to Mr. Merrill.
Washington, July 12, 1887.
Sir: The tenor of your late dispatches coincides with other reports from the Hawaiian Kingdom, and indicates the most unsatisfactory and disturbed condition of affairs in the government of that country, which renders it essential that the strictest vigilance should be exercised by those charged with the care of the rights of American citizens within that jurisdiction, as well as the rights of the United States secured under existing international conventions.
Whilst regretting deeply the existence of domestic disorders in Hawaii, and with no disposition whatever to interfere therein or to obtrude counsel unasked, yet the consequences which may possibly result to the interests of American citizens which have grown up under the extension of the commerce between that country and the United States, under the guaranties of existing treaty, must not be jeopardized by internal confusion in the government of these islands, and it is the duty of the United States to see that these interests are not imperiled or injured, and to do all things necessary for their just protection.
The existing treaty between the United States and Hawaii, as was contemplated and intended by the parties thereto, has created and fostered commercial relations more intimate in their nature and of incomparably greater volume and value than Hawaii ever had or ever can have with any other Government.[Page 581]
The growth of this commerce and the consequent advancement of these islands in wealth and importance has been most satisfactory to the United States, and by reason of their geographical position and comparative propinquity to our own territory they possess an interest and importance to us far exceeding that with which they can be regarded by any other power. In the absence of any detailed information from you of the late disorders in the domestic control of Hawaii, and the changes which have taken place in the official corps of that Government, I am not able to give you other than general instructions, which may be communicated in substance to the commanding officer of the vessel or vessels of this Government in the waters of Hawaii, with whom you will freely confer, in order that such prompt and efficient action may be taken as the circumstances may make necessary.
Whilst we abstain from interference with the domestic affairs of Hawaiian accordance with the policy and practice of this Government, yet obstruction to the channels of legitimate commerce under existing treaty must not be allowed, and American citizens in Hawaii must be protected in their persons and property by the representatives of their country’s law and power, and no internal discord must be suffered to impair them. Your own aid and counsel, as well as the assistance of the officers of our Government vessels, if found necessary, will therefore be promptly afforded to promote the reign of law and respect for orderly government in Hawaii.
As is well known, no intent is cherished or policy entertained by the United States which is otherwise than friendly to the autonomical control and independence of Hawaii, and no other member of the family of nations has so great and immediate an interest in the welfare and prosperity of Hawaii on such a basis as this Republic.
The vast line of our national territory on the Pacific coast, and its neighborhood to the Hawaiian group, indicate the recognized predominance of our interests in the region of these islands.
This superiority of interest in the welfare of the Hawaiian Islands is accompanied by an appreciation of the right of these friendly inhabitants and their Government to our good offices, which we freely tender whenever they can be efficacious in securing the safety and promoting the welfare of that island group.
I am, etc.,