SUMMARY: This essay counteracts a thinly veiled threat against foreign nations made by a Hawaiian independence activist who has filed a motion to add them as defendants in his frivolous lawsuit against the United States. This essay reassures foreign nations that they did nothing wrong in the 19th Century by recognizing Hawaii's Provisional Government de facto in 1893, the Republic of Hawaii de jure in 1894, and the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1898. This essay further reassures them that they are well justified in maintaining a diplomatic presence in Hawaii under U.S. sovereignty in the 21st Century.
Readers might remember Hawaiian independence activist David Keanu Sai in connection with the Perfect Title scam of the late 1990s, as documented by a large webpage containing numerous news reports, commentaries and explanations at
Readers might also remember Keanu Sai in connection with his "World Court" scam of the early 2000s as described at
In June 2010 Dr. Sai began his latest adventure by filing a lawsuit against President Obama, Governor Lingle, and numerous other government officials. The suit seeks actual and punitive damages for having prosecuted him in connection with the Perfect Title scam, and for illegally occupying Hawaii for more than a century. The suit claims that the Hawaiian revolution of 1893 and annexation of 1898 were illegal, that the U.S. lacks jurisdiction in Hawaii, that therefore the State of Hawaii as a U.S. subsidiary lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him, and that the U.S. should withdraw its allegedly illegal occupation of Hawaii. All lawsuit documents, along with Dr. Sai's explanations, can be found on his webpage at
In November 2010 Dr. Sai filed a motion with the court to amend his complaint by adding 35 foreign nations as defendants. These are nations who "illegally" maintain consulates in Hawaii and recognize the sovereignty of the United States here. Dr. Sai posted on his webpage the fact that he sent the ambassadors of those nations a letter, and enclosures, describing his lawsuit and his motion to add them as defendants. His letter was politely worded but nevertheless challenges the legality of their actions. The clear implication is that they could be liable for damages to Dr. Sai and to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and that they should withdraw their consulates.
Because Dr. Sai has extended his frivolous lawsuit to involve those nations, I felt it would be a good idea to let those nations know that the revolution of 1893 and annexation of 1898 were legal, and that those nations did nothing wrong by their actions in the 19th Century or by their continuing presence in Hawaii under U.S. sovereignty in the 21st Century.
Which nations should I deal with first? I selected those nations targeted by Dr. Sai which had given formal letters of recognition de jure to the Republic of Hawaii in 1894.
Following is the letter I sent to the federal ambassador and local Honolulu consul of the government of Austria. Similar letters were sent to the ambassadors and consuls of many of the other nations named as defendants by Dr. Sai, providing them with the text of the letters of de facto recognition and de jure recognition which they gave to the revolutionary Provisional Government in 1893 and the Republic of Hawaii in 1894.
His Excellency Dr. Christian Prosl
Ambassador to the United States for Austria
3524 International Court, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Honorary Consul General J. Hans Strasser
1314 South King Street, Suite 1260
Honolulu, HI 96814-1947
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
46-255 Kahuhipa St. Apt. 1205
Kane'ohe, HI 96744
tel/fax (808) 247-7942
Hawaii: Status as part of the United States
Lawsuit: Sai v. Obama et al. (1:10-CV-899CKK)
November 22, 2010
Aloha Your Excellency,
It has come to my attention that a motion has been filed in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to add your nation as a defendant in a lawsuit Sai v. Obama, et al. (1:10-CV-899CKK).
Plaintiff David Keanu Sai claims, among other things, that your nation has a continuing diplomatic relationship with the Kingdom of Hawaii. He claims the Kingdom was illegally overthrown in 1893 and Hawaii was illegally annexed to the United States in 1898. Therefore, he claims, the Kingdom of Hawaii continues to exist as an independent nation; and the treaties and other relationships between your nation and Hawaii remain in full force and effect.
Perhaps Mr. Sai seeks to add your nation as a defendant on the theory that your nation might be liable for damages to him due to its failure to uphold its treaty of friendship or other treaty or agreement with the Kingdom of Hawaii. Mr. Sai was convicted of a felony under state law; so that is the "injury" he suffered which he cites as the pretext giving him standing to sue for damages. Mr. Sai now wants to blame your nation as an accomplice in his felony conviction in 2000 because your nation failed to protest the Hawaiian revolution in 1893, the creation of the Republic of Hawaii in 1894, the U.S. annexation of Hawaii in 1898, and the continuing U.S. occupation of Hawaii and exercise of criminal jurisdiction over Hawaii residents such as himself.
I am writing to remind you about three diplomatic actions by your nation which absolve it of any responsibility for Mr. Sai's arrest and conviction. Your nation behaved properly in Hawaii in 1893, 1894, and 1898. Perhaps Mr. Sai might be required to pay whatever legal expenses you incur while defending your nation against his frivolous claims.
(1) In January 1893, within a couple of days after the revolution, your local consul in Honolulu, and all the local consuls representing other nations, gave de facto recognition to the revolutionary Provisional Government (evidence provided below). Thereby they affirmed that the new Provisional Government had taken control and they would no longer do business with the defunct Kingdom government.
As Mr. Sai points out, the ex-queen delivered a letter to the revolutionary Provisional Government protesting her overthrow, blaming it on the U.S., and expressing her hope that the U.S. would intervene to undo it. In her protest letter she claimed to be surrendering to the U.S., not to the Provisional Government. But the insincerity of her letter is shown by the fact that it was delivered only to the Provisional Government who had actually defeated her. The protest letter was not delivered to the U.S. minister, nor was any copy of it ever delivered to the local consuls or representatives of any other governments. She claimed to be surrendering only temporarily; but a surrender in a revolution is not a truce and cannot be merely temporary. She expected the U.S. to undo the revolution; but the U.S. had no power or right to undo what had been done by a local militia of men with many ethnicities and many national origins. The revolutionary forces were not acting under orders from the U.S., and the Provisional Government was not an agent of the U.S.
