January 8, 1906: Message Regarding Panama Canal

President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the following speech on January 8, 1906.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I inclose herewith the annual report of the Isthmian Canal Commission, the annual report of the Panama Railroad Company and the Secretary of War’s letter transmitting the same, together with certain papers.

The work on the isthmus is being admirably done, and great progress has been made, especially during the last nine months. The plant is being made ready and the organization perfected. The first work to be done was the work of sanitation, the necessary preliminary to the work of actual construction; and this has been pushed forward with the utmost energy and means. In a short while I shall lay before you the recommendations of the commission and of the board of consulting engineers as to the proper plan to be adopted for the canal itself, together with my own recommendations thereon. All the work so far has been done, not only with the utmost expedition, but in the most careful and thorough manner, and what has been accomplished gives us good reason to believe that the canal will be dug in a shorter time than has been anticipated and at an expenditure within the estimated amount. All our citizens have a right to congratulate themselves upon the high standard of efficiency and integrity which has been hitherto maintained by the representatives of the government in doing this great work. If this high standard of efficiency and integrity can be maintained in the future at the same level which it has now reached, the construction of the Panama canal will be one of the feats to which the people of this republic will look back with the highest pride.

From time to time various publications have been made, and from time to time in the future various similar publications doubtless will be made, purporting to give an account of jobbery, or immorality, or inefficiency, or misery, as obtaining on the isthmus. I have carefully examined into each of these accusations which seemed worthy of attention. In every instance the accusations have proved to be without foundation in any shape or form. They spring from several sources. Sometimes they take the shape of statements by irresponsible investigators of a sensational habit of mind, incapable of observing or repeating with accuracy what they see, and desirous of obtaining notoriety by widespread slander. More often they originate with, or are given currency by, individuals with a personal grievance. The sensation-mongers, both those who stay at home and those who visit the isthmus, may ground their accusations on false statements by some engineer, who having applied for service on the commission and been refused such service, now endeavors to discredit his successful competitors; or by some lessee or owner of real estate who has sought action, or inaction by the commission to increase the value of his lots, and is bitter because the commission cannot be used for such purposes; or on the tales of disappointed bidders for contracts; or of office holders who have proved incompetent or who have been suspected of corruption and dismissed, or who have been overcome by panic and have fled from the isthmus. Every specific charge relating to jobbery, to immorality or to inefficiency, from whatever source it has come, has been immediately investigated, and in no single instance have the statements of these sensation-mongers and the interested complainants behind them proved true. The only discredit inhering in these false accusations is to those who originate and give them currency, and who, to the extent of their abilities, thereby hamper and obstruct the completion of the great work in which both the honor and the interest of America are so deeply involved. It matters not whether those guilty of these false accusations utter them in mere wanton recklessness and folly or in spirit of sinister malice to gratify some personal or political grudge.

Any attempt to cut down the salaries of the officials of the Isthmian Commission or of their subordinates who are doing important work would be ruinous from the standpoint of accomplishing the work effectively. To quote the words of one of the best observers on the isthmus: “Demoralization of the service is certain if the reward for successful endeavor is a reduction of pay.” We are undertaking in Panama a gigantic task–the largest piece of engineering ever done. The employment of the men engaged thereon is only temporary, and yet it will require the highest order of ability if it is to be done economically, honestly and efficiently. To attempt to secure men to do this work on insufficient salaries would amount to putting a premium upon inefficiency and corruption. Men fit for the work will not undertake it unless they are well paid. In the end the men who do undertake it will be left to seek other employment with, as their chief reward, the reputations they achieve. Their work is infinitely more difficult than any private work, both because of the peculiar conditions of the tropical land in which it is laid and because it is impossible to free them from the peculiar limitations inseparably connected with government employment; while it is unfortunately true that men engaged in public work, no matter how devoted and disinterested their services, must expect to be made the objects of misrepresentation and attack. At best, therefore, the positions are not attractive in proportion to their importance, and among the men fit to do the task only those with a genuine sense of public spirit and eager to do the great work for the work’s sake can be obtained, and such men cannot be kept if they are to be treated with niggardliness and parsimony, in addition to the certainty that false accusations will continually be brought against them.

I repeat that the work on the isthmus has been done and is being done admirably. The organization is good. The mistakes are extraordinarily few, and these few have been of practically no consequence. The zeal, intelligence and efficient public service of the Isthmian Commission and its subordinates have been noteworthy. I court the fullest, most exhaustive and most searching investigation of any act of theirs, and if any one of them is ever shown to have done wrong his punishment shall be exemplary. But I ask that they be decently paid and that their hands be upheld as long as they act decently. On any other conditions we shall not be able to get men of the right type to do the work, and this means that on any other condition we shall insure, if not failure, at least delay, scandal and inefficiency in the task of digging the giant canal.

December 7, 1903: Message Regarding Treaty with Panama

President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the following speech on December 7, 1903.

To the Senate:

I transmit for the advice and consent of the Senate to its ratification a convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Panama for the construction of a ship canal, etc., to connect the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, signed on November 18, 1903.

I also inclose a report from the Secretary of State submitting the convention for my consideration.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington , November 19, 1903.

THE PRESIDENT:

The undersigned, Secretary of State, has the honor to lay before the President for his consideration, and, if his judgment approve thereof, for submission to the Senate, with a view to receiving the advice and consent of that body to its ratification, a convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Panama for the construction of a ship canal, etc., to connect the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, signed by the respective plenipotentiaries of the two countries on November 18, 1903.
Respectfully submitted,
JOHN HAY.

ISTHMIAN CANAL CONVENTION.

The United States of America and the Republic of Panama being desirous to insure the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Congress of the United States of America having passed an act approved June 28, 1902, in furtherance of that object, by which the President of the United States is authorized to acquire within a reasonable time the control of the necessary territory of the Republic of Colombia, and the sovereignty of such territory being actually vested in the Republic of Panama, the high contracting parties have resolved for that purpose to conclude a convention, and have accordingly appointed as their plenipotentiaries–
The President of the United States of America, John Hay, Secretary of State, and
The Government of the Republic of Panama, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama, thereunto specially empowered by said Government, who, after communicating with each other their respective full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles:

ARTICLE I.

The United States guarantees and will maintain the independence of the Republic of Panama.

ARTICLE II.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation and control of a zone of land and land under water for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of said canal of the width of 10 miles, extending to the distance of 5 miles on each side of the center line of the route of the canal to be constructed, the said zone beginning in the Caribbean Sea 3 marine miles from mean low-water mark and extending to and across the Isthmus of Panama into the Pacific Ocean to a distance of 3 marine miles from mean low-water mark, with the proviso that the cities of Panama and Colon and the harbors adjacent to said cities, which are included within the boundaries of the zone above described, shall not be included within this grant.

The Republic of Panama further grants to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation, and control of any other lands and waters outside of the zone above described which may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the said canal or of any auxiliary canals or other works necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the said enterprise.

The Republic of Panama further grants in like manner to the United States in perpetuity all islands within the limits of the zone above described and in addition thereto the group of small islands in the Bay of Panama, named Perico, Naos, Culebra, and Flamenco.

ARTICLE III.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States all the rights, power, and authority within the zone mentioned and described in Article II of this agreement and within the limits of all auxiliary lands and waters mentioned and described in said Article II which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign of the territory within which said lands and waters are located to the entire exclusion of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any sovereign rights, power, or authority.

ARTICLE IV.

As rights subsidiary to the above grants the Republic of Panama grants in perpetuity to the United States the right to use the rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water within its limits for navigation, the supply of water or water power, or other purposes, so far as the use of said rivers, streams, lakes, and bodies of water and the waters thereof may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the said canal.

ARTICLE V.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States in perpetuity a monopoly for the construction, maintenance, and operation of any system of communication by means of canal or railroad across its territory between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

ARTICLE VI.

The grants herein contained shall in no manner invalidate the titles or rights of private land holders or owners of private property in the said zone or in or to any of the lands or waters granted to the United States by the provisions of any article of this treaty, nor shall they interfere with the rights of way over the public roads passing through the said zone or over any of the said lands or waters unless said rights of way or private rights shall conflict with rights herein granted to the United States, in which case the rights of the United States shall be superior.

All damages caused to the owners of private lands or private property of any kind by reason of the grants contained in this treaty or by reason of the operations of the United States, its agents or employees, or by reason of the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the said canal or of the works of sanitation and protection herein provided for, shall be appraised and settled by a joint commission appointed by the Governments of the United States and of the Republic of Panama, whose decisions as to such damages shall be final, and whose awards as to such damages shall be paid solely by the United States. No part of the work on said canal or the Panama Railroad or on any auxiliary works relating thereto and authorized by the terms of this treaty shall be prevented, delayed, or impeded by or pending such proceedings to ascertain such damages. The appraisal of said private lands and private property and the assessment of damages to them shall be based upon their value before the date of this convention.

ARTICLE VII.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States within the limits of the cities of Panama and Colon and their adjacent harbors and within the territory adjacent thereto the right to acquire, by purchase or by the exercise of the right of eminent domain, any lands, buildings, water rights, or other properties necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, and protection of the canal and of any works of sanitation, such as the collection and disposition of sewage and the distribution of water in the said cities of Panama and Colon, which, in the discretion of the United States, may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the said canal and railroad.

All such works of sanitation, collection, and disposition of sewage and distribution of water in the cities of Panama and Colon shall be made at the expense of the United States, and the Government of the United States, its agents or nominees, shall be authorized to impose and collect water rates and sewerage rates which shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of interest and the amortization of the principal of the cost of said works within a period of fifty years, and upon the expiration of said term of fifty years the system of sewers and waterworks shall revert to and become the properties of the cities of Panama and Colon, respectively, and the use of the water shall be free to the inhabitants of Panama and Colon, except to the extent that water rates may be necessary for the operation and maintenance of said system of sewers and waters.

The Republic of Panama agrees that the cities of Panama and Colon shall comply in perpetuity with the sanitary ordinances, whether of a preventive or curative character, prescribed by the United States, and in case the Government of Panama is unable or fails in its duty to enforce this compliance by the cities of Panama and Colon with the sanitary ordinances of the United States the Republic of Panama grants to the United States the right and authority to enforce the same.

The same right and authority are granted to the United States for the maintenance of public order in the cities of Panama and Colon and the territories and harbors adjacent thereto in case the Republic of Panama should not be, in the judgment of the United States, able to maintain such order.

ARTICLE VIII.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States all rights which it now has or hereafter may acquire to the property of the New Panama Canal Company and the Panama Railroad Company as a result of the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Colombia to the Republic of Panama over the Isthmus of Panama and authorizes the New Panama Canal Company to sell and transfer to the United States its rights, privileges, properties, and concessions, as well as the Panama Railroad, and all the shares, or part of the shares of that company; but the public lands situated outside of the zone described in Article II of this treaty, now included in the concessions to both said enterprises and not required in the construction or operation of the canal, shall revert to the Republic of Panama, except any property now owned by or in the possession of said companies within Panama or Colon or the ports or terminals thereof.

ARTICLE IX.

The United States agrees that the ports at either entrance of the canal and the waters thereof and the Republic of Panama agrees that the towns of Panama and Colon shall be free for all time, so that there shall not be imposed or collected custom-house tolls, tonnage, anchorage, light-house, wharf, pilot, or quarantine dues, or any other charges or taxes of any kind upon any vessel using or passing through the canal or belonging to or employed by the United States, directly or indirectly, in connection with the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the main canal, or auxiliary works, or upon the cargo, officers, crew, or passengers of any such vessels, except such tolls and charges as may be imposed by the United States for the use of the canal and other works, and except tolls and charges imposed by the Republic of Panama upon merchandise destined to be introduced for the consumption of the rest of the Republic of Panama, and upon vessels touching at the ports of Colon and Panama and which do not cross the canal.

The Government of the Republic of Panama shall have the right to establish in such ports and in the towns of Panama and Colon such houses and guards as it may be necessary to collect duties on importations destined to other portions of Panama and to prevent contraband trade. The United States shall have the right to make use of the towns and harbors of Panama and Colon as places of anchorage, and for making repairs, for loading, unloading, depositing, or transshipping cargoes either in transit or destined for the service of the canal and for other works pertaining to the canal.

ARTICLE X.

The Republic of Panama agrees that there shall not be imposed any taxes, national, municipal, departmental, or of any other class, upon the canal, the railways and auxiliary works, tugs and other vessels employed in the service of the canal, storehouses, workshops, offices, quarters for laborers, factories of all kinds, warehouses, wharves, machinery and other works, property, and effects appertaining to the canal or railroad and auxiliary works, or their officers or employees, situated within the cities of Panama and Colon, and that there shall not be imposed contributions or charges of a personal character of any kind upon officers, employees, laborers, and other individuals in the service of the canal and railroad and auxiliary works.

ARTICLE XI.

The United States agrees that the official dispatches of the Government of the Republic of Panama shall be transmitted over any telegraph and telephone lines established for canal purposes and used for public and private business at rates not higher than those required from officials in the service of the United States.

ARTICLE XII.

The Government of the Republic of Panama shall permit the immigration and free access to the lands and workshops of the canal and its auxiliary works of all employees and workmen of whatever nationality under contract to work upon or seeking employment upon or in any wise connected with the said canal and its auxiliary works, with their respective families, and all such persons shall be free and exempt from the military service of the Republic of Panama.

