to Mr. White.
Washington, April 30, 1888.
Sir: A dispatch recently received from Mr. Merrill, United States minister resident at Honolulu, advises the Department that Her Britannic Majesty’s ship Caroline, commanded by Sir William Wiseman, had returned to Honolulu, after three weeks’ cruise, in the course of which her commander had taken possession, on behalf of the Government of Great Britain, of the three islands known as Fanning, Christmas, and Penrhyn, lying from 1,000 to 1,800 miles southerly from Oahu.
In view of this intelligence, it is proper to recall to Her Majesty’s Government the correspondence exchanged with my predecessor, Secretary Evarts, by Sir Edward Thornton, in 1879, relative to the possessory right to Christmas Island, “situated in 1° 40’30” north latitude and 157° 14’ 77” [sic] west longitude,” which is presumed to be the same Christmas Island of which the British occupation is now reported.
Copy of the correspondence referred to is herewith inclosed for your information.
It seems proper, under the circumstances, and in default of more precise information, to reserve all other questions which may grow out of the reported occupation of the island.
I am, etc.,