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Article VIII. of the CLAYTON-BULWER Treaty provides that through treaty stipulation the high contracting parties agree to extend their protection to other routes. But no such treaty stipulations were entered into and the general reciprocal conditions given us through the treaty of 1846 held in 1850 and hold to-day, and have never been impaired in any way by the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty and this fact cannot be denied by any one familiar with the interpretation of treaties and the history of international relations.
We have since the adoption of the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty entered into a treaty with Panama extending certain special privileges to Panama. Great Britain following her own precedents must recognize our right to extend certain privileges to Panama in return for concessions received by us in Panama. No one familiar with the ordinary construction of the law of nations will assert that the favored nation clause of our treaties prevents one nation from granting special considerations to another provided other considerations are given in return. We held an easement on the Isthmus which has been converted into a fee simple title and other treaties cannot affect our rights so given unless there is a definite acceptance of modification by ourselves and Panama.
Senator Root will certainly admit this point for he negotiated a treaty between Colombia, Panama and the United States extending certain special reciprocal rights to these nations. He was wrong then or is wrong now. And how can Great Britain admit our rights in this respect and expect recognition of her claim that under rule one her vessels should under ordinary traffic conditions of peace use the canal on terms of entire equality with our own vessels?
Senator Root endeavors to avoid his manifest inconsistency by going back to the CLAYTON-Bulwer Treaty for an argument.
pretends to find it in Article VIII.
The entire CLAYTON-Bulwer Treaty talks of equal treatment owing to the fact that equal obligations were incurred in affording protection and in guaranteeing neutrality. In other words, two powerful nations prescribing conditions to hold in weaker states were taking good care that neither got any advantage over the other in the strategy of trade.
By Articles II. and V. of the CLAYTON-Bulwer Convention the two governments provide for the building of a particular canal, the eastern terminus of which is fixed, its protection and neutrality, and invite other nations to co-operate. Through protection they guarantee neutrality. But in Article VIII. we find two conditions covered separately in the two paragraphs of that Article. One is that the joint protection by which neutrality is secured in the particular canal mentioned in the treaty as a particular object is to be extended as a general principle by treaty stipulation to other routes. In the second paragraph it is said that if the two countries extend their joint protection to other routes by treaty stipulation, such routes shall be open to the two countries on equal terms.
Now the first treaty did extend such joint protection, as the two
countries jointly adopted certain rules and the CLAYTON-BULWER Treaty was not superseded, but this adroit attempt to profit from our great work was defeated by a patriotic Senate.
As provided by the CLAYTON-BULWER Convention the canal specified to run through Nicaragua was to be neutralized by the two countries jointly: they were to join in the burdens; they were to join in the protection; and they were to join hand in hand in controlling the canal and in seeing that all nations of the world did bave exactly the same treatment.
This partnership control has been definitely and entirely changed. The correspondence in which MR. HAY and MR. CHOATE joined, and which is now public proves beyond question that Great Britain understood this and acted in complete accord with such understanding.
We have two principles covered by Article VII). “neutiality" and "equality of treatment.” Equality of treatment was the result of a joint assumption of burden and responsibility yet we find the Tory convention to be that since a certain privilege was obtained through joining in protection this privilege must continue even though Great Britain is relieved from this expensive and burdensome responsibility. That is to say our rights are to be limited or destroyed by implication.
But happily the wording of the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty is clear upon this point. Is it equal treatment or neutrality that is carried over from Article VIII.?
The preamble to the articles of the treaty says that the treaty is secured without impairing the general principle of neutralization established in Article VIII. Rule 1 of Article III. says that the United States adopts as the basis of neutralization certain rules substantially as embodied in the Suez Treaty. And further light is thrown upon the matter by the fact that in modifying the Suez rules only such parts as provided for neutralization were retained and all references to "equal treatment” thrown out.
But Great Britain says with Tory acclaim that so long as she has no protection to give that neutrality secured by protection becomes the same as equal treatment since both are mentioned in the same article. This is about as logical as saying that a chicken if placed in a goose's coop becomes a goose.
But why in fair discussion do I find always a reading of one rule of one article without mention of the preamble defining the real object of such rule and why are all the rest of the rules ignored ?
Article III. means just what it says and dropping "in peace and in war” from the rules con fines these rules to neutralization and neutral conditions hold only during war.
Even if Article III. stood alone it would have the exact meaning I have given to it as it is clearly a favored nation expression. To accept Senator Roor's contention we must ignore Article II. which is not qualified but stands out strong, virile and unambiguous.
Why do the Tory advocates ignore its clear provisions, and always read one rule which they intentionally submit as Article III. when it is not? Article II. says:
“ The said Government shall have and enjoy all the rights incident to construction, as well as the exclusive right of providing for the regulation and management of the Canal."
Is there anything doubtful in these words or their application ? Why mention rights incident to construction if we are to enjoy no rights not participated in by any other nation? Certainly the most important right that comes to our mind in the use of the Canal, is the particular right of sailing it with our ships.
In limited time I can touch only on points presented. But if we examine the treaty with Panama giving special privileges to Panamanian vessels, if you follow the treaty drawn by Senator Root himself in favor of Panama and Colombia giving special favors to those two countries while he now declares we cannot claim such treatment for ourselves, you will realize the absurdity of his present stand.