ARTICLE XIII.

The United States may import at any time into the said zone and auxiliary lands, free of custom duties, imposts, taxes, or other charges, and without any restrictions, any and all vessels, dredges, engines, cars, machinery, tools, explosives, materials, supplies, and other articles necessary and convenient in the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection of the canal and auxiliary works, and all provisions, medicines, clothing, supplies, and other things necessary and convenient for the officers, employees, workmen, and laborers in the service and employ of the United States and for their families. If any such articles are disposed of for use outside of the zone and auxiliary lands granted to the United States, and within the territory of the Republic, they shall be subject to the same import or other duties as like articles imported under the laws of the Republic of Panama.

ARTICLE XIV.

As the price or compensation for the rights, powers, and privileges granted in this convention by the Republic of Panama to the United States, the Government of the United States agrees to pay to the Republic of Panama the sum of $10,000,000 in gold coin of the United States on the exchange of the ratification of this convention, and also an annual payment during the life of this convention of $250,000 in like gold coin, beginning nine years after the date aforesaid.

The provisions of this article shall be in addition to all other benefits assure to the Republic of Panama under this convention.

But no delay or difference of opinion under this article or any other provisions of this treaty shall affect or interrupt the full operation and effect of this convention in all other respects.

ARTICLE XV.

The joint commission referred to in Article VI shall be established as follows:

The President of the United States shall nominate two persons and the President of the Republic of Panama shall nominate two persons and they shall proceed to a decision; but in case of disagreement of the commission (by reason of their being equally divided in conclusion) an umpire shall be appointed by the two Governments, who shall render the decision. In the event of the death, absence, or incapacity of a commissioner or umpire, or of his omitting, declining, or ceasing to act, his place shall be filled by the appointment of another person in the manner above indicated. All decisions by a majority of the commission or by the umpire shall be final.

ARTICLE XVI.

The two Governments shall make adequate provision by future agreement for the pursuit, capture, imprisonment, detention, and delivery within said zone and auxiliary lands to the authorities of the Republic of Panama of persons charged with the commitment of crimes, felonies, or misdemeanors without said zone, and for the pursuit, capture, imprisonment, detention, and delivery without said zone to the authorities of the United States of persons charged with the commitment of crimes, felonies, and misdemeanors within said zone and auxiliary lands.

ARTICLE XVII.

The Republic of Panama grants to the United States the use of all the ports of the Republic open to commerce as places of refuge for any vessels employed in the canal enterprise, and for all vessels passing or bound to pass through the canal which may be in distress and be driven to seek refuge in said ports. Such vessels shall be exempt from anchorage and tonnage dues on the part of the Republic of Panama.

ARTICLE XVIII.

The canal, when constructed, and the entrances thereto shall be neutral in perpetuity, and shall be opened upon the terms provided for by Section I of Article III of, and in conformity with all the stipulations of, the treaty entered into by the Governments of the United States and Great Britain on November 18, 1901.

ARTICLE XIX.

The Government of the Republic of Panama shall have the right to transport over the canal its vessels and its troops and munitions of war in such vessels at all times without paying charges of any kind. The exemption is to be extended to the auxiliary railway for the transportation of persons in the service of the Republic of Panama, or of the police force charged with the preservation of public order outside of said zone, as well as to their baggage, munitions of war, and supplies.

ARTICLE XX.

If by virtue of any existing treaty in relation to the territory of the Isthmus of Panama, whereof the obligations shall descend or be assumed by the Republic of Panama, there may be any privilege or concession in favor of the Government or the citizens and subjects of a third power relative to an interoceanic means of communication which in any of its terms may be incompatible with the terms of the present convention, the Republic of Panama agrees to cancel or modify such treaty in due form, for which purpose it shall give to the said third power the requisite notification within the term of four months from the date of the present convention, and in case the existing treaty contains no clause permitting its modification or annulment, the Republic of Panama agrees to procure its modification or annulment in such form that there shall not exist any conflict with the stipulations of the present convention.

ARTICLE XXI.

The rights and privileges granted by the Republic of Panama to the United States in the preceding articles are understood to be free of all anterior debts, liens, trusts, or liabilities, or concessions or privileges to other governments, corporations, syndicates, or individuals, and consequently, if there should arise any claims on account of the present concessions and privileges or otherwise, the claimants shall resort to the Government of the Republic of Panama and not to the United States for any indemnity or compromise which may be required.

ARTICLE XXII.

The Republic of Panama renounces and grants to the United States the participation to which it might be entitled in the future earnings of the canal under Article XV of the concessionary contract with Lucien N. B. Wyse now owned by the New Panama Canal Company and any and all other rights or claims of a pecuniary nature arising under or relating to said concession, or arising under or relating to the concessions to the Panama Railroad Company or any extension or modification thereof; and it likewise renounces, confirms, and grants to the United States, now and hereafter, all the rights and property reserved in the said concessions which otherwise would belong to Panama at or before the expiration of the terms of ninety-nine years of the concessions granted to or held by the above-mentioned party and companies, and all right, title and interest which it now has or may hereafter have, in and to the lands, canal, works, property, and rights held by the said companies under said concessions or otherwise, and acquired or to be acquired by the United States from or through the New Panama Canal Company, including any property and rights which might or may in the future, either by lapse of time, forfeiture, or otherwise, revert to the Republic of Panama under any contracts or concessions, with said Wyse, the Universal Panama Canal Company, the Panama Railroad Company, and the New Panama Canal Company.

The aforesaid rights and property shall be and are free and released from any present or revisionary interest in or claims of Panama, and the title of the United States thereto, upon consummation of the contemplated purchase by the United States from the New Panama Canal Company, shall be absolute, so far as concerns the Republic of Panama, excepting always the rights of the Republic specifically secured under this treaty.

ARTICLE XXIII.

If it should become necessary at any time to employ armed forces for the safety or protection of the canal, or of the ships that make use of the same, or the railways and auxiliary works, the United States shall have the right, at all times and in its discretion, to use its police and its land and naval forces or to establish fortifications for these purposes.

ARTICLE XXIV.

No change either in the Government or in the laws and treaties of the Republic of Panama shall, without the consent of the United States, affect any right of the United States under the present convention or under any treaty stipulation between the two countries that now exists or may hereafter exist touching the subject-matter of this convention.

If the Republic of Panama shall hereafter enter as a constituent into any other government or into any union or confederation of states, so as to merge her sovereignty or independence in such government, union, or confederation, the rights of the United States under this convention shall not be in any respect lessened or impaired.

ARTICLE XXV.

For the better performance of the engagements of this convention and to the end of the efficient protection of the canal and the preservation of its neutrality, the Government of the Republic of Panama will sell or lease to the United States lands adequate and necessary for naval or coaling stations on the Pacific coast and on the western Caribbean coast of the Republic at certain points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States.

ARTICLE XXVI.

This convention when signed by the plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties shall be ratified by the respective Governments, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington at the earliest date possible.
In faith whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the present convention in duplicate and have hereunto affixed their respective seals.
Done at the city of Washington, the 18th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1903.

JOHN HAY.

P. BUNAU-VARILLA.

December 17, 1906: Message Regarding Conditions in Panama

President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the following message on December 17, 1906.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

In the month of November I visited the Isthmus of Panama, going over the Canal Zone with considerable care; and also visited the cities of Panama and Colon, which are not in the Zone or under the United States flag, but as to which the United States Government, through its agents, exercises control for certain sanitary purposes.

The U. S. S. Louisiana, on which I was, anchored off Colon about half past two on Wednesday afternoon, November 14. I came aboard her, after my stay on shore, at about half past 9 on Saturday evening, November 17. On Wednesday afternoon and evening I received the President of Panama and his suite, and saw members of the Canal Commission, and various other gentlemen, perfecting the arrangement for my visit, so that every hour that I was ashore could be employed to advantage. I was three days ashore–not a sufficient length of time to allow of an exhaustive investigation of the minutiae of the work of any single department, still less to pass judgment on the engineering problems, but enough to enable me to get a clear idea of the salient features of the great work and of the progress that has been made as regards the sanitation of the Zone, Colon, and Panama, the caring for and housing of the employees, and the actual digging of the canal. The Zone is a narrow strip of land, and it can be inspected much as one can inspect 50 or 60 miles of a great railroad, at the point where it rims through mountains or overcomes other national obstacles.

I chose the month of November for my visit partly because it is the rainiest month of the year, the month in which the work goes forward at the greatest disadvantage, and one of the two months which the medical department of the French Canal Company found most unhealthy.

Immediately after anchoring on the afternoon of Wednesday there was a violent storm of wind and rain. From that time we did not again see the sun until Saturday morning, the rain continuing almost steadily, but varying from a fine drizzle to a torrential downpour. During that time in fifteen minutes at Cristobal 1.05 inches of rain fell; from 1 to 3 A. M., November 16, 3.2 inches fell; for the twenty-four hours ending noon, November 16, 4.68 inches fell, and for the six days ending noon, November 16, 10.24 inches fell. The Changes rose in flood to a greater height than it had attained during the last fifteen years, tearing out the track in one place. It would have been impossible to see the work going on under more unfavorable weather conditions. On Saturday, November 17, the sun shone now and then for a few minutes, although the day was generally overcast and there were heavy showers at intervals.

On Thursday morning we landed at about half past seven and went slowly over the line of the Panama Railway, ending with an expedition in a tug at the Pacific entrance of the canal out to the islands where the dredging for the canal will cease. We took our dinner at one of the eating houses furnished by the Commission for the use of the Government employees–no warning of our coming being given. I inspected the Ancon Hospital, going through various wards both for white patients and for colored patients. I inspected portions of the constabulary (Zone police), examining the men individually. I also examined certain of the schools and saw the school children, both white and colored, speaking with certain of the teachers. In the afternoon of this day I was formally received in Panama by President Amador, who, together with the Government and all the people of Panama, treated me with the most considerate courtesy, for which I hereby extend my most earnest thanks. I was driven through Panama and in a public square was formally received and welcomed by the President and other members of the Government; and in the evening I attended a dinner given by the President, and a reception, which was also a Government function. I also drove through the streets of Panama for the purpose of observing what had been done. We slept at the Hotel Tivoli, at Ancon, which is on a hill directly outside of the city of Panama, but in the Zone.

On Friday morning we left the hotel at 7 o’clock and spent the entire day going through the Culebra cut–the spot in which most work will have to be done in any event. We watched the different steam shovels working; we saw the drilling and blasting; we saw many of the dirt trains (of the two different types used), both carrying the earth away from the steam shovels and depositing it on the dumps–some of the dumps being run out in the jungle merely to get rid of the earth, while in other cases they are being used for double-tracking the railway, and in preparing to build the great dams. I visited many of the different villages, inspecting thoroughly many different buildings–the local receiving hospitals, the houses in which the unmarried white workmen live, those in which the unmarried colored workmen live; also the quarters of the white married employees and of the married colored employees; as well as the commissary stores, the bath houses, the water-closets, the cook sheds for the colored laborers, and the Government canteens, or hotels, at which most of the white employees take their meals. I went through the machine shops. During the day I talked with scores of different men–superintendents and heads of departments, divisions, and bureaus; steam-shovel men, machinists, conductors, engineers, clerks, wives of the American employees, health officers, colored laborers, colored attendants, and managers of the commissary stores where food is sold to the colored laborers; wives of the colored employees who are married. In the evening I had an interview with the British consul, Mr. Mallet, a gentleman who for many years has well and honorably represented the British Government on the Isthmus of Panama and who has a peculiar relation to our work because the bulk of the colored laborers come from the British West Indies. I also saw the French consul, Mr. Gey, a gentleman of equally long service and honorable record. I saw the lieutenants, the chief executive and administrative officers, under the engineering and sanitary departments. I also saw and had long talks with two deputations–one of machinists and one representing the railway men of the dirt trains–listening to what they had to say as to the rate of pay and various other matters and going over, as much in detail as possible, all the different questions they brought up. As to some matters I was able to meet their wishes; as to others, I felt that what they requested could not be done consistently with my duty to the United States Government as a whole; as to yet others I reserved judgment.

On Saturday morning we started at 8 o’clock from the hotel. We went through the Culebra cut, stopping off to see the marines, and also to investigate certain towns; one, of white employees, as to which in certain respects complaint had been made to me; and another town where I wanted to see certain houses of the colored employees. We went over the site of the proposed Gatun dam, having on the first day inspected the sites of the proposed La Boca and Sosa dams. We went out on a little toy railway to the reservoir, which had been built to supply the people of Colon with water for their houses. There we took lunch at the engineers’ mess. We then went through the stores and shops of Cristobal, inspecting carefully the houses of both the white and colored employees, married and unmarried, together with the other buildings. We then went to Colon and saw the fire department at work; in four minutes from the signal the engines had come down to Front street, and twenty-one 2 1/2-inch hose pipes were raising streams of water about 75 feet high. We rode about Colon, through the various streets, paved, unpaved, and in process of paving, looking at the ditches, sewers, curbing, and the lights. I then went over the Colon hospital in order to compare it with the temporary town or field receiving hospitals which I had already seen and inspected. I also inspected some of the dwellings of the employees. In the evening I attended a reception given by the American employees on the Isthmus, which took place on one of the docks in Colon, and from there went aboard the Louisiana.

