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Mr. Sherman, Sec. of State, to Mr. White, chargé at London, tels., March
As to the purchase of the Amazonas and Almirante Abreu, see Mr. Hay to
For the neutrality proclamations of various governments during the war. between the United States and Spain, see Proclamations and Decrees during the War with Spain, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1899.
"I have held a conference to-day with Don José Rovera, the commissioner appointed by the Provisional Government of Yucatan to proceed to this city for the purpose of re-establishing friendly and commercial relations between that state and the United States. I informed him, under instructions from the President:
"1. That whilst Yucatan continued to maintain her neutrality according to her own voluntary agreement, in the existing war between Mexico and the United States, the latter had respected this neutrality and placed her commerce on the same footing with that of all other neutral states.
"2. That the decree of the Extraordinary Congress of Yucatan, adopted on the 25th August last, had changed this neutrality into a state of hostility against the United States; and that therefore it became the duty of the latter to make a corresponding change in their conduct, and treat her as an enemy and not as a neutral.
3. That the present revolutionary movement of the people of Yucatan for the purpose of restoring her to her former neutral position in the war between Mexico and the United States, has not yet to our knowledge proven completely successful. The City of Mexico, the capital of the state, at the date of our last authentic advices, was still in possession of the government which had sanctioned the decree of the 25th August last. The revolutionary struggle, so far as we have learned, has not yet terminated successfully for the partizans of neutrality. Under these circumstances, all that this Government can do with propriety is to instruct the officer commanding the U. S. naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico to treat Yucatan again as a neutral state whenever he shall have received authentic information that the revolution is accomplished and the government is restored to the hands of those determined to maintain a neutral position. The officer in command must first be satisfied, however, of the real, bona fide
neutrality of Yucatan; and, in case he should afterwards at any time discover that under the guise of neutrality the Yucatanese are carrying on a contraband trade and furnishing Mexico with arms and munitions of war, he will be instructed without further orders from his government to recommence hostile operations.
“ It is the President's request that you should immediately issue instructions in conformity with the foregoing communication, which I have made verbally to Don José Rovera.”
Mr. Buchanan, Sec. of State, to Mr. Mason, Sec. of the Navy, Feb. 22,
1847, 36 MS. Dom. Let. 315.
2. GOVERNMENTAL CONDUCT.
The obligations of a neutral state may be embraced in "three classes, involving, respectively, ABSTENTION, PREVENTION, and ACQUIESCENCE.” By the first of these the neutral state is “bound not to supply armed forces to a belligerent; not to grant passage to such forces, and not to sell to him ships or munitions of war, even when the sale takes place in the ordinary course of getting rid of superfluous or obsolete equipment."
Neutral Duties in a Maritime War, by Thomas Erskine Holland, Proceed
ings of the British Academy, II. 2. In the course of the foregoing paper, Holland, referring to the fact that
a neutral nation is bound not to sell men-of-war to a belligerent, says: “A new, though cognate, question has, however, been raised by the sale of certain German liners to Russia, which forthwith, after rechristening, commissioned them as armed cruisers. If these vessels were, as is alleged, subsidized by their own Government, with a view
to their employment by that Government in case of need, it has been i
urged with much force that they practically form part of the reserve of the Imperial German Navy, and that, therefore, Germany being neutral, they could not be lawfully sold to a belligerent. It would seem that the opinion of the law officers to which Mr. Balfour alluded in August, 1904, was not given with reference to precisely the facts above stated." (Ibid.)
So long as the question of sovereignty and independence“ remains at stake upon the issue of flagrant war, no third party can recognize the one contending for independence as independent, without assuming as decided the question the decision of which depends upon the issue of the war, and without thereby making itself a party to the question. No longer neutral to the question, the recognizing power can no longer claim the right of being neutral to the war. These positions are clear in principle, and they are confirmed by the experience of our own revolutionary history. The acknowledgment of our
independence by France was the immediate and instantaneous cause of war between France and Great Britain. It was not acknowledged by the Netherlands until after war between them and Great Britain had broken out. It was acknowledged by no other European power till it had been recognized by Great Britain herself at the peace. Had it been the interest and policy of the United States to make a common cause with Buenos Ayres, the acknowledgment of her independence would have followed of course."
Mr. Adams, Sec. of State, to Mr. Thompson, Sec. of Navy, May 20, 1819,
17 MS. Dom. Let. 304.
“ The public measures designed to maintain unimpaired the domestic sovereignty and the international neutrality of the United States were independent of this policy [of avoidance of entangling alliances], though apparently incidental to it. The municipal laws enacted by Congress then and since have been but declarations of the law of nations. They are essential to the preservation of our national dignity and honor; they have for their object to repress and punish all enterprises of private war—one of the last relics of mediaeval barbarism; and they have descended to us from the fathers of the Republic, supported and enforced by every succeeding President of the United States."
