Mr. Salgar to Mr. Seward

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 23d instant, in which you are pleased to ask me for information about the resolution which the government of Colombia may have taken in respect of the memorandum which I presented to your excellency on the 16th of March last, containing certain propositions relative to a survey of the isthmus of Panama, which were accepted by your government, subject to ulterior constitutional approval, and I hasten to reply.

As I promised in the memorandum itself, it was sent to the government of Colombia by the packet next after the 19th of March, at which date you were pleased to communicate to me your acceptance through a private channel. I have since learned that it reached Bogota when congress was still assembled, and that its receipt had contributed to prevent approval of a previous contract made by the President for the excavation of a canal across said isthmus; but an official reply, and, what is more, a report upon the final determination of my government, have not been given to me up to this time, or at least such has not reached the legation; such marked delay causing me as much surprise as you doubtless have felt, besides the sincere regret not to be able now even to satisfy completely your inquiry.

I can no otherwise explain this delay than by attributing it to some accident to the mail in transit, or that the change in the personality of the executive administration which took place in May last may have produced some confusion, because it is one of the decided purposes of my government to attend with solicitous care to every business connected with that of the United States of America.

With the view of obtaining the reports above mentioned, I addressed the government, now about two months since, a note claiming from them and calling their attention to this lamentable delay; so that I hope with good ground to receive them by the steamer which ought to arrive from Aspinwall the 9th of the coming month, and if it should so happen will immediately transmit them to you.

I avail of this occasion to renew to your excellency the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


His Excellency William H. Seward, &c., & c., & c.