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“ I have received instructions from my Government by cable in the sense that the Government of Colombia to all appearances does not appreciate the gravity of the situation. The Panama Canal negotiations were initiated by Colombia and were earnestly solicited of my Government for several years. The propositions presented by Colombia with slight alterations were finally accepted by us. By virtue of this agreement our Congress reconsidered its previous decision and decided in favor of the Panama route. If Colombia now rejects the treaty or unduly delays its ratification the friendly relations between the two countries would be so seriously compromised that our Congress might next winter take steps that every friend of Colombia would regret with sorrow.
"In his note of the 5th of August of this year he says this, among other things:
" It seems to me that the commission (referring to the Senate commission) has not been sufficiently informed of the contents of my notes of April 24 and June 10, [sic] 1903, or that it has not given them the importance they merit, as being the final expression of the opinion or intentions of my Government. They clearly show that the amendment the commission proposes to introduce in article 1 is, by itself, equivalent to an absolute rejection of the treaty. I deem it my duty to repeat the opinion I already expressed to your excellency that my Government will not consider or discuss such an amendment in any way. There is another important amendment that the commission believes should be introduced in article 3, consisting in the suppression of the tribunals therein dealt with. I consider it my duty again to state my opinion that this will also in no wise be accepted by my Government.
“And further, in the same note, he adds:
I avail myself of this opportunity respectfully to repeat that which I already stated to your excellency, that if Colombia truly desires to maintain the friendly relations that at present exist between two countries, and at the same time secure for herself the extraordinary advantages that are to be produced for her by the construction of the canal in her territory, in case of its being backed by so intimate an alliance of national interests as that which would supervene with the United States, the present treaty will have to be ratified exactly in its present form without amendment whatsoever. I say this because I am profoundly convinced that my Government will not in any case accept amendments.
“The Congress being unable to accept in its actual wording at least one of the stipulations contained in the treaty, because inhibited from doing so by the constitution, no one will wonder that under the pressure of threats so serious and irritating and in presence of a formal notification from the party which had authority to serve it that no amendment would be accepted, preference was given to disapproval.
“ The integrity of any nation (said Mr. William II. Seward] is lost, and its fate becomes doubtful, whenever strange hands, and instruments unknown to the constitution, are employed to perform the proper functions of the people, established by the organic law of the state.
“Before dismissing this point, it is proper to observe, in accordance with article 4 of the Spooner Act:
SEC. 4. That should the President be unable to obtain for the United States a satisfactory title to the property of the New Panama Canal Company and the control of the neces
a See p. 109, F. R., 1861, Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, - Translator, H. Doc. 551- vol 3 -6
sary territory of the Republic of Colombia and the rights mentioned in sections 1 and 2 of this act, within a reasonable time and upon reasonable terms, then the President, having first obtained for the United States perpetual control by treaty of the necessary territory from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, upon terms which he may consider reasonable, for the construction, perpetual maintenance, operation, and protection of a canal connecting the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean by what is commonly known as the Nicaragua route, shall, through the said Isthmian Canal Commission, cause to be excavated and constructed a ship canal and waterway from a point on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, near Greytown, by way of Lake Nicaragua, to a point near Brito, on the Pacific Ocean.
“This act, on account of its having served as the basis of the treaty draft on the part of the United States, as stated in the preamble, which adds that it is accompanied by a copy of the act, had for Colombia exceptional importance. For it is so imperative that it seems to leave no faculty other than that of selecting one of the two routes, Panama or Nicaragua, and therefore it was to be presumed that the action of the American Government could not overstep the limits therein fixed. Whence it follows that the sole evil that could befall Colombia if her Congress should disapprove the treaty was that the route eventually selected would be that of Nicaragua. It may be that we fell into error when we entertained that belief, but it was sincere, and we were led into it by the profound respect with which the American laws inspire us.