Each day from twelve to eighteen hours were spent in going over and inspecting all there was to be seen, and in examining various employees. Throughout my trip I was accompanied by the Surgeon-General of the Navy, Dr. Rixey; by the Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission, Mr. Shonts; by Chief Engineer Stevens; by Dr. Gorgas, the chief sanitary officer of the Commission; by Mr. Bishop, the Secretary of the Commission; by Mr. Ripley, the Principal Assistant Engineer; by Mr. Jackson Smith, who has had practical charge of collecting and handling the laboring force; by Mr. Bierd, general manager of the railway, and by Mr. Rogers, the general counsel of the Commission; and many other officials joined us from time to time.

At the outset I wish to pay a tribute to the amount of work done by the French Canal Company under very difficult circumstances. Many of the buildings they put up were excellent and are still in use, though, naturally, the houses are now getting out of repair and are being used as dwellings only until other houses can be built, and much of the work they did in the Culebra cut, and some of the work they did in digging has been of direct and real benefit. This country has never made a better investment than the $40,000,000 which it paid to the French Company for work and betterments, including especially the Panama Railroad.

An inspection on the ground at the height of the rainy season served to convince me of the wisdom of Congress in refusing to adopt either a high-level or a sea-level canal. There seems to be a universal agreement among all people competent to judge that the Panama route, the one actually chosen, is much superior to both the Nicaragua and Darien routes.

The wisdom of the canal management has been shown in nothing more clearly than in the way in which the foundations of the work have been laid. To have yielded to the natural impatience of ill-informed outsiders and begun all kinds of experiments in work prior to a thorough sanitation of the Isthmus, and to a fairly satisfactory working out of the problem of getting and keeping a sufficient labor supply, would have been disastrous. The various preliminary measures had to be taken first; and these could not be taken so as to allow us to begin the real work of construction prior to January 1 of the present year. It then became necessary to have the type of the canal decided, and the only delay has been the necessary delay until the 29th day of June, the date when the Congress definitely and wisely settled that we should have an 85-foot level canal. Immediately after that the work began in hard earnest and has been continued with increasing vigor ever since; and it will continue so to progress in the future. When the contracts are let the conditions will be such as to insure a constantly increasing amount of performance.

The first great problem to be solved, upon the solution of which the success of the rest of the work depended, was the problem of sanitation. This was from the outset under the direction of Dr. W. C. Gorgas, who is to be made a full member of the Commission. It must be remembered that his work was not mere sanitation as the term is understood in our ordinary municipal work. Throughout the Zone and in the two cities of Panama and Colon, in addition to the sanitation work proper, he has had to do all the work that the Marine-Hospital Service does as regards the Nation, that the health department officers do in the various States and cities, and that Colonel Waring did in New York when he cleaned its streets. The results have been astounding. The Isthmus had been a by-word for deadly unhealthfulness. Now, after two years of our occupation the conditions as regards sickness and the death rate compare favorably with reasonably healthy localities in the United States. Especial care has been devoted to minimizing the risk due to the presence of those species of mosquitoes which have been found to propagate malarial and yellow fevers. In all the settlements, the little temporary towns or cities composed of the white and black employees, which grow up here and there in the tropic jungle as the needs of the work dictate, the utmost care is exercised to keep the conditions healthy. Everywhere are to be seen the drainage ditches which in removing the water have removed the breeding places of the mosquitoes, while the whole jungle is cut away for a considerable space around the habitations, thus destroying the places in which the mosquitoes take shelter. These drainage ditches and clearings are in evidence in every settlement, and, together with the invariable presence of mosquito screens around the piazzas, and of mosquito doors to the houses, not to speak of the careful fumigation that has gone on in all infected houses, doubtless explain the extraordinary absence of mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, but a single mosquito, and this not of the dangerous species, was seen by any member of our party during my three days on the Isthmus. Equal care is taken by the inspectors of the health department to secure cleanliness in the houses and proper hygienic conditions of every kind. I inspected between twenty and thirty water-closets, both those used by the white employees and those used by the colored laborers. In almost every case I found the conditions perfect. In but one case did I find them really bad. In this case, affecting a settlement of unmarried white employees, I found them very bad indeed, but the buildings were all inherited from the French Company and were being used temporarily while other buildings were in the course of construction; and right near the defective water closet a new and excellent closet with a good sewer pipe was in process of construction and nearly finished. Nevertheless this did not excuse the fact that the bad condition had been allowed to prevail. Temporary accommodation, even if only such as soldiers use when camped in the field, should have been provided. Orders to this effect were issued. I append the report of Dr. Gorgas on the incident. I was struck, however, by the fact that in this instance, as in almost every other where a complaint was made which proved to have any justification whatever, it appeared that steps had already been taken to remedy the evil complained of, and that the trouble was mainly due to the extreme difficulty, and often impossibility, of providing in every place for the constant increase in the numbers of employees. Generally the provision is made in advance, but it is not possible that this should always be the case; when it is not there ensues a period of time during which the conditions are unsatisfactory, until a remedy can be provided; but I never found a case where the remedy was not being provided as speedily as possible.

I inspected the large hospitals at Ancon and Colon, which are excellent examples of what tropical hospitals should be. I also inspected the receiving hospitals in various settlements. I went through a number of the wards in which the colored men are treated, a number of those in which the white men are treated–Americans and Spaniards. Both white men and black men are treated exactly alike, and their treatment is as good as that which could be obtained in our first-class hospitals at home. All the patients that I saw, with one or two exceptions, were laborers or other employees on the canal works and railways, most of them being colored men of the ordinary laborer stamp. Not only are the men carefully cared for whenever they apply for care, but so far as practicable a watch is kept to see that if they need it they are sent to the hospitals, whether they desire to go or not. From no responsible source did any complaint come to me as to the management of the hospital service, although occasionally a very ignorant West India negro when he is first brought into the hospital becomes frightened by the ordinary hospital routine.

Just at present the health showing on the Isthmus is remarkably good–so much better than in most sections of the United States that I do not believe that it can possibly continue at quite its present average. Thus, early in the present year a band of several hundred Spaniards were brought to the Isthmus as laborers, and additions to their number have been made from time to time; yet since their arrival in February last but one of those Spaniards thus brought over to work on the canal has died of disease, and he of typhoid fever. Two others were killed, one in a railroad accident, and one by a dynamite explosion. There has been for the last six months a well-nigh steady decline in the death rate for the population of the Zone, this being largely due to the decrease in deaths from pneumonia, which has been the most fatal disease on the Isthmus. In October there were ninety-nine deaths of every kind among the employees of the Isthmus. There were then on the rolls 5,500 whites, seven-eighths of them being Americans. Of these whites but two died of disease, and as it happened neither man was an American. Of the 6,000 white Americans, including some 1,200 women and children, not a single death has occurred in the past three months, whereas in an average city in the United States the number of deaths for a similar number of people in that time would have been about thirty from disease. This very remarkable showing cannot of course permanently obtain, but it certainly goes to prove that if good care is taken the Isthmus is not a particularly unhealthy place. In October, of the 19,000 negroes on the roll 86 died from disease; pneumonia being the most destructive disease, and malarial fever coming second. The difficulty of exercising a thorough supervision over the colored laborers is of course greater than is the case among the whites, and they are also less competent to take care of themselves, which accounts for the fact that their death rate is so much higher than that of the whites, in spite of the fact that they have been used to similar climatic conditions. Even among the colored employees it will be seen that the death rate is not high.

In Panama and Colon the death rate has also been greatly reduced, this being directly due to the vigorous work of the special brigade of employees who have been inspecting houses where the stegomyia mosquito is to be found, and destroying its larvae and breeding places, and doing similar work in exterminating the malarial mosquitoes–in short, in performing all kinds of hygienic labor. A little over a year ago all kinds of mosquitoes, including the two fatal species, were numerous about the Culebra cut. In this cut during last October every room of every house was carefully examined, and only two mosquitoes, neither of them of the two fatal species, were found. Unfaltering energy in inspection and in disinfecting and in the work of draining and of clearing brush are responsible for the change. I append Dr. Gorgas’s report on the health conditions; also a letter from Surgeon-General Rixey to Dr. Gorgas. The Surgeon-General reported to me that the hygienic conditions on the Isthmus were about as good as, for instance, those in the Norfolk Navy-Yard.

Corozal, some four miles from La Boca, was formerly one of the most unsanitary places on the Isthmus, probably the most unsanitary. There was a marsh with a pond in the middle. Dr. Gorgas had both the marsh and pond drained and the brush cleared off, so that now, when I went over the ground, it appeared like a smooth meadow intersected by drainage ditches. The breeding places and sheltering spots of the dangerous mosquitoes had been completely destroyed. The result is that Corozal for the last six months (like La Boca, which formerly also had a very unsanitary record), shows one of the best sick rates in the Zone, having less than 1 per cent a week admitted to the hospital. At Corozal there is a big hotel filled with employees of the Isthmian Canal Commission, some of them with their wives and families. Yet this healthy and attractive spot was stigmatized as a “hog wallow” by one of the least scrupulous and most foolish of the professional scandal-mongers who from time to time have written about the Commission’s work.

The sanitation work in the cities of Panama and Colon has been just as important as in the Zone itself, and in many respects much more difficult; because it was necessary to deal with the already existing population, which naturally had scant sympathy with revolutionary changes, the value of which they were for a long time not able to perceive. In Colon the population consists largely of colored laborers who, having come over from the West Indies to work on the canal, abandon the work and either take to the brush or lie idle in Colon itself: thus peopling Colon with the least desirable among the imported laborers, for the good and steady men of course continue at the work. Yet astonishing progress has been made in both cities. In Panama 90 per cent of the streets that are to be paved at all are already paved with an excellent brick pavement laid in heavy concrete, a few of the streets being still in process of paving. The sewer and water services in the city are of the most modern hygienic type, some of the service having just been completed.

In Colon the conditions are peculiar, and it is as regards Colon that most of the very bitter complaint has been made. Colon is built on a low coral island, covered at more or less shallow depths with vegetable accumulations or mold, which affords sustenance and strength to many varieties of low-lying tropical plants. One-half of the surface of the island is covered with water at high tide, the average height of the land being 1 1/2 feet above low tide. The slight undulations furnish shallow, natural reservoirs or fresh-water breeding places for every variety of mosquito, and the ground tends to be lowest in the middle. When the town was originally built no attempt was made to fill the low ground, either in the streets or on the building sites, so that the entire surface was practically a quagmire; when the quagmire became impassable certain of the streets were crudely improved by filling especially bad mud holes with soft rock or other material. In September, 1905, a systematic effort was begun to formulate a general plan for the proper sanitation of the city; in February last temporary relief measures were taken, while in July the prosecution of the work was begun in good earnest. The results are already visible in the sewering, draining, guttering and paving of the streets. Some four months will be required before the work of sewerage and street improvement will be completed, but the progress already made is very marked. Ditches have been dug through the town, connecting the salt water on both sides, and into these the ponds, which have served as breeding places for the mosquitoes, are drained. These ditches have answered their purpose, for they are probably the chief cause of the astonishing diminution in the number of mosquitoes. More ditches of the kind are being constructed.

It was not practicable, with the force at the Commission’s disposal, and in view of the need that the force should be used in the larger town of Panama, to begin this work before early last winter. Water mains were then laid in the town and water was furnished to the people early in March from a temporary reservoir. This reservoir proved to be of insufficient capacity before the end of the dry season and the shortage was made up by hauling water over the Panama railroad, so that there was at all times an ample supply of the very best water. Since that time the new reservoir back of Mount Hope has been practically completed. I visited this reservoir. It is a lake over a mile long and half a mile broad. It now carries some 500,000,000 gallons of first-class water. I forward herewith a photograph of this lake, together with certain other photographs of what I saw while I was on the Isthmus. Nothing but a cataclysm will hereafter render it necessary in the dry season to haul water for the use of Colon and Cristobal.

One of the most amusing (as well as dishonest) attacks made upon the Commission was in connection with this reservoir. The writer in question usually confined himself to vague general mendacity; but in this case he specifically stated that there was no water in the vicinity fit for a reservoir (I drank it, and it was excellent), and that this particular reservoir would never hold water anyway. Accompanying this message, as I have said above, is a photograph of the reservoir as I myself saw it, and as it has been in existence ever since the article in question was published. With typical American humor, the engineering corps still at work at the reservoir have christened a large boat which is now used on the reservoir by the name of the individual who thus denied the possibility of the reservoir’s existence.

I rode through the streets of Colon, seeing them at the height of the rainy season, after two days of almost unexampled downpour, when they were at their very worst. Taken as a whole they were undoubtedly very bad; as bad as Pennsylvania avenue in Washington before Grant’s Administration. Front street is already in thoroughly satisfactory shape, however. Some of the side streets are also in good condition. In others the change in the streets is rapidly going on. Through three-fourths of the town it is now possible to walk, even during the period of tremendous rain, in low shoes without wetting one’s feet, owing to the rapidity with which the surface water is carried away in the ditches. In the remaining one-fourth of the streets the mud is very deep–about as deep as in the ordinary street of a low-lying prairie river town of the same size in the United States during early spring. All men to whom I spoke were a unit in saying that the conditions of the Colon streets were 100 per cent better than a year ago. The most superficial examination of the town shows the progress that has been made and is being made in macadamizing the streets. Complaint was made to me by an entirely reputable man as to the character of some of the material used for repairing certain streets. On investigation the complaint proved well rounded, but it also appeared that the use of the material in question had been abandoned, the Commission, after having tried it in one or two streets, finding it not appropriate.

