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which other nations may use it in time of peace or of war, S. Rep. 1,
47 Cong. special sess. Senate resolution asking for information as to whether the Government
had taken any action for the protection of United States interests in the projected canal, introduced Oct. 13, and passed Oct. 14, 1881, Cong.
Record, 47 Cong. special sess. 522. “It is, however, deemed prudent to instruct you, with all needful reserve and discretion, to intimate to the Colombian Government that any concession to Great Britain or any other foreign power, looking to the surveillance and possible strategic control of a highway of whose neutrality we are the guarantors, would be looked upon by the Government of the United States as introducing interests not compatible with the treaty relations which we maintain with Colombia.”
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, min. to Colombia, July 31,
1880, MS. Inst. Colombia, XVII. 181, in relation to a rumor that the British Government had been examining the Island of Gonzales, on the Pacific Coast of the Isthmus, with a view to establishing a naval station there.
“The relations between this government and that of the United
States of Colombia have engaged public attention Message of Presi.
during the past year, mainly by reason of the project dent Hayes, 1880.
of an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus of Panama, to be built by private capital under a concession from the Colombian Government for that purpose. The treaty obligations subsisting between the United States and Colombia, by which we guarantee the neutrality of the transit and the sovereignty and property of Colombia in the isthmus, make it necessary that the conditions under which so stupendous a change in the region embraced in this guarantee should be effected-transforming, as it would, this isthmus, from a barrier between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, into a gateway and thoroughfare between them for the navies and the merchant ships of the world-should receive the approval of this government, as being compatible with the discharge of these obligations on our part, and consistent with our interests as the principal commercial power of the Western Hemisphere. The views which I expressed in a special message to Congress in March last, in relation to this project, I deem it my duty again to press upon your attention. Subsequent consideration has but confirmed the opinion that it is the right and duty of the United States to assert and maintain such supervision and authority over any interoceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America as will protect our national interests." "
President Hayes, annual message, Dec. 6, 1880. (For. Rel. xii.)
of Mr. Evarts, as Secretary of State, see S. Ex. Doc. 112, 46 Cong. 2 sess. See, also, President Hayes' annual message, Dec. 1, 1879, as to a projected
treaty between the United States and Coloinbia.
For the Wyse concession of March, 1878, for the construction of a canal
across the Isthmus of Panama, see Correspondence in relation to the
Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 86.
concerning the extension or substitution of the Panama Canal concession.
“The United States recognizes a proper guarantee of neutrality as
essential to the construction and successful operation Circular of Mr.
of any highway across the Isthmus of Pamana, and Blaine.
in the last generation every step was taken by this government that is deemed requisite in the premises. The necessity was foreseen and abundantly provided for, long in advance of any possible call for the actual exercise of power.
“In 1846 a memorable and important treaty was negotiated and signed between the United States of America and the Republic of New Granada, now the United States of Colombia. By the thirty-fifth article of that treaty, in exchange for certian concessions made to the United States we guaranteed 'positively and efficaciously'the perfect neutrality of the isthmus and of any interoceanic communications that might be constructed upon or over it for the maintenance of free transit from sea to sea; and we also guaranteed the rights of sovereignty and property of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the isthmus as included within the borders of the State of Panama.
“In the judgment of the President this guarantee, given by the United States of America, does not require re-inforcement, or accession, or assent from any other power. In more than one instance this government has been called upon to vindicate the neutrality thus guaranteed, and there is no contingency now foreseen or apprehended in which such vindication would not be within the power of this nation.
“The great European powers have repeatedly united in agreements such as guarantees of neutrality touching the political condition of states like Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, and parts of the Orient, where the localities were adjacent or where the interests involved concerned them nearly and deeply. Recognizing these facts the United States has never offered to take part in such agreements or to make any agreements supplementary to them.
While thus observing the strictest neutrality with respect to complications abroad, it is the long-settled conviction of this government that any extension to our shores of the political system by which the great powers have controlled and determined events in Europe would be attended with danger to the peace and welfare of this nation.”
Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, June 24, 1881, For. Rel. 1881, 537. Mr. Lowell was instructed to take an early opportunity to confer with
Earl Granville and to read to him the foregoing instruction, and, if he
should desire it, leave with him a copy of it. (Mr. Blaine, Sec. of H. Doc. 551--vol 3— -2
State, to Mr. Lowell, min. to England, June 25, 1881, MS. Inst. Great
Britain, XXVI. 176.)
