Page images

Those who voted in the negative are Messrs. Bacon, Blackburn, Culberson, Mallory, Teller, Tillman.

Pairs were announced as follows:

Mr. BAILEY in the negative with Messrs. DEPEW and ELKINS in the affirmative.

Mr. RAWLINS in the negative with Messrs. HANNA and SEWELL in the affirmative.

Ordered, That the injunction of secrecy be removed from the proposed amendments to the said convention, from the votes thereon, and from the final vote to ratify the convention.

[Senate Document No. 746, Sixty-first Congress, third session.]


[Prepared in the Department of State and sent by Mr. Hay to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.]

JANUARY 18, 1911-Ordered printed as a public document.

The Senate's amendments to the former treaty required (first) that there should be in plain and explicit terms an express abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty; (second) that the rules of neutrality adopted should not deprive the United States of the right to defend itself and to maintain public order; and (third) that other powers should not in any manner be made parties to the treaty by being invited to adhere to it.

For a better understanding of the scheme of the new treaty, it may be well briefly to advert to the objections suggested by Great Britain to these several amendments.


Lord Lansdowne's objections were as to the manner of doing this and as to the substance. It was insisted that in the negotiations which led to the making of the former treaty no attempt had been made to ascertain the views of the British Government on such complete abrogation, and that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty being, as it claimed, an international compact of unquestionable validity, could not be abrogated without the consent of both parties to the


There was in this connection an apparent misconception on the part of His Majesty's Government in respect to the proper function of the Senate in advising the ratification of a treaty with amendments proposed by it. It seemed to be regarded as an attempt on the part of the Senate to accomplish by its own vote, as a final act, the abrogation of an existing treaty, without an opportunity for full consideration of the matter by the other party. It was overlooked that the Senate was simply exercising its undoubted constitutional function of proposing amendments to be communicated to the other party to the contract, to ascertain its views upon the question, and it was hoped by the President and the hope was expressed in submitting the treaty as amended by the Senate to the British Governmentthat the amendments would be found acceptable by it. Failing this,


[ocr errors]

there was a full opportunity for His Majesty's Government, by counter propositions, to express its views on this and the other amendments, and so by a continuous negotiation to arrive, if possible, at a mutually satisfactory solution of all questions involved. Nevertheless, in view of the great importance of the Senate's amendments, taken together, it was deemed more expedient by Lord Lansdowne to reject them, but to leave the door open for fresh negotiations, which might have a more happy issue; and he earnestly deprecated a final failure of the parties to agree, and emphatically expressed the desire of his Government to meet the views of the United States on this most important


The principal substantial objection to the Senate's amendment, completely superseding the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, was that if this were done, the provisions of Article I of that treaty, which had been left untouched by the original Hay-Pauncefote treaty, would be annulled, and thereby both powers would, except in the vicinity of the canal, acquire entire freedom of action in Central America, a change which Lord Lansdowne thought would certainly be of advantage to the United States, and might be of substantial importance.


His Majesty's Government criticized the vagueness of the language employed in the amendment, and the absence of all security as to the manner in which its ends might at some future time be interpreted; but thought that, however precisely it might be worded, it would be impossible to determine what might be the effect if one clause permitting defensive measures and another clause (which has now been omitted) prohibiting fortification of the canal were allowed to stand side by side in the same convention.

This amendment was strenuously objected to by Great Britain as involving a distinct departure from the principle of neutrality which had theretofore found acceptance by both Governments, inasmuch as it would, as construed by Lord Lansdowne, permit the United States in time of peace as well as in time of war to resort to whatever warlike acts it pleased in and near the canal, which would be clearly inconsistent with its intended neutral character and would deprive the commerce and navies of the world of the free use of it.

It was insisted that by means of the amendment the obligation of Great Britain to respect the neutrality of the canal under all circumstances would remain in force, while that of the United States, on the other hand, would be essentially modified, and that this would result in a one-sided agreement, by which Great Britain would be debarred from any warlike act in or near the canal, while the United States could resort to any such acts, even in time of peace, which it might deem necessary to secure its own safety.

Moreover, it was insisted that by this amendment, in connection. with the third amendment, which excluded other powers from becoming parties to the contract, Great Britain would be placed at a great disadvantage as compared with all other powers, inasmuch

as she alone, with all her vast interests in the commerce of the world, would be bound under all circumstances to respect the neutrality of the canal, while the United States, even in time of peace, would have a treaty right to interfere with the canal on the plea of necessity for its own safety, and all other powers not being bound by the treaty could at their pleasure disregard its provisions.


