To the Senate and House of Representatives:
There are few transactions in the administration of the Government that are even temporarily held in the confidence of those charged with the conduct of the public business. Every step taken is under the observation of an intelligent and watchful people. The state of the Union is known from day to day, and suggestions as to needed legislation find an earlier voice than that which speaks in these annual communications of the President to Congress.
Good will and cordiality have characterized our relations and correspondence with other governments, and the year just closed leaves few international questions of importance remaining unadjusted. No obstacle is believed to exist that can long postpone the consideration and adjustment of the still pending questions upon satisfactory and honorable terms. The dealings of this Government with other states have been and should always be marked by frankness and sincerity, our purposes avowed, and our methods free from intrigue. This course has borne rich fruit in the past, and it is our duty as a nation to preserve the heritage of good repute which a century of right dealing with foreign governments has secured to us.
It is a matter of high significance and no less of congratulation that the first year of the second century of our constitutional existence finds as honored guests within our borders the representatives of all the independent States of North and South America met together in earnest conference touching the best methods of perpetuating and expanding the relations of mutual interest and friendliness existing among them. That the opportunity thus afforded for promoting closer international relations and the increased prosperity of the States represented will be used for the mutual good of all I can not permit myself to doubt. Our people will await with interest and confidence the results to flow from so auspicious a meeting of allied and in large part identical interests.
The recommendations of this international conference of enlightened statesmen will doubtless have the considerate attention of Congress and its cooperation in the removal of unnecessary barriers to beneficial intercourse between the nations of America. But while the commercial results which it is hoped will follow this conference are worthy of pursuit and of the great interests they have excited, it is believed that the crowning benefit will be found in the better securities which may be devised for the maintenance of peace among all American nations and the settlement of all contentions by methods that a Christian civilization can approve. While viewing with interest our national resources and products, the delegates will, I am sure, find a higher satisfaction in the evidences of unselfish friendship which everywhere attend their intercourse with our people.
Another international conference having great possibilities for good has lately assembled and is now in session in this capital. An invitation was extended by the Government, under the act of Congress of July 9, 1888, to all maritime nations to send delegates to confer touching the revision and amendment of the rules and regulations governing vessels at sea and to adopt a uniform system of marine signals....