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leges of the United States in the harbor of PagoPago were confirmed, and by which it was provided that, if differences shall arise between the Samoan government and any other government in amity with the United States, the latter would “employ its good offices for the purpose of adjusting those differences upon a satisfactory and solid foundation." It was under this clause that the conference, which was held in Washington in June and July, 1887, between Mr. Bayard, as Secretary of State, and the British and German ministers, on Samoan affairs, was brought about. The conference failed to produce an agreement. Germany intervened in the islands, and became involved in hostilities with a part of the natives. Steps were taken to protect American interests, and the relations between the United States and Germany had become decidedly strained when, on the invitation of Prince Bismarck, the sessions of the conference were resumed at Berlin. They resulted in the treaty of June 14, 1889, by which the islands were placed under the joint protection and administration of the three powers. One of the first acts of the United States after the war with Spain was the termination of this cumbersome system of tripartite government, which, apart from an adjustment of claims to land, had yielded no beneficial result. Disorders had increased rather than diminished, while local complications at times threatened to disturb the good understanding of
the intervening powers. At length there was suggested, to take the place of the treaty of 1889, a "condominium" under which the functions of sovereignty were to be exercised by unanimous consent of the three powers. Fortunately, this device was not tried. A radical solution was wisely adopted. By a convention between the three powers, signed at Washington, December 2, 1899, the group was divided, the United States securing all the islands east of the meridian of 171° west of Greenwich, while Germany obtained all west of that line. Great Britain retired for compensation from Germany in other directions. The principal islands, Savaii and Upolu, fell to Germany, her preponderant commercial and landed interests being thus recognized, as those of the United States in Hawaii had been by Germany in the days of Prince Bismarck. The island of Tutuila, with the much-coveted harbor of Pago Pago, was among the islands that passed exclusively to the United States. The significance of the
' Samoan incident lies, however, not in the mere division of territory, but in the disposition shown by the United States, long before the acquisition of the Philippines, to have a voice in determining the fate of a remote island group in which American commercial interests were so slight as to be scarcely appreciable.
By the convention with the Republic of Panama, November 18, 1903, the United States acquired in perpetuity the use, occupation, and control of a
zone ten miles wide on the Isthmus of Panama, and certain adjacent islands, for the purposes of an interoceanic canal. Within these lands and the adjacent waters the United States possesses “all the rights, power, and authority” which it would have if it were the sovereign of the territory within which the lands and waters lie. It may be observed that an unsuccessful effort was made in 1856 to obtain from New Granada the cession of five islands in the bay of Panama, with a view to protect the isthmian route.
In 1903 Cuba leased to the United States coaling and naval stations at Guantanamo and Bahia Honda. While the United States agreed to recognize the continuance of the “ultimate sovereignty” of Cuba over the areas of land and water thus leased, Cuba agreed that the United States should exercise "complete jurisdiction and control" over them.
By the treaty of August 5, 1914, Nicaragua leased to the United States, for the term of ninety-nine years, the Corn Islands and also a naval base, to be selected by the United States, in the territory of Nicaragua bordering on the Gulf of Fonseca. The treaty also gives the United States the option of renewing the leases, and declares that the leased places “shall be subject exclusively to the laws and sovereign authority of the United States during the terms of such lease and grant and of any renewal or renewals thereof." As early as January, 1865, Mr. Seward began to sound the Danish government as to the cession of its islands in the West Indies. His advances were discouraged, but they were renewed officially in July, 1866. A convention for the cession of St. Thomas and St. John for $7,500,000, leaving Santa Cruz to Denmark, was signed at Copenhagen on October 24, 1867. As stipulated in the treaty, a
, vote was taken in the islands; it was almost unanimously in favor of annexation to the United States. This circumstance greatly increased the embarrassment of the Danish government when the United States Senate failed to approve the treaty. On January 24, 1902, a convention was signed at Washington for the cession to the United States of the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and Santa Cruz, with the adjacent islands and rocks, all for the sum of $5,000,000. It was approved by the Senate on February 17, 1902. It was approved by the lower house of the Danish Rigsdag; but on October 21, 1902, it failed in the upper house, by an even division. The cession was, however, eventually effected by a treaty, concluded August 4, 1916, by which the United States agreed to pay $25,000,000. The transaction was completed. The United States has named the group the Virgin Islands.
Besides the annexations above detailed the United States has acquired or assumed jurisdiction over many islands in various parts of the world. In 1850 the cession was obtained from Great Britain of Horse-Shoe Reef, in Lake Erie, for the purposes of a lighthouse. In 1867, Brooks or Midway Islands, lying eleven hundred miles west of Honolulu, were formally occupied by the commander of the U. S. S. Lackawanna. In like manner the atoll called Wake Island, lying in latitude 19° 17'50" north and longitude 166° 31' east, was taken possession of in 1899 by the commander of the U. S. S. Bennington. But the greatest extension of jurisdiction over detached islands or groups of islands has taken place under the Guano Islands Act of August 18, 1856. By this act, where an American citizen discovers a deposit of guano on an island, rock, or key, not within the jurisdiction of any other government, and takes peaceable possession and gives a certain bond, the President may, at his discretion, treat the territory as “appertaining to the United States"; but the government is not obliged to retain possession after the guano shall have been removed. Under this statute more than eighty islands, lying in various parts of the Atlantic and the Pacific, have been brought within American jurisdiction.
The actual acquisitions of territory by the United States by no means indicate the scope of its diplomatic activities in that direction. Efforts have been made to annex territory which has not eventually been obtained. As late as 1870 the annexation of Canada, to which the Articles of Confederation looked, was the subject of informal discussions between British and American diplomatists. In December, 1822, the government of Salvador, acting