« PreviousContinue »
in the probable event of his release, he will be afforded an oppor-
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Beach, No. 30, May 1, 1885, For. Rel.
"It is always expected that the agents of this Department abroad will exercise extreme caution in summoning national war vessels to their aid at critical junctures, especially if there be no practical purpose to be subserved by their presence."
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Neill, chargé, No. 168, Nov. 16, 1887,
This instruction related to a correspondence between the legation and
See, also, Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Sec. of Navy, July 2, 1888, 169
4. USE OF FORCE.
(1) WITH SPECIAL AUTHORITY.
In 1853 the Government of the United States sent out a naval vessel called the Water Witch to survey the tributaries of the Rio de la Plata and report on the commercial condition of the countries bordering on its waters. Permission was obtained from the Argentine and Brazilian Governments to explore such of the waters as were within their jurisdiction, and the surveys of the Plate, the Paraguay, and the Parana had been in progress about a year and a half when, on January 31, 1855, Lieut. T. J. Page, who was in command of the expedition and who was about to ascend the river Salado, sent Lieut. William N. Jeffers with the Water Witch to ascend the Parana as
far as her draft would allow. Lieutenant Jeffers left Corrientes on the 1st of February, and had proceeded only a few miles above the point where the Parana forms the common boundary between Paraguay and the Argentine province of Corrientes when he was hailed and afterwards fired into by the Paraguayan fort of Itapiru. The firing of two blank cartridges by the fort was followed by a shot which carried away the wheel of the Water Witch, cut the ropes, and mortally wounded the helmsman. The Water Witch returned the fire, and the action continued for some minutes. It was admitted that the Paraguayan Government had forbidden foreign men-of-war to enter the waters within its jurisdiction, but it was claimed on the part of the Water Witch that, at the point in the Parana where she was fired on, the channel on the Paraguayan side of the river was the main and only navigable channel; that, as the river at that point formed a common boundary between the Argentine Confederation and Paraguay, the navigation of the channel belonged equally to both countries; and that the Water Witch therefore had a right to navigate it under the license from the Argentine Government, without regard to the Paraguayan prohibition. The other matter was that of the claim of the United States and Paraguay Navigation Company, which, although it had not been presented by the Government of the United States to that of Paraguay, had, it seems, been pressed upon the latter Government by Edward A. Hopkins, a citizen of the United States, with whom the claim originated, and had been adduced by the Paraguayan Government as an obstacle to the exchange of the ratifications of a treaty of amity and commerce which was concluded on March 4, 1853, with a representative of the United States. In his annual message to Congress of December 8, 1857, President Buchanan referred to the case of the Water Witch, and also to the injuries which citizens of the United States were alleged to have suffered by the seizure of their property and otherwise in Paraguay, and stated that a demand for redress would be made in a firm but conciliatory spirit. He also recommended that the Executive be authorized to use "other means in the event of a refusal." By the joint resolution of June 2, 1858, he was authorized to use such measures and such force as might be necessary and advisable in the event of a refusal of the Paraguayan Government to grant redress "in connection with the attack on the U. S. S. Water Witch, and with other matters referred to in the annual message." By the act of June 12, 1858, the sum of $10,000 was appropriated for the expenses of a commissioner to Paraguay in execution of the joint resolution. On September 9, 1858, Mr. James B. Bowlin, of Missouri, was appointed special commissioner to Paraguay. In his annual message of December 6, 1858, President Buchanan announced to Congress that Mr. Bowlin had proceeded to Paraguay, and that, in view of the contingency that his efforts to
obtain just satisfaction might be unsuccessful, the Secretary of the Navy had fitted out and dispatched a naval force to rendezvous near Buenos Ayres.
The frigate Sabine, under Commodore Shubrick, to whom the command of the expedition was entrusted, left New York with Mr. Bowlin on October 17, 1858, and arrived in the river Plate on the 18th of December, finding most of the vessels comprising the expedition already there. On the 30th of the same month Mr. Bowlin and Commodore Shubrick left Montevideo with the steamers Fulton and Water Witch, and on January 25, 1859, arrived at Ascuncion. On February 10 Mr. Bowlin took leave of the President of Paraguay, and a week later set out for the United States. In his annual message to Congress of December 19, 1859, President Buchanan announced that "all our difficulties" with Paraguay had been "satisfactorily adjusted.” At the same time he stated that the entire cost of the expedition had been defrayed out of the ordinary appropriations for the naval service, except the sum of $289,000 applied to the purchase of seven steamers, which were believed to be worth more than their cost, and which were then actively employed in the naval service, and that the appear.. ance of so large a force in the distant waters of the Plate and the admirable conduct of the officers and men employed in it had had “a happy effect in favor of our country throughout all that remote portion of the world." In the case of the Water Witch Mr. Bowlin obtained "ample apologies" and the payment of $10,000 for the family of the seaman who was killed at the wheel. He also concluded, on February 4, 1859, a treaty of amity and commerce, which included a stipulation for the free navigation of the river Paraguay. For the settlement of the claims of the United States and Paraguay Navigation Company he signed a treaty of arbitration. The commission organized under this treaty decided that the claims of the company were unfounded.