We have adopted rules to insure the neutrality of the Canal. These rules are such that other nations must obey them if they would use the Canal. Their meaning is that we shall not play favorites in time of war by extending any special treatment or privileges to one belligerent as against another, either by hindering or delaying his vessels of war or interfering with his vessels of commerce.
The Tory argument is simply an attempt to prove that “neutralization” is “equal treatment,” and that cannot be proven. [Applause.]
THE PRESIDENT.—The opposition has taken eight additional minutes, and it is therefore right that those who favor the report of the committee should have the eight minutes additional, if they wish.
REMARKS OF JACOB H. SCHIFF, ESQ.
MR. SCHIFF.—Mr. President, fellow members: I did not intend to address the Chamber, indeed I expected to be out of town to-day and had excused myself from being present, but it occurred to me, that something might possibly be said in reference to the action the Chamber took at the December meeting upon my motion, and because of this I felt that I ought to come here to-day under all circumstances. I am therefore not surprised at Mr. Douglas' remarks, as far as these have referred to me, and I can assure him that I have no desire to be inconsistent. I have been asked by the President to limit my remarks, and I shall therefore only say this: When I seek legal advice in my own affairs I go to the best authority available. In a matter like that now before us—the construction of an international treaty-it will not be denied, no higher authorities can be found than Senator Roor and MR. CHOATE, and when these men tell us we are on the point of violating the HaY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty, this should be conclusive. I am afraid the danger is great that we shall be forcing our action on the theory of “my country right or wrong," and that, because we are mighty, we can defy what is right and honorable. If at the December meeting, I moved, and carried the notion, to table both MR. Nixon's proposed resolution, endorsing the action of Congress and that of the President, together with the adverse report of Mr. Ring's committee upon Mr. Nixon's resolution, this was done, as I then expressed it, because it ought not to appear before the Hague Tribunal—if we should be brought there—that the most important commercial body in the United States is in opposition upon this question to its own government. But the present motion and the report of the Ring Committee before us to-day are something entirely different. What is now proposed to be done is to petition Congress to change legislation, which we believe to have been hastily enacted, by adopting Senator Roor's proposed amendment to the Panama Canal Administration Act. The right of petitioning the legislative body has always been and remains the first and highest privilege of American citizens, and I can therefore see nothing inconsistent in supporting—as I propose to do—the report of the commit
THE PRESIDENT.—The Chairman of the Committee will close the debate.
REMARKS OF WELDING RING, ESQ.
MR. Ring.I do not see what could be said in addition to what MR. CHOATE has already said to us. Every one present must have been pleased with the address of MR. CHOATE, whether he is for or against the motion and report of the committee. I believe the members of the Chamber have fully made up their minds, and decided how they will vote on the committee's report and resolution.
I desire, however, to point out that the resolution which was tabled at a previous meeting was entirely different from the one now before the Chamber. The resolution introduced by Mr. Nixon, was an endorsement of the President's action, in signing the Panama Canal Bill. After discussion that was laid upon the table by a decisive vote.
The present report and resolution refers to Senator Root's bill, to repeal the free toll clauses of the Panama Canal Bill, and the committee favors the endorsement of the bill.
If we can judge by statements in the public press and from the platform, there has been a marked change in sentiment since the Panama Bill was passed. With but few exceptions, the entire press of the country is opposed to any discrimination of any nature, and scarcely a prominent man has advocated it. The almost universal feeling is, that the Panama Canal Bill was a most unwise one, discreditable to this country, and unfair to the country with which we had executed the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty.
There are no degrees of honesty or dishonesty, either in business or in public matters. It must be either one or the other. No sophistry or argument can read into the treaty anything that is not clearly stated in its provisions. We cannot go back of the plain English of the treaty, so plain that every one of intelligence can understand its real meaning and intent, although some would try to twist or distort it to their seeming advantage. Because at the time the treaty was signed, conditions that now seem to exist were not foreseen, is no reason why we should try to inject them for our own advantage.
This Chamber has always stood for the right in every case, no matter who might profit or suffer. Its record is a high and unimpeachable one, full of honor and glory, for nearly a century and a half, and I am confident it will not mar that record.
We have always advocated arbitration in the settlement of differences and disputes, but I do not believe there is a mercbant among our membership, who would be willing to submit the question of free tolls to our Arbitration Committee, and expect anything but an adverse decision.
The honor of this country is involved, and the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York will, I believe, stand where it has always stood, for honesty and righteousness.
· For right is right as God is just, and right to-day will win ; To doubt would be disloyalty, to falter would be sin.”
Mr. President, I move the adoption of the report and the resolution. [Applause.]
MR. SCHIFF.-I second the motion.
MR. DOUGLAS.—I understand the debate is closed, and I wish to move, that the resolution of the committee shall be laid on the table.
Mr. John H. WOOD.-I second that motion.
The motion was put and lost.
THE PRESIDENT.—The question now is on the report of the committee.
MR. EDWARD D. PAGE.—I ask for a rising vote.
A standing vote was then taken.
THE PRESIDENT.—The resolution is carried, only six or seven opposing it.
The Chamber then adjourned.