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III. EFFECT OF GUARANTEE OF, UNDER TREATY.
(1) SUCH GUARANTEE BINDS COLOMBIA.
“The federative Republic of Colombia, officially styled the United States of Colombia, was formed by the convention of Bogota concluded September 20, 1861, by the representatives of nine States, previously a part of New Granada.” (Martin's Statesman's Year Book, tit. Colombia.) As the Isthmus of Panama is in Colombia, the treaty with New Granada binds Colombia. And aside from this view, as New Granada, in the sense in which the term was used at the time of the convention of Bogota, was virtually conterminous with the province of Colombia, as thus reconstituted, there can be no question that the treaty specifically binds Colombia.
Supra, jj 4, 137.
(2) DOES NOT GUARANTEE AGAINST CHANGES OF GOVERNMENT.
The guarantee of “perfect neutrality” in the treaty is not a guaran. tee against change of Government in Colombia, since treaty obligations, when binding a country as an entity, are not, as we have seen, affected by intermediate revolutions, and therefore exists irrespective of such revolutions. (Supra, § 137.) The United States, however, is (1) authorized and required by the treaty to protect the transit of the isthmas from foreign invasion, and (2) is authorized to compel Colombia to keep the transit free from domestic disturbance. (Supra, § 145.) For this purpose the United States is entitled to employ in the isthmus such forces as may enable Colombia to keep the transit open. The distinctions in this respect are given supra, $$ 145, 150 f.
In connection with the documents given supra, $$ 145, 150 f, the following may be considered:
“The present condition of the Isthmus of Panama, in so far as regards the security of persons and property passing over it, requires serious consideration. Recent incidents tend to show that the local authorities cannot be relied on to maintain the public peace of Panama, and there is just ground for apprehension that a portion of the inhabitants are meditating further outrages, without adequate measures for the security and protection of persons or property having been taken, either by the State of Panama, or by the General Government of New Granada.
“Under the guarantees of treaty, citizens of the United States have, by the outlay of several million dollars, constructed a railroad across the Isthmus, and it has become the main route between our Atlantic and Pacific possessions, over which multitudes of our citizens and a vast amount of property are constantly passing--to the security and protection of all which, and the continuance of the public advantages involved, it is impossible for the Government of the United States to be indifferent.
“I have deemed the danger of the recurrence of scenes of lawless violence in this quarter so imminent as to make it my duty to station a part of our naval force in the harbors of Panama and Aspinwall, in order to protect the persons and property of the citizens of the United States in these ports, and to insure to them safe passage across the Isth. mus. And it would, in my judgment, be unwise to withdraw the naval force now in those ports, until, by the spontaneous action of the Republic of New Granada, or otherwise, some adequate arrangement shall have been made for the protection and security of a line of interoceanic communication so important at this time, not to the United States only, but to all other maritime states both of Europe and America."
President Pierce, Fourth Annual Message, 1856. “The Government is of the opinion that the position of the free ports of Panama and Colon as mere stations on one of the world's most important highways should demand a simpler and less rigid enforcement of customs rules against the vehicles of mere transient passage than may be requisite to protect the fiscal interests at ports of entry. It is deemed that the mutual concessions and guarantees under which the transit was established entitle all those who honestly and pacifically use it to exceptional facilities, which may not be needed, or be even proper at other ports. It would be very much to be regretted if a contrary course should prevail in conflict with the true interests of Colombia herself, no less than of those who avail themselves of the privileges incidental to the transit."
Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Scruggs, Mar. 6, 1883. MSS. Inst., Co.
IV. RELATIONS TO PARTICULAR COUNTRIES.
The position of Colombia as to the treaty of 1846 has been already discussed. (Supra, $$ 145, 150f, 297 f.)
The following may be considered in the same relation:
“ You will remember that soon after the receipt of your note of February 13 I took occasion to have an interview with you, in which I intimated that this Government could scarcely consider the newspaper reports referred to as a sufficient basis for the demand of formal explanations; that I was not then in possession of the information upon which the definite wishes of this Government would finally take shape, but that you might rest assured that no action had been taken or was contemplated which could in any degree be regarded as inattentive to the complete equality and independence of the Colombian Republic, or in the least disregardful of its interests; and that, in case this Government should find it useful to its commercial and naval interests to establish coaling stations in any ports of the Isthmus, it would present the matter in the usual manner to the friendly allowance of the Colom. bian Government.
“Upon the receipt of your note of April 1, from New York, I sereral times made inquiries as to the time of your return in order that I might secure an interview, and upon the receipt of your note of the 15th of April, advising me of your return, you were immediately desired to do me the honor of calling at the Department, when you were informed that my necessary absence in New York would postpone my reply for a day or two, but that I would endeavor to furnish you an answer in season for your mail of the 20th instant.
“I have recalled these facts to your attention simply to confirm the assurance, which you must already feel, that there has been on the part of this Government no disposition to misconstrue or neglect your natural desire to be duly informed of any action which might affect the interests or dignity of the state you represent.
“It is only since the receipt of your letter of April 1 that this Gorernment has been enabled to furnish you that precise information of the movements of its naval vessels on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Isthmus which you have expressed a desire to receive.