Most importantly, all the local consulates in Honolulu, observing the facts on the ground, unanimously and immediately gave de facto recognition to the revolutionary government. It was clear to all neutral observers that the monarchy had ended. The ex-queen, in surrendering, had no right to "assign" her powers to the United States without the knowledge or acceptance by the U.S. Your nation had every right to recognize the new Provisional Government, and no obligation to consider the merits of a protest letter which your government had never seen and was unaware of, and which was founded on false premises. Your nation's decision was a political one which it alone was entitled to make and which does not fall under the purview of any court.
It is true that U.S. President Grover Cleveland's representative tried for several months in 1893 to persuade the ex-queen to agree to amnesty for the revolutionaries in return for U.S. efforts to persuade the Provisional Government to step down and restore the Queen. However, even if both Liliuokalani and Cleveland had agreed between themselves to such an arrangement, neither of them had any authority to force the Provisional Government to abide by it. Indeed, the Provisional Government was unaware of and not a party to such negotiations. By first secretly negotiating with the ousted ex-queen, and then sending a letter "ordering" Hawaii President Dole to step down and restore the monarchy, U.S. President Cleveland was interfering in Hawaii's internal affairs. His behavior is especially reprehensible because the U.S. had already given de facto recognition to the new government and was working first secretly and then openly to overthrow it.
Certainly neither your nation nor any other nation had knowledge of any such sub-rosa agreement nor any responsibility to implement it.
(2) During the second half of 1894, following the establishment of the permanent new Republic of Hawaii, your national head of state, and the heads of state of all other nations who were major actors on the international stage, gave full-fledged recognition de jure by personally signing a letter to President Sanford B. Dole acknowledging him as Hawaii's head of state (evidence provided below). Thus for more than 116 years your nation, and all others, have recognized that the Hawaiian monarchial form of government no longer exists, and that the Republic of Hawaii and its successors (Territory of Hawaii, and State of Hawaii under the United States) have been the legitimate governments. There is no evidence that your government had been informed of the ex-queen's protest, or the alleged agreement between Liliuokalani and Cleveland, even a year later when your government recognized the Republic de jure. Furthermore, the mere fact that a deposed monarch protested her ouster did not impose any limitation on the right of your government to ignore any protest it might have known about and to choose to recognize the Republic.
(3) The Republic of Hawaii, internationally recognized de jure as a full-fledged member of the family of nations, exercised its sovereignty by offering a Treaty of Annexation in 1897, which was accepted by the U.S. in 1898. Thereupon your nation, and all other nations, accepted the jurisdiction of the U.S. to administer Hawaii's previous diplomatic relations, in accord with a provision in the Treaty of Annexation. For 112 years since then your nation, and all others, have enjoyed commercial relations with Hawaii through the sovereignty of the U.S.
I now offer to you important historical documents from many nations, including your own, whereby you can verify what I have said regarding the de facto recognitions of the Provisional Government in January 1893 and the de jure recognitions of the Republic of Hawaii in 1894.
The letters of de facto recognition from January 1893 were printed in a Honolulu newspaper, and were reprinted in an official 808-page report of an investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs published in February 1894. The full report with scholarly commentary can be seen at
Those letters as printed in the report have been pulled out and are available separately at
Here's the letter from your country's local consul as found there:
Honolulu, January 18, 1893.
To the Executive Council of the Provisional Government in Hawaii, Messrs. Sanford B. Dole, J. A. King, P. C. Jones, and Willinm 0. Smith:
GENTLEMEN : I have the honor to own receipt of your esteemed favor of yesterday's date, and hereby take much pleasure to recognize and acknowledge on behalf of the Austro-Hungarian Government the present Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and that I shall do all in my power to further and support the same.
I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your most obedient servant.
H. P. GLADE, Austro-Hungarian Consul.
A Constitutional Convention and election of government leaders for the Republic of Hawaii was completed in July 1894. Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents of at least 20 nations on 4 continents personally signed letters in 11 languages to Sanford B. Dole formally recognizing him as President of the de jure government of the Republic of Hawaii.
In January 1895, following the failure of an attempted counterrevolution in which she was convicted of being a co-conspirator, ex-queen Liliuokalani formally abdicated the throne. She wrote a document stating that the Kingdom was finished, signed an oath of allegiance to the Republic, and urged her supporters to do likewise. The ex-queen's abdication and oath of loyalty to the Republic clearly negate and dissolve any alleged assignment of power or alleged executive agreement by the ex-queen. Thus your nation and all others are absolved of any claim for damages arising from your initial de facto recognition of the Provisional Government, your de jure recognition of the Republic, your acknowledgment of annexation, and your continuing recognition of the sovereignty of the United States in Hawaii.
Those original letters from heads of state, and the ex-queen's abdication and oath of loyalty, remain stored in the Archives of Hawaii. Photographs of the originals (including some English translations and some accompanying diplomatic correspondence) can be seen at
The documents from your country are at
At your leisure you might want to read this webpage: "Hawaii Statehood -- straightening out the history-twisters. A historical narrative defending the legitimacy of the revolution of 1893, the annexation of 1898, and the statehood vote of 1959."
Thank you for your attention, and best wishes.
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
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