Page images

§ 145.

President Monroe's message of Feb. 22, 1825, giving convention with Colombia concluded Oct. 3, 1824, with the documents appertaining thereto, is given in House Doc. 406, 18th Cong., 2d sess. 5 Am. St. Pap. (For. Rel.), 696.

The convention of Oct. 28, 1826, between the United States and the Federation of the Center of America, is given in 6 Am. St. Pap. (For Rel.), 269.

For a history of the diplomatic relations of the United States with the Government of Colombia, see report of Mr. Livingston, Sec. of State, to President Jackson, March 15, 1832. MSS. Report Book.

Distinctive questions as to the isthmus are hereafter discussed, infra, §§ 287 ff.

"Although this Government has always maintained that the three States of which the Republic of Colombia was composed are jointly and severally liable for the claims of our citizens against that Republic, yet from consideration for the condition of those States it was deemed advisable to reserve the application of this principle and to await the result of such arrangements as they might make among themselves for the adjustment of these claims. This was effected by the treaty between New Granada and Venezuela of the 23d of December, 1834, which was subsequently acceded to by Ecuador. Pursuant to that treaty New Granada became responsible for fifty, Venezuela for twenty-eight and a half, and Ecuador for twenty-one and a half per cent. of the debts of the Republic of Colombia. Upon this basis New Granada and Venezuela have both paid their proportion of the claims in the cases of the Josephine and Ranger."

Mr. Buchanan, Sec. of State, to Mr. Livingston, May 13, 1848. MSS. Inst.,

An historical sketch of the rélations of the United States with the federation of Central America is given in instructions of Mr. Buchanan, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hise, June 3, 1848; Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Squier, May 1, 1849. MSS. Inst., Am. St.

"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 Siate, to Mr. Foote, July 19, 1849. MSS. Inst., Colombia.

The United States will not assent to a capitation tax by the New Granada Government on citizens of the United States crossing the Isthmus.

Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Foote, Jan. 9, 1850. MSS. Inst., Colombia.
Mr. Marey, Sec. of State, to Mr. Green, Feb. 16, 1854; ibid.
S. Mis. 162—VOL. II- -7


Nor will assent be given to the requirement by New Granada of transit passports from such citizens.

Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Foote, April 13, 1850. MSS. Inst., Colombia.
See also Mr. Marcy to Mr. Green, Feb. 16, 1854; Mr. Marcy to Mr. Bowlin,
Aug. 31, 1855; ibid.

Under the treaty of 1846 with New Granada the United States has the right to send over the Isthmus of Panama persons in its employment in both the civil and the military service.

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Paredes, June 20, 1853. MSS. Notes, Colombia.
Same to same Oct. 12, 1853; ibid.

In 1829 the former Republic of Colombia was dismembered, and from that state arose the three Republics of New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador. By a treaty between the first two of these states, of the 23d December, 1834, New Granada was made responsible for 50, Venezuela for 281, and Ecuador for 21 per cent. of the debts of the Republic of Colombia.

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Green, Feb. 3, 1854. MSS. Inst., Colombia.

"This state of insecurity is very prejudicial to both countries, and it is not doubted that when properly urged upon the consideration of New Granada that Government will take prompt and effectual measures to insure to the citizens of the United States the most ample protection for their persons and property on the isthmus within its territory. This is not only a duty of national obligation, but is expressly provided for in the treaty of 12th of December, 1846, between the United States and New Granada. The United States must have the free, safe, and uninterrupted transit for those citizens and for public and private property across the Isthmus of Panama to the full extent contemplated by that treaty, and this Government looks with confidence for the security of this right, and does not expect that any necessity will arise for the use of any other means for the secure enjoyment of it but an appeal to the State of New Granada to fulfill its treaty stipulations upon that subject. The United States may reasonably expect, after what has happened, that New Granada will station such a force along the route of the railroad and at Aspinwall and Panama as will secure adequate protection to the persons and property of the citizens of the United States."

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, June 4, 1856. MSS. Inst., Colombia. The Government of the United States will not submit to an exorbitant local taxation of its mail matter passing over the isthmus railroad.

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, July 3, 1856; to Mr. Morse and Mr.
Bowlin, Dec. 3, 1856. MSS. Inst., Colombia. See also instructions of Mr.
Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Jones, April 30, 1859; ibid.

On December 3, 1856, Mr. Marcy, Secretary of State, transmitted to Messrs. Morse and Bowlin, commissioners, a draft of a convention with New Granada, giving the United States, on payment of a money equiva

lent, the protectorate of the Isthmus, so far as concerns transit, agreeing "to satisfy foreign powers that it would be kept open for their common use on fair terms," and that they should be asked to join in a guarantee for the neutrality of that part of the Isthmus. "The arrangement does not propose a full cession of the sovereign rights of New Granada over the territory included in the two municipalities, though it is, to a considerable extent, a restriction upon those rights. This arrangement is not, it is believed, of an unusual character. In organizing the General Government of the United States the several States reserved to themselves a large portion of their original sovereign rights." It was also proposed that the United States should acquire control of the island of Taboga, and some other small islands in the harbor of Panama. For these concessions $1,800,000 was the highest sum to be offered, from which were to be deducted $400,000, to be paid citizens of the United States in satisfaction of their claims on New Granada.

MSS. Inst., Colombia.

That the Government of New Granada declined "to negotiate upon the questions at issue," see Mr. Marcy to Mr. Bowlin, Apr. 17, 1857; ibid.