Report of Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to the President, July 14, 1870, S. Ex.
Doc. 112, 41 Cong. 2 sess. 3.
Early in 1866 the Postmaster-General was informed by the postal department of France that the service of the French line of steam ocean packets, running between Vera Cruz and Matamoras, would be extended to Yew Orleans, and the employment of the line was tendered for the transmission of such correspondence as the United States might wish to transmit to Mexico by that route under an arrangement for the division of postage. The question whether there was any political objection to such an arrangement was submitted to Mr. Seward, who, after conferring with the President, said: “1 French postal steam vessel running between the ports of Matamoras and Vera Cruz can be deemed by this Government to be exercising the rights of war as a belligerent against the Republic of Mexico, with which Republic the United States are maintaining with constancy the relations of friendship. I think, therefore, that Mexico will have ground of complaint against the United States, if the arrangement proposed shall be carried into effect.”
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to the Postmaster-General, April 11, 1866, 73
MS. Dom. Let. 5.
With reference to a claim which was sought to be pressed against Guatemala, after she had refused to recognize it, for the payment of certain drafts given by her representative, Mr. Segur, for the purchase of arms, the Department of State, in declining further to urge the claim, said that the transaction out of which it grew was unneutral, and that of this question the circumstance that Mr. Bushnell, to whom the drafts were given, may not have become criminally answerable to the laws of the United States was not a crucial test, when the employment by the government of its good offices was at stake. “There is a vast difference between the degree of repressive control which this government may be called upon to exert over its citizens in the pursuance of its neutral duties and the extent to which it may be permitted to go in actively aiding them to secure the fulfillment of contracts entered into in aid of a belligerent. For example, it is no offence either against the law of nations or against our neutrality statutes for a citizen of the United States to sell munitions of war to a belligerent; yet it could scarcely be contended that this government would be justified in employing its agents to promote such transactions. Such conduct, it is conceived, would be highly unneutral. It is the duty of this government to abstain from aiding a belligerent in hostilities against a friendly power. Such was the view of this Department in 1868, when it refused to yield its good offices in behalf of American citizens holding bonds of Chile and Peru issued in aid of a war with Spain in 1866. In that case the transaction was as innocent as any of the contracts with Mr. Segur could possibly have been. But the Department declared that the negotiation of a loan for the purpose of hostilities against a friendly power, with which the United States are at peace, is an unneutral act. The government, it was further said, was asked to exert its friendly offices in a matter addressed to its discretion and not founded upon a right to interposition,' and · Spain might find ground to complain that this government patronizes a contribution by citizens of the United States to funds of her enemies for war purposes.
Mr. Rives, Act. Sec. of State, to Messrs. Morris & Fillette, Oct. 13, 1888,
170 MS. Dom. Let. 222. In this case it was contended on the part of counsel for Bushnell that a
state of war did not exist between Salvador on the one side and other Central American States on the other in 1863. The Department held that in fact it did, though it may not have been preceded by a formal declaration.
“ Cuba is again gravely disturbed. An insurrection, in some respects more active than the last preceding revolt, which continued from 1868 to 1878, now exists in a large part of the eastern interior of the island, menacing even some populations on the coast. Besides deranging the commercial exchanges of the island, of which our country takes the predominant share, this flagrant condition of hos
tilities, by arousing sentimental sympathy and inciting adventurous support among our people, has entailed earnest effort on the part of this government to enforce obedience to our neutrality laws and to prevent the territory of the United States from being abused as a vantage ground from which to aid those in arms against Spanish sovereignty.
"Whatever may be the traditional sympathy of our countrymen as individuals with a people who seem to be struggling for larger autonomy and greater freedom, deepened as such sympathy naturally must be in behalf of our neighbors, yet the plain duty of their government is to observe in good faith the recognized obligations of international relationship. The performance of this duty should not be made more difficult by a disregard on the part of our citizens of the obligations growing out of their allegiance to their country, which should restrain them from violating as individuals the neutrality which the nation of which they are members is bound to observe in its relations to friendly sovereign States. Though neither the warmth of our people's sympathy with the Cuban insurgents, nor our loss and material damage consequent upon the futile endeavors thus far made to restore peace and order, nor any shock our humane sensibilities may have received from the cruelties which appear to especially characterize this sanguinary and fiercely conducted war, have in the least shaken the determination of the government to honestly fulfill every international obligation, yet it is to be earnestly hoped, on every ground, that the devastation of armed conflict may speedily be stayed and order and quiet restored to the distracted island, bringing in their train the activity and thrift of peaceful pursuits."
President Cleveland, annual message, Dec. 2, 1895, For. Rel. 1895, I.
For correspondence as to the enforcement of the neutrality laws during
See, also, Mr. Olney, Sec. of State, to Attorney-General, June 10, 1895, 202