Statehood Countdown #5 (1943 C.R.)

August 17, 2009
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As part of our Statehood Countdown, I was going to post another document by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, following yesterday’s posting by Senator Knowland, however, as I was going through the Congressional Record (Nov. 12, 1943), I stumbled onto a little utterance by Senator Rolph:

“The only objection to annexation came from Japan; the same Japan which struck below the belt at Pearl Harbor.”

The context for this statement, was “Remember Pearl Harbor,” where territorial delegate from Hawaii, Joseph Farrington earlier delivered this account to Congress:

“Mr. FARRINGTON: Mr. Speaker, I compliment the gentleman from California upon bringing to the attention of the House that historic and significant document, and in connection with the circumstances of annexation I point out that annexation was achieved by joint resolution, rather than by treaty, because of the inability of those supporting annexation to obtain a two-thirds vote in the Senate, indicating that in the face of the foresight of such men as Mr. Schofield, there were still many people in the United States who did not realize at that time, as he did, and as the Americans of Hawaii did, the enormous value to this country of those islands.”

Although Tom Coffman, in his book, “A Nation Within,” discusses Schofield’s desires for Pearl Harbor which Farrington mentions above, I don’t think he makes note of the reference to the Japanese protest that Senator Rolph alludes to following his lengthy quote from Senate Resolution 127. Sen. Rolph is quoting Report No. 681 of the 55th Congress, 2nd session, dated March 16, 1898, otherwise known as the Morgan report, which is a controversial– and by many– discounted report that followed the July 17, 1893 Blount Report of the events that led up to the coup of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Although there are better places to study this discussion, the Blount Report is an Executive Document by the U.S. House of Representatives, assigned by President Cleveland for James Blount to investigate the events of the coup by American businessmen on the Kingdom of Hawaii. Blount went to Hawaii and heard testimony from all sides including native Hawaiians, while Morgan’s report is the testimony primarily from those who participated in or supported the coup. Senator Morgan’s report is also a commissioned report by President McKinley to counter the Kue Petitions of 1897-1898, which proved that the overwhelming majority of the Hawaiian population petitioned for their Kingdom to be restored.

Continuing with the reference Sen. Rolph made in the 1943 Congressional record about Japan’s protest of cession, From Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations: 1607-1932, by Lester H. Brune, Richard Dean Burns, they write:

Dec 22, 1897
Japan withdraws its protest against the U.S. annexation treaty with Hawaii
Following the signing of the U.S.-Hawaiian Treaty on June 16, 1897, Secretary Sherman and the State Department endeavored to placate Japan’s protest opposing Hawaii’s annexation. A series of talks were held among Tokyo, Washington, and Honolulu to solve the problem. On December 22, Japan withdrew its protest and the United States agreed not to discriminate against Japanese commerce and subjects in Hawaii. In addition, Hawaii agreed to pay Japan $75,000 as an indemnity for its actions against Japanese immigrants during March 1897.

Even though the Senate discussion posted below occurred seven months after the date ascribed in the above book on Foreign Relations, on July 7, 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States by a Joint Resolution. And less than a month earlier, Senator Morgan challenged Senator White’s inclusion of the Japanese Minister’s objections while others disputed the process of cession.

What drew my attention to this detail, was less the controversy over annexation, or Blount v. Morgan, or even the idea that petitions of protest can be bought-off so easily. It was the idea that U.S. Senators, and our very own Territorial legislator knew the illegitimate process by which Hawaii became a territory well into the 1940s. This detail becomes more significant when we consider (tomorrow’s posting) that Senator Vandenberg and Connally were the Congressional liaisons for the discussions at Dumbarton Oaks, Yalta and San Francisco where it was decided that Hawaii and Alaska were going to be placed on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories along with American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, despite their push towards statehood.

If we ask why the general population did not know of how the illegitimacy of Hawaii’s territorial status came to be, we can easily surmise that the education policy during the territorial years were designed to rewrite history from the perspective of the territorial government. Going back to the Frank E. Midkiff posting, we can at least understand how Hawaii’s population grew up without this knowledge.

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Senator White (CA-D)

OBJECTIONS TO HAWAII
Opponents to Annexation Have the Floor in the Senate and Present Arguments.
DECLARE AGAINST IMPERIALISM
Mr. White (Dem, Cal.,) Presented a Statement from the Japanese Minister Which Caused a Sensation Among Senators.

WASHINGTON, June 21, 1898– Almost immediately after the Senate convened today the resolution for the annexation of Hawaii was laid before it. Pending its consideration, Mr. Roach, (Dem., N.D.,) who had been quoted in a Washington paper as favorable to the annexation of Hawaii, rose to the question of personal privilege. He said he had not made the statement attributed to him, and, as a matter of fact, was opposed, and always had been, to the annexation of Hawaii.

Mr. MITCHELL (Dem., Wis.,) delivered a speech in opposition to annexation. In the course of his address he declared that the Nation just now was shorn of its judgment. The effort to establish our Government in the Far East and the adoption of a policy of imperialism was evidence of that. He thought the seizure of Hawaii would remove all doubt as to our land-grabbing intentions.

He declared that the annexation project was a clumsy cover for the sugar magnates, from around the edges of which the saccharine juice dripped to the advantage of all who cared to avail themselves of it.

