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avowed object of this momentous step was to secure the construction of the interoceanic canal. It was inspired by the desire of the people at once to safeguard their own interests and at the same time to assure the dedication of the Isthmus to the use for which Providence seemed to have designed it.
“The situation thus suddenly created, as the direct and immediate consequence of the act of the Government at Bogotá, was, as has already been observed, one that deeply concerned not only this Government but the whole civilized world; but the interests of the United States were especially implicated by reason of the treaty of 1846 with New Granada. This treaty is frequently cited in Colombia's 'statement of grievances,' and the United States is repeatedly charged with having violated it. But, while its terms are employed as the basis of every accusation against this Government that they can with any plausibility be made to support, its great and fundamental design, the disregard of which by Colombia produced the revolution on the Isthmus, is wholly passed over and neglected. The Department is obliged to remedy this defect.
“In speaking of the treaty of 1846 both Governments have in mind the thirty-fifth article, which forms in itself a special and distinctive international engagement. By this article“the Government of New Granada guarantees to the Government of the United States that the right of way or transit across the Isthmus of Panama upon any modes of communication that now exist, or that may be hereafter constructed, shall be free and open to the Government and citizens of the United States.
"In return "the United States guarantees positively and efficaciously to New Granada . . . the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned Isthmus, with the view that the free transit from the one to the other sea may not be interrupted or embarrassed, and“in consequence the United States also guarantee, in the same manner, the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over the said territory.
"The circumstances in which these engagements originated are. matters of history. For some years exceptional efforts had been put forth to secure the construction of an interoceanic canal, and it was commonly believed that certain European governments, and particularly that of Great Britain, were seeking to obtain control of the transit routes. That no capitalist could be found to engage in the construction of a canal without some greater security for their investments than the feeble and irregular local governments could afford was universally admitted. But, on the other hand, it was apprehended that the introduction of European monarchical interests would prove to be but the beginning of a process of colonization that would in the end be fatal to the cause of republican government.
"In this predicament all eyes were turned to the United States. The first result was the conclusion of the treaty of 1846 with New Granada. Its primary object was to assure the dedication of the Isthmus to purposes of interoceanic transits, and above all to the construction of an interoceanic canal. President Polk, in submitting it to the Senate, assigned as the chief reason for its ratification that a passage through the Isthmus"would relieve us from a long and dangerous navigation of more than nine thousand miles around Cape Horn, and render our communication with our own possessions on the northwest coast of America comparatively easy and speedy.
“It is true that the treaty did not require Colombia to permit such a passage to be constructed; but such an obligation was so obviously implied that it was unnecessary to express it.
“Apart from the adaptation of the Isthmus to interoceanic transit, and its use for that purpose, there existed, as between the United States and New Granada, no common reason for the treaty's existence. This has always been well understood by both Governments. In a note of the Colombian chargé d'affaires at Washington, of January 3, 1899, commending the Panama enterprise to the good will of this Government, reference is made to the advantages which the United States 'would derive from the Panama Canal, when studied in the light of that international agreement,' the treaty of 1846. The same treaty was expressly incorporated into and perpetuated in the Hay-Herran convention. And it may be added that the Panáma Canal, so far as it has progressed, was built under the protection of the same engagement.
“The guaranty by the United States of the neutrality of the Isthmus, and of the sovereignty and property of New Granada thereover, was given for the conservation of precisely this purpose. To this end the United States undertook to protect the sovereign of the Isthmus from attacks by foreign powers. The powers primarily in view were those of Europe, but the treaty made no discriminations. The theory on which the 'statement of grievances' proceeds, that the treaty obliged the Government of the United States to protect the Government of New Granada against domestic insurrection or its consequences, finds no support in the record, and is in its nature inadmissible.
“Only a few years before the treaty was made the original Republic of Colombia was dissolved into the States of Venezuela, Ecuador, and New Granada, and since the treaty was made the Republic of New Granada has been successively transformed into the United States of Colombia and the present Republic of Colombia. With these internal changes the Government of the United States was not permitted to concern itself, so far as they did not affect its treaty rights and obligations. Indeed, it is not to be imagined that New
Granada desired or that the United States would have been willing to take part in the former's internal revolutions.
" That the United States has faithfully borne, during the long period since the treaty was concluded, the full burden of its responsibilities does not admit of question.
“A principal object of New Granada (said Mr. Fish, in a note to the Colombian minister of May 27, 1871) in entering into the treaty is understood to have been to maintain her sovereignty over the Isthmus of Panama against any attack from abroad. That object has been fully accomplished. No such attack has taken place, though this Department has reason to believe that one has upon several occasions been threatened, but has been averted by warning from this Government as to its obligations under the treaty.
“In January, 1885, when Colombia appealed to the United States in the hope of averting the hostilities with which she was believed to be threatened on account of the Italian subject, Cerruti, this Government caused an intimation to be made of the serious concern which it“could not but feel were a European power to resort to force against a sister republic of this hemisphere as to the sovereign and uninterrupted use of a part of whose territory we are guarantors, under the solemn faith of a treaty.
“Such is the spirit in which the United States has on various occasions discharged its obligations.
