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And in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant enjoyment of these advantages and for the favors they have acquired by the 4th, 5th and 6th articles of this treaty, the United States guarantees positively and efficaciously to New Granada, by the present stipulation, the perfect neutrality of the beforementioned Isthmus with the view that the free transit from the one to the other sea may not be interrupted or embarrassed in any future time while this treaty exists and in consequence the United States also guarantee, in the same manner, the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over said territory. .
Articles 4, 5 and 6 provide for relief from discriminating duties on tonnage or cargo—which had nearly destroyed U. S. trade with New Granada.
PRESIDENT WILSON'S MESSAGE GENTLEMEN OF THE CONGRESS—"I have come to you upon an errand which can be very briefly performed, but I beg that you will not measure its importance by the number of sentences in which I state it. No communication I have expressed to the Congress carried with it graver or more farreaching implications to the interests of the country, and I come now to speak upon a matter with regard to which I am charged in a peculiar degree, by the Constitution itself, with personal responsibility.
I have come to ask for the repeal of that provision of the Panama Canal Act of August 24, 1912, which exempts vessels of the coastwise trade of the United States from the payment of tolls, and to urge upon you the justice, the wisdom and the large policy of such a repeal with the utmost earnestness of which I am capable.
In my judgment very fully considered and maturely formed, that exemption constitutes a mistaken economic policy from every point of view, and is moreover, in plain contravention of the treaty with Great Britain concerning the Canal, con
cluded on November 18, 1901. But I have not come to urge my personal views. I have come to state to you a fact and a situation. IWhatever may be our own differences of opinion concerning this much debated measure, its meaning is not debated out of the United States. Everywhere else the language of the treaty is given but one interpretation, and that interpretation precludes the exemption I am asking you to repeal. We consented to the treaty; its language we accepted, if we did not originate it; and we are too big, too powerful, too self-respecting a nation to interpret with too strained or refined a reading the words of our own promises just because we have the power enough to give us leave to read them as we please.
The large thing to do is the only thing we can afford to do, a voluntary withdrawal from a position everywhere questioned and misunderstood. We ought to reverse our action without raising the question whether we are right or wrong, and so once more deserve our reputation for generosity and the redemption of every obligation without quibble or hesitation.
I ask you this in support of the foreign policy of the administration. I shall not know how to deal with other matters of even greater delicacy and nearer consequence, if you do not grant it to me in ungrudging measure.”
PANAMA CANAL ACT, 1912
Section 5. That the President is hereby authorized to prescribe and from time to time change the tolls that shall be levied by the Government of the United States for the use of the Panama Canal. . . . No tolls shall be levied upon vessels engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States. That section forty-one hundred and thirty-two of the Revised Statutes is hereby amended to read as follows: Tolls may be based upon gross or net registered tonnage. When based on net registered tonnage the tolls shall not ex
ceed one dollar and twenty-five cents per net registered ton, nor be less, other than for vessels of the United States and its citizens, than the estimated proportionate cost of the actual maintenance and operation of the canal.