« PreviousContinue »
States to make the treaty that the position now maintained was assumed.
If it be contended that, even if the treaty may be considered as lapsed so far as it relates to the specific route by Nicaragua and the routes named in the eighth article as contemplated in 1850 (by Panama and Tehuantepec), yet the treaty is binding so far as it relates to other isthmian communication not specified and not then contemplated, the answer is that the treaty must be considered as a whole, and that the general stipulations of the eighth article would never have been made but for the stipulations as to the specified routes then contemplated, and that part of the treaty having lapsed, the general stipulation as to any interoceanic communication fails for want of consideration.
To reach the construction his lordship seeks to put on the eighth article, its plain language must be disregarded, and the consideration must be ignored that the article is as applicable to the Panama Railroad as to any other means of isthmian transmit, and that by acquiescence for many years in the sole protectorate of the United States over this railway, Great Britain has, in effect, admitted the justice of the position now maintained by the President.
Passing the interpretation of Article VIII, you will remember that I contended that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty is voidable, because, while by Article I the two nations expressly stipulated that neither of them would occupy, colonize, or exercise any dominion over any part of Central America, Great Britain at this time has a colony, with executive and judicial officers, occupying a defined territory nearly equal in area to three of the smaller states in the Union.
It is true, as was shown in my No. 368, that after the treaty had been ratified by the Senate in the form in which it now appears, and on the 4th July, 1850, Mr. Clayton did exchange with Sir Henry Bulwer memoranda stating that the stipulation in Article I should not apply to the "settlements” in British Honduras (Belize), and it is also true that Mr. Clayton declined to affirm or deny the British title in this "settlement" or its alleged dependencies. Lord Granville now claims that Honduras was then already (and to the knowledge of this Government) a British "possession" or colony, by conquest from Spain through successful resistance by settlers to a Spanish attack.
The stipulations of the treaty, as well as the memoranda exchanged by Mr. Clayton and Sir Henry Bulwer, relative to a British settlement, appear to be inconsistent with any such claim, for nowhere in them can be found any statement which expresses or implies that Great Britain claimed, or the United States admitted, any such governmental control in the former over Belize as is now advanced, and as is necessarily implied in the word "possessions."
The date of the conquest of Belize, alluded to by Lord Granville, is not stated, but the incident to which he refers is supposed to be the repulse by a ship of the Royal Navy and the settlers of an attempt in 1798 on the part of Spain to take possession of Honduras. As the British settlers held under grants from Spain, it seems hardly necessary to consider whether the successful resistance of a tenant to an attempt to oust by force changes the tenure to one of full possession. His lordship, however, meets this point by a plea of possession through abandonment, saying:
When peace was signed, most of the British conquests from Spain were restored to her; but the settlement in Honduras, like that of the Falkland Islands, was not given up, and continued on the same footing as any other possession under the British Crown.
By the third article of the treaty of Amiens, of 1802, Great Britain engaged to restore all Spanish possessions occupied or conquered by British forces. Belize was not given up because it was not a conquest, but a settlement under Spanish grants and Spanish sovereignty. The parallel with the Falkland Islands does not seem convincing, for these islands were ceded by France to Spain in 1763; by Spain they were in turn ceded absolutely to Great Britain in 1771, but their possession was abandoned until, in 1820, Buenos Ayres occupied the islands as derelict, and colonized them. Later, in 1831, after a difficulty between the settlers and American sealing vessels, the United States ship of war Lexington broke up the settlement aud removed the settlers to Buenos Ayres, and it was not until 18 3 that Great Britain enforced her claim under the cession of 1771.
As to Belize, however, there was no cession. If the sovereignty of Spain was annulled by conquest in 1798, it was restored by the treaty of Amiens in 1802; and while after this treaty and during the Bonaparte occupation hostilities were renewed, the treaty of 1809 provided that there should be peace between Spain and Great Britain, and "also an entire obliteration of all hostilities committed during the late war." Since the conclusion of this treaty Spain and Great Britain have been at peace, and it is not imagined that Earl Granville will seek to show that a lawful possession could be thereafter created for Great Britain by a violation of that treaty in time of peace. No conquest of any part of Honduras is known to have occurred after 1802, but if there were, the perpetuation of this conquest would hardly comport with the reciprocal engagement of 1809 to restore the status quo ante bellum.
