Andrew Johnson

Proclamation 156—Declaring a Certain Decree of Prince Maximillian of Mexico to be Null and Void

August 17, 1866

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas a war is existing in the Republic of Mexico, aggravated by foreign military interventions; and

Whereas the United States, in accordance with their settled habits and policy, are a neutral power in regard to the war which thus afflicts the Republic of Mexico; and

Whereas it has become known that one of the belligerents in the said war, namely, the Prince Maximilian, who asserts himself to be Emperor in Mexico, has issued a decree in regard to the port of Matamoras and other Mexican ports which are in the occupation and possession of another of the said belligerents, namely, the United States of Mexico, which decree is in the following words:

The port of Matamoras and all those of the northern frontier which have withdrawn from their obedience to the Government are closed to foreign and coasting traffic during such time as the empire of the law shall not be therein reinstated.

ART. 2. Merchandise proceeding from the said ports, on arriving at any other where the excise of the Empire is collected, shall pay the duties on importation, introduction, and consumption, and, on satisfactory proof of contravention, shall be irremissibly confiscated. Our minister of the treasury is charged with the punctual execution of this decree.

Given at Mexico, the 9th of July, 1866.

And whereas the decree thus recited, by declaring a belligerent blockade unsupported by competent military or naval force, is in violation of the neutral rights of the United States as defined by the law of nations as well as of the treaties existing between the United States of America and the aforesaid United States of Mexico:

Now, therefore, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the aforesaid decree is held and will be held by the United States to be absolutely null and void as against the Government and citizens of the United States, and that any attempt which shall be made to enforce the same against the Government or the citizens of the United States will be disallowed.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, the 17th day of August, A. D. 1866, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-first.


By the President:


Secretary of State .

Andrew Johnson, Proclamation 156—Declaring a Certain Decree of Prince Maximillian of Mexico to be Null and Void Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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