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the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned Isthmus,' but they have further obliged themselves to also guarantee in the same manner the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over the said territory.' While, therefore, the United States have perfect confidence in these representations, as well as in the strong friendship of the French Government, it can scarcely be denied that such a concession to foreign subjects would introduce new questions of relative rights and interests affecting both the sovereign and proprietary rights of the Government of Colombia and such as would seriously enlarge the responsibilities of our treaty guarantee; and this Government feels that it is not unreasonable in expecting that any concession involving such consequences should be a subject of joint consideration by, and that its details can scarcely be settled without a preliminary agreement between, the Governments of Colombia and the United States as to their effect upon existing treaty stipulations."
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, Apr. 19, 1880. MSS. Inst., Colombia.
"It is, however, deemed prudent to instruct you, with all needful reserve and discretion, to intimate to the Colombian Government that any concession to Great Britain or any other foreign power, looking to the surveillance and possible strategic control of a highway of whose neutrality we are the guarantors, would be looked upon by the Government of the United States as introducing interests not compatible with the treaty relations which we maintain with Colombia."
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, July 31, 1880. MSS. Inst., Colom
"The relations between this Government and that of the United States of Colombia have engaged public attention during the past year, mainly by reason of the project of an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus of Panama, to be built by private capital under a concession from the Colombian Government for that purpose. The treaty obligations subsisting between the United States and Colombia, by which we guarantee the neutrality of the transit and the sovereignty and property of Colombia in the Isthmus, make it necessary that the conditions under which so stupendous a change in the region embraced in this guarantee should be effected-transforming, as it would, this isthmus, from a barrier between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, into a gateway and thoroughfare between them for the navies and the merchant ships of the world-should receive the approval of this Government, as being compatible with the discharge of these obligations on our part, and consistent with our interests as the principal commercial power of the Western Hemisphere. The views which I expressed in a special message to Congress in March last, in relation to this project, I deem it my duty again to press upon your attention. Subsequent consideration has but confirmed the opinion that it is the right and duty of the United States
to assert and maintain such supervision and authority over any interoceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America as will protect our national interests."
President Hayes, Fourth Annual Message, 1880.
For projected treaty as to guarantee of Isthmus between the United States and
"You will receive herewith a copy of a memorandum indicating the subject and scope of a conference between the Colombian minister and myself in relation to certain projects of treaty which have been considered by us. You are already advised of the general situation of the subject as hitherto treated between this Government and that of Colombia.
"You will proceed to New York, and in an interview with the Colombian minister, who has been advised of your coming, you will, guided by this memorandum, submit to him the views of this Department.
"Should the result of your conference be an indication on his part of his authority and readiness to conclude a treaty upon the modifications suggested, you will inform him that I am prepared to renew our conferences upon that basis in the expectation of a conclusive arrangement. But if, as is more probable, you find that he considers himself only authorized to refer to his Government the views entertained between you, your object will be by free and frank consultation to ascertain how far his opinions and those expressed by me in the memorandum, promise the possibility of an accord upon the subjects embraced, which will justify positive instructions in that sense to the United States minister at Bogotá.
"You will bring or forward a report of your interview in the shape of a précis of the conversation between you.
"It is hoped that such a report can reach this Department in time for the next mail to Panama. But if you find this impossible, you will inclose a copy of such report in the letter addressed to Mr. Dichman, which is sent you with this, and mail the letter and inclosure so as to secure its transmission from New York by the mail which leaves immediately after your interview with the Colombian Minister."
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Trescot, Feb. 15, 1881. MSS. Inst., Colombia.
By the protocol of February 17, 1881, signed by General Domingo, representing the Colombian Government, and Mr. Trescot, representing Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, "the United States Government has not abandoned its right to insist that as guarantor of the neutrality of transit and sovereignty of Colombia over isthmian territory its consent was and will be necessary to the validity of any concession which might affect the conditions of the guarantee, but it has simply, presently ac
cepted such a practical recognition of its rights as guarantor as will enable the Government to maintain its rights under the treaty of 1846 whenever the necessity for such maintenance shall arise, and you will govern any representations you may make accordingly. This will leave for further consideration the value and importance of requiring a firm stipulation that no new concession or modification of concession can be made without the concurrent approval of its terms by the United States as not objectionable treatment of the subject of our treaty engagements with Colombia—that is to say the Isthmus of Panama and interoceanic
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, Feb. 18, 1881. MSS. Inst., Colombia.
