After the international issues arising from the Civil War were settled, and before foreign relations began to become more important late in the nineties, our diplomatic history showed the same lack of definiteness and continuity that stamped the history of politics during the same years. Eleven different men held the post of Secretary of State during the thirty-four years from 1865 to 1898, one of them, Blaine, serving at two separate times. The political situation in Washington changed frequently, few men of outstanding capacity as diplomatists were in the cabinets, and most of the problems which arose were not such as would excite the interest of great international minds. That any degree of unity in our foreign relations was attained is due in part to the continuous service of such men as A.A. Adee, who was connected with the state department from 1878, and Professor John Bassett Moore, long in the department and frequently available as a counselor.[1]

Even before the Civil War, Americans had been interested in the affairs of the nations whose shores were touched by the Pacific Ocean. Missionaries and traders had long visited China and Japan. During the years when the transcontinental railroads were built, as has been seen, the construction companies looked to China for a labor supply, and there followed a stream of Chinese immigrants who were the cause of a difficult international problem. Our relations with Japan were extremely friendly. Until the middle of the nineteenth century the Japanese had been almost completely cut off from the remainder of the world, desiring neither to give to the rest of humanity nor to take from them. In 1854 Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United States Navy had succeeded in obtaining permission for American ships to take coal and provisions at two Japanese ports. Townsend Harris shortly afterwards had been appointed consul-general to Japan and his knowledge of the East and his tactful diplomacy had procured increased trade rights and other privileges. In 1863 a Japanese prince had sought to close the strait of Shimonoseki which connects the inland sea of Japan with the outside ocean. American, French and Dutch vessels had been fired upon, and eventually an international expedition had been sent to open the strait by force. Seventeen ships of war had quickly brought the prince to terms. An indemnity had been demanded, of which the United States had received a share. The fund remained in the treasury untouched until 1883 when it was returned to Japan. The latter received the refund as "a strong manifestation of that spirit of justice and equity which has always animated the United States in its relations with Japan."

The purchase of Alaska in 1867, stretched a long, curved finger out towards the Asiatic coast, but there was little interest in the new acquisition and no knowledge of its size or resources.[2]

The first tangible and permanent indication that the United States might extend its interests into the sphere of the Pacific Ocean appeared as early as 1872, when an arrangement with a Samoan chief gave us the right to use the harbor of Pagopago on the island of Tutuila. Tutuila is far from American shores, being below the equator on the under side of the world, but the harbor of Pagopago is an unusually good one and its relation to the extension of American commerce in the South Pacific was readily seen. Not long afterward, similar trading privileges were granted to Germany and Great Britain. Conditions in the islands had by no means been peaceful even before the advent of the foreigners with their intrigues and jealousies, and in 1885 the Germans, taking advantage of a native rebellion, hauled down the Samoan flag on the government building in Apia and seemed about to take control. In the following year, at the request of the Samoan king, the American consul Greenebaum proclaimed a protectorate and hoisted the United States flag. The act was unauthorized and was disavowed at once by the government at Washington. In the hope of establishing order in the islands, Bayard, Secretary of State in President Cleveland's first administration, suggested a triple conference of Germany, Great Britain and the United States in Washington. During a recess in the conference a native rebellion overturned the Samoan government and Germany assumed virtual control. While civil war raged among native factions, the Germans landed armed forces for the protection of their interests. The American and British governments, fearful of danger to their rights, already had war vessels in the harbor of Apia and armed conflict seemed almost inevitable when a sudden hurricane on March 16, 1889, destroyed all the vessels except one. The Calliope, (English), steamed out to sea in the teeth of the great storm and escaped in safety. In the face of such a catastrophe all smaller ills were forgotten and peace reigned for the moment in Samoa.

