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The high contracting parties, desiring to preserve and maintain

general principle” of neutralization established in Article VIII of the Clayton-Bulwer convention, which convention is hereby superseded, adopt, as the basis of such neutralization, the following rules, substantially as embodied in the convention between Great Britain and certain other powers, signed at Constantinople, the 29th October, 1888, for the free navigation of the Suez Maritime Canal, that is to say:

1. The canal shall be free and open, in time of war as in time of peace, to the vessels of commerce and of war of all nations, on terms of entire equality, so that there shall be no discrimination against any nation or its citizens or subjects in respect of the conditions or charges of traffic, or otherwise.

2. The canal shall never be blockaded, nor shall any right of war be exercised nor any act of hostility be committed within it.

3. Vessels of war of a belligerent shall not revictual nor take any stores in the canal except so far as may be strictly necessary; and the transit of such vessels through the canal shall be effected with the least possible delay, in accordance with the regulations in force, and with only such intermission as may result from the necessities of the service.

Prizes shall be in all respects subject to the same rules as vessels of war of the belligerents.

4. No belligerent shall embark or disembark troops, munitions of war, or warlike materials in the canal except in case of accidental hindrance of the transit, and in such case the transit shall be resumed with all possible dispatch.

5. The provisions of this article shall apply to waters adjacent to the canal, within 3 marine miles of either end. Vessels of war of a belligerent shall not remain in such waters longer than twenty-four hours at any one time except in case of distress, and in such case shall depart as soon as possible; but a vessel of war of one belligerent shall not depart within twenty-four hours from the departure of a vessel of war of the other belligerent.

It is agreed, however, that none of the immediately foregoing conditions and stipulations in sections numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this article shall apply to measures which the United States may find it necessary to take for securing by its own forces the defence of the United States and the maintenance of public order.

6. The plant, establishments, buildings, and all works necessary to the construction, maintenance, and operation of the canal shall be deemed to be part thereof, for the purposes of this convention, and in time of war as in time of peace, shall enjoy complete immunity from attack or injury by belligerents and from acts calculated to impair their usefulness as part of the canal.

7. No fortifications shall be erected commanding the canal or the waters adjacent. The United States, however, shall be at liberty to maintain such military police along the canal as may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness and disorder.


The present convention shall be ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof

, and by Her Britannic Majesty, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington or at London, within six months from the date hereof, or earlier, if possible.

In faith whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed this convention and thereunto affixed their seals.

Done in duplicate at Washington, the 5th day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1900.

John Hay.

No. 2.

The Marquis of Lansdowne to Lord Pauncefote.

FOREIGN OFFICE, February 22, 1901. MY LORD: The American ambassador has formally communicated to me the amendments introduced by the Senate of the United States into the convention, signed at Washington in February last, to facilitate the construction of a ship canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

These amendments are three in number, namely:

1. The insertion in Article II, after the reference to Article VIII, of the Clayton-Bulwer convention, of the words "which convention is hereby superseded."

2. The addition of a new paragraph after section 5 of Article II in the following terms: It is agreed, however, that none of the immediately foregoing conditions and stipulations in sections numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this article shall apply to measures which the United States niay find it necessary to take for securing by its own forces the defence of the United States and the maintenance of public order.

3. The excision of Article III, which provides thatThe high contracting parties will, immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this convention, bring it to the notice of other powers and invite them to adhere to it.

Mr. Choate was instructed to express the hope that the amendments would be found acceptable by Her Majesty's Government.

It is our duty to consider them as they stand, and to inform your excellency of the manner in which, as the subject is now presented to us, we are disposed to regard them.

It will be useful, in the first place, to recall the circumstances in which negotiations for the conclusion of an agreement supplementary to the convention of 1850, commonly called the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, were initiated.

So far as Her Majesty's Government were concerned, there was no desire to procure a modification of that convention. Some of its provisions had, however, for a long time past been regarded with disfavor by the Government of the United States, and in the President's message to Congress of December, 1898, it was suggested, with reference to a concession granted by the Government of Nicaragua, that some definite action by Congress was urgently required if the labors of the past were to be utilized, and the linking of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by a practical waterway to be realized. It was further urged that the construction of such a maritime highway was more than ever indispensable to that intimate and ready intercommunication between the eastern and western seaboards of the United States demanded by the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands and the prospective expansion of American influence and commerce in the Pacific, and that the national policy called more imperatively than ever for the control" of the projected highway by the Government of the United States.

This passage in the message having excited comment, your excellency made inquiries of the Secretary of State in order to elicit some information as to the attitude of the President. In reply, the views of the United States Government were very frankly and openly explained. You were also most emphatically assured that the President had no intention whatever of ignoring the Clayton-Bulwer convention, and that he would loyally observe treaty stipulations. But in view of the strong national feeling in favor of the construction of the Nicaragua Canal, and of the improbability of the work being accomplished by private enterprise, the United States Government were prepared to undertake it themselves upon obtaining the necessary powers from Congress. For that purpose, however, they must endeavor, by friendly negotiation, to obtain the consent of Great Britain to such a modification of the Clayton-Bulwer treatv as would, without affecting the “general principle” therein declared, enable the great object in view to be accomplished for the benefit of the commerce of the world. Although the time had hardly arrived for the institution of formal negotiations to that end, Congress not having yet legislated, the United States Government, nevertheless, were most anxious that your excellency should enter at once into pourparlers with a view to preparing, for consideration, a scheme of arrangement.

Her Majesty's Government agreed to this proposal, and the discussions which took place in consequence resulted in the draft convention which Mr. Hay handed to your excellency on the 11th January, 1899.

