Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.
Bogota, February 15, 1879. (Received March 28.)
Sir: Since the date of my No. 35 I have had repeated conferences with the secretary of foreign relations on the subject of the right of transit guaranteed to the Government of the United States by the thirty-fifth article of the treaty of 1846. In these conferences, I have discussed with him the origin of, and reason for, the thirty-fifth article, and have applied to the words, “The Government of New Granada guarantees to the Government of the United States that the right of way or transit across the Isthmus of Panama shall be open and free to the Government of the United States,” every possible rule of construction. The more I study the question in all its details, the more I become confirmed in the views which I have expressed in my No, 17.
The difficulty in the way of the Colombian secretary of foreign relations may be stated as follows:
The erroneous view taken by his predecessor, as stated in his communication addressed to the department under date of July 1, 1878. To this view, and all its mistaken inferences regarding the Colombian constitution, the present secretary of foreign relations appears to attach perhaps undue importance, either as a matter of consistency in the administration of his department, or from too great a deference to the opinions of a gentleman who for many years occupied a position of prominence in the politics of this republic.
* * * * * * *
I am, &c.,