The result of the investigation of this honest complaint was typical of what occurred when I investigated most of the other honest complaints made to me. That is, where the complaints were not made wantonly or maliciously, they almost always proved due to failure to appreciate the fact that time was necessary in the creation and completion of this Titanic work in a tropic wilderness. It is impossible to avoid some mistakes in building a giant canal through jungle-covered mountains and swamps, while at the same time sanitating tropic cities, and providing for the feeding and general care of from twenty to thirty thousand workers. The complaints brought to me, either of insufficient provision in caring for some of the laborers, or of failure to finish the pavements of Colon, or of failure to supply water, or of failure to build wooden sidewalks for the use of the laborers in the rainy season, on investigation proved, almost without exception, to be due merely to the utter inability of the Commission to do everything at once.

For instance, it was imperative that Panama, which had the highest death rate and where the chance of a yellow fever epidemic was strongest, should be cared for first; yet most of the complaints as to the delay in taking care of Colon were due to the inability or unwillingness to appreciate this simple fact. Again, as the thousands of laborers are brought over and housed, it is not always possible at the outset to supply wooden walks and bath houses, because other more vital necessities have to be met; and in consequence, while most of the settlements have good bath houses, and, to a large extent at least, wooden walks, there are plenty of settlements where wooden walks have not yet been laid down, and I visited one where the bath houses have not been provided. But in this very settlement the frames of the bath houses are already up, and in every case the utmost effort is being made to provide the wooden walks. Of course, in some of the newest camps tents are used pending the building of houses. Where possible, I think detached houses would be preferable to the semi-detached houses now in general use.

Care and forethought have been exercised by the Commission, and nothing has reflected more credit upon them than their refusal either to go ahead too fast or to be deterred by the fear of criticism from not going ahead fast enough. It is curious to note the fact that many of the most severe critics of the Commission criticize them for precisely opposite reasons, some complaining bitterly that the work is not in a more advanced condition, while the others complain that it has been rushed with such haste that there has been insufficient preparation for the hygiene and comfort of the employees. As a matter of fact neither criticism is just. It would have been impossible to go quicker than the Commission has gone, for such quickness would have meant insufficient preparation. On the other hand, to refuse to do anything until every possible future contingency had been met would have caused wholly unwarranted delay. The right course to follow was exactly the course which has been followed. Every reasonable preparation was made in advance, the hygienic conditions in especial being made as nearly perfect as possible; while on the other hand there has been no timid refusal to push forward the work because of inability to anticipate every possible emergency, for, of course, many defects can only be shown by the working of the system in actual practice.

In addition to attending to the health of the employees, it is, of course, necessary to provide for policing the Zone. This is done by a police force which at present numbers over 200 men, under Captain Shanton. About one-fifth of the men are white and the others black. In different places I questioned some twenty or thirty of these men, taking them at random. They were a fine set, physically and in discipline. With one exception all the white men I questioned had served in the American army, usually in the Philippines, and belonged to the best type of American soldier. Without exception the black policemen whom I questioned had served either in the British army or in the Jamaica or Barbados police. They were evidently contented, and were doing their work well. Where possible the policemen are used to control people of their own color, but in any emergency no hesitation is felt in using them indiscriminately.

Inasmuch as so many both of the white and colored employees have brought their families with them, schools have been established, the school service being under Mr. O’Connor. For the white pupils white American teachers are employed; for the colored pupils there are also some white American teachers, one Spanish teacher, and one colored American teacher, most of them being colored teachers from Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia. The schoolrooms were good, and it was a pleasant thing to see the pride that the teachers were taking in their work and their pupils.

There seemed to me to be too many saloons in the Zone; but the new high-license law which goes into effect on January 1 next will probably close four-fifths of them. Resolute and successful efforts are being made to minimize and control the sale of liquor.

The cars on the passenger trains on the Isthmus are divided into first and second class, the difference being marked in the price of tickets. As a rule second-class passengers are colored and first-class passengers white; but in every train which I saw there were a number of white second-class passengers, and on two of them there were colored first-class passengers.

Next in importance to the problem of sanitation, and indeed now of equal importance, is the problem of securing and caring for the mechanics, laborers, and other employees who actually do the work on the canal and the railroad. This great task has been under the control of Mr. Jackson Smith, and on the whole has been well done. At present there are some 6,000 white employees and some 19,000 colored employees on the Isthmus. I went over the different places where the different kinds of employees were working; I think I saw representatives of every type both at their work and in their homes; and I conversed with probably a couple of hundred of them all told, choosing them at random from every class and including those who came especially to present certain grievances. I found that those who did not come specifically to present grievances almost invariably expressed far greater content and satisfaction with the conditions than did those who called to make complaint.

Nearly 5,000 of the white employees had come from the United States. No man can see these young, vigorous men energetically doing their duty without a thrill of pride in them as Americans. They represent on the average a high class. Doubtless to Congress the wages paid them will seem high, but as a matter of fact the only general complaint which I found had any real basis among the complaints made to me upon the Isthmus was that, owing to the peculiar surroundings, the cost of living, and the distance from home, the wages were really not as high as they should be. In fact, almost every man I spoke to felt that he ought to be receiving more money–a view, however, which the average man who stays at home in the United States probably likewise holds as regards himself. I append figures of the wages paid, so that the Congress can judge the matter for itself. Later I shall confer on the subject with certain representative labor men here in the United States, as well as going over with Mr. Stevens, the comparative wages paid on the Zone and at home; and I may then communicate my findings to the canal committees of the two Houses.

The white Americans are employed, some of them in office work, but the majority in handling the great steam shovels, as engineers and conductors on the dirt trains, as machinists in the great repair shops, as carpenters and time-keepers, superintendents, and foremen of divisions and of gangs, and so on and so on. Many of them have brought down their wives and families; and the children when not in school are running about and behaving precisely as the American small boy and small girl behave at home. The bachelors among the employees live, sometimes in small separate houses, sometimes in large houses; quarters being furnished free to all the men, married and unmarried. Usually the bachelors sleep two in a room, as they would do in this country. I found a few cases where three were in a room; and I was told of, although I did not see, large rooms in which four were sleeping; for it is not possible in what is really a vast system of construction camps always to provide in advance as ample house room as the Commission intend later to give. In one case, where the house was an old French house with a leak in the roof, I did not think the accommodations were good. But in every other case among the scores of houses I entered at random, the accommodations were good; every room was neat and clean, usually having books, magazines, and small ornaments; and in short just such a room as a self-respecting craftsman would be glad to live in at home. The quarters for the married people were even better. Doubtless there must be here and there a married couple who, with or without reason, are not contented with their house on the Isthmus; but I never happened to strike such a couple. The wives of the steam-shovel men, engineers, machinists, and carpenters into whose houses I went, all with one accord expressed their pleasure in their home life and surroundings. Indeed, I do not think they could have done otherwise. The houses themselves were excellent–bathroom, sitting room, piazza, and bedrooms being all that could be desired. In every house which I happened to enter the mistress of the home was evidently a good American housewife and helpmeet, who had given to the home life that touch of attractiveness which, of course, the bachelor quarters neither had nor could have.

The housewives purchase their supplies directly, or through their husbands, from the commissary stores of the Commission. All to whom I spoke agreed that the supplies were excellent, and all but two stated that there was no complaint to be made; these two complained that the prices were excessive as compared to the prices in the States. On investigation I did not feel that this complaint was well founded. The married men ate at home. The unmarried men sometimes ate at private boarding houses, or private messes, but more often, judging by the answers of those whom I questioned, at the government canteens or hotels where the meal costs 30 cents to each employee. This 30-cent meal struck me as being as good a meal as we get in the United States at the ordinary hotel in which a 50-cent meal is provided. Three-fourths of the men whom I questioned stated that the meals furnished at these government hotels were good, the remaining one-fourth that they were not good. I myself took dinner at the La Boca government hotel, no warning whatever having been given of my coming. There were two rooms, as generally in these hotels. In one the employees were allowed to dine without their coats, while in the other they had to put them on. The 30-cent meal included soup, native beef (which was good), mashed potatoes, peas, beets, chili con carne, plum pudding, tea, coffee–each man having as much of each dish as he desired. On the table there was a bottle of liquid quinine tonic, which two-thirds of the guests, as I was informed, used every day. There were neat tablecloths and napkins. The men, who were taking the meal at or about the same time, included railroad men, machinists, shipwrights, and members of the office force. The rooms were clean, comfortable, and airy, with mosquito screens around the outer piazza. I was informed by some of those present that this hotel, and also the other similar hotels, were every Saturday night turned into clubhouses where the American officials, the school-teachers, and various employees, appeared, bringing their wives, there being dancing and singing. There was a piano in the room, which I was informed was used for the music on these occasions. My meal was excellent, and two newspaper correspondents who had been on the Isthmus several days informed me that it was precisely like the meals they had been getting elsewhere at other Government hotels. One of the employees was a cousin of one of the Secret-Service men who was with me, and he stated that the meals had always been good, but that after a time he grew tired of them because they seemed so much alike.

I came to the conclusion that, speaking generally, there was no warrant for complaint about the food. Doubtless it grows monotonous after awhile. Any man accustomed to handling large masses of men knows that some of them, even though otherwise very good men, are sure to grumble about something, and usually about their food. Schoolboys, college boys, and boarders in boarding houses make similar complaints; so do soldiers and sailors. On this very trip, on one of the warships, a seaman came to complain to the second watch officer about the quality of the cocoa at the seaman’s mess, saying that it was not sweet enough; it was pointed out to him that there was sugar on the table and he could always put it in, to which he responded that that was the cook’s business and not his I think that the complaint as to the food on the Isthmus has but little more foundation than that of the sailor in question. Moreover, I was given to understand that one real cause of complaint was that at the government hotels no liquor is served, and some of the drinking men, therefore, refused to go to them. The number of men using the government hotels is steadily increasing.
Of the nineteen or twenty thousand day laborers employed on the canal, a few hundred are Spaniards. These do excellent work. Their foreman told me that they did twice as well as the West India laborers. They keep healthy and no difficulty is experienced with them in any way. Some Italian laborers are also employed in connection with the drilling. As might be expected, with labor as high priced as at present in the United States, it has not so far proved practicable to get any ordinary laborers from the United States. The American wage-workers on the Isthmus are the highly-paid skilled mechanics of the types mentioned previously. A steady effort is being made to secure Italians, and especially to procure more Spaniards, because of the very satisfactory results that have come from their employment; and their numbers will be increased as far as possible. It has not proved possible, however, to get them in anything like the numbers needed for the work, and from present appearances we shall in the main have to rely, for the ordinary unskilled work, partly upon colored laborers from the West Indies, partly upon Chinese labor. It certainly ought to be unnecessary to point out that the American workingman in the United States has no concern whatever in the question as to whether the rough work on the Isthmus, which is performed by aliens in any event, is done by aliens from one country with a black skin or by aliens from another country with a yellow skin. Our business is to dig the canal as efficiently and as quickly as possible; provided always that nothing is done that is inhumane to any laborers, and nothing that interferes with the wages of or lowers the standard of living of our own workmen. Having in view this principle, I have arranged to try several thousand Chinese laborers. This is desirable both because we must try to find out what laborers are most efficient, and, furthermore, because we should not leave ourselves at the mercy of any one type of foreign labor. At present the great bulk of the unskilled labor on the Isthmus is done by West India negroes, chiefly from Jamaica, Barbados, and the other English possessions. One of the governors of the lands in question has shown an unfriendly disposition to our work, and has thrown obstacles in the way of our getting the labor needed; and it is highly undesirable to give any outsiders the impression, however ill-founded, that they are indispensable and can dictate terms to us.

The West India laborers are fairly, but only fairly, satisfactory. Some of the men do very well indeed; the better class, who are to be found as foremen, as skilled mechanics, as policemen, are good men; and many of the ordinary day laborers are also good. But thousands of those who are brought over under contract (at our expense) go off into the jungle to live, or loaf around Colon, or work so badly after the first three or four days as to cause a serious diminution of the amount of labor performed on Friday and Saturday of each week. I questioned many of these Jamaica laborers as to the conditions of their work and what, if any, changes they wished. I received many complaints from them, but as regards most of these complaints they themselves contradicted one another. In all cases where the complaint was as to their treatment by any individual it proved, on examination, that this individual was himself a West India man of color, either a policeman, a storekeeper, or an assistant storekeeper. Doubtless there must be many complaints against Americans; but those to whom I spoke did not happen to make any such complaint to me. There was no complaint of the housing; I saw but one set of quarters for colored laborers which I thought poor, and this was in an old French house. The barracks for unmarried men are roomy, well ventilated, and clean, with canvas bunks for each man, and a kind of false attic at the top, where the trunks and other belongings of the different men are kept. The clothes are hung on clotheslines, nothing being allowed to be kept on the floor. In each of these big rooms there were tables and lamps, and usually a few books or papers, and in almost every room there was a Bible; the books being the property of the laborers themselves. The cleanliness of the quarters is secured by daily inspection. The quarters for the married negro laborers were good. They were neatly kept, and in almost every case the men living in them, whose wives or daughters did the cooking for them, were far better satisfied and of a higher grade than the ordinary bachelor negroes. Not only were the quarters in which these negro laborers were living much superior to those in which I am informed they live at home, but they were much superior to the huts to be seen in the jungles of Panama itself, beside the railroad tracks, in which the lower class of native Panamans live, as well as the negro workmen when they leave the employ of the canal and go into the jungles. A single glance at the two sets of buildings is enough to show the great superiority in point of comfort, cleanliness, and healthfulness of the Government houses as compared with the native houses.

