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November 25, 1868, Mr. Caleb Cushing was sent to Bogota to aid Mr. Sullivan in his negotiations. On January 14, 1869, however, Mr. Sullivan succeeded in concluding a convention with the plenipotentiaries of Colombia. The question of the neutralization of the canalin time of war had formed an obstacle to the progress of the negotiations. As signed, Article IX. of the convention provided: “The United States of America shall have the right to use the canal for the passage of troops, munitions and vessels of war, in time of peace. The entrance to the canal shall be rigorously closed to the troops of nations which are at war with another or others, including their vessels and munitions of war.”

In a note to the Colombian minister at Washington, January 18,
1869, written without knowledge that a convention had been signed,
Mr. Seward expressed the “very deliberate conviction” (1) that
“henceforth neither any foreign government nor the capitalists of any
foreign nation, except the Government and capitalists of the United
States, will ever undertake in good faith to build a canal across the
Isthmus of Darien;"(2) that “the neutrality most desirable for Colom-
bia is to be found in a combination of the power, authority and influ-
ence of the United States of America and the power, authority and
influence of the United States of Colombia to protect the canal and
make it productive of the largest commercial benefit to all nations;”
and (3) that “not only would the United States be unwilling to enter
into an entangling alliance with other foreign nations for the con-
struction and maintenance of a passage through the Isthmus, but also
that the idea that other commercial powers could and would consent
to enter into a combination with the United States of America for
that purpose is impracticable and visionary.
Under the convention, the United States was to construct the canal.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Sullivan, min. to Colombia, March 2, 1868,

MS. Inst. Colombia, XVI. 263; Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Peter
Cooper, Esq., Sept. 28, Oct. 17 and 19, 1868, and Feb. 13,1869, 79 MS. Dom.
Let. 361, 550; Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Sullivan, min. to Colom-
bia, Oct. 24, 1868, MS. Inst. Colombia, XVI. 327; Mr. Seward, Sec. of
State, to Mr. Cushing, Nov. 25, 1868, MS. Inst. Colombia, XVI. 332;
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Gen. Acosta, Colombian min., Jan. 18,

1869, MS. Notes to Colombia, VI. 240.
For the message of President Johnson, Feb. 15, 1869, transmitting to the

Senate the convention signed Jan. 14, 1869, see Correspondence in rela

tion to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 36.
With reference to various canal routes, see the “ Problem of Interoceanic

Communication by Way of the American Isthmus," by Lieut. John T.
Sullivan, U. S. N.: Washington, 1883.

January 26, 1870, another convention between the United States

and Colombia was signed at Bogotá, looking to the Convention of 1870.

construction of the canal by the former Government. By Art. XI. of this treaty the United States was to guarantee that “the canal, its dependencies .ppurtenances, shall be free and

exempt from all hostile acts on the part of any other nation or foreign power.” The article further provided: “Both of the parties contracting in this treaty reserve to themselves the right of passing their ships of war, troops, and munitions of war through the canal at all times, free of all charge, impost, or duty; but the said canal shall be closed against the flag of all nations which may be at war with either of the contracting parties. No troops shall be allowed to pass through the canal with arms in their hands, except those of the United States of Colombia moving under constitutional authority, and those vessels of war of nations at peace with both contracting parties. With the exceptions herein named, the canal shall be open for the use of all nations and every kind of lawful business without distinction.”

By Article XXV., however, the contracting parties mutually agreed “to use all possible efforts to obtain from other nations a guarantee in favor of the stipulations of immunity and neutrality mentioned in Article XI., and also in favor of the sovereignty of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the Isthmus of Panama and that of Darien.” The United States also recognized and renewed the stipulations of Art. XXXV. of the treaty of 1846; and the article (XXV.) concludes: “Those nations which, by treaties entered into with the present contracting parties, shall unite in the guarantee of the neutrality of the canal and of sovereignty over the territory, as hereinbefore expressed and given by the United States of America, shall be relieved from tonnage and other imposts upon their ships of war either in full or to such extent as may be stipulated in such treaties.”

The Colombian government opposed Art. XI. on the ground that it would practically make Colombia a party to any war in which the United States should become involved. The Colombian Senate modified the treaty so that the canal should remain free during the continuance of hostilities to the vessels of war, troops, and munitions of war of the belligerents; but no act of hostility was to be committed within the canal or its dependencies or within a certain distance of it, though it was to remain closed to the vessels of war which should not have joined in the guarantee.

For the full text of the convention, see the message of President Grant,

transmitting it to the Senate, March 31, 1870, Conf. Exec. Q. 41 Cong. 2 sess.; reprinted in Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Inter

oceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 40. Certain correspondence, preceding and following the signature of the con

vention, was communicated by President Grant to the Senate, Decem-
ber 6, 1870, and was printed in Conf. Doc., Exec. E, 41 Cong. 3 sess.;
reprinted in Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic

Canal (Washington, 1885), 48–86.
The Department of State, replying to a request of the Colombian minister

for a statement of the objections entertained by the Senate of the United States to the convention, expressed its regret that it was not in its power to comply with the request. (Mr. J. C. B. Davis, Act. Sec. of State, to Mr. Perez, June 9, 1871, MS. Notes to Colombia, VI. 277.)

