Mr. Pomeroy to Mr. Blaine.
Paris, July 14, 1881. (Received July 28.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch* [Page 417]No. 386, dated June 24, and No. 388, dated June 25, addressed to General Noyes, and both relating to the interoceanic canal which is now projected across the Isthmus of Panama.
The first one states it has fallen under the observation of the President that the great powers of Europe may possibly be considering the idea of jointly guaranteeing the neutrality of this canal, and it makes known to General Noyes the views of the President on the subject, in order that they be frankly communicated to the Government of the French Republic, in case such a plan receive the attention of the powers.
Dispatch No. 338 informs General Noyes it had reached your knowledge through a trustworthy source, that the Colombian Government has decided to make immediate overtures to the European powers for the preparation of a treaty which is to guarantee the neutrality of the isthmus. It instructs the minister here to seek an early opportunity for conferring with Mr. B. St. Hilaire in the matter, and to say after making this explanation, that it was necessary to acquaint the powers with the views of the President in the conclusions which he has formed, and also to read to Mr. B. St. Hilaire your instructions contained in dispatch No. 386, a copy of which was to be left if desired. I have to inform you that in compliance with these instructions I called upon and saw Mr. B. St. Hilaire, yesterday at ihe ministry of foreign affairs. I stated to him the circumstances of the case, gave him as directed the source and nature of your information regarding the anticipated action of the Colombian Government, and said in order that he may well and fully understand the necessary relations existing between the United States and Colombia, I was instructed to read to him a dispatch, which expressed very fully the President’s views on this subject.
Mr. B. St. Hilaire replied that he had heard it mentioned the Colombian Government contemplated taking such a step as the one anticipated, but that he had no official intimation whatever of this being a fact. He added he was glad, however, to know the views of our government in this matter, and suggested that a copy of your dispatch be left with him. I naturally complied with his request. Mr. B. St. Hilaire assured me he would read your communication with due care and consideration, and in case it required an answer that he would seize the first opportunity to transmit it.
I have, &c.,
- For instruction referred to see instruction No. 187, dated June 24, 1881, to minister to Great Britain.↩