Obrázky stránek

its two coasts—its old coast upon the Atlantic and its new coast upon the Pacific-by a ship canal through the Isthmus; but when it turned its attention in that direction it found the other empire holding the place of advantage. Great Britain had also her coast upon the Atlantic and her coast upon the Pacific, to be joined by a canal. Further than that, Great Britain was a Caribbean power. She had Bermuda and the Bahamas; she had Jamaica and Trinidad; she had the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands; she had British Guiana and British Honduras; she had, moreover, a protectorate over the Mosquito Coast, a great stretch of territory upon the eastern shore of Central America which included the river San Juan and the valley and harbor of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Greytown. All men's minds then were concentrated upon the Nicaragua Canal route, as they were until after the treaty of 1901 was made.

And thus when the United States turned its attention toward joining these two coasts by a canal through the Isthmus it found Great Britain in possession of the eastern end of the route which men generally believed would be the most available route for the canal. Accordingly, the United States sought a treaty with Great Britain by which Great Britain should renounce the advantage which she had and admit the United States to equal participation with her in the control and the protection of a canal across the Isthmus. From that came the ClaytonBulwer treaty.

“Let me repeat that this treaty was sought not by England but by the United States. Mr. Clayton, who was Secretary of State at the time, sent our minister to France,

Mr. Rives, to London for the purpose of urging upon Lord Palmerston the making of the treaty. The treaty was made by Great Britain as a concession to the urgent demands of the United States."


"In the administration of President Taylor, our Secretary of State, Mr. Clayton, opened negotiations with Great Britain with a view to adjusting the differences between the two countries, Mr. Rives, our minister to France, being appointed to submit the views of the United States to Lord Palmerston. Mr. Rives, in his letter to Secretary Clayton of September 25, 1849, describes his interview with Lord Palmerston and states that in pursuance of his instructions he had said to him:

That the United States, moreover, as one of the principal commercial powers of the world, and the one nearest to the scene of the proposed communication, and holding, besides, a large domain on the western coast of America, had a special, deep and national interest in the free and unobstructed use, in common with other powers, of any channel of intercourse which might be opened from the one sea to the other;

that the United States sought no exclusive privilege or preferential right of any kind in regard to the proposed communication, and their sincere wish, if it should be found practicable, was to see it dedicated to the common use of all nations on the most liberal terms and a footing of perfect equality for all;

that the United States would not, if they could, obtain any exclusive right or privilege in a great highway which naturally belonged to all mankind.




[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

"That was the spirit of the Clayton-Bulwer convention. That was what the United States asked Great Britain to agree upon.

That self-denying declaration underlaid and permeated and found expression in the

terms of the Clayton-Bulwer convention. And

And upon that representation Great Britain in that convention relinquished her coign of vantage which she herself had for the benefit of her great North American empire for the control of the canal across the Isthmus.'

That the foregoing representation is correct is confirmed by Henderson in the following taken from his work on American Diplomatic Questions:

"In the correspondence that took place between Mr. Clayton and Messrs. Bancroft and Lawrence, successive American ministers in London, and also in the records of interviews between Mr. Clayton and Mr. Crampton, the British minister in Washington, preparatory to the actual negotiations for a treaty, the attitude of Mr. Clayton and of the Taylor administration toward the question of a Central American Canal is fully and most clearly set forth. The Secretary of State was thoroughly in accord with the popular view that under no circumstances should the United States permit Great Britain or any other power to exercise exclusive control of any isthmian transit route. Upon the other hand, he did not seek for his own country the exclusive control he denied to others, and in assuming his position he followed the universally accepted theory of the complete neutrality of ship canals. The doctrine of international freedom of transit as applying to artificial waterways had been defended by Clay in 1826, and supported by unanimous resolutions of Congress in 1835 and again in 1839. President Polk had not found this doctrine inconsistent with his notions of an aggressive Monroe Doctrine, and his successor, in his annual message to Congress of 1849, had declared that no power should



occupy a position that would enable it hereafter to exercise so controlling an influence over the commerce of the world, or to obstruct a highway which ought to be dedicated to the common use of mankind. The convention concluded with Colombia three years previously contained a special clause calling for a guarantee of neutrality of the proposed isthmian transit route. No other ideas of the political status of an interoceanic ship canal had ever been entertained.

"When it was understood by both Mr. Clayton and Lord Palmerston, as revealed by their correspondence, that neither power actually sought monopoly power over the canal, the way was cleared of the most formidable obstacle to the conclusion of a treaty.

“Having in mind a policy thus broad and liberal, Mr. Clayton entered upon the negotiations of a treaty with Great Britain, desirous of obtaining no exclusive privileges in Central America that should be incompatible with the just rights of other nations; he was intent only on preparing the way for the construction of a great international highway that should be open to the world's commerce upon terms equal to all."

As the “general principleof neutralization established in Article VIII of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty has not been superseded, but is continued "unimpaired" in the preamble and in Article IV of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty, we will quote that article in full.

"The Governments of the United States and Great Britain having not only desired, in entering into this convention, to accomplish a particular object, but also to

establish a general principle, they hereby agree to extend their protection, by treaty stipulations, to any other practicable communications, whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which connects North and South America, and especially to the interoceanic communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by canal or railway, which are now proposed to be established by the way of Tehuantepec or Panama. In granting, however, their joint protection to any such canals or railways as are by this article specified, it is always understood by the United States and Great Britain that the parties constructing or owning the same shall impose no other charges or conditions of traffic thereupon than the aforesaid Governments shall approve of as just and equitable; and that the same canals or railways, being open to the citizens and subjects of the United States and Great Britain on equal terms, shall also be open on like terms to the citizens and subjects of every other State which is willing to grant thereto such protection as the United States and Great Britain engage to afford.”

There is the explicit agreement for equality of treatment to the citizens of the United States and to the citizens of Great Britain in any canal, wherever it may be constructed, across the Isthmus. That was the fundamental principle embodied in the treaty of 1850, and that was the general principle' that the treaty of 1901 left unimpaired."

Senator Root continued:

“After the lapse of some thirty years, during the early part of which we were strenuously insisting upon the observance by Great Britain of her obligations under the Clayton-Bulwer treaty and during the latter part of which

« PředchozíPokračovat »