This was emphatically objected to because if acquiesced in by Great Britain she would be bound by what Lord Lansdowne described as the "stringent rules of neutral conduct" prescribed by the treaty, which would not be equally binding upon the other powers, and it was urged that the adhesion of others power to the treaty as parties would furnish an additional security for the neutrality of the canal.

In the hope of reconciling the conflicting views thus presented between the former treaty as amended by the Senate and the objections thereto of the British Government, the treaty now submitted for the consideration of the Senate was drafted.

The substantial differences from the former treaty are as follows: First. In the new draft of treaty the provision superseding the Clayton-Bulwer treaty as a whole, instead of being parenthetically inserted, as by the former Senate amendment, was made the subject of an independent article and presented as the first article of the treaty. It was thus submitted to the consideration of the British Government in connection with the other substantial provisions of the treaty which declared the neutrality of the canal for the use of all nations on terms of entire equality.

Second. By a change in the first line of Article III, instead of the United States and Great Britain jointly adopting as the basis of the neutralization of the canal, the rules of neutrality prescribed for its use as was provided by the former treaty, the United States now alone adopts


This was regarded as a very radical and important change and one which would go far toward a reconciliation of the conflicting views of the two Governments.

It relieves Great Britain of all responsibility and obligation to enforce the neutrality of the canal, which by the former treaty had been imposed upon or assumed by her jointly with the United States, and thus meets the main stress of the objection which seemed to underlie or be interwoven with her other objections to the former Senate amendments. The United States alone as the sole owner of the canal, as a purely American enterprise, adopts and prescribes the rules by which the use of the canal shall be regulated, and assumes the entire responsibility and burden of enforcing, without the assistance of Great Britain or of any other nation, its absolute neutrality.

It was also believed that this change would be in harmony with the national wish that this great interoceanic waterway should not only be constructed and owned, but exclusively controlled and managed by the United States.

Third. The next important change from the former treaty consists in the omission of the words "in time of war as in time of peace" from clause 1 of Article III.

No longer insisting upon the language of the Davis amendment— which had in terms reserved to the United States express permission to disregard the rules of neutrality prescribed, when necessary to secure its own defense, which the Senate had apparently deemed necessary because of the provision in Rule I, that the canal should be free and open "in time of war as in time of peace" to the vessels of all nations-it was considered that the omission of the words "in time of war as in time of peace" would dispense with the necessity of the amendment referred to, and that war between the contracting parties, or between the United States and any other power, would have the ordinary effect of war upon treaties when not specially otherwise provided, and would remit both parties to their original and natural right of self-defense and give to the United States the clear right to close the canal against the other belligerent, and to protect it and defend itself by whatever means might be necessary.

Fourth. In conformity with the Senate's emphatic rejection of Article III of the former treaty, which provided that the high contracting parties would, immediately upon the exchange of ratifications, bring it to the notice of other powers and invite them to adhere to it, no such provision was inserted in the draft of the new treaty.

It was believed that the declaration that the canal should be free and open to all nations on terms of entire equality (now that Great Britain was relieved of all responsibility and obligation to enforce and defend its neutrality) would practically meet the force of the objection which had been made by Lord Lansdowne to the Senate's excision of the article inviting the other powers to come in, viz, that Great Britain was placed thereby in a worse position than other nations in case of war with the United States.

Fifth. The next change from the former treaty is the omission of the provision in clause 7 of Article III, which prohibited the fortification of the canal, and the transfer to clause 2 of the remaining provision of clause 7, that the United States shall be at liberty to maintain such military police along the canal as may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness and disorder.

The whole theory of the treaty is that the canal is to be an entirely American canal. The enormous cost of constructing it is to be borne by the United States alone. When constructed, it is to be exclusively the property of the United States and is to be managed, controlled, and defended by it. Under these circumstances, and considering that now by the new treaty Great Britain is relieved of all the responsibility and burden of maintaining its neutrality and security, it was thought entirely fair to omit the prohibition that "no fortification shall be erected commanding the canal or the waters adjacent.


Sixth. It will be observed that, although the words "in time of war as in time of peace" had been omitted from clause 1 of Article III upon the theory that the omission of these words would dispense with the necessity of the Davis amendment, and that war between the United States and any other power would have the ordinary effect of war upon treaties and remit both parties to their natural right of self-defense-the same words are retained in the sixth clause of Article III, which provides that the plant, establishment, buildings, and all

« PreviousContinue »