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establishment of a free port at each end of the canal should continue in force, and to define by agreement the distance from either end where captures might not be made by a belligerent in time of war, and thus to keep alive Article II. of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. With regard to Lord Granville's suggestion that the United States should take the initiative in an invitation to other powers to participate in an agreement of neutralization based on the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, Mr. Frelinghuysen said that the President was constrained to say that the United States could not take part in extending such an invitation. In this relation, Mr. Frelinghuysen maintained that a canal, under the protectorate of the United States and the republic whose territory it might cross, could be freely used by all nations, while the United States would thus in some degree retain the benefit of that conformation of the earth which constituted an element of security and defence; that for thirty years the Panama railroad had been maintained without other protection than that of the United States and the local sovereign; that during the same time the peaceful commerce of the world had moved through the Suez Canal quietly and safely under no international protectorate; that an international guarantee of the neutrality of the transit of the American Isthmus would give the navies of the earth a pretext for assembling in waters contiguous to the American shores, and would besides be in conflict with the Monroe doctrine, a doctrine which it was not anticipated that Great Britain would controvert, since she “suggested” it to the United States, and, when the United States adopted, highly approved it.
Mr. Frelinghuysen also reviewed the discussions in relation to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty between 1850 and 1860, laying special stress on the question of Belize and the conversion of that “settlement” into a British “possession.” On this subject, Mr. Frelinghuysen expressed the following conclusion: “Under the treaty of 1850, while it is binding, the United States have not the right to exercise dominion over or to colonize one foot of territory in Central America. Great Britain is under the same rigid restriction. And if Great Britain has violated and continues to violate that provision, the treaty is, of course, voidable at the pleasure of the United States.”
Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, min. to England, May 8,
1882, Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal
(Washington, 1885) 159; For. Rel. 1882, 271. Lord Granville replied to Mr. Frelinghuysen in an instruction addressed to
Mr. West, British minister at Washington, December 30, 1882. With regard to the position that the treaty, by reason of the existence of the colony of British Honduras, was voidable, Lord Granville said that it would seem to be “ opposed to all sound principle that the United States should now claim to abrogate the treaty of 1850, by reason of the existence of a state of things which has prevailed, to their knowledge, before as well as since its ratification, to which the treaty was never intended to apply, and notwithstanding the known existence of which they have more than once recognized the treaty as subsisting.” (Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington,
1885), 353, 357; For. Rel. 1883, 484.) For a further discussion of the subject, see Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State,
to Mr. Lowell, min. to England, May 5, 1883; Lord Granville to Mr. West, Aug. 17, 1883; Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell, Nov. 22, 1883; Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Wash
ington, 1885), 359, 363, 365; For. Rel. 1883, 418, 529, 477. * The treaty was voidable at the option of the United States. This, I
think, has been demonstrated fully on two grounds. First, that the consideration of the treaty having failed, its object never having been accomplished, the United States did not receive that for which they covenanted; and, second, that Great Britain has persistently violated her agreement not to colonize the Central American coast." (Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Cent. Am., July 19, 1884, MS. Inst. Cent. Am. XVIII. 443).
9. FRELINGHUYSEN-ZAVALA CONVENTION.
December 1, 1884, Mr. Frelinghuysen, then Secretary of State, and Gen. Joaquin Zavala, ex-President of Nicaragua, signed at Washington a convention by which the United States engaged to build a canal at its own cost, and with that view entered into a “perpetual alliance” with Nicaragua and agreed "to protect the integrity of the territory of the latter.' While the convention provided for "equal” tolls for the vessels of "all nations" (except vessels of the contracting parties engaged in the coasting trade), and contained no stipulation for the fortification of the canal, yet it did not provide for its neutralization. It was submitted to the Senate December 10, 1881. It had not been approved by that body when, in the following March, President Cleveland withdrew it for reexamination.
Message of President Arthur to the Senate, Dec. 10, 1881, Conf. Exec. F.
48 Cong. 2 sess., submitting the treaty of December 1, 1884, to the Senate for its advice and consent. The injunction of secrecy was removed
from the message and treaty January 6, 1891. As to the special mission of Captain S. L. Phelps to Nicaragna to conduct
certain negotiations with reference to a canal, see Mr. John Davis, Act.
State, to Capt. Phelps, April 28, 1884, MS. Inst. Peru, XVII. 132.
huysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, Feb. 24,
America, XVIII. 340, 454, 483, 457, 458.
of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, July 19, 1884, MS. Inst.
Central America, XVIII. 413. “Canal treaty published in New York Tribune to-day obtained from some
source of which we are entirely ignorant, and published without authority.” (Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, min. to Central America, tel., Dec. 18, 1884, MS. Inst. Central America, XVIII. 438.)
For correspondence as to the exceptions taken and the reservations made
by Costa Rica to the Frelinghuysen-Zavala convention, see Mr. Peralta.
Cong. 2 sess. 18, 21.
Nov. 28, 1885, S. Ex. Doc. 50, 49 Cong. 2 sess. 46; Report of Mr. Bayard,
21, 1886, calling for certain correspondence. Notice was given, in case the treaty should be ratified, of a possible claim
of Mr. F. A. Pellas, against the Government of the United States, based on a concession from Nicaragua of the exclusive navigation for eighteen years of the river San Juan del Norte and the Lake of Granada, for the purpose of transporting the productions of the country and goods intended for its interior trade. (Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Goodman, May 18, 1885, 155 MS. Dom. Let. 410.)