"The United States recognizes a proper guarantee of neutrality as essential to the construction and successful operation of any highway across the Isthmus of Panama, and in the last generation every step was taken by this Government that is deemed requisite in the premises. The necessity was foreseen and abundantly provided for, long in advance of any possible call for the actual exercise of power.
"In 1846 a memorable and important treaty was negotiated and signed between the United States of America and the Republic of New Granada, now the United States of Colombia. By the 35th article of that treaty in exchange for certain concessions made to the United States we guaranteed 'positively and efficaciously' the perfect neutrality of the Isthmus and of any interoceanic communications that might be constructed upon or over it for the maintenance of free transit from sea to sea; and we also guaranteed the rights of sovereignty and property of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the Isthmus as included within the borders of the State of Panama.
"In the judgment of the President this guarantee, given by the United States of America, does not require reinforcement, or accession, or assent, from any other power. In more than one instance this Government has been called upon to vindicate the neutrality thus guaranteed, and there is no contingency now foreseen or apprehended in which such vindication would not be within the power of this nation.
"The great European powers have repeatedly united in agreements, such as guarantees of neutrality touching the political condition of states like Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, and parts of the Orient, where the localities were adjacent, or where the interests involved concerned them nearly and deeply. Recognizing these facts the United States has never offered to take part in such agreements, or to make any agreements supplementary to them. While thus observing the strictest neutrality with respect to complications abroad, it is the long settled policy of this Government that any extension to our shores of the political system by which the great powers have controlled and de
termined events in Europe would be attended with danger to the peace and welfare of this nation."
Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, June 24, 1881. MSS. Inst., Gr. Brit.;
"The questions growing out of the proposed interoceanic waterway 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 prede. cessor 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 guarantees which the United States covenanted with Colombia four years before, 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, First Annual Message, 1881.
As to continuance of imposition of Colombian law, requiring the deposit of foreign ships' papers at the isthmus ports, see instructions of Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Scruggs, March 6, 1883, Inst., Colombia.
"Early in March last war broke out in Central America, caused by the attempt of Guatemala to consolidate the several States into a single Government. In these contests between our neighboring states the United States forbore to interfere actively, but lent the aid of their friendly offices in deprecation of war, and to promote peace and concord among the belligerents, and by such counsel contributed importantly to the restoration of tranquillity in that locality.
"Emergencies growing out of civil war in the United States of Colombia demanded of the Government at the beginning of this Admin
istration the employment of armed force to fulfill its guarantees under the thirty-fifth article of the treaty of 1846, in order to keep the transit open across the Isthmus of Panama. Desirous of exercising only the powers expressly reserved to us by the treaty, and mindful of the rights of Colombia, the forces sent to the Isthmus were instructed to confine their action to 'positively and efficaciously' preventing the transit and its accessories from being 'interrupted or embarrassed.'
"The execution of this delicate and responsible task necessarily involved police control where the local authority was temporarily powerless, but always in aid of the sovereignty of Colombia. The prompt and successful fulfillment of its duty by this Government was highly appreciated by the Government of Colombia, and has been followed by expressions of its satisfaction. High praise is due to the officers and men engaged in this service. The restoration of peace on the Isthmus by the re-establishment of the constituted Government there being accomplished, the forces of the United States were withdrawn."
President Cleveland, First Annual Message, 1885.
Colombian vessels are entitled, under the treaty with the United States, to make repairs in our ports when forced into them by stress of weather, but they cannot enlist recruits there, either from among our citizens or foreigners, except such as may be transiently within the United States.
2 Op., 4, Wirt, 1825.
The words of the treaty of 1846 with New Granada are not the test by which to determine what is or what is not within the true limits of the Isthmus of Panama, with reference to the exclusive right of a company to make a railroad across that isthmus. The act of the New Granadian Government conceding such exclusive right must be construed so as to give such company that right within the true geograph ical boundaries of the isthmus named.
9 Op., 391, Black, 1859.
The 35th article of the treaty of 1846 with New Granada binds the United States absolutely to guarantee the perfect neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama, on the demand of the proper party; and this obligation must be performed by any and all means which may be found lawful and expedient.
11 Op., 67, Bates, 1864.
But this article does not oblige this Government to protect the Isthmus of Panama from invasion by a body of insurgents from the United States of Colombia.
11 Op., 391, Speed, 1865.
The convention of 1864 with the United States of Colombia confers on the commission thereby created authority to decide the cases which