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across the isthmus of Panama. Ferdinand de Lesseps, director of the Suez canal, was put at the head of the new
company, and the scheme was launched with French cession at effusion. In 1879 a scientific congress was Panama
assembled at Paris to discuss the engineering problems involved, and the United States government was represented by two distinguished naval officers. Our interest in the canal problem, long dormant, suddenly revived, the most effective spur being De Lesseps's suggestion, in 1879, of a joint international guarantee of neutrality.
March 8, 1880, President Hayes announced in a message to Congress: "The policy of this country is a canal under
American control. The United States cannot Hayes's policy
consent to the surrender of this control to any European power or to any combination of European powers. ... An interoceanic canal across the American Isthmus will essentially change the geographical relations between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.... It would be the great ocean thoroughfare between our Atlantic and our Pacific shores, and virtually a part of the coast line of the United States. ... No other power would under similar circumstances fail to assert a rightful control over a work so closely and vitally affecting its interest and welfare." Evarts proposed to Colombia that all cessions be considered as subject to the treaty of 1846, and that we have the right to erect fortifications at the mouths of the canal.
This certainly had not hitherto been the policy of the United States, who has always asserted the general principle
of universal freedom of use, analogous to our Blaine's policy
idea of the freedom of international waters and of a joint international guarantee. It was, however, endorsed in 1880 by Congress, which based it on the Monroe Doctrine,
Freeman Snow, Treaties and Topics in American Diplomacy (Boston, 1894), 337–347; T. J. Lawrence, Essays on some Disputed Questions in Modern International Law (Cambridge, Eng., 1884), Nos. ii-iii.
and was joyously taken up by Blaine in 1881. He announced to our representatives in Europe that it was “nothing more than the pronounced adherence of the United States to principles long since enunciated.” Our guarantee, he maintained, needed no "reinforcement, or accession, or assent from any other power; ” a pledge that during a war in which either the United States or Colombia was engaged hostile military forces should be permitted to pass through the canal was “no more admissible than on the railroad lines joining the Atlantic and Pacific shores of the United States”; we should object to any concert of European powers for guaranteeing the canal.
The last two positions at least were in direct contravention to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, which seems to have escaped Blaine's attention. On November 1, however, Blaine's case he took it up. That treaty, he said, was more
Clayton-Bulthan thirty years old; it was for the special wer treaty purpose of facilitating the construction of a canal which had never materialized; conditions had now changed with the development of our Pacific slope; by forbidding the fortification of the canal, we practically gave it to Great Britain, as she could control it with her fleet; the treaty was not consistent with “our right and long established claim to priority on the American continent;" the entrance of France had changed the situation; finally, we wished to fortify the canal, and, in company with the country in which it was located, to control it. Frelinghuysen, on becoming secretary, added that the English occupation of British Honduras constituted a violation of the treaty, and repeated that “a protectorate by European nations" would be a violation of the Monroe Doctrine, which we had declared “at the suggestion of the official representative of Great Britain.”
It must have been a joy to the British foreign office to answer such dispatches as these, of which it received so many during this period. Lord Granville replied in a series of
notes. He pointed out that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was not a special contract, that it distinctly stated, indeed,
that its purpose was to declare a general policy. British case for the Clayton The United States, he was able to show, Bulwer treaty had specifically agreed that British Honduras should not be considered a part of Central America. He remarked that the Monroe Doctrine had not prevented the formation of the treaty; and he might have added that Canning, so far from urging its declaration, had immediately upon its announcement set about to defeat it. He called attention to the development of the Pacific slope in Canada as well as in the United States, and in one note Lord Salisbury added that the building of the transcontinental railroads had actually decreased our special interest in the canal. With regard to the age of the treaty, thirty years probably seemed less in England than in America. Lord Granville might also have referred to Seward's instructions to Adams in 1866 when we were seeking a naval station at Tiger island in Honduras, suggesting that, although the treaty was really out of date, yet, so long as its binding force “should remain a question, it would not comport with good faith for either party to do anything which might be deemed contrary” even "to its spirit.” He might have shown, too, that Fish in 1872, and Evarts in 1880, had recognized its existence. The discussion closed without result.
Meanwhile we did not confine ourselves to argument. We proposed to construct a rival canal on the Nicaraguan Nicaragua route. In December, 1884, Frelinghuysen plan
negotiated a treaty with that country, providing that such a canal be built under United States auspices and practically under her control. This treaty was withdrawn by Cleveland, who reverted to our traditional policy of a canal internationally guaranteed, Such a highway, he said, "must be for the world's benefit, a trust for mankind, to be removed from the chance of domination by any single power,
nor become a point of invitation for hostilities or a prize for warlike ambitions."
Had Cleveland shared the desire of his Republican predecessors to find the Clayton-Bulwer treaty void, he might have attacked it during his second administra- The Mosquition on better grounds than Blaine found. The irritating question of the Mosquitoes seemed to have been settled in 1860 by a treaty between Great Britain and Nicaragua. With the revival of interest in the mouth of the San Juan river, however, adventurers among the tribe began to scent the possibility of profit in emphasizing the semi-independence which that treaty, as interpreted by an arbitrating decision of the emperor of Austria in 1881, gave them. Nicaragua, unwilling to allow interference with the bargain which she seemed to be driving with the United States, asserted her authority, whereupon the Mosquitoes called in Great Britain, who answered the call. In spite of protests from the United States, British marines were landed at Bluefields in 1894. Complicated as were the legal arguments in the case, there seems to be no doubt that this interference on the part of Great Britain was in violation of the spirit of the treaty which she was trying to uphold. In fact the point was apparently appreciated by her government; the marines were withdrawn, and in 1895 the matter was temporarily settled, but not beyond the possibility of revival, by the submission of the Mosquitoes to Nicaragua.
The agitation over the canal question did not, during this period, accomplish any definite result. The canal was not built, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty remained,
No progress and the United States had not even definitely changed its mind.
BLAINE, OLNEY, AND THE MONROE DOCTRINE 1
The development of our policy toward Spanish America during this period was, to 1892, almost entirely the work
of Blaine, whose handling of this subject Intervention in America to was comprehensive and constructive. The 1880
negative influence of the Monroe Doctrine in preserving the territorial integrity and independence of the free nations of our continents had undoubtedly been great, but the hope of Adams and Clay for a sympathetic union with them, accompanied by a leadership on our part, had not been realized. Great Britain had won and held the import trade, her rivals being France, Spain, and to an increasing extent Germany. The United States actually lost ground between 1860 and 1880, although she consumed more and more Brazilian coffee. The immigration of Germans into Brazil and of Italians into Argentina was laying a more substantial basis for influence than any we possessed.
The first part of Blaine's policy was developed under Garfield. He planned to have the United States assume the
position of sole mediator in the disputes conMediation between Europe tinually arising between the several American and America
powers, and between them and European powers. On this subject we had not previously taken a definite stand. In 1851 we had joined with France and Great Britain in mediating between Hayti and the Dominican Republic; and sometimes our representatives had acted in a mediating capacity, but more often those of France or Great Britain had done so.
Blaine's first opportunity appeared in the dispute between · Latané, Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Spanish America.