* The Government of Colombia has been for a long time aware that the safety and convenience of both their naval and mercantile marine might require the establishment by the United States of coaling stations at some points on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Central America; and the Government of the United States has never doubted that the friendly feeling existing between the two countries, and the treaty obligations of this Government to the Government of Colombia would induce that Government to afford it every aid and facility in obtaining and occupying such stations, should they be desired, within the territory of Colombia. This Government was aware that the acquisition of such places, whether by the purchase of private property or by public grant, would need to be brought to the notice of the Colombian Government, and it has never entertained a doubt that its assent would be cheerfully given. Nor has this Government ever supposed that the examination and survey of the harbors and unoccupied shores of these coasts could excite the apprehension of any of the Central American powers.
6. This convenience sought by a commercial and naval power has, as you are well informed, been accorded to this Government at various points in the Atlantic and Pacific waters by all friendly powers upon the mere suggestion by this Government that it was desired. I have therefore to inform you that this Government, having under consideration the propriety of establishing coaling stations at the earliest practicable moment at such points in the State of Panama as might seem best adapted for that purpose, orders were given to the U. S. S. Adams, Commander Howell, to visit the Gulf of Dulce, and to the U. S. S. Kearsarge, Commander Picking, to visit the Boca del Toro and Chiriqui Lagoon, and to report fully the capabilities of those locations. Within the last few days only reports have been received from both of these commanders.
“From Commander Howell the Government learns that the point best adapted for its purpose is Golfito, in the Gulf of Dulce, and that with the permission of the local authorities he has made a small deposit of coal in that neighborhood.
“As the boundary line in the Gulf of Dulce between Costa Rica and Colombia has not been determined, this Government is at present unable to say where within the territorial limits of the two States the point selected is situated.
"From Commander Picking the Government learns that in his opinion Shepherd's Harbor, in the Almerante Bay, is the situation, in the Boca del Toro, best adapted for a coaling station.”
Mr. Evarts, Sec. of State, to Mr. Arosemena, Apr. 17, 1880. MSS. Notes, Col
ombia ; For. Rel., 1880.
“I had the honor to receive your note of the 19th ultimo, wherein, while disclaiming desire on your part to interfere with any arrangements which may be made at Bogotá by the United States minister, Mr. Dichman, with regard to coaling stations on the Colombian Isthmus, as contemplated in my note to you of April 17 last, you intimate your trust that orders have been issued by the competent Department for the withdrawal from Chiriqui Bay and Dulce Gulf of the United States warvessels lately engaged there in taking soundings and other operations preparatory to the establishment of such coaliug stations. You are pleased to add that such a step on the part of this Government would greatly facilitate any arrangement or agreement that may be entered into by the United States of Colombia in relation to the matter, inasmuch as it would quiet the agitation which has been caused in your country by the operations of the vessels in question, and, which you suggest, must inevitably find an echo in official circles.
“ I cannot but share the regret, which I doubt not you must feel, that the operations of the Adams in the Gulf of Dulce and of the Kearsarge in Chiriqui Bay should have given rise to the disquietude you mention. Our conferences hitherto, and the frank and full note I had the honor to address to you on the 17th of April last, will, I doubt not, have removed from your own mind and from that of the Government of Colombia any impression that the movements of the Adams and Kearsarge were in
violation of comity or in disparagement of the national independence and sovereignty of the United States of Colombia, or that they were, in short, otherwise than in the routine of amicable intercourse and in conformity to the usage and courtesy of friendly nations, whose ports and harbors, whether open to commerce or not, are at all times free to the national vessels of a power with which relations of peace and good-will prevail.
“I am in receipt of official advices to the effect that on the 12th of May ultimo, the executive of the State of Panama, in compliance, as alleged, with the orders of the citizen President of the nation, communicated to the consular officers of the United States at the ports of Panama and Aspinwall an intimation to the commanders of the vessels in questions to not only cease the operations of taking soundings, which it was alleged they had been engaged in, but, furthermore, that the Adams should forth with quit the port of Golfito on account of its not being open to commercial operations (puerto habilitado).
“ I need hardly advert to the aspect of unfriendliness which this proceeding assumes, and the spirit in which it might readily be received, were not this Government confident that the whole proceeding on the part of the authorities of the State of Panama is based on an unhappy misconception, which, in the interest of good-will, this Government is desirous to see removed. For I am sure you will agree with me that the peremptory notification thus conveyed to the distant vessels and officers of the United States, although, perhaps, an echo in official regions of the baseless disquietude of the populace, is not consonant with the calm and amicable communication looking to the accomplishment of the same end in the withdrawal of the vessels, which you, a week later in point of time, make, officially, at the seat of this Government in your note of the 19th ultimo, to which I now have the honor to reply.
“ Under these circumstances you will have no difficulty in understanding my readiness and desire to regard the act of the authorities of Panama as ill-judged and unsupported by the cool good sense of your federal Government, whose considerate and amicable purposes I find reflected in your recent note.
“ The information I possess from the officers of the United States in Colombia and from the naval authorities of the United States in those regions, enables me to inform you with pleasure, that at the time of the action taken by the executive of the State of Panama, the U. S. S. Adams was no longer in Colombian waters but lay at Punta Arenas, in the friendly neighboring Republic of Costa Rica, and that having accomplished the peaceable object of her voyage, she was then under orders of recall to a home port of the United States.
"I may also add, with regard to the corresponding operations of the Kearsarge in the waters of Chiriqui Lagoon, that at the date of last advices, and under the orders of the Navy Department, given some