At that time the joint high commission over which the late Lord Herschell presided was still sitting. That commission was appointed in July, 1898, to discuss various questions at issue between Great Britain and the United States, namely, the fur-seal fishery, the fisheries off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Alaskan boundary, alien-labor laws, reciprocity, transit of merchandise, mining rights, naval vessels on the Great Lakes, definition and marking of frontiers, and conveyance of persons in custody. But serious difficulties had arisen in the attempt to arrive at an understanding, and it had become doubtful whether any settlement would be effected.

In reply, therefore, to a request for a speedy answer with regard to the convention, the Marquis of Salisbury informed Mr. White, the American chargé d'affaires, that he could not help contrasting the precarious prospects and slowness of the negotiations which were being conducted by Lord Herschell with the rapidity of decision proposed in the matter of the convention. Her Majesty's Government might be reproached with having come to a precipitate agreement on

a proposal which was exclusively favorable to the United States, while they had come to no agreement at all on the controversy where there was something to be conceded on both sides.

Shortly afterwards Lord Herschell intimated that the difficulties in regard to the question of the Alaskan boundary seemed insuperable, and that he feared it might be necessary to break off the negotiations of which he had hitherto had the charge. Upon this Lord Salisbury informed Mr. White that he did not see how Her Majesty's Government could sanction any convention for amending the ClaytonBulwer treaty, as the opinion of this country would hardly support them in making a concession which would be wholly to the benefit of the United States, at a time when they appeared to be so little inclined to come to a satisfactory settlement in regard to the Alaskan frontier.

The last meeting of the joint high commission took place on the 20th February, 1899. Except for the establishment of a modus vivendi on the Alaskan frontier, no progress has been made since that date toward the adjustment of any of the questions which the high commissioners were appointed to discuss.

It was in these circumstances that the proposal for a canal convention was revived at the beginning of last year.

On the 21st January your lordship reported that a bill, originally introduced in 1899, had been laid before Congress, empowering the President to acquire from the Republics of Costa Rica and Nicaragua the control of such portion of territory as might be desirable or necessary, and to direct the Secretary of War, when such control had been secured, to construct the canal and make such provisions for defense as might be required for the safety and protection of the canal and the terminal harbors.

It was probable that the bill would be passed, and it was clear that additional embarrassment would be caused by an enactment opposed to the terms of the proposed convention, and in direct violation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. On the other hand, your lordship’s information led to the confident expectation that the convention as signed would, if agreed to by Her Majesty's Government, be ratified by the Senate.

In these circumstances Her Majesty's Government consented to reopen the question, and, after due consideration, determined to accept the convention unconditionally, as a signal proof of their friendly disposition and of their desire not to impede the execution of a project declared to be of national importance to the people of the United States.

Your Excellency stated that the United States Government expressed satisfaction at this happy result and appreciation of the conciliatory disposition shown by Her Majesty's Government.

The convention was forth with submitted to the Senate for ratification, and on the 9th March the committee charged with its examination reported in favor of ratification, with the insertion, subsequently adopted, after section 5 of Article II, of a paragraph containing provision that the rules laid down in the preceding sections should not apply to measures for the defense of the United States by its own forces and the maintenance of public order. This alteration was discussed by the Senate in secret session on the 5th April, but no vote was taken upon it nor upon the direct question of ratification.

The bill empowering the President to construct and provide for the defense of the canal passed the House of Representatives by a large majority on the 2d of May: The Senate, however, postponed consideration of the bill, although, favorably reported by the Committee on Interoceanic Canals.

After the recess, during which the presidential election took place, the discussion was resumed in the Senate. On the 20th of December the vote was taken, and resulted in the ratification of the convention with the three amendments which have been presented for the acceptance of His Majesty's Government.

The first of these amendments, that in Article II, declares the Clayton-Bulwer treaty to be “hereby superseded."

Before attempting to consider the manner in which this amendment will, if adopted, affect the parties to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, I desire to call your excellency's attention to a question of principle which is involved by the action of the Senate at this point.

The Clayton-Bulwer treaty is an international contract of unquestionable validity, a contract which, according to well-established international usage, ought not to be abrogated or modified, save with the consent of both the parties to the contract. In spite of this usage, His Majesty's Government find themselves confronted by a proposal communicated to them by the United States Government, without any previous attempt to ascertain their views, for the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty.

The practical effect of the amendment can best be understood by reference to the inclosed copy of the articles of the treaty, Nos. I and VI, which, assuming that the United States Government would undertake all the obligations imposed by Article IV of the treaty, contain the only provisions ' not replaced by new provisions, covering the same ground, in the convention.

Under Article I of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty the two powers agreed that neither would occupy or fortify or colonize, or assume or exercise any dominion over any part of Central America, nor attain any of the foregoing objects by protection afforded to or alliance with any State or people of Central America. There is no similar agreement in the convention. If, therefore, the treaty were wholly abrogated, both powers would, except in the vicinity of the canal, recover entire freedom of action in Central America. The change would certainly be of advantage to the United States, and might be of substantial importance.

Under the other surviving portion of the treaty (part of Article VI) provision is made for treaties with the Central American States in furtherance of the object of the two powers and for the exercise of good offices should differences arise as to the territory through which the canal will pass. In this case abrogation would, perhaps, signify but little to this country. There is nothing in the convention to prevent Great Britain from entering into communication, or exercising good offices, with the Central American States, should difficulties hereafter arise between them and the United States.

The other two amendments present more formidable difficulties.

The first of them, which reserves to the United States the right of taking any measures which it may find necessary to secure by its own forces the defense of the United States, appears to His Majesty's

I Printed in italics.

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