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actions to: (1) "abrogate the reciprocity treaty with the United States and then make a similar agreement with one or more of the British colonies in the Pacific;" or, (2) "seek to revise the reciprocity treaty in order to make it permanent...and provide for complete free trade." 159/ As it turned out, due to various obstacles, neither one of these courses was to become a reality.
The second approach, revision of the treaty, was the most desirable for Hawaii and a treaty was actually drafted. This draft treaty included the cession of Pearl Harbor, along with complete free trade, and was submitted to President Harrison, who took no action on it. On February 10, 1892, the Hawaiian Special Envoy to the United States, Mott Smith, learned that "the President would not submit this treaty...to the Senate" and that "his chief objection is that the policy of his administration is pledged to 'high protection,' while this treaty requires him to recommend 'free trade.'" 160/
The draft treaty caused a debate in Hawaii that lasted long after the original treaty attempt had failed. On July 9, 1892, Robert W. Wilcox (the leader of the 1889 rebellion) introduced a resolution in the legislature that called for a committee to be sent to the United States to "ascertain the disposition of the United States Government in regard to Pearl Harbor and in regard to some reparation due this country for the injury inflicted by the McKinley Bill,, and also to negotiate for the cession of Pearl Harbor for adequate compensation, and in general to use their best efforts to obtain closer relations with that country." 161/ Several days later Wilcox withdrew the resolution after native Hawaiians protested the request, although he indicated it was withdrawn because it could not be discussed while the ministers retained their places in the cabinet. 162/ Wilcox, however, again brought up the cession of Pearl Harbor in August 1892. This time he "hinted to the natives that he favored annexation to the United States rather than to see the country go down to destruction through the bad guidance of an unpopular Ministry." 163/
In the minds of some, an additional course of action was open to Hawaii to ease her economic problems—annexation to the United States. 164/ L. A. Thurston, in an editorial of 1884, had written:
- For many years there have been a few residents here who have desired the annexation of these Islands to the United States. Their reasons have been various; some believing that under that great Government the permanent interests of the Islands would be best secured; others that mere money could thus be made, and some have always been impressed with the instability and insecurity of the Hawaiian Government. But the majority of intelligent foreigners, and especially those born here of foreign parents, have contended for the independence of the Government. They have believed it to be far more for the interests of the native race that they should maintain an independent Government and a distinctive national existence...It is well known that the United States Government does not desire the annexation of these Islands; the accession of foreign territory is contrary to its policy; but it is certain that Government will not permit its interests here to be sacrificed, nor permit any other foreign Government to control here. When these Islands cease to be self-governing the United States Government will take possession. 165/
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