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Canal under the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty we must have given English vessels equal treatment with our own, and then conveniently forgets that the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty superseded the ClaytonBulwer Convention. But we are not building under the Clayton-Bulwer bargain.
President Pierce in a message of 1856 said:
It was with surprise and regret that the United States learned that a military expedition under the authority of the British Government had landed at San Juan del Norte in the State of Nicaragua and taken forcible possession of that port, the necessary terminus of any canal or railway across the Isthmus within the territories of Nicaragua.
It did not diminish to us the unwelcomeness of this act on the part of Great Britain to find that she assumed to justify it on the ground of an alleged protectorship of a small and obscure band of uncivilized Indians, whose proper name had even been lost to history, who did not constitute a state capable of territorial sovereignty either in fact or in right, and all political interest in whom and in the territory they occupied Great Britain had previously renounced by successive treaties with Spain when Spain was sovereign to the country and subsequently with independent Spanish America.
The Fifty-first Congress took up this subject very fully.
The Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate presented to the Fifty-first Congress a report containing a review of the history of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and it reported to the
Senate its conclusion that it had become obsolete and that
The United States is at present under no obligation, measured either by the terms of the Convention, the principles of public law or good morals, to refrain from promoting in any way it may deem best for its own interests the construction of this Canal, without regard to anything contained in the Convention of 1850.
To this report are appended the names of every member of the Committee among them two who have held the office of Secretary of State, Messrs. Evarts and Sherman.
The United States Government had to obtain the necessary powers from Congress to build the Canal, and it could not ask Congress to use the money of the United States in a project controlled in any way by a foreign nation.
Abrogation would however have left both parties freedom of action in Central America, if we abandoned the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine already barred Great Britain from doing what she agreed not to do in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and the first Hay-Pauncefote Treaty was considered, as was the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, in violation of the Monroe Doctrine and as unduly limiting the power of the United States and was denounced by the Democratic Party in its Denver Platform. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty was really a convention covering an uncertain contingency as to time and place, leav
ing to joint action the preparation of rules of management and control.
The Clayton-Bulwer Convention is superseded. We have traced the bearings of facts up to the time of such abrogation.
It is plain to be seen that if the joint protection by which neutrality and equal treatment could be secured in this convention should be extended by treaty stipulation that grounds for claiming equal participation would be laid. Since 1850 we had been resisting adroit efforts to obtain such joint contract extension.
Yet with a persistency and statecraft to be admired we find the first treaty submitted in the Hay-Pauncefote negotiations embodying a surrender of this principle on our part and as fast as beaten on one demand another was presented.
Happily for us the influence of a firm and consistent traditional policy exerted for over fifty years prevented such surrender.
NEUTRALITY AND EQUAL TREATMENT AND
THE SUEZ RULES
We find that by the preamble to the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty its object is
To remove any objection which may arise out of the Convention of 1850, commonly called the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, to the construction of such canal under the auspices of the United States, without impairing the general principle of neutralization, established in Article VIII of that Convention.
The American people very clearly were determined that a participation by other nations in a canal built by us would not be permitted. Some of our statesmen strongly recommended the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Convention and we had ample reasons for doing so, the Treaty having been violated in letter and spirit. This would doubtless have given rise to bad feeling as firm assertion of American rights for some reason seems unpopular with a part of our people. Unquestionably the new treaty was executed to "save the face” of Great Britain for otherwise it must have been abrogated.
So in order not to impair the general principle
of neutralization we adopt certain rules in Article III of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty as a basis for such neutralization.
It is stated that these rules are substantially as embodied in the Convention of Constantinople, for the free navigation of the Suez Canal. Much light will be thrown upon the controversy over the meaning of the Treaty by an examination of this convention which is given in the Appendix. For what is omitted is just as important as what is retained in clearing up the intention of the rules.
The British contention is that under the rules as appearing in the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, they are entitled to equal treatment because in a former treaty equal treatment was secured by joint protection and joint protection being done away with equal treatment must result. The wording of the protest given in full in the Appendix is so ingenuous that it must be given:
It certainly was not the intention of His Majesty's Government that any responsibility for the protection of the Canal should attach to them in the future. Neutralization must, therefore, refer to the system of equal rights.
In other words a certain privilege gained through joining in protection must remain although we relieve Great Britain from this expensive and burdensome responsibility.
Senator Root says that the Panama Canal is to be made “neutral upon the same terms as were specified in the Clayton-Bulwer agreement.” Sir