Meanwhile, just as Cleveland was retiring from office for the first time, another conference of the three powers was arranged which provided a somewhat complicated triple protectorate. After a few years of quiet, another native insurrection called attention to the islands. Cleveland was again in the presidential chair, and in a message to Congress he expressed his belief that the United States had made a mistake in departing from its century-old policy of avoiding entangling alliances with foreign powers. A year later he returned to the subject more earnestly than ever. A report from the Secretary of State presented the history of our Samoan relations and ventured a judgment that the only fruits which had fallen to the United States were expense, responsibility and entanglement. The President thereupon invited an expression of opinion from Congress on the advisability of withdrawing from our engagements with the other powers. For the time nothing came of Cleveland's recommendation, but the continuance of native quarrels later necessitated another commission to the islands. The American member reported that the harbor of Apia was full of war vessels and the region about covered with armed men, but that "not the sail or smoke of a single vessel of commerce was to be seen there or about the coasts of these beautiful islands." In 1899, the triple protectorate was abandoned, as it had complicated the task of governing the islands. The United States received Tutuila with the harbor of Pagopago, Germany took the remainder of the group, and England retired altogether. The trend of Samoan relations was significant: our connection with the islands began with the desire to possess a coaling station; the possession first resulted in entanglements with other nations, and later in the question whether we ought not to withdraw; and eventually we withdrew from some of the responsibilities, but not from all. Despite its traditional policy of not contracting entangling alliances, the United States was in the Pacific to stay.

When Cleveland came into power the first time, he found a long-standing disagreement with Canada over the fisheries of the northeastern coast. An arrangement which had resulted from the Treaty of Washington in 1871 came to an end in 1885, and the rights of American fishermen in Canadian waters then rested upon a treaty of 1818. This treaty was inadequate owing to various changes which had taken place during the nearly seventy years that had elapsed since it was drawn up. Several difficulties lay in the way of the arrangement of a new treaty, an important one being the readiness of the Republican Senate to embarrass the President and thus discredit his administration. Matters came to a critical point in 1886 when Canadian officials seized two American vessels engaged in deep-sea fishing. Cleveland then arranged a treaty which provided for reciprocal favors, and when the Senate withheld its assent the administration made a temporary agreement, (modus vivendi), under which American ships were allowed to purchase bait and supplies and to use Canadian bays and harbors by paying a license fee.[3]

The peculiar geographical configuration of Alaska was, meanwhile, bringing the United States into another diplomatic controversy. An arm or peninsula of the possession extends far out into the Pacific and is continued by the Aleutian Islands, which resemble a series of stepping-stones reaching toward Siberia.[4] The Bering Sea is almost enclosed by Alaska and the Islands. Within the Sea and particularly on the islands of St. Paul and St. George in the Pribilof group, large numbers of seals gathered during the spring and summer to rear their young. In the autumn the herds migrated to the south, passing out through the narrow straits between the members of the Aleutian group, and were particularly open to attack at these points. As early as 1870 the United States government leased the privilege of hunting fur seals on St. Paul and St. George to the Alaska Commercial Company, but the business was so attractive that vessels came to the Aleutian straits from many parts of the Pacific, and it looked as if the United States must choose between the annihilation of the herds and the adoption of some means for protecting them. The revenue service thereupon began the seizure in 1886 of British sealing vessels, taking three in that year and six during the next. The British government protested against the seizures on the ground that they had taken place more than three miles from shore - three miles being the limit to the jurisdiction of any nation, according to international law. The Alaskan Court which upheld the seizures justified itself by the claim that the whole Bering Sea was part of the territory of Alaska and thus was comparable to a harbor or closed sea (mare clausum), but Secretary Blaine disavowed this contention. The United States then requested the governments of several European countries, together with Japan, to cooperate for the better protection of the fisheries, but no results were reached.

Continuance of the seizures in 1889 brought renewed protests from Lord Salisbury, who was in charge of foreign affairs. Blaine retorted that the destruction of the herds was contra bonos mores and that it was no more defensible even outside the three mile limit than destructive fishing on the banks of Newfoundland by the explosion of dynamite would be. Lord Salisbury replied that fur seals were wild animals,ferae naturae, and not the property of any individual until captured. An extended diplomatic correspondence ensued, which resulted in a treaty of arbitration in 1892.[5]

A tribunal of seven arbitrators was established, two appointed by the Queen of England, two by the President, and one each by the rulers of France, Italy and Sweden and Norway, the last two being under one sovereign at that time. Several questions were submitted to the tribunal. What exclusive rights does the United States have in the Bering Sea? What right of protection or property does the United States have in the seals frequenting the islands in the Sea? If the United States has no exclusive rights over the seals, what steps ought to be taken to protect them? Great Britain also presented to the arbitrators the question whether the seizures of seal-hunting ships had been made under the authority of the government of the United States.