The negroes generally do their own cooking, the bachelors cooking in sheds provided by the Government and using their own pots. In the different camps there was a wide variation in the character of these cooking sheds. In some, where the camps were completed, the kitchen or cooking sheds, as well as the bathrooms and water-closets, were all in excellent trim, while there were board sidewalks leading from building to building. In other camps the kitchens or cook sheds had not been floored, and the sidewalks had not been put down, while in one camp the bath houses were not yet up In each case, however, every effort was being made to hurry on the construction, and I do not believe that the delays had been greater than were inevitable in such work. The laborers are accustomed to do their own cooking; but there was much complaint, especially among the bachelors, as to the quantity, and some as to the quality, of the food they got from the commissary department, especially as regards yams. On the other hand, the married men and their wives, and the more advanced among the bachelors, almost invariably expressed themselves as entirely satisfied with their treatment at the commissary stores; except that they stated that they generally could not get yams there, and had to purchase them outside. The chief complaint was that the prices were too high. It is unavoidable that the prices should be higher than in their own homes; and after careful investigation I came to the conclusion that the chief trouble lay in the fact that the yams, plantains, and the like are rather perishable food, and are very bulky compared to the amount of nourishment they contain, so that it is costly to import them in large quantities and difficult to keep them. Nevertheless, I felt that an effort should be made to secure them a more ample supply of their favorite food, and so directed; and I believe that ultimately the Government must itself feed them. I am having this matter looked into.

The superintendent having immediate charge of one gang of men at the Colon reservoir stated that he endeavored to get them to substitute beans and other nourishing food for the stringy, watery yams, because the men keep their strength and health better on the more nourishing food. Inasmuch, however, as they are accustomed to yams it is difficult to get them to eat the more strengthening food, and some time elapses before they grow accustomed to it. At this reservoir there has been a curious experience. It is off in the jungle by itself at the end of a couple of miles of a little toy railroad. In order to get the laborers there, they were given free food (and of course free lodgings); and yet it proved difficult to keep them, because they wished to be where they could reach the dramshop and places of amusement.

I was struck by the superior comfort and respectability of the lives of the married men. It would, in my opinion, be a most admirable thing if a much larger number of the men had their wives, for with their advent all complaints about the food and cooking are almost sure to cease.

I had an interview with Mr. Mallet, the British consul, to find out if there was any just cause for complaint as to the treatment of the West India negroes. He informed me most emphatically that there was not, and authorized me to give his statement publicity. He said that not only was the condition of the laborers far better than had been the case under the old French Company, but that year by year the condition was improving under our own regime. He stated that complaints were continually brought to him, and that he always investigated them; and that for the last six months he had failed to find a single complaint of a serious nature that contained any justification whatever.

One of the greatest needs at present is to provide amusements both for the white men and the black. The Young Men’s Christian Association is trying to do good work and should be in every way encouraged. But the Government should do the main work. I have specifically called the attention of the Commission to this matter, and something has been accomplished already. Anything done for the welfare of the men adds to their efficiency and money devoted to that purpose is, therefore, properly to be considered as spent in building the canal. It is imperatively necessary to provide ample recreation and amusement if the men are to be kept well and healthy. I call the special attention of Congress to this need.

This gathering, distributing, and caring for the great force of laborers is one of the giant features of the work. That friction will from time to time occur in connection therewith is inevitable. The astonishing thing is that the work has been performed so well and that the machinery runs so smoothly. From my own experience I am able to say that more care had been exercised in housing, feeding, and generally paying heed to the needs of the skilled mechanics and ordinary laborers in the work on this canal than is the case in the construction of new railroads or in any other similar private or public work in the United States proper; and it is the testimony of all people competent to speak that on no other similar work anywhere in the Tropics–indeed, as far as I know, anywhere else–has there been such forethought and such success achieved in providing for the needs of the men who do the work.

I have now dealt with the hygienic conditions which make it possible to employ a great force of laborers, and with the task of gathering, housing, and feeding these laborers. There remains to consider the actual work which has to be done; the work because of which these laborers are gathered together–the work of constructing the canal. This is under the direct control of the Chief Engineer, Mr. Stevens, who has already shown admirable results, and whom we can safely trust to achieve similar results in the future.

Our people found on the Isthmus a certain amount of old French material and equipment which could be used. Some of it, in addition, could be sold as scrap iron. Some could be used for furnishing the foundation for filling in. For much no possible use could be devised that would not cost more than it would bring in.

The work is now going on with a vigor and efficiency pleasant to witness. The three big problems of the canal are the La Boca dams, the Gatun dam, and the Culebra cut. The Culebra cut must be made, anyhow; but of course changes as to the dams, or at least as to the locks adjacent to the dams, may still occur. The La Boca dams offer no particular problem, the bottom material being so good that there is a practical certainty, not merely as to what can be achieved, but as to the time of achievement. The Gatun dam offers the most serious problem which we have to solve; and yet the ablest men on the Isthmus believe that this problem is certain of solution along the lines proposed; although, of course, it necessitates great toil, energy, and intelligence, and although equally, of course, there will be some little risk in connection with the work. The risk arises from the fact that some of the material near the bottom is not so good as could be desired. If the huge earth dam now contemplated is thrown across from one foothill to the other we will have what is practically a low, broad, mountain ridge behind which will rise the inland lake. This artificial mountain will probably show less seepage, that is, will have greater restraining capacity than the average natural mountain range. The exact locality of the locks at this dam–as at the other dams–is now being determined. In April next Secretary Taft, with three of the ablest engineers of the country–Messrs. Noble, Stearns, and Ripley–will visit the Isthmus, and the three engineers will make the final and conclusive examinations as to the exact site for each lock. Meanwhile the work is going ahead without a break.

The Culebra cut does not offer such great risks: that is, the damage liable to occur from occasional land slips will not represent what may be called major disasters. The work will merely call for intelligence, perseverance, and executive capacity. It is, however, the work upon which most labor will have to be spent. The dams will be composed of the earth taken out of the cut and very possibly the building of the locks and dams will taken even longer than the cutting in Culebra itself.

The main work is now being done in the Culebra cut. It was striking and impressive to see the huge steam shovels in full play, the dumping trains carrying away the rock and earth they dislodged. The implements of French excavating machinery, which often stand a little way from the line of work, though of excellent construction, look like the veriest toys when compared with these new steam shovels, just as the French dumping cars seem like toy cars when compared with the long trains of huge cars, dumped by steam plows, which are now in use. This represents the enormous advance that has been made in machinery during the past quarter of a century. No doubt a quarter of a century hence this new machinery, of which we are now so proud, will similarly seem out of date, but it is certainly serving its purpose well now. The old French cars had to be entirely discarded. We still have in use a few of the more modern, but not most modern, cars, which hold but twelve yards of earth. They can be employed on certain lines with sharp curves. But the recent cars hold from twenty-five to thirty yards apiece, and instead of the old clumsy methods of unloading them, a steam plow is drawn from end to end of the whole vestibuled train, thus immensely economizing labor. In the rainy season the steam shovels can do but little in dirt, but they work steadily in rock and in the harder ground. There were some twenty-five at work during the time I was on the Isthmus, and their tremendous power and efficiency were most impressive.

As soon as the type of canal was decided this work began in good earnest. The rainy season will shortly be over and then there will be an immense increase in the amount taken out; but even during the last three months, in the rainy season, steady progress is shown by the figures: In August, 242,000 cubic yards; in September, 291,000 cubic yards, and in October, 325,000 cubic yards. In October new records were established for the output of individual shovels as well as for the tonnage haul of individual locomotives. I hope to see the growth of a healthy spirit of emulation between the different shovel and locomotive crews, just such a spirit as has grown on our battle ships between the different gun crews in matters of marksmanship. Passing through the cut the amount of new work can be seen at a glance. In one place the entire side of a hill had been taken out recently by twenty-seven tons of dynamite, which were exploded at one blast. At another place I was given a Presidential salute of twenty-one charges of dynamite. On the top notch of the Culebra cut the prism is now as wide as it will be; all told, the canal bed at this point has now been sunk about two hundred feet below what it originally was. It will have to be sunk about one hundred and thirty feet farther. Throughout the cut the drilling, blasting, shoveling, and hauling are going on with constantly increasing energy, the huge shovels being pressed up, as if they were mountain howitzers, into the most unlikely looking places, where they eat their way into the hillsides.

The most advanced methods, not only in construction, but in railroad management, have been applied in the Zone, with corresponding economies in time and cost. This has been shown in the handling of the tonnage from ships into cars, and from cars into ships on the Panama Railroad, where, thanks largely to the efficiency of General Manager Bierd, the saving in time and cost, has been noteworthy. My examination tended to show that some of the departments had (doubtless necessarily) become overdeveloped, and could now be reduced or subordinated without impairment of efficiency and with a saving of cost. The Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Shonts, has all matters of this kind constantly in view, and is now reorganizing the government of the Zone, so as to make the form of administration both more flexible and less expensive, subordinating everything to direct efficiency with a view to the work of the Canal Commission. From time to time changes of this kind will undoubtedly have to be made, for it must be remembered that in this giant work of construction, it is continually necessary to develop departments or bureaus, which are vital for the time being, but which soon become useless; just as it will be continually necessary to put up buildings, and even to erect towns, which in ten years will once more give place to jungle, or will then be at the bottom of the great lakes at the ends of the canal.

It is not only natural, but inevitable, that a work as gigantic as this which has been undertaken on the Isthmus should arouse every species of hostility and criticism. The conditions are so new and so trying, and the work so vast, that it would be absolutely out of the question that mistakes should not be made. Checks will occur. Unforeseen difficulties will arise. From time to time seemingly well-settled plans will have to be changed. At present twenty-five thousand men are engaged on the task. After a while the number will be doubled. In such a multitude it is inevitable that there should be here and there a scoundrel. Very many of the poorer class of laborers lack the mental development to protect themselves against either the rascality of others or their own folly, and it is not possible for human wisdom to devise a plan by which they can invariably be protected. In a place which has been for ages a by-word for unhealthfulness, and with so large a congregation of strangers suddenly put down and set to hard work there will now and then be outbreaks of disease. There will now and then be shortcomings in administration; there will be unlooked-for accidents to delay the excavation of the cut or the building of the dams and locks. Each such incident will be entirely natural, and, even though serious, no one of them will mean more than a little extra delay or trouble. Yet each, when discovered by sensation-mongers and retailed to timid folk of little faith, will serve as an excuse for the belief that the whole work is being badly managed. Experiments will continually be tried in housing, in hygiene, in street repairing, in dredging, and in digging earth and rock. Now and then an experiment will be a failure; and among those who hear of it, a certain proportion of doubting Thomases will at once believe that the whole work is a failure. Doubtless here and there some minor rascality will be uncovered; but as to this, I have to say that after the most painstaking inquiry I have been unable to find a single reputable person who had so much as heard of any serious accusations affecting the honesty of the Commission or of any responsible officer under it. I append a letter dealing with the most serious charge, that of the ownership of lots in Colon; the charge was not advanced by a reputable man, and is utterly baseless. It is not too much to say that the whole atmosphere of the Commission breathes honesty as it breathes efficiency and energy. Above all, the work has been kept absolutely clear of politics. I have never heard even a suggestion of spoils politics in connection with it.

I have investigated every complaint brought to me for which there seemed to be any shadow of foundation. In two or three cases, all of which I have indicated in the course of this message, I came to the conclusion that there was foundation for the complaint, and that the methods of the Commission in the respect complained of could be bettered. In the other instances the complaints proved absolutely baseless, save in two or three instances where they referred to mistakes which the Commission had already itself found out and corrected.

So much for honest criticism. There remains an immense amount of as reckless slander as has ever been published. Where the slanderers are of foreign origin I have no concern with them. Where they are Americans, I feel for them the heartiest contempt and indignation; because, in a spirit of wanton dishonesty and malice, they are trying to interfere with, and hamper the execution of, the greatest work of the kind ever attempted, and are seeking to bring to naught the efforts of their countrymen to put to the credit of America one of the giant feats of the ages. The outrageous accusations of these slanderers constitute a gross libel upon a body of public servants who, for trained intelligence, expert ability, high character and devotion to duty, have never been excelled anywhere. There is not a man among those directing the work on the Isthmus who has obtained his position on any other basis than merit alone, and not one who has used his position in any way for his own personal or pecuniary advantage.

