No. 200.
Mr. Dichman to Mr. Evarts.

No. 248.]

Sir: The 1st day of February of each year being the time fixed by the Colombian constitution for the meeting of Congress that body met on the day just stated.

Although this is an adjourned session from last year the members of this Congress having been elected at the same time and for the same period of two years as the present administration, it can already be noted that the opposition party in Congress which can hardly be said to have had an existence during the last session has increased its members to such an extent as will tax the resources and ingenuity of the administration to the utmost to prevent it from acquiring a majority.

Deferring a general examination of the President’s message (one copy of which has been forwarded separately, and another is inclosed) to a future occasion, I beg leave to invite your attention at present to that part thereof which treats of the relations between the United States and Colombia, as connected with the concession granted for the excavation of an interoceanic canal across the Isthmus of Panama.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 248.—Translation.]

Extract from the President’s message to the Colombian Congress.

With the United States of America we continue in relations of the most friendly harmony, the slight misunderstandings arising from the concession granted for the opening of the interoceanic canal having received a mutual and frank explanation.

As this canal is to be cut through a territory, the neutrality and sovereignty of which have been guaranteed by the government of that republic, which in that sense considers itself our ally, it is not impossible that new controversies may arise which may make discussions between the two governments upon this matter necessary, but judging from the spirit of justice and kindness which distinguishes the acts of the Cabinet of Washington, and of which its representative at this capital has made himself more than once the authorized interpreter, I am confident that the conclusions of such discussions will always be pacific and satisfactory in every respect.