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arbitrated and no British interests were adversely affected before the repeal of the law. It is still possible that the question will be raised in connection with the rights granted to vessels of Panama in our treaty with that country approved in 1904.



Panama is the center of our naval policy in the Caribbean. During the years immediately following the Civil War the propaganda for greater influence in the West Indies was kept alive by the memory of the limitations under which our Navy worked during that conflict. After the Spanish-American War the plans for coaling stations were fostered largely by the realization of the new responsibilities undertaken in Porto Rico and Cuba. With the building of the Panama Canal, the continued growth of our Navy and a better realization of our position as a world power has come a still wider horizon. Our international political interests no longer only draw us toward the Caribbean but radiate from it. The naval and military policy adopted there, and especially at Panama, are therefore not of local but of world-wide significance. The important question as to what that policy should be did not fail to produce a marked division of public opinion, based partly on different views as to the extent of our international obligations, partly on disagreement as to the best national policy. The first point is now definitely settled and the Government has given its decision on the second.

What are our rights, in view of our international engagements, is determinable by a review of the treaties unorning Panama to which we have been party. The first important one touching the matter was the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 1850. The circumstances under which the treaty was made were peculiar. President Monroe in his message to Congress in 1823 had given announcement to what we have since come to call the Monroe Doctrine, declaring that the Americas were no longer to be considered territory in which European powers were free to establish colonies. Great Britain had acquired indefinite rights in Central America, and in British Honduras, and claimed to be the protector of the Mosquito Indians in territory lying back of Greytown, Nicaragua. Both Great Britain and the United States were interested in the establishment of a transIsthmian canal at the time, chiefly for its commercial advantages, and each was unwilling to see such an enterprise fall under the exclusive control of the other. The route then generally considered most feasible lay through Nicaragua and would have affected the alleged rights of Great Britain in the Mosquito territory. In this situation, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was proposed and adopted as a compromise whereby the possibilities of conflict of interests might be avoided.

The treaty bound each party not to “obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive control over the said ship canal; agreeing that neither will ever erect or maintain any fortifications commanding the same, or in the vicinity thereof, or occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central Amer

ica; nor will either make use of any protection which either affords or may afford, or any alliance which either has or may have to or with any state or people for the purpose of erecting or maintaining any such fortifications. The subjects of both were to enjoy the same privileges in the use of the canal, which was to remain open in case of war. They were jointly to guarantee its neutrality and to invite other states to coöperate in adopting the policy outlined.

This convention was received with little criticism in the United States until after the Civil War, when the military possibilities of the canal came to be more clearly realized and its terms no longer coincided with American national policy. There were numerous attempts to secure its modification or abrogation, but it continued as one of our international engagements for half a century.

The Spanish-American War brought still more clearly before the American people the great military advantage which might be reaped by them from the establishment of an easy communication by water between the Atlantic and Pacific. By this time, too, it had become evident that the private enterprise which had undertaken to build a canal at Panama was doomed to failure. Negotiations were undertaken with Great Britain looking to the supplanting of the Clayton-Bulwer agreement.

The result was the first Hay-Pauncefote treaty, con

Malloy, W. M. Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements between the United States and other Powers, Washington, 1910, Vol. 1, pp. 659-63.


cluded February 5, 1900, which freed the United States from the promise not to seek control over the canal and left the Government free, should it so decide, to construct the work itself. The canal was to be neutral, and open to all nations; the United States was forbidden to erect fortifications and other nations were to be invited to adhere to the treaty. This agreement was not acceptable to the American Senate. Later, on November 18, 1901, a second proposal was made which eliminated the clauses objectionable to our Government. The United States was given the “exclusive right of providing for the regulation and management of the canal.” The guaranty of neutrality was now a unilateral one undertaken by our Government alone, there was no suggestion of a restriction on the right of colonization anywhere and the provisions concerning fortification were dropped. After asserting that the canal should never be blockaded, one clause declared: “The United States, however, shall be at liberty to maintain such military police along the canal as may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness. This is the only clause referring to the use of armed force by the United States." In its amended form the treaty was accepted by both Governments.

One other treaty—the one concluded with Panama exactly two years after the Hay-Pauncefote agreement-November 18, 1903, has a minor bearing on the fortification question. Article XXIII reads partly as follows: “If it should become necessary at any time

1 Text in Malloy, op. cit. Vol. 1, p. 782.

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