After most careful consideration we have decided to let out most of the work by contract, if we can come to satisfactory terms with the contractors. The whole work is of a kind suited to the peculiar genius of our people; and our people have developed the type of contractor best fitted to grapple with it. It is, of course, much better to do the work in large part by contract than to do it all by the Government, provided it is possible on the one hand to secure to the contractor a sufficient remuneration to make it worth while for responsible contractors of the best kind to undertake the work; and provided on the other hand it can be done on terms which will not give an excessive profit to the contractor at the expense of the Government. After much consideration the plan already promulgated by the Secretary of War was adopted. This plan in its essential features was drafted, after careful and thorough study and consideration, by the Chief Engineer, Mr. Stevens, who, while in the employment of Mr. Hill, the president of the Great Northern Railroad, had personal experience of this very type of contract. Mr. Stevens then submitted the plan to the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Shouts, who went carefully over it with Mr. Rogers, the legal adviser of the Commission, to see that all legal difficulties were met. He then submitted copies of the plan to both Secretary Taft and myself. Secretary Taft submitted it to some of the best counsel at the New York bar, and afterwards I went over it very carefully with Mr. Taft and Mr. Shouts, and we laid the plan in its general features before Mr. Root. My conclusion is that it combines the maximum of advantage with the minimum of disadvantage. Under it a premium will be put upon the speedy and economical construction of the canal, and a penalty imposed on delay and waste. The plan as promulgated is tentative; doubtless it will have to be changed in some respects before we can come to a satisfactory agreement with responsible contractors–perhaps even after the bids have been received; and of course it is possible that we cannot come to an agreement, in which case the Government will do the work itself. Meanwhile the work on the Isthmus is progressing steadily and without any let-up.

A seven-headed commission is, of course, a clumsy executive instrument. We should have but one commissioner, with such heads of departments and other officers under him as we may find necessary. We should be expressly permitted to employ the best engineers in the country as consulting engineers.

 I accompany this paper with a map showing substantially what the canal will be like when it is finished. When the Culebra cut has been made and the dams built (if they are built as at present proposed) there will then be at both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal, two great fresh-water lakes, connected by a broad channel running at the bottom of a ravine, across the backbone of the Western Hemisphere. Those best informed believe that the work will be completed in about eight years; but it is never save to prophesy about such a work as this, especially in the Tropics.

I am informed that the representatives of the commercial clubs of four cities—Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis—the membership of which includes most of the leading business men of those cities, expect to visit the Isthmus for the purpose of examining the work of construction of the canal. I am glad to hear it, and I shall direct that every facility be given them to see all that is to be seen in the work which the Government is doing. Such interest as a visit like this would indicate will have a good effect upon the men who are doing the work, on one hand, while on the other hand it will offer as witnesses of the exact conditions men whose experiences as business men and whose impartiality will make the result of their observations of value to the country as a whole.

Of the success of the enterprise I am as well convinced as one can be of any enterprise that is human. It is a stupendous work upon which our fellow-countrymen are engaged down there on the Isthmus, and while we should hold them to a strict accountability for the way in which they perform it, we should yet recognize, with frank generosity, the epic nature of the task on which they are engaged and its world-wide importance. They are doing something which will redound immeasurably to the credit of America, which will benefit all the world, and which will last for ages to come. Under Mr. Shonts and Mr. Stevens and Doctor Gorgas this work has started with every omen of good fortune. They and their worthy associates, from the highest to the lowest, are entitled to the same credit that we would give to the picked men of a victorious army; for this conquest of peace will, in its great and far-reaching effect, stand as among the greatest conquests, whether of peace or of war, which have ever been won by any of the peoples of mankind. A badge is to be given to every American citizen who for a specified time has taken part in this work; for participation in it will hereafter be held to reflect honor upon the man participating just as it reflects honor upon a soldier to have belonged to a mighty army in a great war for righteousness. Our fellow-countrymen on the Isthmus are working for our interest and for the national renown in the same spirit and with the same efficiency that the men of the Army and Navy work I n time of war. It behooves us in our turn to do all we can to hold up their hands and to aid them in every way to bring their great work to a triumphant conclusion.

November 16, 1903: Message Regarding the Panamanian Revolution

President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the following message on November 16, 1903.

To the House of Representatives:

In response to a resolution of the House of Representatives of November 9, 1903, requesting the President “to communicate to the House if not, in his judgment, incompatible with the interests of the public service, all correspondence and other official documents relating to the recent revolution on the Isthmus of Panama,” I transmit herewith copies of the papers called for.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, November 13, 1903.

The PRESIDENT:

The Secretary of State, to whom was referred a copy of the resolution of the House of Representatives of November 9, 1903, requesting copies of all correspondence and other official documents relating to the recent revolution on the Isthmus of Panama, has the honor to lay before the President copies of the correspondence from and to the Department of State on the subject.

Respectfully submitted.

JOHN HAY.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE UNITED STATES CONSULATE-GENERAL AT PANAMA.

A press bulletin having announced an outbreak on the Isthmus, the following cablegram was sent both to the consulate-general at Panama and the consulate at Colon:

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 3:40 p.m.)
Uprising on Isthmus reported. Keep Department promptly and fully informed.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
PANAMA, November 3, 1903.
(Received 8:15 p.m.)
No uprising yet. Reported will be in the night. Situation is critical.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 3, 1903.
(Received 9:50 p.m.)
Uprising occurred to-night, 6; no bloodshed. Army and Navy officials taken prisoners. Government will be organized to-night, consisting three consuls, also cabinet. Soldiers changed. Supposed some movement will be effected in Colon. Order prevails so far. Situation serious. Four hundred soldiers landed Colon to-day Barranquilla.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 11:18 p.m.)
Message sent to Nashville to Colon may not have been delivered. Accordingly see that following message is sent to Nashville immediately.
NASHVILLE, Colon:
In the interests of peace make every effort to prevent Government troops at Colon from proceeding to Panama. The transit of the Isthmus must be kept open and order maintained. Acknowledge. (Signed) DARLING, Acting.
Secure special train, if necessary. Act promptly.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 4, 1903.
(Sent 12:02 p.m.)
Communicate with commander of gunboat Bogota and state plainly that this Government being responsible for maintaining peace and keeping transit open across Isthmus desires him to refrain from want only shelling the city. We shall have a naval force at Panama in two days, and are now ordering men from the Nashville to Panama in the interests of peace.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 4, 1903.
(Received 7:10 p.m.)
Mass meeting held. Independence publicly declared. Three consuls approved organize government, composed Federico Boyd, Jose Augustin Arango, Tomas Arias. Bogota in sight.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 4, 1903.
(Received 9:50 a. m.)
Cables Nashville received. Nashville notified. Troops will not be moved. Last night gunboat Bogota fired several shells on city; one Chinaman killed. Bogota threatens bombard city to-day.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 5, 1903.
(Received 12:50 p.m.)
Received an official circular letter from the committee of the provisional government saying that on 4th political move occurred, and the Department of Panama withdraws from the Republic of the United States of Colombia and formed the Republic of Panama.
Requested to acknowledge the receipt of circular letter.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 5, 1903.
(Sent 3:15 p.m.)
Acknowledge the receipt of circular letter and await instructions before taking any further action in this line.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 5, 1903.
(Sent 5.09 p.m.)
Keep Department informed as to situation.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 5, 1903.
(Received 9:42 p.m.)
Colombian troops re-embarked per Royal Mail for Cartagena. Bogota supposed at Buenaventura. Quiet prevails.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM.)
PANAMA, November 6, 1903.
(Received 11:55 a.m.)
The situation is peaceful. Isthmian movement has obtained so far success. Colon and interior provinces have enthusiastically joined independence. Not any Colombian soldiers known on isthmian soil at present. Padilla equipped to pursue Bogota. Bunau Varilla has been appointed officially confidential agent of the Republic of Panama at Washington.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Ehrman .
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 6, 1903.
(Sent 12.51 p.m.)
The people of Panama have, by an apparently unanimous movement, dissolved their political connection with the Republic of Colombia and resumed their independence. When you are satisfied that a de facto government, republican in form, and without substantial opposition from its own people, has been established in the State of Panama, you will enter into relations with it as the responsible government of the territory and look to it for all due action to protect the persons and property of citizens of the United States and to keep open the isthmian transit in accordance with the obligations of existing treaties governing the relation of the United States to that territory.
Communicate above to Malmros, who will be governed by these instructions in entering into relations with the local authorities.
HAY

Mr. Hay to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 6, 1903.
(Sent 2:45 p.m.)
I send, for your information and guidance in the execution of the instructions cabled to you to-day, the text of a telegram dispatched this day to the United States minister at Bogota:
The people of Panama having by an apparently unanimous movement dissolved their political connection with the Republic of Colombia and resumed their independence, and having adopted a government of their own, republican in form, with which the Government of the United States of America has entered into relations, the President of the United States, in accordance with the ties of friendship which have so long and so happily existed between the respective nations, most earnestly commends to the Governments of Colombia and of Panama the peaceful and equitable settlement of all questions at issue between them. He holds that he is bound, not merely by treaty obligations, but by the interests of civilization, to see that the peaceable traffic of the world across the Isthmus of Panama shall not longer be disturbed by a constant succession of unnecessary and wasteful civil wars.
HAY.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 6, 1903.
(Received 7:23 p.m.)
Filippe Bunau Varilla has been appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the United States of America. Perfect quiet.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 7, 1903.
(Received 12:20 p.m.)
I have communicated to Panama Government that they will he held responsible for the protection of the persons and property of citizens of the United States, as well as to keep the isthmian transit free in accordance with obligations of existing treaties relative to the isthmian territory.
EHRMAN

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 8, 1903.
(Received 11:23 p.m.)
It is reported that Colombian authorities have detained English steamers Manavi and Quito at Buenaventura. Supposed to be to bring troops to the Isthmus.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 10, 1903.
(Received 1:35 p.m.)
Federico Boyd, a member of the Committee of the Government, Amador Guerrero, both delegates, on the way to Washington to arrange in satisfactory manner to the United States the canal treaty and other matters. Pablo Arosemena, attorney, proceeds next steamer. English steamers were not held at Buenaventura. Gunboat Bogota has left Buenaventura.
EHRMAN.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Ehrman.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 10, 1903.
(Sent 3:42 p.m.)
Keep in touch with commander of United States naval forces at Panama, advising him concerning news bearing on military situation.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Ehrman to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
PANAMA, November 11, 1903.
(Received 5:32 p.m.)
I am officially informed that Bunau Varilla is the authorized party to make treaties. Boyd and Amador have other missions and to assist their minister.
EHRMAN.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE UNITED STATES CONSULATE AT COLON.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 3, 1903.
(Received 2:35 p.m.)
Revolution imminent. Government force on the Isthmus about 500 men. Their official promised support revolution. Fire department Panama, 441, are well organized and favor revolution. Government vessel, Cartagena, with about 400 men, arrived early to-day with new commander in chief, Tobar. Was not expected until November 10. Tobar’s arrival is not probable to stop revolution.
MALMROS

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 4 p.m.)
Are troops from the vessel Cartagena disembarking or preparing to land?
LOOMIS.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 4:28 p.m.)
Did you receive and deliver to Nashville last night or early this morning a message?
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 3, 1903.
(Received 8:20 p.m.)
Troops from vessel Cartagena have disembarked; are encamping on Pacific dock awaiting orders to proceed to Panama from commander in chief, who went there this morning. No message for Nashville received.
MALMROS.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903
(Sent 8:45 p.m.)
The troops which landed from the Cartagena should not proceed to Panama.
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 10:10 p.m.)
An important message was sent at 6 Monday night in your care for the Nashville. Make all possible effort to get it.
LOOMIS.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 3, 1903.
(Sent 10:30 p.m.)
If dispatch to Nashville has not been delivered inform her captain immediately that she must prevent Government troops departing for Panama or taking any action which would lead to bloodshed, and must use every endeavor to preserve order on Isthmus.
HAY.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 4, 1903.
(Received 3:35 p.m.)
Met captain of Nashville at 6 p.m. yesterday. Heard that message had been delivered to captain boat alongside of wharf instead of to me. No rebels or invading force near Panama or Colon or line of transit. Panama intended revolutionary movement known here to few persons only, up to 8 a. m. to-day. Revolutionary committee of six in Panama at 6 p.m. took charge of revolutionary movement. General Tobar and five officers taken prisoners. Panama in possession of committee with consent of entire population. This fact appears not known as yet to conservatives in Colon. Panama committee expect to have 1,500 men armed by this time. State of affairs at Panama not known by Colombian force at Colon as yet. Official in command of disembarked force applied for transportation this morning. Captain meanwhile communicated to committee about 10 p.m. last night his refusal to allow train with force to be sent to Panama and the committee assented. This leaves Colon in the possession of the Government.
MALMROS.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 5, 1903.
(Received 11:50 a. m.)
On arrival yesterday morning’s train Panama revolution and Tobar’s imprisonment became generally known; 12:30 commander Colombian troops threatens to kill every American unless Tobar released by 2 p.m. Provisional Government informed these facts. Nashville landed 50 men; stationed in and near railroad office where Americans, armed, met. Negotiations Colombian commander and Panama Government commenced and progressing. Hostilities suspended. Colombians occupy Colon and Monkey Hill.
MALMROS.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Malmros.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 5, 1903.
(Sent 5:10 p.m.)
What is the situation this evening?
LOOMIS, Acting.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 5, 1903
(Received 9:34 p.m.)
All Colombian soldiers at Colon now, 7 p.m., going on board Royal Mail steamer returning to Cartagena. Vessel, supposed to be Dixie, in sight.
MALMROS.

