Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.
Bogotá, November 6, 1880. (Received December 8.)
Sir: It will be interesting and gratifying to you to learn that in the various steps connected with the construction of a proposed interoceanic canal at Panama by a distinguished citizen of the French Republic, the course of the French Government has been marked by a strict adherence to the policy of non-interference in the matter.
I have learned that when Mr. L. N. B. Wyse, came to this capital in order to negotiate the contract for that enterprise with the Colombian Government, the representative of the French Republic received strict instructions on no account to commit his government to the support of the project.
Further, when Mr. de Lesseps, arrived at Panama, the French consul delivered an address of welcome containing some fanciful allusions to France and the interest manifested in his undertaking by the French Government. This action of the consul was disapproved and he was reprimanded.
Since then, in the instructions to the French legation the positive injunction has been renewed to abstain from giving any countenance to the canal scheme, and to make it understood that the French Government is in no way interested in the same.[Page 338]
As this information coincides with the statements made to you by the French minister at Washington, I have no doubt but that you will be pleased to hear of this exhibition of a frank and loyal spirit on the part of the Government of the French Republic.
I am, &c.,