On the other hand, it is known that the settlements in the Belize were made under certain limited grants from Spain, subject to her sov ereignty, and that long after the treaty of 1809 the occupation was generally regarded simply as a "settlement," and was so called by Lord Clarendon as late as 1854, in a note to Mr. Buchanan, and so remained until May 12, 1862, when by royal commission it was erected into a full colony and subordinated to the Government of Jamaica.
If Great Britain has turned the "settlement" maintained for the cutting of logwood and mahogany into an organized British colony, and this is admitted, or if that settlement has encroached beyond the line occupied by the settlers in 1850, and the reports from Guatemala and Mexico tend to show that this has been done, the action has been taken in contravention of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty and in violation of one of its most important provisions. The insufficiency of this part of Lord Granville's argument is shown by the contention that through a postal convention this Government has recognized the British position. The negotiation of a postal convention in 1869 cannot be held to involve any admission of the political status of the Belize district. It is a strained construction of such an agreement to hold that it works an estoppel as to a matter not in the mind of either party to the negotiation, and as to which both parties were endeavoring to reach a satisfactory conclusion through other and different channels; nor does the Post-Office Department act politically in its dealings with similar departments of other Governments.
If, however, the United States had submitted to the conversion of the Belize to a colony by Her Majesty's Government, in violation of the treaty, that is by no means a recognition of the binding force of the treaty on the United States when thus violated.
In the conviction, therefore, that the arguments heretofore presented
by the United States remain unshaken, the President adheres to the views set forth in the instruction to you of May 8, 1882.
Lord Granville concludes by saying in effect that he does not answer that part of the instruction to you which relates to the Monroe doctrine, because of my observation that it is not necessary for Her Majesty's Government to admit or to deny that doctrine. As his lordship placed the claim of Her Majesty's Government on the continued binding force of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, limiting that doctrine as we contend, I think my remark was logical, and so far as the United States are concerned, their views on that doctrine are sufficiently manifest.
You will assure Lord Granville that this Government shares the sincere desire of that of Her Majesty to arrive at that amicable adjustment of the question which cannot fail to promote harmony and good will between the two countries, and which it is my duty and pleasure equally with his lordship to do all in my power to perpetuate and increase.
You will take an early occasion to read this instruction to Lord Granville, and, if he should so desire, to leave a copy with him.
I am, &c.,
FRED'K T. FRELINGHUYSEN.
DOCUMENT No. 94.
3.-Lord Granville to Mr. West.
SIR: On the 29th May last, Mr. Lowell communicated to me a copy of a further dispatch, dated the 5th of that month, which he had received from Mr. Frelinghuysen, respecting the projected Panama Canal, of which a copy was forwarded to you in my dispatch No. 128, of the 16th June last.
By my dispatches of the 7th and 14th January, and 30th December, 1882, which were written in answer to several letters addressed by the United States Secretaries of State to the American ministers at this court, and with the contents of which I had been made officially acquainted, you were informed of the views which Her Majesty's Government entertained on that important subject.
Mr. Frelinghuysen, however, in his letter to Mr. Lowell of the 5th May last, after commenting upon the contents of my last dispatch to you of the 30th December last, says that the President still considers that the arguments which have been presented to Her Majesty's Government by the United States upon this subject remain unshaken, and that he adheres to the views set forth in the instructions which were given to Mr. Lowell on the 8th May, 1882, a copy of which was communicated to me on the 31st of that month.
This further dispatch from Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell has been carefully considered by Her Majesty's Government.
They have not failed to remark that Mr. Frelinghuysen still contends that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty is voidable on two grounds: first, because the first seven articles of that treaty related to a particular canal by the Nicaraguan route only; and, secondly, because Great Britain has at the present day a colony, instead of a settlement, at Belize; but, with regard to the first of these contentions, I explained to you in my
dispatch of the 30th December last why Her Majesty's Government were unable to accept that view, bearing in mind the eighth article of the convention. I pointed out to you that it was expressly recorded in that article that the high contracting parties, in entering into that convention, had not only the desire to accomplish a particular object, but also to establish a general principle, and that, with that view, they agreed to extend their protection by treaty stipulations to "any other" prac ticable communications, whether by canal or railway, "across the Isth mus" which connected North and South America, and "especially" to the interoceanic communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by canal or railway, which it was then proposed should be established by the way of Tehuantepec or Panama.
