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canal can not be built by private enterprise, or by any other nation than our own; therefore it must be built by the United States.
“Every effort has been made by the Government of the United States to persuade Colombia to follow a course which was essentially not only to our interests and to the interests of the world, but to the interests of Colombia itself. These efforts have failed; and Colombia, by her persistence in repulsing the advances that have been made, has forced us, for the sake of our own honor, and of the interest and well-being, not merely of our own people, but of the people of the Isthmus of Panama and the people of the civilized countries of the world, to take decisive steps to bring to an end a condition of affairs which had become intolerable. The new Republic of Panama immediately offered to negotiate a treaty with us. This treaty I herewith submit. By it our interests are better safeguarded than in the treaty with Colombia which was ratified by the Senate at its last session. It is better in its terms than the treaties offered to us by the Republics of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. At last the right to begin this great undertaking is made available. Panama has done her part. All that remains is for the American Congress to do its part and forthwith this Republic will enter upon the execution of a project colossal in its size and of well-nigh incalculable possibilities for the good of this country and the nations of mankind.
“By the provisions of the treaty the United States guarantees and will maintain the independence of the Republic of Panama. There is granted to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation, and control of a strip ten miles wide and extending three nautical miles into the sea at either terminal, with all lands lying outside of the zone necessary for the construction of the canal or for its auxiliary works, and with the islands in the Bay of Panama. The cities of Panama and Colon are not embraced in the canal zone, but the United States assumes their sanitation and, in case of need, the maintenance of order therein. The United States enjoys within the granted limits all the rights, power, and authority which it would possess were it the sovereign of the territory to the exclusion of the exercise of sovereign rights by the Republic. All railway and canal property rights belonging to Panama and needed for the canal pass to the United States, including any property of the respective companies in the cities of Panama and Colon; the works, property, and personnel of the canal and railways are exempted from taxation as well in the cities of Panama and Colon as in the canal zone and its dependencies. Free immigration of the personnel and importation of supplies for the construction and operation of the canal are granted. Provision is made for the use of military force and the building of fortifications by the United States for the pro
tection of the transit. In other details, particularly as to the acquisition of the interests of the New Panama Canal Company and the Panama Railway by the United States and the condemnation of private property for the uses of the canal, the stipulations of the HayHerran treaty are closely followed, while the compensation to be given for these enlarged grants remains the same, being ten millions of dollars payable on exchange of ratifications; and, beginning nine years from that date, an annual payment of $250,000 during the life of the convention."
President Roosevelt, annual message, Dec. 7, 1903.
(For. Rel. 1903,
“The President yesterday fully recognized the Republic of Panama and formally received its minister plenipotentiary. You will promptly communicate this to the Government to which you are accredited.'
Mr. Hay, Sec. of State, to all U. S. dip. representatives, circular telegram, Nov.
14, 1903. (MS. Inst. Argentine Republic, XVII. 638.) For the reception by the President of M. Bunau-Varilla, as envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary from the Republic of Panama, see For. Rel.
1903, 245. In presenting his letters of credence, M. Bunau-Varilla said: “Mr. PRESIDENT: In according to the minister plenipotentiary of the Republic of
Panama the honor of presenting to you his letters of credence you admit into the family of nations the weakest and the last born of the republies of
the New World. "It owes its existence to the outburst of the indignant grief which stirred the hearts
of the citizens of the Isthmus on beholding the despotic action which sought to forbid their country from fulfilling the destinies vouchsafed to it by
Providence. “In consecrating its right to exist, Mr. President, you put an end to what appeared
to be the interminable controversy as to the rival waterways, and you defi
nitely inaugurate the era of the achievement of the Panama Canal. “From this time forth the determination of the fate of the canal depends upon two
elements alone, now brought face to face, singularly unlike as regards their authority and power, but wholly equal in their common and ardent desire to see at last the accomplishment of the heroic enterprise for piercing the moun
tain barrier of the Andes. “The highway from Europe to Asia, following the pathway of the sun, is now to
be realized. "The early attempts to find such a way unexpectedly resulted in the greatest of
all historic achievements, the discovery of America. ('enturies have since rolled by, but the pathway sought has hitherto remained in the realm of dreams. To-day, Mr. President, in response to your summons, it becomes a
reality.” The President, in reply, said: "Mr. MINISTER: I am much gratified to receive the letters whereby you are accred
ited to the Government of the United States in the capacity of envoy extraor
dinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama. “In accordance with its long-established rule, this Government has taken cogni
zance of the act of the ancient territory of Panama in reasserting the right of self-control and, seeing in the recent events on the Isthmus an uopposed expression of the will of the people of Panama and the confirmation of
their declared independence by the institution of a de facto government, republican in form and spirit, and alike able and resolved to discharge the obligations pertaining to sovereignty, we have entered into relations with the new Republic. It is fitting that we should do so now, as we did nearly a century ago when the Latin peoples of America proclaimed the right of popular government, and it is equally fitting that the United States should, now as then, be the first to stretch out the hand of fellowship and to observe toward the new-born state the rules of equal intercourse that regulate the
relations of sovereignties toward one another. “I feel that I express the wish of my countrymen in assuring you, and through
you the people of the Republic of Panama, of our earnest hope and desire that stability and prosperity shall attend the new state, and that, in harmony with the United States, it may be the providential instrument of untold benefit to the civilized world through the opening of a highway of universal com
merce across its exceptionally favored territory. “For yourself, Mr. Minister, I wish success in the discharge of the important mission
to which you have been called." “I lay before the Congress for its information a statement of my
action up to this time in executing the act entitled Special message of 'An act to provide for the construction of a canal Jan. 4, 1904.
connecting the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans,' approved June 28, 1902.
