Mr. Bayard to Mr. von
Washington, March 4, 1886.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 22d ultimo, whereby you convey to this Government official information that the groups known as the Marshall, Brown and Providence Islands, [Page 334] situated in the eastern part of the Caroline group, have been placed under the protection of His Majesty the Emperor and King, in pursuance of treaties concluded with the chiefs of those islands, in token of which possession has been taken under the imperial flag; it being understood that “well-established rights of third parties are to be duly respected.”
In the absence of precise knowledge as to where and to what extent the interest of citizens of the United States are among those well-established rights of third parties, which the imperial Government declares its purpose to cause to be respected, I am unprepared to determine the importance to be attached to this announcement, although I believe I interpret it rightly as a frank and voluntary declaration that those American citizens who already have established or may hereafter establish themselves on those islands, in peaceful accord with the natives, and on a footing of perfect equality with settlers of German and other nationality, will not be disturbed in their rights of residence and intercourse, or discriminated against as compared with German subjects, by reason of this establishment of a German protectorate. This Government has never claimed for itself any exclusive privileges or rights in those regions growing out of the prior or contemporaneous settlements of American citizens, and it cannot, of course, anticipate that any such exclusive privileges or rights will be claimed on behalf of other nationalities to the prejudice of Americans.
Accept, sir, &c.,