"All governments being, as is well known, bound to respect the rights born of the independence and sovereignty of nations, the premature recognition by the United States of the province of Panama, rising in arms to detach itself from the country of which it is a part, while it is a matter of public knowledge that the mother country commands sufficient forces to subdue it, constitutes, according to the most ancient and modern authorities on international law, not only a grave offense to Colombia, but also a formal attack upon her wealth.
“For, as the territory forms the most important part of the national wealth, its dismemberment impairs the revenues applied to the discharge of corporate obligations, among which are foreign debts and those enterprises entailed on the insurgent province, from which ('olombia derives a considerable income.
“If there be an end and eternal and immutable principles in right, that right of Colombia has been injured by the United States by an incredible transgression of the limits set by equity and justice.
“ Before the coup de main which proclaimed the independence of the Isthmus took place at Panama, there were in this very city agents of the authors of that coup in conference with high personages clothed with oflicial character, as is asserted by reputable American newspapers. I have received information to the effect that a bank in New York opened a considerable credit in their favor, with a knowledge of the general use for which it was intended, even though unaware that it was to be applied in part to the bribery of a large part of the garrison at Panama.
“ Intercourse of any kind [said Mr. Seward) with the so-called 'commissioners' is liable to be construed as a recognition of the authority which appointed them. Such intercourse would be none the less hurtful to us for being called unofficial, and it might be even more injurious, because we should have no means of knowing what points might be resolved by it. Moreover, unofficial intercourse is useless and meaningless if it is not expected to ripen into official intercourse and direct recognition.a
“It will be well to say that before the news was divulged that a revolution was about to break out on the Isthmus, American cruisers which reached their destination precisely on the eve of the movement were plowing the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Cablegrams that are given public circulation in an official document show that two days before the movement the Secretary of the Navy issued orders to those cruisers not to permit the landing of troops of the Government of Colombia on Panama's territory.
“A military officer of the Government of the United States stopped the railway from carrying to Panama, as it was under obligations to do, a battalion that had just arrived at Colon from Bogotá at the very time when its arrival in that city would have impeded or suppressed any revolutionary attempt. A few days thereafter, when my Government intrusted me with the duty of leading the army that was to embark at Puerto Colombia to go and restore order on the Isthmus, being unacquainted except in an imperfect manner with the attitude assumed by the American war ships, I had the honor to address a note on the subject to Vice-Admiral Coghlan, and in his reply, which was not delayed, he tells me that, “his present orders are to prevent the landing of soldiers with hostile intent within the boundary of the State of Panama.
“ The Republic of Colombia, with a population of 5,000,000 souls, is divided into nine departments, of which Panama is one of the least populous, as the number of its inhabitants does not exceed 250,000, while there are others in each of which they number over 900,000. The Colombian army at the time consisted of 10,000 men, a force more than sufficient to suppress the Panaman revolution if Your Excellency's Government had not prevented the landing of the troops under my command that were to embark at Puerto Colombia under Generals Ospina, Holguín, and Calballero, who soon thereafter accompanied me to that city, and at Buenaventura, on the Pacific, under Generals Velazco, Dominguez, and others. It is known that there is no overland way to reach Panama with troops from the interior of Colombia.
“ The gravity of the facts contained in this recital increases as they draw closer to the end.
a Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, No. 10, May 21, 1861.—Translator.
“In the midst of profound peace between the two countries, the United States prevented by force the landing of troops where they were necessary to reestablish order, in a few hours, in the insurgent province. Because of this circumstance, and as a coup de main, certain citizens of Panama, without taking into account the consent of the other towns of the department, proclaimed the independence of the Isthmus and organized à government. Two days after effecting that movement they were recognized by the American Government as a sovereign and independent republic, and fourteen days later the American Government signed a treaty with the Republic of Panama which not only recognized and guaranteed its independence, but agreed to open a canal for the purpose of uniting the waters of the Atlantic with those of the Pacific.
