [R. S., 5281-5291]; and in every case of the capture of a vessel within the jurisdiction or protection of the United States as before defined; and in every case in which any process issuing out of any court of the United States is disobeyed or resisted by any person having the custody of any vessel of war, cruiser, or other armed vessel of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people, or of any subjects or citizens of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people, it shall be lawful for the President, or such other person as he shall have empowered for that purpose, to employ such part of the land or naval forces of the United States, or of the militia thereof, for the purpose of taking possession of and detaining any such vessel, with her prizes, if any, in order to the execution of the prohibitions and penalties of this Title, and to the restoring of such prizes in the cases in which restoration shall be adjudged; and also for the purpose of preventing the carrying on of any such expedition or enterprise from the territories or jurisdiction of the United States against the territories or dominions of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States are at peace.”
Sec. 5287, Revised Statutes.