A new treaty was proposed by the Colombian legation at Washington, but

the negotiations did not result in an agreement. (Mr. Fish, Sec. of
State, to Señor Martin, Colombian min., Dec. 6, 1872, and June 7 and

Aug. 8, 1873, MS. Notes to Colombia, VI. 303, 311, 314.)
In answer to the statement that Colombia would expect a positive obliga-

tion to construct the canal, Mr. Fish replied that it was not likely that
the United States would under any circumstances assume such an obli-
gation, and that the question how far the United States might, pursuant
to a convention with Colombia, extend its protection to a private enter-
prise of citizens of the United States for that purpose, must depend on
the conclusion, which had not yet been reached, as to the practicability
of the canal and the most eligible route for the work. (Mr. Fish, Sec.
of State, to Señor Martin, Colombian min., Aug. 8, 1873, MS. Notes

to Colombia, VI. 314.) The Government of the United States subsequently reserved its decision as

to whether it would send an engineer or any other on to join in a
proposed survey of a part of the territory of Colombia by a “committee"
of an international association in Europe,” till information should be
received of the character of the proposed expedition, and whether any
European government had appointed a member of the committee or had
designated an engineer or other representative to make or unite in the
survey. (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Perez, Dec. 20, 1876, MS.

Notes to Colombia, VI. 327.)
Mr. Fish had previously stated that the United States did not object to

taking part in a conference of maritime powers at Constantinople for
the purpose of dealing with questions “connected with the Suez Canal
dues.” It was stated that the minister of the United States at Constan-
tinople had been instructed accordingly, but had not been authorized
to commit his Government to any conclusion which might be reached,
till there should have been an opportunity to examine the results of the
conference. (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Sir Edward Thornton, British
min., Jan 14, 1873, MS. Notes to Great Britain, XVI. 15.)


§ 342.

Feb. 17, 1881, Mr. W. H. Trescot, representing the United States, and Gen. Santo Domingo Vila, representing Colombia, signed at New York a protocol which purported to set forth the views of the two Governments with reference to the execution of Art. XXXV. of the treaty of 1846. It declared that any interoceanic communication through the Isthmus of Panama, by canal or otherwise, should be as free and open to the Government and citizens of the United States as to the Government and citizens of Colombia, "except in case, which God forbid, of war between the two nations.” The two Governments were by common accord to select such points on the isthmus as they might deem proper for military and naval purposes and to provide by convention for the occupation and establishment of such places; and the United States, if occasion should arise for the performance of the guarantee of 1846, was authorized to occupy and hold the threatened territory during the exigency, in cooperation with the Colombian forces. But, in time of peace, and when no exigency existed, only Colombian military forces were to be stationed in the Colombian territory. It was further agreed that, while the use of the canal in time of peace by the war vessels of other powers was not to be considered as a right, the two Governments would declare it open to the innocent use of such vessels, subject to such regulations and restrictions as they might jointly adopt.

Mr. Evarts declared, as Secretary of State, that the agreement on the points embraced in the protocol met his views and had received the approval of the President.

The Colombian Government, however, declined to approve the protocol, on the ground that it was at variance with the instructions of the Colombian negotiator, and with the means which Colombia deemed "best adapted to prevent any extension of the obligations contracted by both nations by the treaty of 1846” and to avoid the dangers which might arise from the construction of the canal.

For. Rel. 1881, 361-388, where correspondence and documents are given.
* 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 accepted such a practical recognition of its rights
as guarantor as will enable the Govornment 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 treat-
ment of the subject of our treaty engagements with Colombia—that is
to say the Isthmus of Panama and interoceanic communication.” (Mr.
Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dichman, min. to Colombia, Feb. 18, 1881,

MS. Inst. Colombia, XVII. 229.)
See, also, Mr. Evarts to Mr. Dichman, Feb. 5, 1881, MS. Inst. Colombia,

XVII. 208.


$ 313.

“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 State, to Mr. Foote, min. to New Granada, July 19,

1849, MS. Inst. Colombia, XV. 124.

“Your letter of the 8th instant has been duly received and submitted

to the President, in which you inquire what interpretaAnswer to Peru

tion is placed by the Government of the United States vian inquiry.

upon the thirty-fifth article of the treaty of the 12th of December, 1846, hy which they guarantee positively and efficaciously to New Granada the perfect neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama.

"The general scope and design of this stipulation are of course entirely apparent, and are set forth very distinctly in the article referred to; and your enquiry must therefore be understood to apply to the particular measures proposed to be adopted, on the occurrence of events menacing the neutrality of the Isthmus.

* The treaty being a compact between the United States and New Granada, to which no other government is a party, it might not be strictly proper nor in all respects convenient to enter into explanations with a third power, as to any measures which the United States might think it proper to adopt, if the neutrality of the Isthmus should be menaced. It may, however, be safely presumed that the magnitude of our interests in that quarter would dictate the pursuit of the policy best calculated to promote the desired end.

“But the latter portion of your note appears to contemplate the possibility that New Granada might avail herself of this guaranty of the neutrality of the Isthmus, to make it the seat of hostile preparations against Peru, and in that case the guaranty of neutrality would in effect become a defensive alliance between New Granada and the United States, by which Peru would suffer.

“Sincerely interested in the welfare of each of these powers, and sensible of the evils which would result to them and the inconvenience which would be occasioned to the commerce of the United States by a rupture between them, this government would view such an event with extreme regret, and would be prepared at any moment, and at the request of either party, to interpose their good offices to prevent it.

“I gather from your note of the 8th that the Peruvian government would deem it for their interest that the neutrality of the Isthmus should be respected by all other powers, as well as the United States. If the Peruvian Government thought proper to make a formal suggestion of this kind and a wish to become a party to the agreement, the government of the l'nited States would receive such a suggestion with pleasure, and would communicate it to that of New Granada, with an intimation on our part that it would be agreeable to the United States that Peru should be associated by a proper priblic act, in the guaranty of the neutrality of the Isthmus." Mr. Everett, Sec. of State, to Mr. Osma, Peruvian min., Feb. ??, 1853, MS.

Notes to Peruvian Leg. I. 79.

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