“It is well known that the contract which Colombia made with the French company, in the exercise of its perfect right, for the construction of this canal, is in force and will remain in full force and vigor, legally at least, so long as Colombia does not give her consent for its transfer to a foreign government; since in the aforesaid contract it is expressly stipulated that a transfer to any foreign government, or any attempt whatever to make a transfer, would be cause for absolute nullification.
"The same is true with regard to the Panama Railroad Company; so that, without the express consent of Colombia, no transfer can have legal effect, because it can not cancel the legal bonds which exist between the Republic of Colombia and those companies-bonds growing out of perfect contracts, which, according to the precepts of universal jurisprudence, can not be disregarded because one of the parties may consider that the strip of land in which the enterprise radicated has been conquered by a foreign country. The lapse of many years is necessary in order that the facts may establish the right, and even without the need of such time elapsing the Colombians feel sure that the justice and equity which control the acts of Your Excellency's Government in its relations with all nations are a sure pledge that our complaints and claims will be heeded.
“Nor is it just to expect anything else in view of the constant practice which the United States has established in similar cases. Among many others, are set forth in its diplomatic annals the antecedent history relative to the independence of South American States, proclaimed in 1810; that of the new state of Ilungary, in the middle of the last century; and that of Ireland, later, in 1866; not to make mention of the practice systematically observed by the powers, of which their procedure when the Netherlands proclaimed independence in the time of the Philips of Spain is an example. In this relation the precedent of Texas, when the United States Senate disap
proved the treaty signed by the Washington Cabinet with the secessionists of that Mexican province, has an especial significance.
“In the note of Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, to Mr. Adams, United States minister, in 1861, this doctrine is found:
* We freely admit that a nation may, and even ought, to recognize a new state which has absolutely and beyond question effected its independence, and permanently established its sovereignity; and that a recognition in such a case affords no just cause of offense to the government of the country from which the new state has so detached itself. On the other hand, we insist that a nation that recognizes a revolutionary state, with a view to aid its offecting its sovereignity and independence, commits a great wrong against the nation whose integrity is thus invaded, and makes itself responsible for a just and ample redress. (Foreign Relations, 1861, pp. 76-77.)
“At another point, in the same note, the Secretary says to the minister:
“ To recognize the independence of a new state, and so favor, possibly determine, its admission into the family of nations, is the highest possible exercise of sovereign power, because it affects in any case the welfare of two nations, and often the peace of the world. In the European system this power is now seldom attempted to be exercised without invoking a consultation or congress of nations. That system has not been extended to this continent. But there is even a greater necessity for prudence in such cases in regard to American states than in regard to the nations of Europe. (Foreign Relations, 1861, p. 79, Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, No. 2, April 10), 1861.)
“Referring to the consideration which nations should mutually observe, he adds:
"Seen in the light of this principle, the several nations of the earth constitute one great federal republic. When one of them casts its suffrages for the admission of a new member into that republic, it ought to act under a profound sense of moral obligation, and be governed by considerations as pure, disinterested, and elevated as the general interest of society and the advancement of human nature. (Foreign Relations, 1861, p. 79, Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, No. 2, April 10, 1861.)
“It would seem that nothing could be added to the benevolence of these noble and humanitarian doctrines, written by the great man, who, unhappily for his country and for Colombia, is not living to-day.
“If the sovereignty of a nation gives to it especially the power to govern itself; if the right to look after its own interests is an attribute of sovereignty; if, upon such right, rests the stability and security of international relations, respect for such sovereignty should be the more heeded by one who is obligated, as is the United States, not only by international precepts, but also by an existing public treaty from which it has derived indisputable advantages. The pertinent part of the thirty-fifth article of the treaty in force between the United States and Colombia reads as follows:
And, in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant enjoyment of these advantages, and as an especial compensation for the said advantages and for the favors they have acquired by the fourth, fifth, and sixth articles of this treaty, the United States guarantees, positively and efficaciously, to New Granada, by the present stipulation, the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned Isthmus, with the view that the free transit