At the conclusion of Mr. Mitchell’s speech, Mr. WHITE (Dem., Cal,.) the leader of the opponents of annexation, took the floor.

A call for quorum by Mr. JONES (Dem., Ark.,) developed the presence of sixty-one Senators.
Mr. WHITE, in the beginning, maintained that the question pending was not only of vital importance, but the issues presented with it deserved and ought to have the careful consideration of all. Some, he thought, had been carried away by the excitement of the moment, and had been swept along by existing conditions, “But, said he, “if this body is impotent carefully to consider this question, it has failed of its purpose, it has responded not to the idea of the framers of the Constitution.”

Mr. WHITE ventured the opinion that it would not hasten consideration of the Hawaiian question that, in the Senate, no reasons were to be assigned for action upon it. He declared that while territory had been acquired by treaty, in no case had territory been acquired by such a monstrous piece of “folly and contradiction” as was the pending resolution. The resolution, he said, declared there had been a cession with Congress was to “accept, ratify, and confirm.” He demanded to know what cession had been made, and what lawyer in the Senate would state that there had been a cession. He maintained that there had been no cession, as there could not have been without the concurrence of both parties.

Cession of Hawaii not Complete

“I would be ashamed of this Senate,” declared Mr. WHITE, if it should pass the pending resolution containing such a contradiction of terms; I would be ashamed of the Senate if it should adopt a declaration of a cession that had never existed as a fact.”

He then entered upon an extended discussion of the annexation of Texas, quoting from authorities on Constitutional law and from the speeches delivered in Congress upon that question.

Referring to the possibility of annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by Executive action, Mr. WHITE contended that the Executive would be justified in taking possession of foreign territory only as an act of war and only for the enemy. MR. WHITE gave some attention to the possibility of the Hawaiian Islands becoming a State of the Union in case of their acquisition, and congratulated the country upon the fact that no one had been found to contend for this right, He characterized the conditions on the island “a heterogeneous compound on manifest inefficiency.”

He contended that there were other questions that the annexation of Hawaii involved in the present discussion. He referred to the assertion that the American flag when once unfurled in a country cold now be taken down, and said whether this was true must depend upon the circumstances under which it was raised. It must depend upon whether it is justly of unjustly raised. If planted as a result of uncalled for invasion and in a spirit of conquest and or rapine and murder, it could not be maintained, but if planted on foreign soil under proper and patriotic circumstances it must be maintained there, if to do so should cost the country its greatest strength, its most powerful effort, and the best blood of the Nation.

Mr. WHITE read among other things and elucidation of the Monroe doctrine, and then said: “In this mad race for power, in this mad race for conquest of territory, let us consider most carefully the doctrine of Monroe. It is idle for Senators to say we must extend our dominion all over the world. In enunciating the Monroe doctrine we declared we desired no interference of European powers with affairs in this hemisphere, but by those who framed that doctrine it was in contemplation that we ourselves had no intention to interfere with territorial possessions outside of this hemisphere.

“The acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands would be the entering wedge of that imperialistic policy which is as foreign to the purposes in view when this Government was organized as are the purposes of the most despotic Government on earth to our system.”

Japanese Minister’s Objections.

In the course of his speech, Mr. WHITE had read by the Clerk a protest of the Japanese Minister to this country against the arguments and conclusions of the Foreign Relations Committee as presented in its report on the Hawaiian treaty. The particular object of the Minister’s criticisms was the statements of the committee concerning the purpose of the Japanese Government to interfere in Hawaiian affairs. As the Clerk was about completing the reading of the document, Mr. MORGAN (Dem., Ala.,) rose and indignantly commented upon such a criticism of the Senate Committee. He declared that no foreign Minister had any right to send to the Senate such an attack upon Senators.

Mr. WHITE said the Minister had not sent the document to the Senate. He had brought it himself and had adopted it as his own.

“Is it an official paper?” inquired Mr. MORGAN.

“It has been filed,” replied Mr. WHITE. “I have presented it here and have used it as a part of my remarks. It is apposite and relevant to the conclusions on the Committee on Foreign Relations.”

“Is it an official document filed by the Japanese Minister to this country,” declared Mr. MORGAN, “it is a very serious and very outrageous assault upon the privileges of the Senate.”

Mr. WHITE said there was nothing mysterious about the paper, and it did not infringe upon the rights of the Senate.

“I am calling the report of the committee into question and criticizing it, as I have the right to do. If it is not a copy of an authentic document, the argument is good, and I adopt it.”

“I do not object,” said Mr. MORGAN, “to the Senator making use of any material he desires. I do object to what I consider the wrong of the Department of State in receiving such a document as that, if it be an official paper.”

“I do say the document was certified to by the Japanese Minister,” said Mr. WHITE, “but I have understood that is was filed.”

“With the Secretary of State?” again inquired Mr. MORGAN.

“I have said all I care to say about it, “ replied Mr. WHITE.

“Well, what I complain of, “ continued Mr. MORGAN, “is that the Secretary of State should permit to be filed in his office a paper imputing to a committee of this body ignorance at least, and perhaps worse-prevarication. I regret we has come upon a time when other departments of the Government will permit such criticisms, which is incisive if not outrageous, upon the Senate of the United States.”

At 4:30 P.M. the Hawaiian resolution was laid aside, Mr. WHITE having spoken for three and a half hours and not having concluded.

go to #4 of the countdown

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