Mr. Malmros to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
COLON, November 6, 1903.
(Received 4:50 p.m.)
Tranquillity absolute in Colon. Porfirio Melendez appointed governor of this province. Proclaimed Republic of Panama at Colon prefectura at 10 o’clock a. m. English and French consuls present. I arrived after proclamation, and upon my suggestion I told governor that presence of consuls must not be looked upon recognition of revolutionary state by their respective governments. Melendez sent steam launch to Bocas del Toro to proclaim independence.
MALMROS.

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE PANAMA GOVERNMENT.
(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
PANAMA, November 4, 1903.
(Received 8:45 p.m.)
SECRETARY OF STATE, Washington:
We take the liberty of bringing to the knowledge of your Government that on yesterday afternoon, in consequence of a popular and spontaneous movement of the people of this city, the independence of the Isthmus was proclaimed and, the Republic of Panama being instituted, its provisional government organizes an (executive) board consisting of ourselves, who are assured of the military strength necessary to carry out our determination.
JOSE’ A. ARANGO.
FEDERICO BOYD.
TOMAS ARIAS.

(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
PANAMA, November 4, 1903.
(Received 10:30 p.m.)
A. SU EXCELENCIA PRESIDENTE DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS, Washington:
The municipality of Panama is now (10 p.m.) holding a solemn session, and joins in the movement of separation of the Isthmus of Panama from the rest of Colombia. It hopes for recognition of our cause by your Government.
DEMETRO S. BRIDA.

(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
PANAMA, November 5, 1903.
(Received 8:48 p.m.)
SECRETARY OF STATE, Washington:
We notify you that we have appointed Senor Philippe Bunau Varilla confidential agent of the Republic of Panama near your Government and Dr. Francisco V. de la Espriella minister of foreign affairs.
ARANGO.
BOYD.
ARIAS.

(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
PANAMA, November 6, 1903.
(Received 10:40 a. m.)
SECRETARY OF STATE, Washington:
Colon and all the towns of the Isthmus have adhered to the declaration of independence proclaimed in this city. The authority of the Republic of Panama is obeyed throughout its territory.
ARANGO.
ARIAS.
BOYD.

(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
PANAMA, November 6, 1903.
SECRETARY OF STATE, Washington:
The board of provisional government of the Republic of Panama has appointed Senor Philippe Bunau Varilla envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near your Government with full powers to conduct diplomatic and financial negotiations. Deign to receive and heed him.
J. M. ARANGO,
TOMAS ARIAS,
FEDERICO BOYD,
Foreign Relations.

(TELEGRAM – TRANSLATION)
NEW YORK, November 7, 1903.
(Received 1:40 p.m.)
His Excellency, JOHN HAY, Secretary of State:
I have the privilege and the honor of notifying you that the Government of the Republic of Panama has been pleased to designate me as its envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the Government of the United States. In selecting for its first representative at Washington a veteran servant and champion of the Panama Canal, my Government has evidently sought to show that it considers a loyal and earnest devotion to the success of that most heroic conception of human genius as both a solemn duty and the essential purpose of its existence. I congratulate myself, sir, that my first official duty should be to respectfully request you to convey to His Excellency the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Panama an expression of the grateful sense of their obligation to his Government. In extending her generous hand so spontaneously to her latest born, the Mother of the American Nations is prosecuting her noble mission as the liberator and the educator of the peoples. In spreading her protecting wings over the territory of our Republic the American Eagle has sanctified it. It has rescued it from the barbarism of unnecessary and wasteful civil wars to consecrate it to the destiny assigned to it by Providence, the service of humanity and the progress of civilization.
PHILIPPE BUNAU VARILLA.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE UNITED STATES LEGATION AT BOGOTA.

Mr. Beaupre to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
BOGOTA, November 4, 1903.
(Received November 6, 1903, 5 p.m.)
Fourth, 5 p.m. Confidential. I have been shown telegram from reliable source in Panama to the effect that Isthmus is preparing for secession and that proclamation of independence may be expected soon. The particulars carefully guarded. Reliable information hard to obtain. This Government is evidently alarmed and troops are being sent to Isthmus. Repeat telegrams of importance from United States consul-general. His telegrams to me may be interfered with.
BEAUPRE.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Beaupre’.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 6, 1903.
The people of Panama having by an apparently unanimous movement dissolved their political connection with the Republic of Colombia and resumed their independence, and having adopted a government of their own–republican in form–with which the Government of the United States of America has entered into relations, the President of the United States, in accordance with the ties of friendship which have so long and so happily existed between the respective nations, most earnestly .commends to the Governments of Colombia and of Panama the peaceful and equitable settlement of all questions at issue between them. He holds that he is bound not merely by treaty obligations but by the interests of civilization, to see that the peaceful traffic of the world across the Isthmus of Panama shall not longer be disturbed by a constant succession of unnecessary and wasteful civil wars.
HAY.

Mr. Beaupre’ to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
BOGOTA, November 6, 1903.
(Received November 8, 11.05 p.m.)
November 6, 6 p.m. Knowing that the revolution has already commenced in Panama, says that if the Government of the United States will land troops to preserve Colombian sovereignty, and the transit, if requested by the Colombian charge d’affaires, this Government will declare martial law, and by virtue of vested constitutional authority, when public order is disturbed, will approve by decree the ratification of the canal treaty as signed; or, if the Government of the United States prefers, will call extra session of Congress with new and friendly members next May to approve the treaty. General Reyes has the perfect confidence of Vice-President, he says, and if it becomes necessary will go to the Isthmus or send representatives there to adjust matters along above lines to the satisfaction of the people there. If he goes he would like to act in harmony with the commander of the United States forces. This is the personal opinion of Reyes, and he will advise this Government to act accordingly. There is a great reaction of public opinion in favor of the treaty, and it is considered certain that the treaty was not legally rejected by Congress. To-morrow martial law will be declared; 1,000 troops will be sent from the Pacific side; about the same number from the Atlantic side. Please answer by telegraph.
BEAUPRE.

Mr. Beaupre’ to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
BOGOTA, November 7, 1903.
(Received November 10, 7:30 p.m.)
November 7, 2 p.m. General Reyes leaves next Monday for Panama, invested with full powers. He has telegraphed chiefs of the insurrection that his mission is to the interests of Isthmus. He wishes answer from you, before leaving, to the inquiry in my telegram of yesterday and wishes to know if the American commander will be ordered to co-operate with him and with new Panama Government to arrange peace and the approval of canal treaty, which will be accepted on condition that the integrity of Colombia be preserved. He has telegraphed President of Mexico to ask the Government of the United States and all the countries represented at the Pan-American conference to aid Colombia to preserve her integrity. The question of the approval of the treaty mentioned in my telegram of yesterday will be arranged in Panama. He asks that before taking definite action you will await his arrival there, and that the Government of the United States in the meantime preserve the neutrality and transit of the Isthmus and do not recognize the new Government. Great excitement here. Martial law has been declared in the Cauca and Panama. Answer.
BEAUPRE.

Mr. Beaupre’ to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
BOGOTA, November 7, 1903.
(Received November 10, 7:55 p.m.)
November 7, 6 p.m. As the Government of the United States has war vessels at Panama and Colon, minister for foreign affairs has requested me to ask, Will you allow Colombian Government to land troops at those ports to fight there and on the line of railway? Also if the Government of the United States will take action to maintain Colombian right and sovereignty on the Isthmus in accordance with article 35, the treaty of 1846, in case the Colombian Government is entirely unable to suppress the secession movement there ?
I am entirely unable to elicit from minister for foreign affairs confirmation of the promises made by —
BEAUPRE.

Mr. Beaupre’ to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
BOGOTA, November 9, 1903.
(Received November 11, 12:30 a. m.)
November 9, 9 a. m. I am desired to inform you by General Reyes that Gen. Bedronel Ospina and Lucas Cabellero, prominent party leaders, accompany him on his mission.
Very great excitement here. Large crowds paraded streets yesterday, crying “Down with Marroquin.” Mass meeting denounced him; called for a change of government. Hundreds gathered at the palace, and their orator, a prominent national general, addressed the President, calling for his resignation. Troops dispersed gathering, wounding several. Martial law is declared here, and the city is being guarded by soldiers. Legation of the United States Under strong guard, but apparently no indications of hostile demonstration.
The residence of Lorenzo Marroquin attacked with stones.
Referring to the questions presented by minister for foreign affairs in my telegram of 7th, I have preserved silence, but bear in mind page 578, Foreign Relations, part 3, 1866, and instructions 134 to minister to the United States of Colombia, 1865.
BEAUPRE.

Mr. Hay to Mr. Beaupre’.
(TELEGRAM)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 11, 1903.
(Sent 12:12 p.m.)
Earnestly desiring an amicable solution of matters at issue between Colombia and Panama, we have instructed our consul-general at Panama to use good offices to secure for General Reyes a courteous reception and considerate hearing. It is not thought desirable to permit landing of Colombian troops on Isthmus, as such a course would precipitate civil war and disturb for an indefinite period the free transit which we are pledged to protect. I telegraphed you on November 6 that we had entered into relations with the provisional government.
HAY.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE SECRETARY OF STATE AND THE CHARGE’ D’AFFAIRES OF COLOMBIA.

Mr. Hay to Doctor Herran.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 6, 1903
DEAR DOCTOR HERRAN: I inclose Copy of a dispatch which has to-day been sent to our minister at Bogota.
Very sincerely, yours,
JOHN HAY.
(INCLOSURE.)
Mr. Hay to Mr. Beaupre’.
(TELEGRAM)
November 6, 1903.
BEAUPRE, Bogota:
The people of Panama having by an apparently unanimous movement dissolved their political connection with the Republic of Colombia and resumed their independence, and having adopted a government of their own, republican in form, with which the Government of the United States of America has entered into relations, the President of the United States, in accordance with the ties of friendship which have so long and so happily existed between the respective nations, most earnestly commends to the governments of Colombia and Panama the peaceful and equitable settlement of all questions at issue between them. He holds that he is bound not merely by treaty obligations, but by the interests of civilization, to see that the peaceable traffic of the world across the Isthmus of Panama shall not longer be disturbed by a constant succession of unnecessary and wasteful civil wars.
HAY.
Dr. Herran to Mr. Hay.
(TRANSLATION)
LEGATION OF COLOMBIA, Washington, D.C., November 6, 1903.
EXCELLENCY: I acknowledge the reception of your excellency’s note of the 6th instant, inclosing a copy of the telegram sent on the same day to the legation of the United States at Bogota by the Department of State.
In that telegram your excellency refers to the relations already entered into by the Government of the United States of America with the Colombian rebels who on the evening of the 3rd usurped the power in the capital of the Colombian Department of Panama and imprisoned the lawful civil and military authorities.
Your excellency will undoubtedly receive the reply of the Colombian Government through the same channel that was used to forward the notice of which your excellency was pleased to send me a copy, but, in the meanwhile, I am discharging a duty by lodging in advance with your excellency, in the name of my Government, a solemn protest against the attitude assumed in the Department of Panama, by the Government of the United States to the injury of Colombia’s rights and in disaccord with the stipulations of article 35 of the still existing treaty of 1846-1848 between Colombia and the United States of America.
I reiterate, etc.
THOMAS HERRAN.
Mr. Hay to Dr. Herran.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 11, 1903.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 7th instant, in which, acknowledging my communication of the 6th instant, you are pleased, of your own motion and in the absence of instruction from your Government, to lodge a protest against the attitude assumed by the Government of the United States in respect to the situation on the Isthmus of Panama.
Accept, sir, etc.
JOHN HAY.
Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, November 10, 1903.
(Received 5:40 p.m.)
In regard to the report telegraphed from New York that the Colombian consul-general there had declared that Colombian citizens had petitioned the Colombian Government to send a deputation to thank the German Government for its offered protection and to make concessions of land to Germany therefor, I have just received the assurance of the German minister for foreign affairs that there is no truth whatever in this report. He added that Germany has no interest in the Panama matter, and that the question of an interference on the part of Germany does not exist.
TOWER.
Mr. Porter to Mr. Hay.
(TELEGRAM)
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES, Paris, November 11, 1903.
(Received 3:50 p.m.)
The French generally are much pleased with events in Panama and our attitude there. In conversation with minister for foreign affairs he expressed himself in very sympathetic manner. Has authorized French consul at Panama to enter into relations with de facto government. Recognition will no doubt follow in time, and it seems to be disposition of European powers to await formal recognition by the United States before acting.
PORTER.

RECEPTION OF MINISTERS OF PANAMA.

Mr. Varilla to Mr. Hay.
(TRANSLATION)
LEGATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA,
Washington, November 11, 1903.
MR. SECRETARY OF STATE:
I have the very great honor to bring to your knowledge the fact that the Republic of Panama has designated me to fill, near the Government of the United States of America, the post of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary with full powers to negotiate.
While begging you, Mr. Secretary of State, to transmit to His Excellency the President of the Republic of the United States the substance of the present communication, I venture to ask you to solicit from his kindness the appointment of a date on which tie will authorize me to present to him my letters of credence.
I have, etc.
P. BUNAU VARILLA.