Moore, Int. Arbitrations, II. 1485, chap 32; annual messages of President
Calvo severely criticizes the course of the Government of the United States in these matters. His account is not entirely accurate. He says that the United States spent in the preparation of the expedition "a sum of about 36,000,000 francs," and this for the purpose "of supporting the unjust claims made by Mr. Hopkins to the amount of $1,000,000.” He overlooks in this particular assertion the case of the Water Witch, which he had just narrated. It is a fact, however, that the claim which originated with Hopkins was held to be unfounded, and it is a singular circumstance that, although the claim had been pressed by Hopkins himself, it had not actually been presented by the United States to the Paraguayan Government prior to the sending out of the expedition. Mr. Richard Fitzpatrick, who was sent as a special commissioner to Paraguay in 1856, was directed "at
a proper time and in a proper manner" to make known to the Paraguayan Government that its proceedings with regard to the United States and Paraguay Navigation Company appeared to be unjust and oppressive and to have been productive of loss to the company; but, before adverting to the subject, he was to endeavor to secure the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty of amity and commerce, concluded on March 4, 1853. He did not succeed in attaining this object, and withdrew mentioning the subject of the claim. (Calvo, Droit International, 5th ed., III. 124-127; Moore. Int. Arbitrations, II. 1489-1492.)
In 1871 three American steamships, the Hero, Nutrias, and San Fernando, the property of the Venezuela Steam Transportation Company, a New York corporation, were taken possession of in the waters of Venezuela and employed in war and otherwise by parties which were contending for the control of the Government. One of the ships was afterwards voluntarily released, while the remaining two were delivered over to the commander of the U. S. S. Shawmut, who had been sent out to obtain their restoration. The United States subsequently presented a claim for damages, the adjustment of which was for various causes long delayed. In June, 1890, Congress adopted a joint resolution authorizing the President to take such measures as in his judgment might be necessary promptly to obtain from the Venezuelan Government an indemnity. After the passage of this resolution the claim was brought to an arbitration, which resulted in an award in favor of the United States for $150,000.
Moore, Int. Arbitrations, II. 1693.
(2) WITHOUT SPECIAL AUTHORITY.
The U. S. sloop of war Dale, Captain Pearson, visited the island of Johanna in August, 1851, and under threat of bombarding the town obtained $1,000 as a measure of redress for the unlawful imprisonment and detention of Captain Movers, of the American whaling brig Maria, of Nantucket.
Mr. Everett, Sec. of State, to Captain Movers, Dec. 17, 1852, 41 MS.
As enclosing a despatch of the United States consul at Tahiti, of March 13,
In 1852 a controversy broke out between the authorities of Greytown, or San Juan del Norte, and the Accessory Transit Company, an organization composed of citizens of the United States, who held a charter from Nicaragua, as to the occupation by the company of a
piece of land on the north side of the harbor, known as Punta Arenas, over which jurisdiction was claimed by the municipality. Greytown was regarded by the United States as being within the limits of Nicaragua. It was understood to claim independence under a charter from the Mosquito king; but the United States never recognized the Mosquito king nor the independence of the town, though American naval officers were instructed to respect the police regulations of any de facto authorities there, and not to molest such authorities unless they should attempt to disturb the rights of American citizens. On February 8, 1853, the city council passed a resolution notifying the company to remove its entire establishment within a certain number of days, as the land was said to be needed for public uses. The buildings were not removed, and they were subsequently demolished by the Greytown authorities. In consequence of the dispute as to jurisdiction over Punta Arenas the difficulties between the municipality and the Accessory Transit Company continued. Early in May, 1853, some men, who were then or had previously been employed by the company, ran off with some of its property in a boat to Greytown. They were pursued by employees of the company, who, while attempting to arrest the fugitives, were compelled by the municipal police to desist, and one of them was afterwards arrested at Punta Arenas on the charge of assault and battery, but he was subsequently discharged on bond. Disputes also existed as to the payment of dues and port charges by the company's steamers. In May, 1854, an attempt was made by the Greytown authorities to arrest at Punta Arenas a captain of one of the company's steamers, who was charged with having murdered a native boatman. Mr. Borland, American minister to Central America, who happened to be on board the steamer, assisted the captain in resisting arrest. Mr. Borland's action produced great excitement, and later in the day, while he was on a visit to the American consul at Greytown, an attempt was made to arrest him. A crowd of persons went to the consul's house for that purpose. The mayor, however, hastened to assure Mr. Borland that the proceedings had been taken without his order or authority; but while the conversation was going on some one from the crowd threw a broken bottle at Mr. Borland, slightly wounding him in the face. The person who threw the missile was not recognized. Soon afterwards the crowd dispersed. In June, 1853, Captain Hollins, of the U. S. S. Cyane, was sent to Greytown to obtain redress for the damages suffered by the Accessory Transit Company and an apology for the indignities to Mr. Borland. The instructions of Mr. Dobbin, Secretary of the Navy, to Captain Hollins bore date June 10, 1854. They refer to the two incidents of the stealing of the company's pròperty and the indignity to Mr. Borland, and declared it to be desirable that the people of Greytown "should be taught that the United States will not tolerate these out