No time was fixed by the convention within which such interoceanic communications were to be made; and Her Majesty's Government consider that it would be putting a false construction on the convention to say that the stipulations contained in the eighth article had sole reference to the canal schemes which were actually under consideration at the time of the conclusion of that convention, for had such been the intention of the contracting parties, they clearly would not have made use of the expressions "especially" or "any other," when speaking of the canals which it was then contemplated might be made across the Isthmus.
With regard to Mr. Frelinghuysen's further contention, that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty has been abrogated by the fact that British Honduras is now a "colony," instead of remaining a "settlement," as it was called at the time of the conclusion of that treaty, I need only remark, in addition to what has already been stated to you in my previous dispatches, that when that treaty was concluded, in 1850, it was signed on the distinct understanding, expressed in writing, that it was not to apply to "Her Majesty's settlement at Honduras," and that it was therefore not deemed necessary, at that time, either to mark out the exact limits of that settlement or to define its "dependencies.”
Inasmuch, then, as British Honduras was expressly excluded altogether from the arrangement which was entered into between the two Governments in 1850 for the settlement of the questions then in dispute, and all of which questions President Buchanan informed the United States Congress in December, 1860, had been amicably aud honorably adjusted, Her Majesty's Government cannot see with what justice it can now be said that the change of title of that possession of Her Majesty, from that of a "settlement" to a "colony," can be appealed to as a violation of the arrangement of 1850.
You were informed in my dispatch of the 30th December last that I did not think it necessary to burden the correspondence on the Panama Canal question with a discussion on the so-called "Monroe doctrine," because Mr. Frelinghuysen had admitted, in his dispatch of the 8th May, 1882, that Her Majesty's Government were not called upon either to admit or deny the views which he explained in that dispatch as being those which were entertained by his Government on that subject, but as Mr. Frelinghuysen, in his dispatch of the 5th May last, still maintains that the views of the United States on that doctrine are sufficiently manifest, I may remind you that the views which were entertained by President Monroe have not always been accepted by his successors; nor have the same views been always entertained either by the American Congress or by the Secretaries of State of the United States, but the mere fact that a treaty was concluded between this country and the United States in 1850 (twenty-seven years after the so-called "Monroe
doctrine" was enunciated), for the express purpose of establishing communication by ship-canal across the isthmus of Central America, and of jointly protecting any such communication which might be made, is a clear proof that neither the American administration of that day nor the United States Congress which sactioned that treaty considered that they were precluded by the utterances of President Monroe in 1823 from entering into such a treaty with one or more of the European powers. How, then, can it be said, at the present day, that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty is opposed to the "Monroe doctrine"?
Mr. Buchanan admitted, in January, 1854, that
The main feature of the policy which dictated the Clayton-Bulwer convention was to prevent either Great Britain or the United States from being placed in a position to exercise exclusive control, in peace or war, over any of the grand thoroughfares between the two oceans;
and that being the policy which Her Majesty's Government are still anxious to adhere to, it has been with much regret that they have seen a disposition on the part of the present Government of the United States to depart from that policy by objecting to any concerted action of the European powers for the purpose of guaranteeing the neutrality of the projected Panama Canal or determining the conditions of its use.
The President of the United States stated in a message to Congress in March, 1880, that the present policy of the United States with respect to an interoceanic canal is the construction of "a canal under American control"; but it was pointed out to you, in my dispatch of the 7th January, 1882, that, while recognizing to the fullest degree the extent to which the United States must feel interested with regard to any canal which may be constructed across the Isthmus of Panama, Her Majesty's Government would be wanting in regard to their duty if they failed to point out that Great Britain had large colonial possessions no less than great commercial interests, which rendered any means of unobstructed and rapid access from the Atlantic to the North and South Pacific Oceans a matter for her also of the greatest importance.
Her Majesty's Government see no reason whatever to depart from, or in any way to alter, the views which have been conveyed to you in my dispatches above referred to, and they have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that a prolongation of the discussion seems unlikely to lead to any practical result.
I have made the above observations on Mr. Frelinghuysen's note for your information and guidance; but you are at liberty to read this dispatch to Mr. Frelinghuysen, and to give him a copy of it should he desire it.
I am, &c.,
DOCUMENT No. 95.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 22, 1883. SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of an instruction from Lord Granville to Her Britannic Majesty's minister in Washington, dated August 17, 1883, a copy of which was handed me by Mr. West, and which is in