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RELATING TO THE
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
It is provided by the Constitution that the President shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
In reviewing the events of the year which has elapsed since the commencement of your sessions, I first call your attention to the gratifying condition of our foreign affairs. Our intercourse with other powers has continued to be of the most friendly character.
Such slight differences as have arisen during the year have been already settled or are likely to reach an early adjustment. The arrest of citizens of the United States in Ireland under recent laws which owe their origin to the disturbed condition of that country has led to a somewhat extended correspondence with the Government of Great Britain. A disposition to respect our rights has been practically mapifested by the release of the arrested parties.
The claim of this nation in regard to the supervision and control of any inter-oceanic canal across the American Isthmus has continued to be the subject of conference.
It is likely that time will be more powerful than discussion in removing the divergence between the two nations whose friendship is so closely cemented by the intimacy of their relations and the community of their interests.
Our long-established friendliness with Russia has remained unshakeu. It has prompted me to proffer the earnest counsels of this government that measures be adopted for suppressing the proscription which the Hebrew race in that country has lately suffered. It has not transpired that any American citizen has been subjected to arrest or injury, but our courteous remonstrance has nevertheless been courteously received. There is reason to believe that the time is not far distant when Russia will be able to secure toleration to all faiths within her borders.
At an international convention held at Paris in 1880, and attended by representatives of the United States, an agreement was reached in respect to the protection of trade-marks, patented articles, and the rights of manufacturing firms and corporations. The formulating into treaties of the recommendations thus adopted is receiving the attention which it merits.
The protection of submarine cables is a subject now under consideration by an international conference at Paris. Believing that it is clearly the true policy of this government to favor the neutralization of this means of intercourse, I requested our minister to France to attend the convention as a delegate. I also designated two of our eminent scientists to attend as our representatives at the meeting of an international committee at Paris, for considering the adoption of a common unit to measure electric force.
In view of the frequent occurrence of conferences for the consideration of important matters of common interest to civilized nations, I respectfully suggest that the Executive be invested by Congress with discretionary powers to send delegates to such conventions, and that provision be made to defray the expenses incident thereto.
The difference between the United States and Spain as to the effect of a judgment and certificate of naturalization has not yet been adjusted; but it is hoped and believed that negotiations now in progress will result in the establishment of the position which seems to this government so reasonable and just.
I have already called the attention of Congress to the fact that in the ports of Spain and its colonies onerous fines have lately been imposed upon vessels of the United States for trivial technical offenses against local regulations. Efforts for the abatement of these exactions have thus far proved unsuccessful.
I regret to inform you also that the fees demanded by Spanish consuls in American ports are in some cases so large, when compared with the value of the cargo, as to amount in effect to a considerable export duty, and that our remonstrances in this regard have not as yet received the attention which they seem to deserve.
The German Government has invited the United States to participate in an international exhibition of domestic cattle, to be held at Ham. burg in July, 1883. If this country is to be represented, it is important that, in the early days of this session, Congress should make a suitable appropriation for that purpose.
The death of Mr. Marsh, our late minister to Italy, has evoked from that government expressions of profound respect for his exalted character and for his honorable career in the diplomatic service of his country. The Italian Government has raised a question as to the propriety of recognizing in his dual capacity the representative of this country recently accredited both as secretary of legation and as consul-general at Rome. He has been received as secretary, but his exequatur as consul-general has thus far been witbheld.
The extradition convention with Belgium, which has been in operation since 1874, has been lately supplanted by another. The Senate has signified its approval, and ratifications have been duly exchanged between the contracting countries. To the list of extraditable crimes has been added that of the assassination or attempted assassination of the chief of the state.
Negotiations have been opened with Switzerland looking to a settlement by treaty of the question whether its citizens can renounce their allegiance and become citizens of the United States without obtaining the consent of the Swiss Government.
I am glad to inform you that the immigration of paupers and criminals from certain of the cantons of Switzerland has substantially ceased and is no longer sanctioned by the authorities.
The consideration of this subject prompts the suggestion that the act of August 3, 1882, which has for its object the return of foreign convicts to their own country, should be so modified as not to be open to the interpretation that it affects the extradition of criminals on preferred charges of crime.
The Ottoman Porte has not yet assented to the interpretation which this government has put upon the treaty of 1830 relative to its juris. dictional rights in Turkey. It may well be, however, that this difference will be adjusted by a general revision of the system of jurisdiction of the United States in the countries of the East–a subject to which your attention has been already called by the Secretary of State.
In the interest of justice towards China and Japan, I trust that the question of the return of the indemnity fund to the governments of those countries will reach, at the present session, the satisfactory solution which I have already recommended, and which has recently been foreshadowed by Congressional discussion.
The treaty lately concluded with Corea awaits the action of the Senate.
During the late disturbance in Egypt the timely presence of American vessels served as a protection to the persons and property of many of our own citizens and of citizens of other countries, whose governments have expressed their thanks for this assistance.
The recent legislation restricting immigration of laborers from China has given rise to the question whether Chinese proceeding to or from another country may lawfully pass through our own.
Construing the act of May 6, 1882, in connection with the treaty of November 7, 1880, the restriction would seem to be limited to Chinese immigrants coming to the United States as laborers, and would not forbid a mere transit across our territory. I ask the attention of Con. gress to the subject for such action, if any, as may be deemed advisable.
This government has recently had occasion to manifest its interest in the Republic of Liberia by seeking to aid the amicable settlement of the boundary dispute now pending between that republic and the British possession of Sierra Leone.
The reciprocity treaty with Hawaii will become terminable after Sep. tember 9, 1883, on twelve months' notice by either party. While certain