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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. 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 $400,000 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. Cass. Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, April 17, 1857, MS. Inst. Colombia, XV. 261.
(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.
November 25, 1868, Mr. Caleb Cushing was sent to Bogota to aid Mr. Sullivan in his negotiations. On January 14, 1869, however, Mr. Sullivan succeeded in concluding a convention with the plenipotentiaries of Colombia. The question of the neutralization of the canalin time of war had formed an obstacle to the progress of the negotiations. As signed, Article IX. of the convention provided: “The United States of America shall have the right to use the canal for the passage of troops, munitions and vessels of war, in time of peace. The entrance to the canal shall be rigorously closed to the troops of nations which are at war with another or others, including their vessels and munitions of war.”
In a note to the Colombian minister at Washington, January 18, 1869, written without knowledge that a convention had been signed, Mr. Seward expressed the “very deliberate conviction " (1) that “henceforth neither any foreign government nor the capitalists of any foreign nation, except the Government and capitalists of the United States, will ever undertake in good faith to build a canal across the Isthmus of Darien; (2) that “the neutrality most desirable for Colombia is to be found in a combination of the power, authority and influence of the United States of America and the power, authority and influence of the United States of Colombia to protect the canal and make it productive of the largest commercial benefit to all nations;” and (3) that“ not only would the United States be unwilling to enter into an entangling alliance with other foreign nations for the construction and maintenance of a passage through the Isthmus, but also that the idea that other commercial powers could and would consent to enter into a combination with the United States of America for that purpose is impracticable and visionary." Under the convention, the United States was to construct the canal. Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Sullivan, min. to Colombia, March 2, 1868,
MS. Inst. Colombia, XVI. 263; Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Peter
1869, MS. Notes to Colombia, VI. 240.
Senate the convention signed Jan. 14, 1869, see Correspondence in rela
tion to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 36.
Communication by Way of the American Isthmus,” by Lieut. John T.
January 26, 1870, another convention between the United States
and Colombia was signed at Bogotá, looking to the Convention of 1870.
construction of the canal by the former Government. By Art. XI. of this treaty the United States was to guarantee that “the canal, its dependencies o purtenances, shall be free and exempt from all hostile acts on the part of any other nation or foreign power.” The article further provided: “Both of the parties contracting in this treaty reserve to themselves the right of passing their ships of war, troops, and munitions of war through the canal at all times, free of all charge, impost, or duty; but the said canal shall be closed against the flag of all nations which may be at war with either of the contracting parties. No troops shall be allowed to pass through the canal with arms in their hands, except those of the United States of Colombia moving under constitutional authority, and those vessels of war of nations at peace with both contracting parties. With the exceptions herein named, the canal shall be open for the use of all nations and every kind of lawful business without distinction.”
By Article XXV., however, the contracting parties mutually agreed “to use all possible efforts to obtain from other nations a guarantee in favor of the stipulations of immunity and neutrality mentioned in Article XI., and also in favor of the sovereignty of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the Isthmus of Panama and that of Darien." The United States also recognized and renewed the stipulations of Art. XXXV. of the treaty of 1846; and the article (XXV.) concludes: “Those nations which, by treaties entered into with the present contracting parties, shall unite in the guarantee of the neutrality of the canal and of sovereignty over the territory, as hereinbefore expressed and given by the United States of America, shall be relieved from tonnage and other imposts upon their ships of war either in full or to such extent as may be stipulated in such treaties."
The Colombian government opposed Art. XI. on the ground that it would practically make Colombia a party to any war in which the United States should become involved. The Colombian Senate modified the treaty so that the canal should remain free during the continuance of hostilities to the vessels of war, troops, and munitions of war of the belligerents; but no act of hostility was to be committed within the canal or its dependencies or within a certain distance of it, though it was to remain closed to the vessels of war which should not have joined in the guarantee.
For the full text of the convention, see the message of President Grant,
transmitting it to the Senate, March 31, 1870, Conf. Exec. Q, 41 Cong. 2 sess.; reprinted in Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Inter
oceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 40. Certain correspondence, preceding and following the signature of the con
vention, was communicated by President Grant to the Senate, Decem-
Canal (Washington, 1885), 48–86.
for a statement of the objections entertained by the Senate of the United