Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

the efficient protection of the Canal and the preservation of its neutrality.” The use of the word “sell” in this article is noteworthy; it carries with it the possibility of the actual transfer of title, and with the title sovereignty in a transaction of this kind between one government and another. The title to the Canal Zone did not pass under the provisions of Article III. Both Article XXIII and Article XXV point to a belief of the two governments that something more than a mere dictum of the United States is necessary to enable her to ensure the safety and protection of the canal, and to maintain its neutrality.

Summing up, the international status of the canal appears to the writer to be as follows:

(a) The canal is free (for passage but not in respect of tolls) and open to all private vessels of nations observing the rules of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty.

(b) The canal is similarly free and open to men-ofwar, even to those of belligerents when the United States is not a party to the war.

(c) To these permissive conditions the exception may be anticipated that the United States, when herself engaged in war, will not allow the war vessels of her enemies to use the canal, nor her enemies' private vessels, unless the character of the voyage be innocent as regards the United States.

(d) The other conditions are prohibitive, and of the nature that the United States would enforce in her own ports for the preservation of neutrality and the protection of her own property. They are so explicitly stated that nothing more than a reference to them, Rules 2 to 6 inclusive, Article III, is necessary here.

(e) The United States stands alone as the guarantor that the canal shall be kept free and open in accordance with the Hay-Pauncefote rules.

(f) The canal will be protected by permanent fortifications and a military garrison.

The Suez Canal afforded the only precedent for establishing the status of the Panama Canal. The two are alike in the fact that each is an artificial waterway connecting two great oceans, whereby trade routes may be shortened thousands of miles. The two are very unlike in several other particulars. The Panama Canal is being constructed by the United States as a government enterprise; the Suez Canal was built and is now owned by a private company of which the British Government later became a large stockholder, but is not now sole proprietor. The Suez Canal is comparatively near to several strong European States having diverse interests, while the Panama Canal is separated by the width of a great ocean from any firstclass power. The Suez Canal is on the common shortest route of several European powers to their important colonies; this is not the case with the Panama Canal as regards European countries, but the United States has a vital interest in it because it makes a short route between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Suez Canal is in Egypt, which is a suzerainty of Turkey, whose territorial rights are expressly reserved in Article XXII of the Constantinople Convention; the Panama Canal passes through territory in which the United States exercises sovereignty to the exclusion of such exercise by Panama. Enough has been said to show


The Panama Canal

the wide differences in important particulars of the two great artificial waterways. Such differences in physical status are quite sufficient to account for differences in international status.

The text of the Constantinople Convention governing “the free navigation of the Suez Maritime Canal” is printed at the end of this chapter, and the reader can compare for himself its provisions with those of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty. A few of the more noticeable divergencies may be pointed out, however. In the first place the Suez Canal is really neutralized by a concert of nine European powers, although the words “neutralization” and “neutrality” are carefully omitted, and the language is "free and open, open as a free passage,” or “free use"; Turkey, the sovereign power, is one of the nine signatories. On the other hand, the Panama Canal is not neutralized by a concert of powers, although the word “neutralization” is used in the Hay-Pauncefote treaty; the United States is the sole guarantor of the condition so characterized. Again, Turkey expressly gives up, in Article IV, the right to exercise any war right or commit any act of hostility in the canal situated in her own sovereign territory; the United States is not so restricted by the Hay-Pauncefote treaty. Permanent fortifications are forbidden by the Constantinople Convention, Article VIII and Article XI; they are not forbidden by the HayPauncefote treaty. Comment has already been made upon the omission in the Hay-Pauncefote treaty of the words "in time of war as in time of peace” found in Article I of the Constantinople Convention.

The natural cause of these divergencies may be found in the entirely different relation borne to the Panama Canal by the United States from that borne to the Suez Canal by any one European state. The Panama Canal is of paramount importance to us for commercial and military reasons, and the latter were very freely advanced before construction began, although they are now somewhat forgotten in the discussion of commercial matters. The Suez Canal was begun purely as a commercial enterprise in which the interests of many nations ran parallel, and military advantage was incidental.

Put in another way, the Panama Canal was a necessity for us; the Suez Canal was a great convenience to Europe. For these reasons, and also because of the Monroe Doctrine, it was worth while to undertake single-handed the guarantee at Panama that the European nations collectively undertook at Suez. It very naturally follows that guns and soldiers are necessary to enable a single nation to maintain what the pronouncement of a concert of nations will effect by moral suasion. And it equally follows by every rule of common sense and self-preservation that the United States in undertaking such a responsibility will not be quixotic enough to maintain a canal for the use of her own enemies in war.

Notwithstanding divergencies the great fact stands out that the management of both canals is on a basis of equal treatment to all with special advantage to none. Unless the United States be herself at war the international status of the two canals is practically the same.

The President's Neutrality Proclamation concerning the Panama Canal is given in the Appendix.


Signed at Constantinople, October 29,

29, 1888.

(Ratifications deposited at Constantinople, December 22, 1888.)

HER Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India; His Majesty the Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia; His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, &c., and Apostolic King of Hungary; His Majesty the King of Spain, and in his name the Queen Regent of the Kingdom; the President of the French Republic; His Majesty the King of Italy; His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, &c.; His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias; and His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans; wishing to establish, by a Conventional Act, a definite system destined to guarantee at all times, and for all the Powers, the free use of the Suez Maritime Canal, and thus to complete the system under which the navigation of this Canal has been placed by the Firman of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, dated the 22nd February, 1866 (2 Zilkadé, 1282), and sanctioning the Concessions of His Highness the Khedive, have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

(Here follow the names of the several Plenipotentiaries.) Who, having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles:

[ocr errors]

* Parliamentary State Papers, Commercial, No. 2 (Suez Canal), 1889. (C.-5623.)


« AnteriorContinuar »