Mr. Loomis to Mr. Varilla.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 12, 1903.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, in which you advise me that the Republic of Panama lass appointed you to fill, near this Government, the post of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, with full powers to negotiate.
You further ask that this information may be communicated to the President and that he will kindly fix a date at which you may present your letters of credence.
In reply I have the honor to say that the President will be pleased to receive you for the purpose mentioned to-morrow, Friday, at 9:30 a.m.
If you will be good enough to call at this Department shortly before the hour mentioned, the Secretary of State will be pleased to accompany you to the White House.
Accept, etc.
FRANCIS B. LOOMIS, Acting Secretary.

REMARKS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF PANAMA.

MR. PRESIDENT: In according to the minister plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama the honor of presenting to you his letters of credence you admit into the family of nations the weakest and the last born of the republics of the New World.
It owes its existence to the outburst of the indignant grief which stirred the hearts of the citizens of the Isthmus on beholding the despotic action which sought to forbid their country from fulfilling the destinies vouchsafed to it by Providence.
In consecrating its right to exist, Mr. President, you put an end to what appeared to be the interminable controversy as to the rival waterways, and you definitely inaugurate the era of the achievement of the Panama Canal.
From this time forth the determination of the fate of the canal depends upon two elements alone, now brought face to face, singularly unlike as regards their authority and power, but wholly equal in their common and ardent desire to see at last the accomplishment of the heroic enterprise for piercing the mountain barrier of the Andes.
The highway from Europe to Asia, following the pathway of the sun, is now to be realized.
The early attempts to find such a way unexpectedly resulted in the greatest of all historic achievements, the discovery of America. Centuries have since rolled by, but the pathway sought has hitherto remained in the realm of dreams. To-day, Mr. President, in response to your summons, it becomes a reality.

THE PRESIDENT’S REPLY TO THE REMARKS MADE BY SENOR BUNAU VARILLA ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF HIS LETTERS OF CREDENCE.

MR. MINISTER: I am much gratified to receive the letters whereby you are accredited to the Government of the United States in the capacity of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama.
In accordance with its long-established rule, this Government has taken cognizance of the act of the ancient territory of Panama in reasserting the right of self-control and, seeing in the recent events on the Isthmus an unopposed expression of the will of the people of Panama and the confirmation of their declared independence by the institution of a de facto government, republican in form and spirit, and alike able and resolved to discharge the obligations pertaining to sovereignty, we have entered into relations with the new Republic. It is fitting that we should do so now, as we did nearly a century ago when the Latin peoples of America proclaimed the right of popular government, and it is equally fitting that the United States should, now as then, be the first to stretch out the hand of fellowship and to observe toward the new-born State the rules of equal intercourse that regulate the relations of sovereignties toward one another.
I feel that I express the wish of my countrymen in assuring you, and through you the people of the Republic of Panama, of our earnest hope and desire that stability and prosperity shall attend the new State, and that, in harmony with the United States, it may be the providential instrument of untold benefit to the civilized world through the opening of a highway of universal commerce across its exceptionally favored territory.
For yourself, Mr. Minister, I wish success in the discharge of the important mission to which you have been called.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 12, 1903.
SIR: In accordance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th instant, calling for all correspondence and other official documents relating to the recent revolution on the Isthmus of Panama, I have the honor to transmit herewith all such matter on file in the Navy Department.
Very Respectfully,
WILLIAM H. MOODY, Secretary.

The PRESIDENT.
NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C., November 2, 1903.
(TRANSLATION)
NASHVILLE, care American Consul, Colon:
Maintain free and uninterrupted transit. If interruption threatened by armed force, occupy the line of railroad. Prevent landing of any armed force with hostile intent, either Government or insurgent, either at Colon, Porto Bello, or other point. Send copy of instructions to the senior officer present at Panama upon arrival of Boston. Have sent copy of instructions and have telegraphed Dixie to proceed with all possible dispatch from Kingston to Colon. Government force reported approaching the Isthmus in vessels. Prevent their landing if in your judgment this would precipitate a conflict. Acknowledgment is required.
DARLING, Acting.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C., November 2, 1903.
GLASS, Marblehead, Acapulco:
Proceed with all possible dispatch to Panama. Telegraph in cipher your departure. Maintain free and uninterrupted transit. If interruption is threatened by armed force occupy the line of railroad. Prevent landing of any armed force, either Government or insurgent, with hostile intent at any point within 50 miles of Panama. If doubtful as to the intention of any armed force, occupy Ancon Hill strongly with artillery. If the Wyoming would delay Concord and Marblehead her disposition must be left to your discretion. Government force reported approaching the Isthmus in vessels. Prevent their landing if in your judgment landing would precipitate a conflict.
DARLING, Acting.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., November 3, 1903.
CRUISER ATLANTA, Kingston, Jamaica:
Proceed with all possible dispatch to Colon. Acknowledge immediately. When will you sail ?
DARLING, Acting.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C. November 3, 1903.
NASHVILLE, Colon:
In the interest of peace make every effort to prevent Government troops at Colon from proceeding to Panama. The transit of the Isthmus must be kept open and order maintained. Acknowledge.
DARLING, Acting.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C., November 3, 1903.
AMERICAN CONSUL, Panama:
Message sent Nashville to Colon may not have been delivered. Accordingly see that the following message is sent to Nashville immediately:
NASHVILLE, Colon:
In the interest of peace make every effort to prevent Government troops at Colon from proceeding to Panama. The transit of the Isthmus must be kept open and order maintained. Acknowledge.
DARLING, Acting.
Secure special trains if necessary. Act promptly.
LOOMIS, Acting.

(TRANSLATION)
NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, D.C., November 4, 1903
NASHVILLE, Colon:
Gunboat of Colombia shelling Panama. Send immediately battery 3-inch field gun and 6-pounder with a force of men to Panama to compel cessation bombardment. Railroad must furnish transportation immediately.
DARLING, Acting.

(TRANSLATION)
Washington, D.C., November 5, 1903.
BOSTON, care of American consul, Panama:
Prevent recurrence bombardment of Panama. Acknowledge.
MOODY

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C., November 5, 1903.
NASHVILLE, Colon:
Prevent any armed force of either side from landing at Colon, Porto Bello, or vicinity.
MOODY.

(TRANSLATION)
Washington, D.C., November 6, 1903.
MAINE, Woods Hole, Mass.:
Proceed at once to Colon, coaling wherever necessary to expedite your arrival. Acknowledge.
MOODY.

(TRANSLATION)
Washington, D.C., November 9, 1903.
DIEHL, Boston:
Upon the arrival of the Marblehead sufficient force must be sent to watch movements closely of the British steamers seized at Buenaventura and to prevent the landing of men with hostile intent within limits of the State of Panama. Protect the British steamers if necessary.
MOODY.

(TRANSLATION)
Washington, D.C., November 10, 1903.
GLASS, Marblehead, Panama:
Reported that the British steamers at Buenaventura were not detained. Did they leave with Colombian troops aboard ?
MOODY.

(TRANSLATION)
Colon, October 15, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Report is current to the effect that a revolution has broken out in the State of Cauca. Everything is quiet on the Isthmus unless a change takes place. On this account there is no necessity to remain here. Do not think it necessary to visit St. Andrews Island.
HUBBARD, Commanding Officer U. S. S. Nashville.

(TRANSLATION)
Colon, November 3, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Receipt of your telegram of November 2 is acknowledged. Prior to receipt this morning about 400 men were landed here by the Government of Colombia from Cartagena. No revolution has been declared on the Isthmus and no disturbances. Railway company have declined to transport these troops except by request of the governor of Panama. Request has not been made. It is possible that movement may be made to-night at Panama to declare independence, in which event I will . . . (message mutilated here) here. Situation is most critical if revolutionary leaders act.
HUBBARD.

(TRANSLATION)
Colon, November 4, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Provisional government was established at Panama Tuesday evening; no organized opposition. Governor of Panama, General Tobar, General Amaya, Colonel Morales, and three others of the Colombian Government troops who arrived Tuesday morning taken prisoner at Panama. I have prohibited transit of troops now here across the Isthmus.
HUBBARD.

Colon, November 4, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Government troops yet in Colon. Have prohibited transportation of troops either direction. No interruption of transit as yet. Will make every effort to preserve peace and order.
HUBBARD.

Colon, November 4, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
I have landed force to protect the lives and property of American citizens here against threats of Colombian soldiery. I am protecting water front with ship. I can not possibly send to Panama until affairs are settled at Colon.
HUBBARD.

Acapulco, Mexico, November 4, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Marblehead and Concord to Panama to-day 4 p.m.; Wyoming will follow to-morrow afternoon. If Boston is to go with squadron, I would suggest Department will order her to rendezvous off Cape Mala, Colombia, about 6 p.m., on November 9. I have ordered Nero to Acapulco. I will leave sealed orders for her to proceed without delay to Panama unless otherwise directed.
GLASS.

Colon, November 5, 1903–9:41 a.m.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
British man-of-war Amphion is protecting American interests Panama. Reported bombardment much exaggerated.
HUBBARD.

Colon, November 5, 1903–9:45 a.m.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Have withdrawn force landed Wednesday afternoon. No bloodshed. I do not apprehend difficulty of any serious nature.
HUBBARD.

Colon, November 5, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Situation here this morning again acute. Have deemed advisable to reland force.
HUBBARD.

(TRANSLATION)
Colon, November 5, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Atlas Line’s steamer, with large body of troops, reported sailing from Cartagena, Colombia.
HUBBARD.

Colon, November 6, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
All quiet. Independents declare Government established as Republic of Panama. Have withdrawn marines.
DELANO.

Colon, November 6, 1903–9:15 a.m.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Arrived Thursday evening; landed force. Following conditions prevailing: Just before landing all the troops of Colombia have left for R. M. S. P. Company’s steamer Orinoco for Cartagena. Independent party in possession of Colon, Panama, and railroad line. Nashville withdrawn force.
DELANO.

(TRANSLATION)
Panama, November 7, 1903–7:40 p.m.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D. C.:
All quiet; traffic undisturbed; message to prevent received.
DIEHL.

Colon, November 8, 1903–7:05 p.m.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D. C.:
Atlanta left yesterday for Bocas del Toro.
DELANO.

Panama, November 9, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D. C.:
The British consul and the minister of war of the provisional government fear seizure of two British steamers at Buenaventura to transport troops convoyed by gunboat. Prevailed upon minister to dispatch gunboat, fearing possible destruction British steamers. The landing of troops in the territory within the limit under my control will cause prolonged campaign. Instructions from the Department are requested.
DIEHL.

Panama, November 10, 1903.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D.C.:
Your telegram of the 9th of November to the Boston acknowledged. No interference British vessels yet. Report seems to be well founded that the steamship Bogota sailed from Buenaventura yesterday afternoon with 1,000 for Rio Dulce. Have sent Concord to patrol in that vicinity in order to prevent landing. Everything is quiet at Panama.
GLASS.

Building the Panama Canal, 1903–1914

The following is article is part of the United States Department of State’s “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” series. It is reproduced here under the public domain.

President Theodore Roosevelt oversaw the realization of a long-term United States goal—a trans-isthmian canal. Throughout the 1800s, American and British leaders and businessmen wanted to ship goods quickly and cheaply between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Roosevelt on a digging machine during construction of the Panama Canal, circa 1908. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

To that end, in 1850 the United States and Great Britain negotiated the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty to rein in rivalry over a proposed canal through the Central American Republic of Nicaragua. The Anglo-American canal, however, never went beyond the planning stages. French attempts to build a canal through Panama (province of Colombia) advanced further. Led by Ferdinand de Lesseps—the builder of the Suez Canal in Egypt—the French began excavating in 1880. Malaria, yellow fever, and other tropical diseases conspired against the de Lesseps campaign and after 9 years and a loss of approximately 20,000 lives, the French attempt went bankrupt. In spite of such setbacks, American interest in a canal continued unabated. The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901 abrogated the earlier Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and licensed the United States to build and manage its own canal. Following heated debate over the location of the proposed canal, on June 19, 1902, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of building the canal through Panama. Within 6 months, Secretary of State John Hay signed a treaty with Colombian Foreign Minister Tomás Herrán to build the new canal. The financial terms were unacceptable to Colombia’s congress, and it rejected the offer.

President Roosevelt responded by dispatching U.S. warships to Panama City (on the Pacific) and Colón (on the Atlantic) in support of Panamanian independence. Colombian troops were unable to negotiate the jungles of the Darien Strait and Panama declared independence on November 3, 1903. The newly declared Republic of Panama immediately named Philippe Bunau-Varilla (a French engineer who had been involved in the earlier de Lesseps canal attempt) as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. In his new role, Bunau-Varilla negotiated the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903, which provided the United States with a 10-mile wide strip of land for the canal, a one-time $10 million payment to Panama, and an annual annuity of $250,000. The United States also agreed to guarantee the independence of Panama. Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal symbolized U.S. technological prowess and economic power. Although U.S. control of the canal eventually became an irritant to U.S.-Panamanian relations, at the time it was heralded as a major foreign policy achievement.