The United States Government will resist, by its naval forces at Aspinwall and Panama, any forcible attempt by New Granada to lay a tonnage tax on vessels of the United States at those ports, such tax being in violation of treaty obligations.

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, Dec. 31, 1856. MSS. Inst., Colombia. See instructions of Mr. Cass to Mr. Jones, April 30, 1859, ibid., where the history and conditions of the tax in question are elaborately given, and where the question is remitted anew to negotiation. This resumption of negotiation came from the agreement of New Granada to submit, by the treaty of September 10, 1857, all claims by citizens of the United States, to arbitration. As to tonnage duties on the isthmus, see further Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Herran, Dec. 12, 1856. MSS. Notes Colombia. Mr. Cass to Mr. Herran, Sept. 10, 1857; same to same, June 4, 1858; ibid.

A joint guarantee by the United States in common with other powers of the neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama is inconsistent with the policy of the United States.

Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Lord Napier, Sept. 10, 1857. MSS. Notes, Gr. Brit. And so with a joint arrangement for the enforcement of neutrality laws.

Same to same, Oct. 20, 1857; ibid.

"Under our treaty with New Granada of the 12th December, 1846, we are bound to guaranty the neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama, through which the Panama railroad passes, as well as the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over the said territory.' This obligation is founded upon equivalents granted by the treaty to the government, and people of the United States.

"Under these circumstances, 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 guarantee 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."

President Buchanan, First Annual Message, 1857.

"A guarantee for the general use and security of a transit route, and also for its neutrality, is a desirable measure, which would meet the hearty concurrence of the United States. These views have already been made known to the Governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and they have been informed that the President indulges the hope that these routes may be considered by general consent as neutral highways for the world, not to be disturbed by the operations of war.' These great avenues of intercommunication are vastly interesting to all the commercial powers, and all may well join in securing their freedom and use against those dangers to which they are exposed from aggression or outrages originating within or without the territories through which they pass.

"But the establishment of a political protectorate by any of the powers of Europe over any of the independent states of this continent, or, in other words, the introduction of a scheme of policy which would carry with it a right to interfere in their concerns, is a measure to which the United States have long since avowed their opposition, and which, should the attempt be made, they will resist by all the means in their power. The reasons for the attitude they have assumed have been fully promulgated, and are every where well known. There is no need upon this occasion to recapitulate them; they are founded on the political circumstances of the American continent, which has interests of its own, and ought to have a policy of its own, disconnected from many of the questions which are continually presenting themselves in Europe concerning the balance of power and other subjects of controversy arising out of the condition of its states, and which often find their solu tion or their postponement in war. It is of paramount importance to the states of this hemisphere that they should have no entangling union with the powers of the Old World, a connection which would almost necessarily make them parties to wars having no interest for them, and which would often involve them in hostilities with the other American states, contiguous or remote. The years which have passed by since this principle of separation was first announced by the United States have served still more to satisfy the people of this country of its wisdom, and to fortify their resolution to maintain it, happen what may.

"The progress of events has rendered the interoceanic routes across the narrow portions of Central America vastly important to the com

mercial world, and especially to the United States, whose possessions, extending along the Atlantic and Pacific coast demand the speediest and the easiest modes of communication. While the just rights of sovereignty of the States occupying this region should always be respected, we shall expect that these rights will be exercised in a spirit befitting the occasion and the wants and circumstances that have arisen. Sovereignty has its duty as well as its rights, and none of these local Governments, even if administered with more regard to the just demands of other nations than they have been, would be permitted in a spirit of Eastern isolation to close these gates of intercourse on the great highways of the world, and justify the act by the pretension that these avenues of trade and travel belong to them, and that they choose to shut them, or, what is almost equivalent, to encumber them with such unjust regulations as would prevent their general use."

Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lamar, July 25, 1858. MSS. Inst., Am. St.

"This Government feels a deep interest in all the ways of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific, and if a railroad can be authorized and made across the Isthmus of Chiriqui, without any interference with existing rights or any violation of the good faith of New Granada, the President is of opinion that it would be of great value to commerce, and of especial value to the United States. He would, therefore, be glad to render it any proper assistance within his reach. Yet he desires, also, that the Panama road should continue its career of usefulness and prosperity, and should obtain all suitable facilities from New Granada for the prosecution and extension of its great and increasing traffic. In any conflict of interest between the two companies it is not our duty to interfere. We wish them both success, and, in the opinion of the Attorney-General, there is good reason to believe that this success may be accomplished without any material conflict between them."

Mr. Cass. Sec. of State, to Mr. Jones, May 4, 1860. MSS. Inst., Colombia. In the instructions of Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, to Mr. Burton, February 27, 1862, he says: "I have examined the instructions of my predecessors, Secretaries Cass and Marcy, and I find no reason for reversing the policy so distinctly assumed and so forcibly maintained by them, in reference to the tonnage and other taxes imposed upon American commerce at the Isthmus of Panama."

MSS. Inst. Colombia.

As to guarantee of Panama neutrality see Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr.
Adams, July 11, 1862. MSS. Inst., Gr. Brit.

"In 1856 the naval officer in command of our Pacific squadron received orders to resist by force, if necessary, the collection of the tonnage taxes which this Government declared to be illegal. I refer you to Mr. Marcy's No. 29 of 31st December, 1856, to Mr. Bowlin, upon this point. I will send your No. 13 with its accompaniments and with a copy

« PreviousContinue »