Paris. (Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Noyes, min. to France, June
25, 1881, MS. Inst. France, XX. 308.) In a communication to Mr. Hoppin, United States chargé, November 10,
1881, Lord Granville, replying to Mr. Blaine's representations, adverted to the fact that Mr. Blaine had disclaimed an intention on the part of the Government of the United States to initiate a discussion on the subject, and added: “I should wish, therefore, merely to point out to you that the position of Great Britain and the United States, with refence to the canal, irrespective of the magnitude of the commercial relations of the former power with countries to and from which, if completed, it will form a highway, is determined by the engagements entered into by them respectively in the convention which was signed at Washington, on the 19th of April, 1850, commonly known as the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and Her Majesty's Government rely with confidence upon the
observance of all the engagements of that treaty." (For. Rel. 1881, 549.) For a further discussion of the question of the Panama Canal and the Clayton
Bulwer treaty, see Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, min. to England, Nov. 19, 1881, For. Rel. 1881,554; same to same, Nov. 29, 1881, id. 563; Mr. Lowell to Mr. Blaine, Dec. 27, 1881, Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 339; Lord Granville to Mr. West, British min. at Washington, Jan. 7 and 14, 1882, For. Rel. 1882, 302, 305; Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, May 8, 1882, For. Rel. 1882, 271; Lord Granville to Mr. West, Aug. 17, 1883, Correspondence in relation to the proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 363; Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell, Nov. 22,
1883, Correspondence, etc. 365. See, also, message of President Arthur, Dec. 19, 1883, communicating to the
Senate a report of Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, with some of the
foregoing correspondence, S. Ex. Doc. 26, 48 Cong. 1 sess. The volume entitled “Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Inter
oceanic Canal" (Washington, 1885) contains reprints of S. Ex. Doc. 112, 46 Cong. 2 sess.; S. Ex. Doc. 194, 47 Cong. 1 sess.; S. Ex. Doc. 26, 48
Cong. 1 sess. “The questions growing out of the proposed interoceanic water-way across the Isthmus of Panama are of grave national importance. This government has not been unmindful of the solemn obligations imposed upon it by its compact of 1846 with Colombia, as the independent and sovereign mistress of the territory crossed by the canal, and has sought to render them effective by fresh engagements with the Colombian Republic looking to their practical execution. The negotiations to this end, after they had reached what appeared to be a mutually satisfactory solution here, were met in Colombia by a disavowal of the powers which its envoy had assumed, and by a proposal for renewed negotiation on a modified basis.
“Meanwhile this government learned that Colombia had proposed to the European powers to join in a guarantee of the neutrality of the proposed Panama Canal
a guarantee which would be in direct contravention of our obligation as the sole guarantor of the integrity of Colombian territory and of the neutrality of the canal itself. My lamented predecessor felt it his duty to place before the European powers the reasons which make the prior guarantee of the United States indispensable, and for which the interjection of any foreign guarantee might be regarded as a superfluous and unfriendly act.
Foreseeing the probable reliance of the British Government on the provisions of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 1850, as affording room for a share in the guara ntees which the United States covenanted with Colombia four years be fore, I have not hesitated to supplement the action of my predecessor by proposing to Her Majesty's Government the modification of that instrument and the abrogation of such clauses thereof as do not comport with the obligations of the United States toward Colombia, or with the vital needs of the two friendly parties to the compact.”
President Arthur, annual message, Dec. 6, 1881. (For. Rel. 1881, p. vi.)
with the support of England, Brazil and Ecuador, to occupy the Isth-
(3) NEGOTIATIONS OF 1856–7.
In December 1856, Mr. Isaac E. Morse was sent as a special commissioner to New Granada in order to negotiate, jointly with Mr. Bowlin, then American minister at Bogotá, for the settlement of pending questions in relation to the Isthmian transit. The principal questions related to the demand of the United States for an indemnity for the destruction of American life and property in the Panama riot of April 15, 1856, and the attempt of the authorities in New Granada to impose high tonnage duties on American vessels and burdensome taxes on American mails. But the most urgent question at the moment was that of the preservation of order and security on the transit route. In order to accomplish the objects in view, Messrs. Morse and Bowlin were furnished with a project of a convention and instructed to urge its acceptance upon the Government of New Granada. By this convention it was proposed to make of Colon (Aspinwall) and Panama free ports, with semi-independent municipal governments, the headquarters of one to be at Panama and of the other at Colon. Each of these municipalities was to exercise jurisdiction over a district twenty miles in width, lying on either side of the Panama railroad and extending to the middle of the Isthmus. New Granada, while retaining sovereignty over this district, was not to exercise it in a manner inconsistent with the powers granted to the municipalities by the convention. Stipulations were also to be made for the protection of the railway. In case the transit route should be interrupted, or seriously threatened with interruption, by a force likely to be too formidable for the local police, the naval and military forces of the United States were to be used for the purpose of keeping open and protecting the transit. New Granada was also to transfer to the United States all her interest in and control over the Panama railroad, whether by charter, contract or otherwise, and the United States was to be empowered to enforce all the obligations which the Panama Railroad Company had contracted with New Granada. If war should break out between the United States and New Granada, neither party was to occupy the municipal district above mentioned for belligerent purposes, or in any way to interrupt the transit. It was further to be provided that the transit should be open to the common use of all nations which should by treaty stipulations agree to treat the municipal district at all times as neutral and to respect the municipal authorities therein established, and foreign nations were to be invited to join in the mutual guarantee of the neutrality of the district and of the municipal governments and of the unobstructed use of the Panama railroad, or of any other road or route which might be established across the Isthmus within the limits of the designated territory. In order to insure to the Government and people of the United States the full enjoyment of the advantages of interoceanic communication and secure safe and commodious harbors for merchant vessels and national ships, it was proposed that New Granada should cede to the United States the island of Taboga and other islands in the harbor of Panama. The United States was to pay for the grants and cessions thus proposed not more than $1,800,000, from which were to be deducted $100,000 on account of claims of citizens of the United States against New Granada.
Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Messrs. Morse and Bowlin. Dec. 3, 1856, Corre
spondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington,
1885), 21-27. See, also, the text of this instruction in the manuscripts of the Department
of State, where the amounts of money to be offered and accepted are
given. That the Government of New Granada declined " to even negotiate upon
the questions at issue,” see Mr. ('ass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, April 17, 1857, MS. Inst. Colombia, XV. 264,
(4) NEGOTIATIONS OF 1868–70.
March 2, 1868, Mr. Peter J. Sullivan, minister resident of the United
States at Bogotá, was instructed and furnished with Convention of 1869.
a full power to negotiate a convention with Colombia for the purpose of facilitating the construction of an interoceanic canal through Colombian territory.
September 24, 1868, an act was passed by the legislature of the State of New York to incorporate a company for the construction of such a canal.