The decisions were uniformly against the American contention. It was decided that our jurisdiction in the Bering Sea did not extend beyond the three mile limit and that therefore the United States had no right of protection or property in the seals. A set of regulations for the protection of the herds was also drawn up. Another negotiation resulted in the payment of $473,000 damages by the United States for the illegal seizures of British sealers.[6]

Relations with the Latin American countries south of the Mexican border had been unstable since the Mexican War, an unhappy controversy that left an ineradicable prejudice against us. John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay had hoped for a friendly union of the nations of North and South America, led by the United States, but this ideal had turned out to have no more substance than a vision. Moreover, the increasing trade activity of Great Britain and later of Germany had made a commercial bond of connection between South America and Europe which was, perhaps, stronger than that which the United States had established. Yet some progress was made. Disputes between European governments and the governments of Latin American countries were frequently referred to the United States for arbitration. An old claim of some British subjects, for example, against Colombia was submitted for settlement in 1872 to commissioners of whom the United States minister at Bogota was the most important. The problem was studied with great care and the award was satisfactory to both sides. In 1876 a territorial dispute between Argentina and Paraguay was referred to the President of the United States. In the case of a boundary controversy between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, President Cleveland appointed an arbitrator; Argentina and Brazil presented a similar problem which received the attention of Presidents Harrison and Cleveland.

It fell to James. G. Blaine to revive the idea of a Pan-American conference which had been first conceived by Adams and Clay. As a diplomat, Blaine was possessed of outstanding patriotism and enthusiastic imagination, even if not of vast technical capacity or of an international mind. As Secretary of State under President Garfield in 1881 he invited the Latin American countries to share with the United States in a conference for the discussion of arbitration. The early death of Garfield and the ensuing change in the state department resulted in the abandonment of the project for the time being. Blaine, however, and other interested persons continued to press the plan and in 1888 Congress authorized the President to invite the governments of the Latin American countries to send delegates to a conference to be held in Washington in the following year. By that time President Harrison was in power. Blaine was again Secretary of State and was chosen president of the conference. Among the subjects for discussion were the preservation of peace, the creation of a customs union, uniform systems of weights, measures and coinage, and the promotion of frequent inter-communication among the American states. Little was accomplished, beyond a few recommendations, except the establishment of the International Bureau of American Republics. This was to have no governmental power, but was to be supported by the various nations concerned and was to collect and disseminate information about their laws, products and customs. The Bureau has become permanent under the name Pan American Union and is a factor in the preservation of friendly relations among the American republics. The reciprocity measure which Blaine pressed upon Congress during the pendency of the McKinley tariff bill was designed partly to further Pan-American intercourse.

In the case of a disagreement with Chile, Blaine was less successful. A revolution against the Chilean President, Balmaceda, resulted in the triumph of the insurgents in 1891. The American minister to Chile was Patrick Egan, an Irish agitator who sympathized with President Balmaceda against the revolutionists and who was persona non grata to the strong English and German colonies there. While Chilean affairs were in this strained condition, the revolutionists sent a vessel, the Itata, to San Diego in California for military supplies, and American authorities seized it for violating the neutrality laws. While the vessel was in the hands of our officers, the Chileans took control of it and made their escape. The cruiser Charleston was sent in pursuit and thereupon the revolutionists surrendered the Itata. Not long afterward, however, a United States Court decided that the pursuit had been without justification under international law and ordered the release of the Itata. The result was that the United States seemed to have been over-ready to take sides against the revolutionists, and the latter became increasingly hostile to Americans.

Relations finally broke under the strain of a street quarrel in the city of Valparaiso in the fall of 1891. A number of sailors from the United States ship Baltimore were on shore leave and fell in with some Chilean sailors in a saloon. A quarrel resulted - just how it originated and just who was the aggressor could not be determined - but at any rate the Americans were outnumbered and one was killed. The administration pressed the case with vigor, declining to look upon the incident as a sailors' brawl and considering it a hostile attack upon the wearers of an American uniform. For a time the outbreak of war was considered likely, but eventually Chile yielded, apologized for its acts and made a financial return for the victims of the riot. Later students of Chilean relations have not praised Egan as minister or Blaine's conduct of the negotiations, but it is fair to note that the Chileans were prejudiced against the American Secretary of State because of an earlier controversy in which he had sided against them, and that the affair was complicated by the presence of powerful European colonies and by the passions which the revolution had aroused.