The United States has done more than this. It has assumed and discharged, as if primarily responsible, duties which in the first instance rested on Colombia. According to the language of the treaty, the right of the Government and people of the "nited States to a free and open transit across the Isthmus was guaranteed by New Granada; but the United States has been able to secure the benefits of it only by its own exertions; and in only one instance, and that as far back as 1857, has it been able to obtain from Colombia any compensation for the injuries and losses resulting from her failure to perform her obligation. The Department deems it unnecessary now to enter into particulars, but is abundantly able to furnish them.
“Meanwhile, the great design of the treaty of 1846 remained unfulfilled; and in the end it became apparent, as has heretofore been shown, that it could be fulfilled only by the construction of a canal by the Government of the United States. By reason of the action of the Government at Bogotá in repudiating the Hay-Herran convention, and of the views and intentions disclosed in connection with that repudiation, the Government was confronted, when the revolution at Panama took place, with the alternative of either abandoning the chief benefit which it expected and was entitled to derive from the treaty of 1846, or of resorting to measures the necessity of which it could contemplate only with regret.
“By the declaration of independence of the Republic of Panama a new situation was created. On the one hand stood the Government of Colombia invoking in the name of the treaty of 1846 the aid of this Government in its efforts to suppress the revolution; on the other hand stood the Republic of Panama that had come into being in order that the great design of that treaty might not be forever frustrated, but might be fulfilled. The Isthmus was threatened with desolation by another civil war; nor were the rights and interests of the United States alone at stake-the interests of the whole civilized world were involved. The Republic of Panama stood for those interests; the Government of Colombia opposed them. Compelled to choose between these two alternatives, the Government of the United States, in no wise responsible for the situation that had arisen, did not hesitate. It recognized the independence of the Republic of Panama, and upon its judgment and action in the emergency the powers of the world have set the seal of their approval.
“In recognizing the independence of the Republic of Panama the United States necessarily assumed toward that Republic the obligations of the treaty of 1846. Intended, as the treaty was, to assure the protection of the sovereign of the Isthmus, whether the government of that sovereign ruled from Bogotá or from Panama, the Republic of Panama, as the successor in sovereignty of Colombia, became entitled to the rights and subject to the obligations of the treaty.
“The treaty was one which in its nature survived the separation of Panama from Colombia. “Treaties of alliance, of guaranty, or of commerce are not,' says Hall,“ binding upon a new state formed by separation;' but the new state ‘is saddled with local obligations, such as that to regulate the channel of a river, or to levy no more than certain dues along its course.' (International Law, 4th edition, p. 98.) To the same effect it is laid down by Rivier' that treaties relating to boundaries, to water courses, and to ways of communication,' constitute obligations which are connected with the territory and follow it through the mutations of national ownership. (Principes du Droit des Gens, I, 72-73.) This Government, therefore, does not perceive that, in discharging in favor of the present sovereign of the Isthmus its duties under the treaty of 1846, it is in any way violating or failing in the performance of its legal duties.
“Under all the circumstances the Department is unable to regard the complaints of Colombia against this Government, set forth in the ‘Statement of grievances,' as having any valid foundation. The responsibility lies at Colombia's own door rather than at that of the United States. This Government, however, recognizes the fact that Colombia has, as she affirms, suffered an appreciable loss. This Government has no desire to increase or accentuate her misfortunes, but is willing to do all that lies in its power to ameliorate her lot. The Government of the United States, in common with the whole civilized world, shares in a sentiment of sorrow over the unfortunate conditions which have long existed in the Republic of Colombia by reason of the factional and fratricidal wars which have desolated her fields, ruined her industries, and impoverished her people.
“Entertaining these feelings, the Government of the United States would gladly exercise its good offices with the Republic of Panama, with a view to bring about some arrangement on a fair and equitable basis. For the acceptance of your proposal of a resort to The Hague tribunal, this Government perceives no occasion. Indeed, the questions presented in your ‘Statement of grievances' are of a political nature, such as nations of even the most advanced ideas as to international arbitration have not proposed to deal with by that process. Questions of foreign policy and of the recognition or nonrecognition of foreign states are of a purely political nature, and do not fall within the domain of judicial decision; and upon these questions this Government has in the present paper defined its position.
“But there may be, no doubt, other questions which may form a proper subject of negotiation; among them, for instance, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republics of Colombia and Panama, the delimitation of their respective boundaries, the possible apportionment of their mutual pecuniary liabilities. If the Government of Colombia will take these matters up, with any others which they think may require discussion, and will put their suggestions in regard to them in a definite and concrete form, they will receive at the hands of this Government the most careful consideration, with a view to bringing them, in the exercise of good offices, to the attention of the Government of Panama."
Mr. Hay, Sec. of State, to Gen. Reyes, special minister of Colombia, Jan. 5, 1904,
For. Rel. 1903, 294-306.
“I have received the note which your excellency Gen. Reyes' note of did me the honor to address to me under date of the Jan. 6, 1904.
30th of December last, in answer to mine of the 29th of the same month. I transmitted it by cable to my Government and have received from it instructions to make to your excellency's Government the following declarations:
“First. That the said note of the 30th of December from your excellency is regarded by my Government as an intimation that the Colombian forces will be attacked by those of the United States on their entering the territory of Panama for the purpose of subduing the rebellion, and that for that reason, and owing to its inability to cope with the powerful American squadron that watches over the coasts of the Isthmus of Panama, it holds the Government of the United States responsible for all damages caused to it by the loss of that national territory.