10. PRESIDENT CLEVELAND'S MESSAGE, 1885.
“The interest of the United States in a practicable transit for ships across the strip of land separating the Atlantic from the Pacific has been repeatedly manifested during the last half century.
“My immediate predecessor caused to be negotiated with Nicaragua a treaty for the construction, by and at the sole cost of the United States, of a canal through Nicaraguan territory, and laid it before the Senate. Pending the action of that body thereon, I withdrew the treaty for re-examination. Attentive consideration of its provisions leads me to withhold it from resubmission to the Senate.
“Maintaining, as I do, the tenets of a line of precedents from Washington's day, which proscribe entangling alliances with foreign states, I do not favor a policy of acquisition of new and distant territory or the incorporation of remote interests with our own.
“The laws of progress are vital and organic, and we must be conscious of that irresistible tide of commercial expansion which, as the concomitant of our active civilization, day by day, is being urged onward by those increasing facilities of production, transportation, and communication to which steam and electricity have given birth; but our duty in the present instructs us to address ourselves mainly to the development of the vast resources of the great area committed to our charge, and to the cultivation of the arts of peace within our own borders, though jealously alert in preventing the American hemisphere from being involved in the political problems and complications of distant governments. Therefore, I am unable to recommend propositions involving paramount privileges of ownership or right outside of our own territory, when coupled with absolute and unlimited engagements to defend the territorial integrity of the state where such interests lie. While the general project of connecting the two oceans by means of a canal is to be encouraged, I am of opinion that any scheme to that end to be considered with favor should be free from the features alluded to.
“The Tehuantepec route is declared, by engineers of the highest repute and by competent scientists, to afford an entirely practicable transit for vessels and cargoes, by means of a ship-railway, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The obvious advantages of such a route, if feasible, over others more remote from the axial lines of traffic between Europe and the Pacific, and, particularly, between the valley of the Mississippi and the western coast of North and South America, are deserving of consideration.
“Whatever highway may be constructed across the barrier dividing the two greatest maritime areas of the world must be for the world's benefit, a trust for mankind, to be removed from the chance of domination by any single power, nor become a point of invitation for hostilities or a prize for warlike ambition. An engagement combining the construction, ownership, and operation of such a work by this Government, with an offensive and defensive alliance for its protection, with the foreign state whose responsibilities and rights we would share, is, in my judgment, inconsistent with such dedication to universal and neutral use, and would, moreover, entail measures for its realization beyond the scope of our national polity or present means.
“The lapse of years has abundantly confirmed the wisdom and foresight of those earlier administrations which, long before the conditions of maritime intercourse were changed and enlarged by the progress of the age, proclaimed the vital need of interoceanic transit across the American Isthmus and consecrated it in advance to the common use of mankind by their positive declarations and through the formal obligation of treaties. Toward such realization the efforts of my administration will be applied, ever bearing in mind the principles on which it must rest, and which were declared in no uncertain tones by Mr. Cass, who, while Secretary of State, in 1858, announced that “What the United States want in Central America, next to the happiness of its people, is the security and neutrality of the interoceanic routes which lead through it.'
“The construction of three transcontinental lines of railway all in successful operation, wholly within our territory and uniting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, has been accompanied by results of a most interesting and impressive nature, and has created new conditions, not in the routes of commerce only, but in political geography, which powerfully affect our relations toward, and necessarily increase our interests in, any trans-isthmian route which may be opened and employed for the ends of peace and traffic, or, in other contingencies, for uses inimical to both.
“ Transportation is a factor in the cost of commodities scarcely second to that of their production, and weighs as heavily upon the con
“Our experience already has proven the great importance of having the competition between land carriage and water carriage fully developed, each acting as a protection to the public against the tendencies to monopoly which are inherent in the consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of vast corporations.
“These suggestions may serve to emphasize what I have already said on the score of the necessity of a neutralization of any interoceanic transit; and this can only be accomplished by making the uses of the route open to all nations and subject to the ambitions and warlike necessities of none."
President Cleveland, annual message, Dec. 8. 1885. (For. Rel. 1885, p. v.)
received the most careful consideration of the present Executive, and
162 MS. Dom. Let. 510.) With respect to a statement that an application was to be made to the Gov
ernments of Colombia and Costa Rica for a new concession for a railway across the Isthmus of Chiriqui, with grants of land and harbor rights upon Chiriqui Lagoon and Golfo Dulce, but that, before the application was presented, the “ favor and counsel" of the United States, of which the proposed applicants were citizens, were desired, the Department of State replied that any tangible and operative scheme of interoceanic communication, carried out by American capital, would have the friendly support of the Government, within the lines laid down in the President's annual message of 1885, but added: “It is not proper, however, for the Department to express any opinion as to the scheme you propose nor to give any advice to you or others, meditating business enterprises in a foreign land, as to the inducements or obstacles which may be in their way. If such advice were given, it would be called upon afterwards to sustain it, which would be outside its constitutional orbit. Nor can this Department present you to any foreign Government as in any way entitled to speak for the United States. Such function can be entrusted only to the diplomatic representatives of the Government." (Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Messrs. Dillon
et al., February 16, 1887, 163 MS. Dom. Let. 161.) * The canal company has, unfortunately, become financially seriously
embarrassed, but a generous treatment has been extended to it by the Government of Nicaragua. The United States are especially interested in the successful achievement of the vast undertaking this company has in charge. That it should be accomplished under distinctively American auspices, and its enjoyment assured not only to the vessels of this country as a channel of communication between our Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, but to the ships of the world in the interests of civ.