Blaine was compelled to face another embarrassing situation in dealing with Italy in 1891-1892. In October, 1890, the chief of police of New Orleans, D.C. Hennessy, had been murdered and circumstances indicated that the deed had been committed by members of an Italian secret society called the Mafia. A number of Italians were arrested, of whom three were acquitted, five were held for trial and three were to be tried a second time. One morning a mob of citizens, believing that there had been a miscarriage of justice, seized the eleven and killed all of them. The Italian government immediately demanded protection for Italians in New Orleans, as well as punishment of the persons concerned in the attack, and later somewhat impatiently demanded federal assurance that the guilty parties would be brought to trial and an acknowledgment that an indemnity was due to the relatives of the victims of the mob. Failing to obtain these guarantees, the Italian government withdrew its minister. When a grand jury in New Orleans investigated the affair it excused the participants and none of them was brought to trial.

The government at Washington was hampered by the fact that judicial action in such a case lies with the individual state under our form of government, whereas diplomatic action is of course entirely federal. If the states are tardy or derelict in action, the national government is almost helpless. President Harrison urged Congress to make offenses against the treaty rights of foreigners cognizable in the federal courts, but this was never done. Diplomatic activity, however, brought better results, and an expression of regret on the part of the United States, together with the payment of an indemnity of $24,000 closed the incident.

Among the many troublesome questions that faced President Cleveland when he entered upon the Presidency in 1893 for the second time, the status of the Hawaiian Islands was important. Since the development of the Pacific Coast of the United States in the forties and fifties, there had been a growing trade between the islands and this country. Reciprocity and even annexation had been projected. In 1875 a reciprocity arrangement was consummated, a part of which was a stipulation that none of the territory of Hawaii should be leased or disposed of to any other power. In this way a suggestion was made of ultimate annexation. Moreover the commercial results of the treaty were such as to make a friendly connection with the United States a matter of moment to Hawaii. The value of Hawaiian exports had increased, government revenues enlarged, and many public improvements had been made. In 1884 the grant of Pearl Harbor to the United States as a naval station made still another bond of connection between the islands and their big neighbor.

The King of Hawaii during this period of prosperity was Kalakaua. During a visit to the United States, and later during a tour of the world he was royally received, whereupon he returned to his island kingdom with expanded theories of the position which a king should occupy. Unhappily he dwelt more on the pleasures which a king might enjoy than upon the obligations of a ruler to his people. At his death in 1891 Princess Liliuokalani became Queen and at once gave evidence of a disposition to rule autocratically. Because of her attempts to revise the Hawaiian system of government so as to increase the power of the crown, the more influential citizens assembled, appointed a committee of public safety and organized for resistance. On January 17, 1893, the revolutionary elements gathered, proclaimed the end of the monarchical regime and established a provisional government under the leadership of Judge S.B. Dole. The new authorities immediately proposed annexation to the United States and a treaty was promptly drawn up in accord with President Harrison's wishes, and presented to the Senate. At this point the Harrison administration ended and Cleveland became President.

Cleveland immediately withdrew the treaty for examination and sent James H. Blount to the islands to investigate the relation of American officials to the recent revolution. The appointment of Blount was made without the advice and consent of the Senate and was denounced by the President's enemies, although such special missions have been more or less common since the beginning of our history.[7] Blount reported that the United States minister to Hawaii, J.L. Stevens, had for some time been favorably disposed to a revolution in the islands and had written almost a year before that event asking how far he and the naval commander might deviate from established international rules in the contingency of a rebellion. "The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe," Stevens had written to the State Department, early in 1893, "and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it." Blount also informed the President that the monarchy had been overturned with the active aid of Stevens and through the intimidation caused by the presence of an armed naval force of the United States.

