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equality in the use of the canal on other nations; and, at the outset, we would set an example by enforcing it upon ourselves. Recognizing the fact that we are a republic and a great one, we should treat with contempt all huckstering suggestions. All the time and above all, we should bear in mind that this is not a tradesman deal, to be disposed of on a county court level. Let it be borne in mind that in every step now taken the United States is on trial; and, being so, should show a disposition to live, both in letter and spirit, up to the high standard which influenced the negotiators when the treaty was formulated. Not a bargain, it should be construed in no pettifogging or shop-keeper spirit. It speaks for itselfa world pact!
"If therefore, the people of the United States, represented by Congress, are not now prepared to think cosmopolitanly on this issue, they will simply show to an onlooking world that as a republic they are not equal to the occasion which is presented. The corner-grocery spirit will have asserted mastery. This, it seems to me, would be truly lamentable; but President Wilson is peculiarly well situated to emphasize the larger point of view.”
MANNER OF SECURING TITLE
President Roosevelt said in this message of January 4, 1904, laying before Congress the Panama treaty:
“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. In my 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 relations 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 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.”
Recently ex-President Roosevelt is reported as saying:
"For four hundred years there had been conversation about the need of the Panama Canal. The time for further conversation had passed, the time to translate words into deeds had come.
"It is only because the then (my] administration acted precisely as it did act that we now have the Panama Canal.
“The interests of the civilized people of the world demanded the construction of the canal. Events had shown that it could not be built by a private concern. We as a nation would not permit it to be built by a foreign Government. Therefore, we were in honor bound to build it ourselves.
“Panama declared her independence, her citizens acting with absolute unanimity. We promptly acknowledged her independence. She forthwith concluded with us a treaty substantially like that we had negotiated with Colombia for the same sum of money. We then immediately took the Canal Zone and began the construction of the canal.
“The case demanded immediate and decisive action. I took this action. Taking the action meant taking the Canal Zone and building the canal. Failure to take the action would have meant that the Canal Zone would not have been taken and that the canal would not have been built."
We took the Canal Zone under the principle of international eminent domain. That obligates the United States to manage the canal as a public utility. This precludes free transportation. Exemption of the public vessels of the Republic of Panama from the payment of tolls is merely commuted rent for leasehold rights. Exemption of the public vessels of the United States is in consideration of service in connection with protection and maintenance. Other traffic through the canal must receive the same treatment. The owner is entitled to collect in revenue an amount sufficient to cover operating expenses, interest, reserves and sinking fund. The United States need not be out a cent for the canal if it will apply business methods in its management. This puts the United States in a unique position to operate and manage the canal "for the benefit of mankind on equal terms to all" and thereby justify the manner in which it secured leasehold rights to the Canal Zone.
The United States has expended hundreds of millions of dollars in coast and harbor improvements to develop and promote commerce. There is no direct return to the national treasury for the expenditures incurred. The entire benefit is indirect-increased national prosperity.
Contrast this situation with the one presented by the Panama Canal. The expenditures incurred for the latter are to be amortized through charges to revenue from tolls and all operating expenses are similarly to be charged to revenue. The cost to the United States, in the long run, need not be anything. It need not cost the United States treasury a cent if the government will apply gray matter in the management of the canal.
The indirect commercial benefits to the United States will be real and substantial. Note the following from the Evening Post (New York):
“The curtailing of distances between our Atlantic and Pacific coasts—our coastwise trade-is so much larger than the saving in mileage from Europe or Africa to the west coast of the American continent that even with equal tolls our own shipping draws much the larger gain from the Canal. Tolls exemption would tend to emphasize the advantage by throwing the cost of canal maintenance on the traffic that profits least.
“For the Panama Canal, to be a success and of real value to this country it must prove an economical route for coast-to-coast trade as well as a cheap route for trade between the eastern coast of the United States and the western coast of South America.
"For such trade the Panama Canal favors the American shipper by over 55 per cent. If this country cannot benefit with such a handicap, the Panama Canal must be a failure so far as the United States is concerned."
The United States has been granted a canal monopoly in perpetuity by Panama in the territory over which it is sovereign. The Nicaragua treaty submitted to the United States Senate for ratification secures the right to construct the Nicaragua canal on payment of $3,000,000. It is already suggested that we secure similar right to the Atrato route. In short, the United States aims at a transportation monopoly across the Isthmus connecting North and South America. Therefore, it is