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A new treaty was proposed by the Colombian legation at Washington, but
the negotiations did not result in an agreement. (Mr. Fish, Sec. of
Aug. 8, 1873, MS. Notes to Colombia, VI. 303, 311, 314.)
tion to construct the canal, Mr. Fish replied that it was not likely that
to Colombia, VI. 314.) The Government of the United States subsequently reserved its decision as
to whether it would send an engineer or any other person to join in a
Notes to Colombia, VI. 327.)
taking part in a conference of maritime powers at Constantinople for
Feb. 17, 1881, Mr. W. II. Trescot, representing the United States, and Gen. Santo Domingo Vila, representing Colombia, signed at New York a protocol which purported to set forth the views of the two Governments with reference to the execution of Art. XXXV. of the treaty of 1846. It declared that any interoceanic communication through the Isthmus of Panama, by canal or otherwise, should be as free and open to the Government and citizens of the United States as to the Government and citizens of Colombia, “except in case, which God forbid, of war between the two nations.” The two Governments were by common accord to select such points on the isthmus as they might deem proper for military and naval purposes and to provide by convention for the occupation and establishment of such places; and the United States, if occasion should arise for the performance of the guarantee of 1846, was authorized to occupy and hold the threatened territory during the exigency, in cooperation with the Colombian forces. But, in time of peace, and when no exigeney existed, only Colombian military forces were to be stationed in the Colombian territory. It was further agreed that, while the use of the canal in time of peace by the war vessels of other powers was not to be considered as a right, the two Governments word declare it open to the innocent use of such vessels, subject to such regulations and restrictions as they might jointly adopt.
Mr. Evarts declared, as Secretary of State, that the agreement on the points embraced in the protoco: met his views and had received the approval of the President.
The Colombian Government, however, declined to approve the protocol, on the ground that it was at variance with the instructions of the Colombian negotiator, and with the means which ('olombia deemed "best adapted to prevent any extension of the obligations contracted by both nations by the treaty of 1811," and to avoid the dangers which might arise from the construction of the canal.
For. Rel. 1881, 361–388, where correspondence and documents are given.
guarantor of the neutrality of transit and sovereignty of Colombia over
MS. Inst. Colombia, XVII. 229.)
2. GUARANTEE OF NEUTRALITY AND SOVEREIGNTY.
“The obligations we have assumed [by the guarantee of the neutrality of the Isthmus) give us a right to offer, unasked, such advice to the New Granadian Government, in regard to its relations with other powers, as might tend to avert from that Republic a rupture with any nation which might covet the Isthmus of Panama.”
Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Foote, min. to New Granada, July 19,
1849, MS. Inst. Colombia, XV. 124.
“Your letter of the 8th instant has been duly received and submitted
to the President, in which you inquire what interpretaAnswer to Peru
tion is placed by the Government of the United States vian inquiry.
upon the thirty-fifth article of the treaty of the 12th of December, 1846, by which they guarantee positively and efficaciously to New Granada the perfect neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama.
“The general scope and design of this stipulation are of course entirely apparent, and are set forth very distinctly in the article referred to; and your enquiry must therefore be understood to apply to the particular measures proposed to be adopted, on the occurrence of events menacing the neutrality of the Isthmus.
“ The treaty being a compact between the United States and New Granada, to which no other government is a party, it might not be strictly proper nor in all respects convenient to enter into explanations with a third power, as to any measures which the United States might think it proper to adopt, if the neutrality of the Isthmus should be menaced. It may, however, be safely presumed that the magnitude of our interests in that quarter wo:d dictate the pursuit of the policy best calculated to promote the desired end.
“But the latter portion of your note appears to contemplate the possibility that New Granada might avail herself of this guaranty of the neutrality of the Isthmus, to make it the seat of hostile preparations against Peru, and in that case the guaranty of neutrality would in effect become a defensive alliance between New Granada and the United States, by which Peru would suffer.
"Sincerely interested in the welfare of each of these powers, and sensible of the evils which would result to them and the inconvenience which would be occasioned to the commerce of the United States by a rupture between them, this government would view such an event with extreme regret, and would be prepared at any moment, and at the request of either party, to interpose their good offices to prevent it.
“I gather from your note of the 8th that the Peruvian government would deem it for their interest that the neutrality of the Isthmus should be respected by all other powers, as well as the United States. If the Peruvian Government thought proper to make a formal suggestion of this kind and a wish to become a party to the agreement, the government of the United States would receive such a suggestion with pleasure, and would communicate it to that of New Granada, with an intimation on our part that it would be agreeable to the United States that Peru should be associated by a proper public arot, in the guaranty of the neutrality of the Isthmus."
Mr. Everett, Sec. of State, to Mr. Osma, Peruvian min., Feb. 27, 1853, MS. “I recommend to Congress the passage of an act authorizing the President, in case of necessity, to employ the land and naval forces of the United States to carry into effect this guaranty of neutrality and protection. I also recommend similar legislation for the security of any other route across the Isthmus in which we may acquire an interest by treaty."
Notes to Peruvian Leg. I. 79.
President Buchanan, annual message, Dec. 8, 1857.
sages and Papers, V. 447.)
In 1864 the minister of foreign affairs of Colombia, in expectation
of a war between Peru and Spain, in which the Opinion of At- latter power might wish to send troops across the Isthtorney-Gener
mus of Panama, addressed a note to the minister of al Bates.
the United States at Bogotá, setting forth the expectation of the Colombian Government that the United States would carry into effect its guarantee of the neutrality of the Isthmus, as stipulated in Article XXXV. of the treaty of 1846. Mr. Seward submitted a copy of this note to the Attorney General of the United States, with a request for his opinion as to whether the article bound the United States forcibly, if need be, if required by Colombia, to interfere to prevent the transportation of troops and munitions of war across the Isthmus for the purpose of car ying on war against Peru. The Attorney General did not directly answer the question, but intimated that it related, at least potentially, to something substantially different in effect from the guarantee of the perfect neutrality" of the Isthmus.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bates, At.-Gen., Aug. 16, 1864, 65 MS.
Dom. Let. 523; Bates, At.-Gen. (Aug. 18, 1864), 11 Op. 67; Mr. Seward,
Colombia, XVI. 108.
guarantee of neutrality would oblige the Governinent of the United
The United States does not think itself bound to give explanations to the Government of Colombia as to the form of proceedings which it might suppose to be proper if occasion should arise for the landing of troops or naval forces in order to guarantee the sovereignty of Colombia. The treaty and the law of nations must regulate the action of both governments should such an emergency unhappily arise.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Burton, min. to Colombia, April 30, 1866,
MS. Inst. Colombia, XVI. 168, 189.
“A principal object of New Granada in entering into the treaty is understood to have been to maintain her sovereignty over the Isthmus of Panama against any attack from abroad. That object has been fully accomplished. No such attack has taken place, though this Department has reason to believe that one has upon several occasions been threatened, but has been averted by warning from this Government as to its obligation under the treaty. This Government has every disposition to carry the treaty into full effect.”
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Perez, Colombian min., May 27, 1871, For.
Rel. 1871, 247, 248.
Our guarantee of neutrality to the Isthmus of Panama furnishes no ground for any action by this Government in restraint of the transportation of munitions of war to belligerents in a war as to which our Government is neutral.
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Sherman, Sec. of Treas., Nov. 14, 1879,
130 MS. Dom. Let. 472. A copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Dichman, minister of United States at
Bogota, with the statement that care should be taken “ to avoid con-
and munitions of war across the Isthmus, during the existence of the