The blunt language which Cleveland employed in his message to Congress on the subject, left no doubt about his opinion of the transaction. "The control of both sides of a bargain acquired in such a manner is called by a familiar and unpleasant name when found in private transactions." Believing that an injustice had been done and that the only honorable course was to undo the wrong, he sent A.S. Willis as successor to Stevens to express the President's regret and to attempt to make amends. One of the conditions however which President Cleveland placed upon the restoration of the Queen was a promise of amnesty to all who had shared in the revolution. The Queen was at first unwilling to bind herself and when she later agreed, a new obstacle appeared in the refusal of the provisional government to surrender its authority. Indeed it began to appear that the President's sense of justice was forcing him to attempt the impossible. The provisional government had already been recognized by the United States and by other powers, the deposition of the Queen was a fait accompli and her restoration partook of the nature of turning back the clock. Moreover, force would have to be used to supplant the revolutionary authorities, - a task for which Americans had no desire. The President, in fact, had exhausted his powers and now referred the whole affair to Congress. The House condemned Stevens for assisting in the overturn of the monarchy and went on record as opposed to either annexation or an American protectorate. Sentiment was less nearly uniform in the upper chamber. The Democrats tended to uphold the President, the Republicans to condemn him. Although a majority of the committee on foreign relations exonerated Stevens, yet no opposition appeared to a declaration which passed the Senate on May 31, 1894, maintaining that the United States ought not to intervene in Hawaiian affairs and that interference by any other government would be regarded as unfriendly to this country.

In the outcome, these events merely delayed annexation; they could not prevent it. In Hawaii the more influential and the propertied classes supported the revolution and desired annexation. In the United States the desire for expansion was stimulated by the fear that some other nation might seize the prize. The military and naval situation in 1898 increased the demand for annexation, and in the summer of that year the acquisition was completed by means of a joint resolution of the two houses of Congress.[8] While negotiations were in progress Japan protested that her interests in the Pacific were endangered. Assurances were given, however, that Japanese treaty rights would not be affected by the annexation and the protest was withdrawn. The United States was now "half-way across to Asia."

Most dangerous in its possibilities was the controversy with Great Britain over the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela. British Guiana lies on the northern coast of South America, next to Venezuela and extends inland, with its western boundary roughly parallel to the valley of the Orinoco River. A long-standing disagreement had existed about the exact position of the line between the two countries - a disagreement which harked back to the claims of the Dutch, who had acquired Guiana in 1613 and had turned it over to the British in 1814. In 1840 England commissioned a surveyor named Schomburgk to fix the boundary but his decision was objected to by the Venezuelans who claimed that he included a great area that rightfully belonged to them. Gradually the British claims included more and more of the territory claimed by Venezuela, and the discovery of gold in the disputed region not only drew attention to the necessity of a settlement of the boundary but also attracted prospectors who began to occupy the land. In 1876 Venezuela began negotiations for some means of deciding the dispute and came to the conclusion that arbitration was her only recourse. On the refusal of Great Britain to heed her protests, the Venezuelan government suspended diplomatic relations in 1887, although the United States attempted to prevent a rupture by suggesting the submission of the difference to an arbitral tribunal. This offer was not accepted by Great Britain, and repeated exertions on the part of both Venezuela and the United States at later times failed to produce better results. When Cleveland returned to the presidency in 1893 he again became interested in the Venezuelan matter and Secretary of State Gresham urged the attention of the British government to the desirability of arbitration.

President Cleveland was a man of great courage and had a very keen sense of justice. In his opinion a great nation was playing the bully with a small one, and the injustice stirred his feelings to the depths. With the President's approval Secretary Olney, who had succeeded Gresham on the death of the latter, drew up an exposition of the Monroe doctrine which was communicated to Lord Salisbury. This despatch, which was dated July 20, 1895, brought matters to a climax. In brief the administration took the position that under the Monroe doctrine the United States adhered to the principle that no European nation might deprive an American state of the right and power of self-government. This had been established American policy for seventy years. The Venezuelan boundary controversy was within the scope of the doctrine since Great Britain asserted title to disputed territory, substantially appropriating it, and refused to have her title investigated. At the same time Secretary Olney disclaimed any intention of taking sides in the controversy until the merits of the case were authoritatively ascertained, although the general argument of the despatch seemed to place the United States on the side of Venezuela. Moreover, Secretary Olney adopted a swaggering and aggressive, not to say truculent tone. He drew a contrast between monarchical Europe and self-governing America, particularly the United States, which "has furnished to the world the most conspicuous ... example ... of the excellence of free institutions, whether from the standpoint of national greatness or of individual happiness." The United States, he asserted, is "practically sovereign on this continent" because "wisdom and justice and equity are the invariable characteristics" of its dealings with others and because "its infinite resources combined with its isolated position render it master of the situation ... as against any or all other powers."

