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Mr. Clayton. Sec. of State, to Mr. Lawrence, min. to England, Dec. 13,
1849, MS. Inst. Gr. Br. XVI. 75. See, also, Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Foote, min. to Colombia, Dec.
15, 1819, instructing Mr. Foote to urge upon the New Granadian Government to take measures to negotiate with Great Britain. “The guaranty of Great Britain," said Mr. Clayton, “is necessary for the security of the capital to be invested in the railroad, and is of great and obvious importance to the United States." (MS. Inst. Colombia, XV.
133.) With his instructions to Mr. Lawrence, of Dec. 13, 1849, supra, Mr. Clayton
enclosed, with an expression of approval, a copy of a memorandum by
Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton, 393.
ton to Mr. Rives, minister to France, Jan. 26, 1850, with reference to
subject of a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama, H. Report 26, 30
on interoceanic communications, H. Report 145, 30 Cong. 2 sess. See, also, Art. VIII. of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, infra, SS 351–355.
“I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, stating that you are the holder of a grant from the Republic of New Granada, for the construction of an interoceanic canal across that Republic between the rivers Atrato and San Juan, and inquiring whether pursuant to the article of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain of the 19th of April, 1850, you can claim protection for the proposed work. In reply I have to inform you that the article referred to provides for future treaty stipulations between the parties with a view to the protection of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama which would, it is presumed, include the route for which you hold the grant referred to. There would be no objection on the part of this Government to enter into such stipulations, and none can be anticipated on the part of the British Government. As respects the Government of New Granada, it is believed that the stipulations in the 35th article of the treaty between the United States and that Republic, of the 12th December, 1846, would afford you ample protection."
Mr. Webster, Sec. of State, to Mr. Belknap, March 13, 1852, 40 MS. Dom.
“The proposition in your lordship's letter of the 24th ultimo for a
joint convention between the United States, England, Position of Mr.
and France for the purpose of securing the freedom Cass.
and neutrality of the transit route over the Isthmus of Panama has been submitted to the President, and I am now instructed to communicate to you his views concerning it.
“The President fully appreciates the importance of that route to the commercial nations of the world, and the great advantage which must result from its entire security both in peace and war, but he does not perceive that any new guarantee is necessary for this purpose on the part of the United States.
“By the treaty concluded with New Granada on the 12th of December, 1846, to which your lordship has referred, this Government guaranteed for twenty years the neutrality of the Isthmus, and also the rights of sovereignty and property over it of New Granada. A similar measure on the part of England and France would give additional security to the transit, and would be regarded favorably, therefore, by this Government. But any participation by the United States in such a measure is rendered unnecessary by the arrangement already referred to, and which still remains in full force. It would be inconsistent, moreover, with the established policy of this country to enter into a joint alliance with other powers, as proposed in your lordship's note.
“The President is fully sensible, however, of the deep interest which must be felt by all commercial nations, not only in the Panama transit route, but in the opening of all the various passages across the Isthmus by which union of the two oceans may be practically effected. The progress already effected in these works has opened a new era in the intercourse of the world, and we are yet only at the commencement of their results.
“It is important that they should be kept free from the danger of interruption either by the Governments through whose territories they pass or by the hostile operations of other countries engaged in war.
“While the rights of sovereignty of the local governments must always be respected, other rights also have arisen in the progress of events involving interests of great magnitude to the commercial world, and demanding its careful attention, and, if need be, its efficient protection. In view of these interests, and after having invited capital and enterprise from other countries to aid in the opening of these great highways of nations under pledges of free transit to all desiring it, it cannot be permitted that these Governments should exercise over them an arbitrary and unlimited control, and close them or embarrass them without reference to the wants of commerce or the intercourse of the world. Equally disastrous would it . be to leave them at the mercy of every nation, which, in time of war, might find it advantageous, for hostile purposes, to take possession of them and either restrain their use or suspend it altogether.
“The President hopes that by the general consent of the maritime powers all such difficulties may be prevented, and the interoceanic lines, with the harbors of immediate approach to them, may be
secured beyond interruption to the great purposes for which they were estabiished.”
Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Lord Napier, Brit. min., Sept. 10, 1857, Corre
spondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington,
1885), 153. Lord Napier's note, to which the foregoing is a reply, is given at the same
place. June 26, 1862, General Herran, Colombian minister at Washington,
invoked the interposition of the United States for Action of Mr.
the protection of the Isthmus of Panama against the Seward.
revolutionary chief, Mosquera. Mr. Seward, in a note to Mr. Adams, then minister of the United States in London, July 11, 1862, said: “This Government has no interest in the matter different from that of other maritime powers. It is willing to interpose its aid in execution of its treaty and for the benefit of all nations.” He therefore directed Mr. Adams, and also Mr. Dayton, minister to France, to confer with the governments to which they were respectively accredited, as to the action to be taken by the United States, either alone or jointly with those governments, “in guaranteeing the safety of the transit and the authority of the Granadian Confederation, or either of these objects."
