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“ It has never been the purpose of the Government of the United States to interpose, directly or indirectly, in the affairs of the states of Central America, with a view to settle the controversies between them by any influence whatsoever exercised by this Government, without their request or free consent. The mediation and friendly offices of this Government have been solicited, and this request has been complied with and nothing more. Not a step has been taken to coerce either of those Governments into any measure not satisfactory to itself. These Republics are small, and in a great degree powerless, but we respect the national character and independence of each. And although it is to be deeply regretted that, for national purposes, they are not united in some form of confederacy, yet, whilst things remain as they now are, we are to treat with each of them as a separate and independent state."
Mr. Webster, Sec. of State, to the President, Aug. 12, 1852, MS. Report
Book VI. 47.
With reference to the action of the American minister in Bolivia in tendering to the Bolivian Government the good offices of the United States for the renewal of friendly relations between Bolivia and Great Britain, Mr. Seward expressed the opinion that the American minister was " rather premature" in making the offer.
" If the Bolivian Government, said Mr. Seward, desired the mediation of the United States, its wish should have been referred to Washington and not accepted at once without instructions. “The office of a
• mediator is an important one. Its duties can not be discharged satisfactorily to the mediator himself or to the parties to the controversy, without a full knowledge on his part of the origin, history, and nature of the dispute. : . It would consequently be necessary to furnish that information before even the expediency of our acting as a mediator could properly be determined."
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Caldwell, min. to Bolivia, No. 18, Feb.
18, 1869, MS. Inst. Bolivia, I. 105.
“ The Government of the United States feels a deep interest in the permanent peace and prosperity of the South American states and will not refuse to exercise such influence as may be proper to secure an amicable settlement of the difficulty which has unfortunately arisen among some of those countries.”
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Clapp, No. 19, Oct. 23, 1872, MS. Inst.
Argentine Republic, XVI. 22.
Bolivia at Buenos Ayres, that, in case he should fail to obtain satis-
In 1887, the Government of Salvador expressed to Mr. Hall, the minister of the United States in Central America, a wish that the mediation of the United States should be offered to Italy for the settlement of a claim against Salvador arising from the sale of the Government printing establishment in that country to an Italian subject. The amount of the claim was about 2,000,000 francs. The United States replied that, without more precise knowledge of the grounds of the claim, it hesitated to tender mediation, but subsequently suggested that the Salvadorian Government should sustain its minister in naming a sum to settle the claim, and that, if a reasonable proposal should be rejected by the Italian Government, the good offices of the United States might then be offered. Subsequently, Mr. Hall's good offices were solicited by the diplomatic representative of Italy, and, under these circumstances, he was instructed that, if both parties joined in requesting his impartial good offices, he might visit Salvador for that purpose. Mr. Hall accordingly tendered his good offices, and, as the result of their exercise, it was agreed to settle the claim for $270,000 payable in instalments.
For. Rel. 1888, I. 77, 78, 107, 120. With reference to an inquiry as to what action the President would take in case he should be requested to act as mediator between Great Britain and the Congo State in a controversy as to certain territorial rights in Africa, the Department of State said:
" The readiness with which the Executive of this government has responded in the past to invitations to exert friendly offices toward the composition of questions at issue between foreign countries with which the United States maintain relations of amity is in itself an earnest of the cordial spirit in which such overtures are likely to be welcomed, when addressed to the President by the parties to the disagreement. I may, however, assume that the President would feel a natural delicacy in making any statement of readiness to so act, in advance of his offices being solicited by the concurrent action of the two governments concerned. .. On several important occasions, some of them quite recent, the President has abstained from any indication in advance, to either party, of what reception he might ultimately give to a joint request for his friendly concourse as a mediator or arbitrator. Regarding, for my own part, such an attitude of reserve as comporting with the principle of resort to amicable and impartial mediation, and having in mind, moreover, the circumstance that the President's electoral term will expire on the 4th of March next, thus rendering it improbable that the suggested trust could be personally accepted and discharged by the present incumbent of that high office, I have thought it proper to refrain from taking Mr. Harrison's direction in the premises.”
Mr. Foster, Sec. of State, to Mr. Terrell, min. to Belgium, No. 260, Nov.
23, 1892, MS. Inst. Belgium, III. 117.
(2) TO AVERT HOSTILITIES.
“ The United States stand as the great American power, to which, as their natural ally and friend, they [the South America nations will always be disposed first to look for mediation and assistance in the event of any collision between them and any European nation. As such we may often kindly mediate in their behalf without entangling ourselves in foreign wars or unnecessary controversies. Whenever the faith of our treaties with any of them shall require our interference, we must necessarily interpose."