Lord Salisbury did not reply to Secretary Olney for more than four months. He then asserted that President Monroe's message of 1823 had laid down two propositions: that America was no longer to be looked upon as a field for European colonization; and that Europe must not attempt to extend its political system to America, or to control the political condition of any of the American communities. In Lord Salisbury's opinion Olney was asserting that the Monroe doctrine conferred upon the United States the right to demand arbitration whenever a European power had a frontier difference with a South American community. He suggested that the Monroe doctrine was not a part of international law, that the boundary dispute had no relation to the dangers which President Monroe had feared and that the United States had no "apparent practical concern" with the controversy between Great Britain and Venezuela. He also raised some objections to arbitration as a method of settling disputes and asserted the willingness of Great Britain to arbitrate her title to part of the lands claimed. The remainder, he declared, could be thought of as Venezuelan only by extravagant claims based on the pretensions of Spanish officials in the last century. This area he expressly refused to submit to arbitration. The language of the Salisbury note was diplomatically correct, a fact which did not detract from the effect of the patronizing tone which characterized it.

President Cleveland doggedly proceeded with his demands. On December 17, (1895), he laid before Congress the correspondence with Lord Salisbury, together with a statement of his own position on the matter. Disclaiming any preconceived conviction as to the merits of the dispute, he nevertheless deprecated the possibility that a European country, by extending its boundaries, might take possession of the territory of one of its neighbors. Inasmuch as Great Britain had refused to submit to arbitration, he believed it incumbent upon the United States to take measures to determine the true divisional line. He suggested therefore that Congress empower the executive to appoint a commission to investigate and report. His closing words were so grave as to arouse the country to a realization of the dangerous pitch to which negotiations had mounted:

    When such report is made and accepted it will in my opinion be the 
    duty of the United States to resist ... the appropriation by Great 
    Britain of any ... territory which after investigation we have 
    determined of right belongs to Venezuela. In making these 
    recommendations I am fully alive to the responsibility incurred, 
    and keenly realize all the consequences that may follow. I am 
    nevertheless firm in my conviction that while it is a grievous thing 
    to contemplate the two great English-speaking peoples ... as being 
    otherwise than friendly ... there is no calamity ... which equals 
    that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice.

Congress at once acceded to Cleveland's wishes and appropriated $100,000 for the proposed investigation. For a brief moment neither Great Britain nor America quite realized the meaning of the President's warlike utterance. In America it had generally been felt previously that his foreign policy was conciliatory rather than aggressive and, besides, the Venezuelan dispute had but little occupied popular attention. When it became evident that war was a definite possibility, public interest followed every step with anxiety. Newspaper sentiment divided. The press generally judged Cleveland's stand strong and "American." On the other hand, a few periodicals like the Nation insinuated that the President was actuated by the desire to make political capital for a third term campaign and characterized his action as "criminally rash and insensate," "ignorant and reckless," "impudent and insulting." Influential citizens in both countries made energetic attempts to prevent anything that might make war inevitable. The Prince of Wales and Lord Roseberry threw their influence on the side of conciliation. A.J. Balfour declared that a conflict with the United States would carry something of the "horror of civil war" and looked forward to the time when the country would "feel that they and we have a common duty to perform, a common office to fulfill among the nations of the world."

The President appointed a commission which set to work to obtain the information necessary for a judicial settlement of the boundary, and both Great Britain and Venezuela tactfully expressed a readiness to cooperate. Their labors, however, were brought to a close by a treaty between the two disputants providing for arbitration. A prominent feature of the treaty was an agreement that fifty years' control or settlement of an area should be sufficient to constitute a title, a provision which withdrew from consideration much of the territory to which Venezuela had laid claim. In October, 1899, the arbitration was concluded. The award did not meet the extreme claims of either party, but gave Great Britain the larger share of the disputed area, although assigning the entire mouth of the Orinoco River to Venezuela.