Lord Russell, when Mr. Adams brought the subject to his notice, stated that, so far as his information went, no attempt had been made to obstruct the free transit of the Isthmus, but added that, on the happening of an actual derangement of communication, the British Government would readily cooperate with the United States in the measures that might be thought necessary to make good the privileges secured by the guarantee. Mr. Thouvenel replied, in behalf of the French Government, in a similar sense. He also intimated an opinion that Gen. Herran did not represent the Government actually in power in Colombia.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Adams, min. to England, July 11, 1862, Cor.
in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 6. The replies of Mr. Adams and Mr. Dayton, dated, respectively, Aug. 1 and
Aug. 29, 1862, are given in the same document, pp. 7–8. March 20, 1878, Mr. Lucien Napoleon Bonaparte Wyse obtained
from the Government of Colombia a concession for the The Wyse conces
construction of an interoceanic canal across Colombian sion.
territory. The concession was approved by the Colombian Congress, May 18, 1878. It was obtained in the name of the International Interoceanic Canal Association, of Paris. The grantees undertook, however, to form, under the immediate protection of the Colombian Government, a joint-stock company, which should take the name of The Universal Interoceanic Canal Association, and it was agreed that the enterprise should “always be kept free from political influence."
Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington,
1885), 86-93. In April, 1879, Admiral Ammen, U. S. N., and Civil Engineer A. C. Meno
cal, U. S. N.. were appointed commissioners of the United States to attend an international conference which was to assemble at Paris on the 15th of the following month, under the auspices of the Geographical Society of Paris, to consider various projects for a canal across the American Isthmus. They possessed, however, no official powers or diplomatic functions, and were not authorized to state what would be the decision of the United States on any of the points involved. The conference itself was understood to be one, not of diplomatic representatives of the respective governments, but of scientific men and public officers whose experience and research rendered it desirable that they should exchange views. (Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Admiral Ammen, April 19, 1879, 127 MS. Dom. Let. 560.)
“By the treaty of 1846 the United States are guarantors of the neu
trality of any interoceanic canal through the Isthmus Views of Mr.
of Panama, and of the sovereignty of the Republic Evarts.
of Colombia over the territory through which it passes. If we are rightly informed, no other Government has been willing to come into any such treaty relations with Colombia, and to-day such a canal by whomsoever completed would need to rest upon this stipulated protection of the United States, and should the United States recognize their rights under this concession, both its projectors and the Government of Colombia would be authorized under certain contingencies to call upon and be wholly dependent upon this Government for the fulfillment of this obligation. Under such circumstances the United States would have considered it as the manifestation of a just and friendly spirit if the Government of Colombia had furnished us timely information of the proposed concession, and thus enabled us to judge whether the conditions under which our guarantee had been made had been preserved with due consideration both of the rights which that guarantee confers and the obligations which it imposes.
“But it cannot be overlooked that by the 35th article of the treaty of 1846 the United States has not only, “in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant enjoyment' of the advantages of that treaty, undertaken to‘guarantee positively and efficaciously to New Granada' 'the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned Isthmus,' but they have further obliged themselves to .also guarantee in the same manner the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over the said territory.' While, therefore, the United States have perfect confidence in these representations, as well as in the strong friendship of the French Government, it can scarcely be denied that such a concession to foreign subjects would introduce new questions of relative rights and interests affecting both the sovereign and proprietary rights of the Government of Colombia and such as would seriously enlarge the responsibilities of our treaty guarantee; and this Government feels that it is not unreasonable in expecting that any concession involving such consequences should be a subject of joint consideration by, and that its details can scarcely be settled without a preliminary agreement between, the Governments of Colombia and the United States as to their effect upon existing treaty stipulations. ...
The interest of the United States in the opening of a ship-canal on the Isthmus is peculiarly great. “Our Pacific coast is so situated that, with our railroad connections, time (in case of war) would always be allowed to prepare for its defense. But with a canal through the Isthmus the same advantage would be given to a hostile fleet which would be given to friendly commerce; its line of operations and the time in which warlike demonstration could be made, would be enormously shortened. All the treaties of neutrality in the world might fail to be a safeguard in a time of great conflict.
“ This Government cannot consider itself excluded, by any arrangements between other powers or individual to which it is not a party, from a direct interest, and if necessary a positive supervision and interposition in the execution of any project which, by completing an interoceanic connection through the Isthmus, would materially affect its commercial interests, change the territorial relations of its own sovereignty, and impose upon it the necessity of a foreign policy, which, whether in its feature of warlike preparation or entangling alliance, has been hitherto sedulously avoided.”
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, min. to Colombia, April 19, 1880,
MS. Inst. Colombia, XVII. 154, 157, 160, 163.
oceanic canal, President's message, June 13, 1879, H. Ex. Doc. 10, 46
Cong. 1 sess.
March 15, 1880, H. Ex. Doc. 61, 46 Cong. 2 sess.
Doc. 86, 46 Cong. 2 sess.
suitable route, Feb. 25, 1881. H. Mis. Doc. 16, 46 Cong. 3 sess.
Report 224, 46 Cong. 3 sess.; minority report, March 4, 1881, id., part 2. Report of the select committee on the interoceanic ship-canal, declaring
that the United States will assert and maintain their right to possess and control any such canal, no matter what the nationality of its corporators or the source of their capital may be, Mar. 3, 1881, H. Report
390, 46 Cong. 3 sess. Resolution declaring that the consent of the United States is a necessary
condition precedent to the execution of any canal, Feb. 16, 1881, Senate
Mis. Doc. 42, 46 Cong. 3 sess.
lution declaring that the United States will insist that its consent is a