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The United States have always abstained from any questions of internal revolution in the State of Panama, or any other of the States of the United States of Colombia, and will continue to observe a perfect neutrality in such domestic controversies. In the case, however, that the transit trade across the Isthmus should suffer from an invasion from either domestic or foreign disturbances of the peace in the State of Panama, the United States will hold themselves ready to protect the same.
This rule of action for the United States was never questioned by any constituted authority whatever, until after Panama secured her independence, and had not Commander Hubbard followed it, with or without instructions, he would have been derelict in his duty and liable to court martial.
To meet some of the fallacious arguments that have been made to demonstrate that the Government of the United States took an unfair, if not illegal, attitude against Colombia during the insurrection which brought about the independence of Panama, it may be said, in the significant words of Mr. Seward, in his letter of November 9, 1865, heretofore quoted in this article, that “It could not have been contemplated that we were to become a party to any civil war in that country by defending the Isthmus against another party,” for Judge Guger, the Consul General of the United States at Panama when the insurrection took place, and the only official outside of his staff empowered to act for his government up to the time of the arrival of the Nashville at Colon, told me when I was on a visit to Panama in March 1912, that his office was entirely unconscious of any real trouble taking place at the time it occurred. There were, to be sure, rumors flying around of a possibility of a revolution taking place, but as this simply represented the normal condition of affairs in Colombia, where for over fifty years before an average of nearly one political disturbance had taken place annually, no particular attention was paid to the reports then rife. The Consul General himself had left the Isthmus a short time before the insurrection broke out and was in the United States on his annual leave of absence. He naturally would not have been away from his post at such a time had he expected anything of serious moment to occur during his absence.
It seems from the Consul General's statement that his deputy, his own son, who was left in charge of the office, at about noon of the eventful day, November 2, 1903, received a telegram from the Secretary of State, asking if accounts of an uprising at Panama published in the New York papers on the morning of that date were correct. As no information relating to the affair had come to his knowledge, he proceeded to make an investigation, and meeting in the streets of Panama a friend whom he thought might know about it, he inquired and was told, in apparent confidence, that a proclamation declaring the independence of the Republic of Panama would take place at six o'clock that evening, which was done on schedule time. The Deputy Consul General sent a cable report of what he had learned to the State Department at about 4 P. M., but it was not received in Washington until 9 P. M. of the same day. This was the first real authoritative knowledge the government had of the revolution at Panama, and steps were at once taken to carry out the traditional policy in such matters.
It is undoubtedly true that private parties in New York and elsewhere did assist the revolting subjects of Colombia in their efforts to secure their independence from a government which had bled the people of Panama for years, and from which they had repeatedly attempted to secure the freedom authorized by the constitution of the country. Until open war broke out between the contending parties, and a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States calling for the neutrality of the nation in the strife, our people had as much right to extend their sympathy and send munitions of war to the revolting State of Panama, as the people of France had to do the same during the war for American independence. It could as well be said that Lafayette was debarred from enlisting in the just cause of our forefathers, as to say that M. Bunau-Varilla and his confreres, for instance, might not take up the equally just claim of the Panamanians to be free from a control that was sapping the very vitality of the state. International law and usage lends its support to this view, and the history of the country is so replete with precedents for such acts as may have been committed that no argument is needed to establish the legality of this right of a free people.
It is not necessary to recite all the events which followed the insurrection at Panama to meet the purpose of this paper. Its object will have been fulfilled if it has been shown that every act of the United States Government, relating to the “taking of Panama," was done in strict accordance with its “traditional policy,” agreed to by Colombia, as well as in accord with the law of nations; and that the Panama Canal would never have been constructed but for the prompt, energetic and legal action of President Roosevelt, in securing a workable contract with the Republic of Panama, making possible the practical solution of that stupendous dream of the ages--the cutting through by this narrow thread of water, of the two great continents of the western world.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE NEW GERMAN LAW OF
Among the most noteworthy phenomena of modern times are the extensive exploitation of new and thinly settled countries by citizens of countries older and more thoroughly developed, and the vast increase in international trade. These movements are, of course, due largely to the improved facilities for travel and communication, which have brought nations together and made their interests coincide in a way and to an extent unknown to former generations. One of the resulting problems is the question as to the attitude which a given country is to take towards its citizens who have settled permanently in foreign lands, without any definite intention of obtaining naturalization as citizens thereof, and particularly whether it is to undertake to extend its protection to them, and, if so, to what extent.
In considering this question, it is obviously important to bear in mind the fact that persons residing in foreign lands to a great extent stimulate trade with their own country, not only by acting as commercial agents, but also by purchasing its products for their own use, and thereby, consciously or unconsciously, advertising them. Sometimes, perhaps, a country may be influenced by the political expediency of having large numbers of its citizens established in certain foreign countries. Viewing these phases of the matter, it may appear advantageous to any country to retain the allegiance of its citizens residing abroad as long as possible, and to cover them with its protection as far as possible. On the other hand, governments are confronted with the practical difficulty of extending a protection which is real, and not merely nominal, to citizens who have established themselves in foreign lands in large numbers, especially when conditions therein are unsettled. Moreover, assuming that protection by a country should be reciprocated by the performance of the ordinary duties of citizenship to that country, the right of persons permanently residing abroad to claim its protection becomes shadowy, to
say the least, unless, indeed, they are acting as actual representatives of commercial or other concerns in their country of origin. As a general principle it may be said that all persons should perform civic and political duties to some country, and when persons migrate in large numbers to a foreign land, to reside there indefinitely and avail themselves of its resources as far as possible, but fail to acquire its nationality or take a reasonable and responsible part in carrying on its government, an anomalous condition ensues, giving rise to difficult questions, for which municipal laws and international agreements have not as yet furnished a satisfactory solution.
As bearing upon the serious problems just mentioned, the new German law of nationality,' which went into effect January 1, 1914, is of much interest, especially as it contains some striking innovations.
The most important features of this law are the abandonment of the provision of the old law of nationality that residence abroad of ten years results in the loss of German nationality, and the introduction of a quite novel provision, according to which Germans residing in foreign countries may retain their German nationality, under certain conditions, after obtaining naturalization as citizens of such countries. This seems to carry the principle of dual nationality further than it has ever been carried before.
The abrogation of Section 21 of the old law is supplemented by the provision of Section 13 of the new, under which persons who have already lost the German nationality by residence abroad of ten years may, without returning to Germany, resume their original nationality.
The principle underlying these changes is thus expressed by Delius:
Section 13 aims to facilitate as far as possible the reinstatement of lost members of our population as citizens again. The Federal State may (not must), accordingly, renaturalize its former citizens, their descendants, etc., who have not resumed their residence in Germany. In contrast to the citizens of other countries Germans are not in the habit, after they have established themselves abroad, of returning permanently to their homes. Reference is made especially to representatives of commerce, to members of the German communities in Palestine, to missionaries, and in general to persons who by being especially active in
1 Printed in the SUPPLEMENT to this JOURNAL, page 217. 2 Law of June 1, 1870, $ 21.