Besides giving new life to the Monroe doctrine as an integral part of our foreign policy, the incident served to illustrate the dangers of settling international disputes in haphazard fashion. In January, 1897, therefore, Secretary Olney and the British Ambassador at Washington, Sir Julian Pauncefote, negotiated a general treaty for the settlement of disputes between the two countries by arbitration. Even with the example of the possible consequences of the Venezuelan controversy before it, however, the Senate failed to see the necessity for such an expedient, defeated the treaty by a narrow margin and left the greatest problem of international relations - the settlement of controversies on the basis of justice rather than force - to the care of a future generation.

On the whole, as has already been noted, the history of American diplomacy from 1877 to 1897 is scarcely more than an account of a series of unrelated incidents. Not only did the foreign policy of Blaine differ sharply from that of Cleveland, but there was no great question upon which public interest came to a focus, except temporarily over the Venezuelan matter, and no lesser problems that continued long enough to challenge attention to the fact that they remained unsolved. There were visible, nevertheless, several important tendencies. Our attitude toward Samoa and Hawaii indicated that the instinctive desire to annex territory had not disappeared with the rounding out of the continental possessions of the United States; American interest in arbitration as a method of settling disputes was expressed again and again; the place of the Monroe doctrine in American international policy was clearly shown; and the determination of the United States to be heard in all affairs that touched her interests was demonstrated without any possibility of doubt.


The most complete and reliable authority is J.B. Moore, A Digest of International Law (8 vols. 1906), by one who was intimately connected with many of the incidents of which he wrote; the text of the treaties is in W.M. Malloy, Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, etc., between the United States of America and other Powers (2 vols., 1910). Valuable single volumes are: J.B. Moore, American Diplomacy (1905); and C.B. Fish, American Diplomacy (1915). W.F. Johnson, America's Foreign Relations (2 vols., 1916), is interesting but somewhat marred by the author's tendency to take sides on controversial points; see also J.B. Henderson, American Diplomatic Questions (1901). J.S. Bassett, Short History of the United States (1913), contains a brief and compact chapter.

Essential material on particular incidents is found in the following. On Japan, "Our War with One Gun" in New England Magazine, XXVIII, 662; J.M. Callahan, American Relations in the Pacific and the Far East (1901); W.E. Griffis, Townsend Harris (1896). On Samoa, J.W. Foster, American Diplomacy in the Orient (1903); R.L. Stevenson, Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa (1892). On the seal fisheries, J.W. Foster, Diplomatic Memoirs (2 vols., 1909). On Hawaii, Cleveland's message in J.D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, IX, 460. On Venezuela, Grover Cleveland,Presidential Problems, Chap. IV.

       * * * * *

[1] The development of the United States as a commercial power was seen in the increased use of consuls as agents for procuring and publishing industrial and commercial information.

[2] Cf. Fish, American Diplomacy, 398.

[3] For later aspects of the controversy, see below, pp. 532-533.

[4] Cf. map p. 10.

[5] J.W. Foster, who was intimately connected with the case, suggests that the defects in the American argument were due partly to following briefs prepared by an agent of the Alaska Commercial Company in Washington. The agent was interested in getting everything possible for his company but his knowledge of the law in the case was slight. Cf. Foster, Memoirs, II, 26 f.; Moore, American Diplomacy, 97-104.

[6] The attempts to protect the herds by government regulation failed to have any important results. An international arrangement was made in 1911, but the slaughter had proceeded so far that grave question arose whether any agreement would be effective short of absolute prohibition. In 1912 Congress passed a law forbidding any killing on the land for a term of five years; in 1917 when the restrictions were released the herds had greatly increased. In 1918 the seals numbered 530,480. American Year Book, 1918, 503-4.

[7] Cf. Political Science Review, Aug., 1916, 481-499.

[8] Cf. below, p. 387 ff. Hawaii was brought into the Union as a territory in 1900.