“By the said act the President was authorized to secure for the United States the property of the Panama Canal Company and the perpetual control of a strip 6 miles wide across the Isthmus of Panama. It was further provided 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 necessary territory of the Republic of Colombia . . . within a reasonble time and upon reasonable terms, then the President' should endeavor to provide for a canal by the Nicaragua route. The language quoted defines with exactness and precision what was to be done, and what as a matter of fact has been done. The President was authorized to go to the Nicaragua route only if within a reasonable time he could not obtain control of the necessary territory of the Republic of Colombia.' This control has now been obtained; the provision of the act has been complied with; it is no longer possible under existing legislation to go to the Nicaragua route as an alternative.
“This act marked the climax of the effort on the part of the United States to secure, so far as legislation was concerned, an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus. The effort to secure a treaty for this purpose with one of the Central American republics did not stand on the same footing with the effort to secure a treaty under any ordinary conditions. The proper position for the United States to assume in reference to this canal, and therefore to the governments of the Isthmus, had been clearly set forth by Secretary Cass in 1858.
Annual Message I have already quoted what Secretary Cass said; but I repeat the quotation here, because the principle it states is fundamental.
“ While the rights of sovereignty of the states occupying this region (Central America) should always be respected, we shall expect that these rights be exercised in a spirit befitting the occasion and the wants and circumstances that have arisen. Sovereignty has its duties 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 the 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.
"The principle thus enunciated by Secretary Cass was sound then and it is sound now. The United States has taken the position that no other government is to build the canal. In 1889, when France proposed to come to the aid of the French Panama Company by guaranteeing their bonds, the Senate of the United States in executive session, with only some three votes dissenting, passed a resolution as follows:
“That the Government of the United States will look with serious concern and disapproval upon any connection of any European government with the construction or control of any ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien or across Central America, and must regard any such connection or control as injurious to the just rights and interests of the United States and as a menace to their welfare.
“Under the Hay-Pauncefote treaty it was explicitly provided that the United States should control, police, and protect the canal which was to be built, keeping it open for the vessels of all nations on equal terms. The United States thus assumed the position of guarantor of the canal and of its peaceful use by all the world. The guarantee included as a matter of course the building of the canal. The enterprise was recognized as responding to an international need; and it would be the veriest travesty on right and justice to treat the governments in possession of the Isthmus as having the right, in the language of Mr. Cass, ‘to close the 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.'
“When this Government submitted to Colombia the Ilay-Herran treaty three things were, therefore, already settled.
“One was that the canal should be built. The time for delay, the time for permitting the attempt to be made by private enterprise, the time for permitting any government of antisocial spirit and of imperfect development to bar the work, was past. The United States had assumed in connection with the canal certain responsibilities not only to its own people, but to the civilized world, which
imperatively demanded that there should no longer be delay in beginning the work.
“Second. While it was settled that the canal should be built without unnecessary or improper delay, it was no less clearly shown to be our purpose to deal not merely in a spirit of justice but in a spirit of generosity with the people through whose land we might build it. The Hay-Herran treaty, if it erred at all, erred in the direction of an overgenerosity toward the Colombian Government. In our anxiety to be fair we had gone to the very verge in yielding to a weak nation's demands what that nation was helplessly unable to enforce from us against our will. The only criticisms made upon the Administration for the terms of the Hay-Herran treaty were for having granted too much to Colombia, not for failure to grant enough. Neither in the Congress nor in the public press, at the time that this treaty was formulated, was there complaint that it did not in the fullest and amplest manner guarantee to Colombia everything that she could by any color of title demand.
“Nor is the fact to be lost sight of that the rejected treaty, while generously responding to the pecuniary demands of Colombia, in other respects merely provided for the construction of the canal in conformity with the express requirements of the act of the Congress of June 28, 1902. By that act, as heretofore quoted, the President was authorized to acquire from Colombia, for the purposes of the canal, 'perpetual control of a certain strip of land; and it was expressly required that the 'control' thus to be obtained should include ‘jurisdiction' to make police and sanitary regulations and to establish such judicial tribunals as might be agreed on for their enforcement. These were conditions precedent prescribed by the Congress; and for their fulfillment suitable stipulations were embodied in the treaty. It has been stated in public prints that Colombia objected to these stipulations on the ground that they involved a relinquishment of her ‘sovereignty;' but in the light of what has taken place, this alleged objection must be considered as an afterthought.
“In reality, the treaty, instead of requiring a cession of Colombia's sovereignty over the canal strip, expressly acknowledged, confirmed, and preserved her sovereignty over it. The treaty in this respect simply proceeded on the lines on which all the negotiations leading up to the present situation have been conducted. In those negotiations the exercise by the United States, subject to the paramount rights of the local sovereign, of a substantial control over the canal and the immediately adjacent territory, has been treated as a fundamental part of any arrangement that might be made. It has formed an essential feature of all our plans, and its necessity is fully recognized in the Ilay-Pauncefote treaty. The Congress, in pro