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4. Upon army and navy transports, colliers, hospital ships and supply ships one dollar and twenty cents ($1.20) per net ton, the vessels to be measured by the same rules as are employed in determining the net tonnage of merchant vessels.
The Secretary of War will prepare and prescribe such rules for the measurement of vessels and such regulations as may be necessary and proper to carry this proclamation into full force and effect.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this thirteenth
day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twelve and of the independence of the United States the hundred and thirty
WM. H. TAFT. By the President:
P. C. KNOX,
Secretary of State.
SPEECH OF HON. ELIHU ROOT
OF NEW YORK
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
JANUARY 21, 1913
PANAMA CANAL TOLLS Mr. President, in the late days of last summer, after nearly nine months of continuous session, Congress enacted, in the bill to provide for the administration of the Panama Canal, a provision making a discrimination between the tolls to be charged upon foreign vessels and the tolls to be charged upon American vessels engaged in coastwise trade. We all must realize, as we look back, that when that provision was adopted the Members of both Houses were much exhausted; our minds
were not working with their full vigor; we were weary physically and mentally. Such discussion as there was was to empty seats. In neither House of Congress, during the period that this provision was under discussion, could there be found more than a scant dozen or two of Members. The provision has been the cause of great regret to a multitude of our fellow citizens, whose good opinion we all desire and whose leadership of opinion in the country makes their approval of the course of our Congress an important element in maintaining that confidence in government which is so essential to its
The provision has caused a painful impression throughout the world that the United States has departed from its often-announced rule of equality of opportunity in the use of the Panama Canal, and is seeking a special advantage for itself in what is believed to be a violation of the obligations of a treaty. Mr. President, that opinion of the civilized world is something which we may not lightly disregard. “A decent respect to the opinions of mankind” was one of the motives stated for the people of these colonies in the great Declaration of American Independence.
The effect of the provision has thus been doubly unfortunate, and I ask the Senate to listen to me while I endeavor to state the situation in which we find ourselves; to state the case which is made against the action that we have taken, in order that I may present to the Senate the question whether we should not either submit to an impartial tribunal the question whether we are right; so that if we are right, we may be vindicated in the eyes of all the world, or whether we should not, by a repeal of the provision, retire from the position which we have taken.
In the year 1850, Mr. President, there were two great powers in possession of the North American Continent to the north of the Rio Grande. The United States had but just come to its full stature. By the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842 our northeastern boundary had been settled, leaving to Great Britain that tremendous stretch of seacoast including Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, and the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, now forming the Province of Quebec. In 1846 the Oregon boundary had been settled, assuring to the United States a title to that vast region which now constitutes the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. In 1848 the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo had given to us that great empire wrested from Mexico as a result of the Mexican War, which now spreads along the coast of the Pacific as the State of California and the great region between California and Texas.
Inspired by the manifest requirements of this new empire, the United States turned its attention to the possibility of realizing the dream of centuries and connecting 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 vantage. 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 Clayton-Bulwer 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.
I should have said, in speaking about the urgency with which the United States sought the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, that there were two treaties made with Nicaragua, one by Mr. Heis and one by Mr. Squire, both representatives of the United States. Each gave, so far as Nicaragua could, great powers to the United States in regard to the construction of a canal, but they were made without authorization from the United States, and they were not approved by the Government of the United States and were never sent to the Senate. Mr. Clayton, however, held those treaties in abeyance as a means of inducing Great Britain to enter into the ClaytonBulwer treaty. He held them practically as a whip over the British negotiators, and having accomplished the purpose they were thrown into the waste basket.
By that treaty Great Britain agreed with the United States that neither Government should "ever obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive control over the ship canal"; that neither would “make use of any protection” which either afforded to a canal “or any alliance which either" might have "with any State or people for the purpose of erecting or maintaining any fortifications, or of occupying, fortifying, or colonizing Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central America, or of assuming or ercising dominion over the same," and that neither would "take advantage of any intimacy,
alli ance, connection, or influence that either" might "possess
with any State or Government through whose territory the said canal may pass, for the purpose of acquiring or holding, directly or indirectly, for the citizens or subjects of the one, any rights or advantages in regard to commerce or navigation through the said canal which shall not be offered on the same terms to the citizens or subjects of the other."
You will observe, Mr. President, that under these provisions the United States gave up nothing that it then had. Its obligations were entirely looking to the future; and Great Britain gave up its rights under the protectorate over the Mosquito coast, gave up its rights to what was supposed to be the eastern terminus of the canal. And, let me say without recurring to it again, under this treaty, after much discussion which ensued as to the meaning of its terms, Great Britain did surrender her rights to the Mosquito coast, so that the position of the United States and Great Britain became a position of absolute equality. Under this treaty also both parties agreed that each should "enter into treaty stipulations with such of the Central American States as they” might “deem advisable for the purpose”—I now quote the words of the treaty—“for the purpose of more effectually carrying out the great design of this convention, namely, that of constructing and maintaining the said canal as a ship communication between the two oceans for the benefit of mankind, on equal terms to all, and of protecting the same.”
That declaration, Mr. President, is the cornerstone of the rights of the United States upon the Isthmus of Panama, rights having their origin in a solemn declaration that there should be .constructed and maintained a ship canal "between the two oceans for the benefit of mankind, on equal terms to all.”
In the eighth article of that treaty the parties agreed:
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