President Taylor, annual message, Dec. 4, 1849, Richardson's Messages,
V. 14. “ England again offered mediation between the United States and Mexico
in 1847, but the offer was not accepted by either party." (Dana's
Wheaton, $ 73, note 40.)
in relation to efforts to mediate between Spain and the Spanish
“The President has observed with deep solicitude the existence of feelings of alienation between the republies of Ecuador and Peru. The United States have neither a right nor a disposition to question the merits of any controversies which have arisen between those states, with both of which we desire to cultivate the most amicable relations, while we would, if possible, contribute to the prosperity and advancement of both. The United States feel very sensibly that internal differences, like those which are now affecting themselves, as well as differences between independent republies on this continent, have a manifest tendency to injure the common interest of all the American republies. Animated by these views, the President desires that you will seek an early opportunity to express them to the Government of Ecuador. While fully admitting the right of the Government to pursue its own counsels, you will express a hope on the part of this Government that its difficulties with Peru may admit of peaceful solution by arbitration or otherwise. You will not tender mediation on the part of the President.
“ It is not consistent with his views of propriety and policy to assume such an office. But if his good oflices should be desired by both parties, he would use his best efforts in the recommendation of a mediator who would do justice to the two republics.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Ilassa urek, min. to Ecuador, No. 6,
Nov. 20, 1861, MS. Inst. Ecuador, I. 100.
The action of the German aclmiral in 1884 in raising the imperial flag at Yap, in the Caroline Islands as a sign of occupation, caused in Spain an outbreak of popular violence, which was marked by attacks on the German embassy and the German consulate at Madiid. In order to avert hostilities between the two countries Prince Bismarck proposed the submission of the matter to the mediation of the Pope. This proposal the Spanish Government accepted, and on October 22, 1885, the Pope, as mediator, presented to the two governments certain propositions by which the sovereignty of Spain over the Caroline and Pelew islands was confirmed, but by which Germany acquired exceptional commercial rights, together with the right to establish a naval station and a coal depot in the islands. His Holiness advised that his propositions should be embodied by Germany and Spain in a protocol, which should follow the form of that concluded at Madrid on March 7, 1885, between Germany, Great Britain, and Spain in relation to the Sulu archipelago. Such a protocol was signed at Rome December 17, 1885, by the German and Spanish ambassadors.
For. Rel. 1886, 776.
The Guatemalan minister at Washington having expressed a desire for the friendly offices and moral influence of the United States to prevent a “war for conquest” by Mexico, the American minister at Mexico was instructed to " tender good offices in favor of peace with honor between American republics, and deprecate unnecessary war."
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Morgan, tel., April 11, 1885, MS. Inst.
Mexico, XXI. 269.
" For some years past a growing disposition has been manifested by certain states of Central and South America to refer disputes affecting grave questions of international relationship and boundaries to arbitration rather than to the sword. It has been, on several such occasions, a source of profound satisfaction to the Government of the United States to see that this country is, in a large measure, looked to by all the American powers as their friend and mediator. The just and impartial counsel of the President in such cases has never been withheld, and his efforts have been rewarded by the prevention of sanguinary strife or angry contentions between peoples whom we regard as brethren."
Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Morgan, Nov. 29, 1881, MS. Inst.
Mexico, XX. 373.
Art. I. of the treaty between the United States and Corea, of May 22, 1882, provides that“ if other powers deal unjustly or oppressively with either Government, the other will exert their good offices, on
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being informed of the case, to bring about an amicable arrangement, thus showing their friendly feelings.” In June, 1894, the Corean minister at Washington, under instructions of his government, represented that its independence was seriously menaced by the action of China and Japan, and invoked the interposition of the United States. The United States tendered its good offices, but the precipitation of hostilities between China and Japan defeated this purpose.
Mr. Gresham, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bayard, ambass. to England, No. 28,
July 20, 1894, For. Rel. 1894, App. I. 36 ; President Cleveland, annual
message, Dec. 3, 1894. July 9, 1894, Mr. Gresham telegraphed to Mr. Sill, American min. at
Seoul, that the United States could not intervene forcibly. (For. Rel.
1894, App. I. 31.) Oct. 12, 1894, Mr. Gresham wrote to a Mr. Goschen, British chargé, that
while the President earnestly desired that China and Japan shall speedily agree upon terms of peace alike honorable to both, and not humiliating to Korea, he can not join England, Germany, Russia, and France in an intervention, as requested.” (For. Rel. 1894, App. I. 70.)
(3) TO END WAR.
In 1838, the Government of the United States instructed its minister at Paris to acquaint the French Government with the readiness of the President to afford his assistance in any form in which it might appear likely to prove beneficial for the purpose of bringing an end to the controversy then existing between France and Mexico. The President, it was stated, would feel no delicacy in tendering his good offices for that purpose, if he were not precluded from the adoption of any specific steps by a report that the British Government had offered its mediation.
Mr. Vail, Act. Sec. of State, to Mr. Cass, min. to France, No. 30, Oct.
29, 1838, MS, Inst. France, XIV. 249. A similar communication was addressed to the American minister in
“Our minister to China, in obedience to his instructions, has remained perfectly neutral in the war between Great Britain and France and the Chinese Empire, although, in conjunction with the Russian minister, he was ever ready and willing, had the opportunity offered, to employ his good offices in restoring peace between the parties. It is but an act of simple justice, both to our present minister and his predecessor, to state that they have proved fully equal to the delicate, trying, and responsible positions in which they have on different occasions been placed.”
President Buchanan, annual message, Dec. 3, 1860, Richardson's Messages,