Mr. Hall to
Guatemala, May 19, 1883. (Received June 15.)
Sir: In my dispatch, No. 101, of the 4th instant, from the capital of Salvador, I referred to the subject of the Nicaraguan Canal, and to the great interest in the project which the President, members of his cabinet, and prominent citizens had expressed to me during my recent visit to that Republic.
I am not aware that any of these states, Nicaragua excepted, have, heretofore, by public acts, or through their diplomatic agents, manifested a special interest in the projected canal or sympathy with the enterprise; the necessity or expediency of such manifestations of interest may not have been suggested or may not have occurred to them, although they are all alive to the fact that the completion of the canal is a matter of the most vital importance to the Central American states severally and collectively. Their silence has been attributed to indifference in regard to the work itself, and to a jealousy of the preponderant influence the United States would acquire should the canal be constructed by American enterprise and controlled by American interests. Happily such ideas, prevalent twenty-five years ago, do not now exist among the best and most progressive classes of Central Americans, who are neither indifferent in regard to the carrying out of that great project nor jealous of American influence; to the contrary, they look forward to the completion of the work as an American enterprise, under the auspices of the Government of the United States.
None of these countries have greater prospective interest in the Nicaraguan Canal than Salvador, the smallest in territorial extent, but probably the wealthiest of the five states. The other states have outlets to the Atlantic; Salvador has none. This want would be supplied [Page 58] by the canal. Salvador has also the port La Union, said to be the best in Central America, near to the Pacific terminus of the canal, which it is expected will give Salvador commercial advantages quite equal with those of Nicaragua.
The Government of Salvador, having become thoroughly impressed I with the great importance of the canal to the progress and development of the Central American Republics, and especially of Salvador, now takes initiative steps to obtain a manifestation on the part of each state in favor of the project. The action taken by Salvador is set forth in the accompanying copy of a communication, dated the 14th instant, from the minister for foreign affairs of that Republic, with which he transmits a copy of an instruction to the representative of Salvador in Washington. The latter, I have no doubt, will have been brought to your notice before this reaches you.
It is probable that the other states will follow the initiative of Salvador in manifestations of friendly interest in the successful completion of the Nicaraguan Canal.
I have, &c.,