Here is an article about Father Cassar a priest who left his native Malta for mission work in Oregon. This article also contains this interesting tidbit.
Father Cassar mentioned the “Maltese Falcon” classic movie that starred Humphrey Bogart, which has only a slight hint of the “real” Maltese Falcon story in the prelude. When the Knights of Malta purchased the island from Spain they did pay 300 pieces of gold and, as a token, thereafter sent Spain one falcon per year.
That sounds just like the relationship the United States shares with other countries. We help them out and the they give us the bird.