No. 26.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 136.]

Sir: With reference to my dispatch No. 110, of the 19th of May ultimo, reporting the steps taken by the Government of Salvador to obtain some concerted action of the Central American states in favor of the projected interoceanic canal of Nicaragua, I now accompany, for convenient reference, a duplicate of the inclosure transmitted therewith, and the following translations, which, I am persuaded, will be found of [Page 59] interest in connection with that subject: The circular of the Government of Salvador to the several Governments of the Central American states; the answers of Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. These communications are published in the Diario Oficial of Salvador, of the 14th and 21st of May ultimo, also inclosed.

I respectfully invite your attention to the communications from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The former declines, for the present at least, to participate in any action respecting the canal, but her objections relate to questions with Nicaragua which are connected with a long-pending dispute concerning the boundary lines between the two countries. An attempt has been made recently to settle them by a treaty, proposed by Costa Rica, whose Government has since rejected the negotiations of its own representative.

Nicaragua also declines to take any action in the matter. The reasons therefor are set forth in the note of her minister, Mr. Castellon, to Mr. Gallegos. The Government is evidently disheartened and under the impression that the Congress of the United States will take no action favoring the enterprise.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 136.—Translation.]

Circular of the Government of Salvador to the Governments of the Central American states.

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to remit to your excellency an authorized copy of a note which this office has addressed under date of the 4th instant to the minister of Salvador in Washington, in relation to the project of the Nicaragua interoceanic canal.

As your excellency will see from the inclosed, motives of particular interest relative to the situation and progress of this Republic have obliged the Salvadorean cabinet to take the initiative toward the American Government, to call its attention and solicit its aid, in order that, under such powerful auspices, the realization of that important enterprise may be promoted in a decisive manner.

But, apart from such considerations, my Government believes that that work is above all essentially Central American, as it is destined by its transcendental consequences to produce the most complete and favorable, transformation in the destinies of these Republics: and by virtue of this fact, without ignoring the labors which, for a long time past, nave been preparing on the part of the Republic of Nicaragua, or with its consent and aid, it thinks that the five Governments of Central America should unite their forces, to direct their instances, offer their co-operation and influence as far as they may be able, to the end of assuring the Nicaragua interoceanic communication, which should be so fruitful in beneficial results to our people.

The Government of Salvador, then, feeling the importance and opportuneness of this measure, and with the conviction that that of that Republic of which your excellency is the worthy organ is perfectly identified with its ideas, as far as they tend to promote Central American interests, has given me instructions to earnestly request you, as I do by the present, in order that, if you think proper, you may direct your offices toward the Government of the United States of America, in the same sense as this Republic has done, concerning the object indicated.

The uniformity and concurrence of such action, in addition to the political effect they might produce, would protect the Republics of Central America, in the opinion of my Government, from the charge of indolence, which might, perhaps, be made against them, in an affair which, like that of the interoceanic canal, is of so much interest to their aggrandizement and progress.

I renew, &c.,

[Page 60]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 136.—Translation.]

The minister of foreign affairs of Honduras to that of Salvador.

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to refer to your excellency’s dispatch, dated the 12th of last month, whose contents I have with satisfaction brought to the notice of the council of ministers in the exercise of the executive power.

The Government of Honduras applauds the patriotic idea of that Republic relative to working with decided energy to draw the attention of the United States of America and solicit their aid, in order that, under their powerful auspices, the most important enterprise of the interoceanic canal across the territory of Nicaragua may be promoted.

The realization of so grand a project is destined to change the face of Central America, contributing efficaciously to its rapid advancement and prosperity, and operating the most complete transformation in benefit of these countries, for which a fortunate future is reserved, by their excellent geographical situation and by the riches of all kinds inclosed in their privileged territory.

Central America, as your excellency very well says, should protect herself from the charge that might be made against her of indolence in an affair which interests her so much; and it is necessary to unite all forces that the Nicaragua route may be accepted and the interoceanic communication made there.

The Government of Honduras, animated by those ideas, accepts with pleasure the initiative taken by your excellency, and in consequence instructions will be given to our minister in Washington, analogous to those which your excellency has communicated to Mr. Batres Jáuregui, minister plenipotentiary of Salvador and Guatemala in the United States of America.

The minister of Honduras will be recommended to proceed in an affair of such capital interest in accord with the representatives of the other Central American Republics.

I shall have the honor to send to your excellency in due time an authorized copy of the dispatch to the said minister of Honduras.

With assurances, &c.,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 136.—Translation.]

The minister for foreign affairs of Costa Rica to that of Salvador.

Mr. Minister: I have had the honor to receive your esteemed communication of the 12th of May ultimo, and the copy with which you were pleased to accompany it.

I am pleased to inform your excellency that my Government is in accord with your excellency’s observations as regards the importance of the Nicaragua Canal, and at the proper time to manifest with deeds the interest with which the realization of that work inspires all the Central American states; but an observation has been made on the part of this Government, by virtue of the treaty which exists between the two Republics, and I am awaiting its result; so that in the mean time it will not be possible, notwithstanding the good disposition of this Government, to take any step which might be interpreted as a tacit renunciation of our rights.

I entertain the hope that soon perhaps we may labor in harmony in favor of so important an enterprise, and in whatever tends to promote Central American interests your excellency may be sure of the opportune co-operation of Costa Rica.

I improve, &c.,

[Inclosure 4 in No. 136.—Translation.]

The minister for foreign affairs of Nicaragua to that of Salvador.

Mr. Minister: I have had the honor to receive, with your excellency’s esteemed dispatch, dated the 12th of May ultimo, a copy of that which, on the 4th of the same month, you addressed to the minister of Salvador in the United States, giving him instructions to ascertain the opinion which prevails in the councils of the Washington [Page 61] Cabinet relative to the projected Nicaragua interoceanic canal, and the hopes which may be entertained as to its co-operation in favor of the enterprise.

Your excellency explains the motives of interest for that Republic and for all Central America which move your Government to take that step, and in their name asks that of Nicaragua to direct its offices towards the Government of the United States in the same sense.

My Government is grateful for the fraternal solicitude shown by that of that Republic in favor of a work in which Nicaragua has placed her most nattering hopes of political advancement and of pacific aggrandizement, in common with her sisters of the Central American Isthmus. Understanding the grandeur of the work, and the incalculable benefits it should produce to these countries, she has labored alone, but constantly, in promoting its execution by such means as have been in her power, and particularly sending to Europe and the United States, at different times, legations charged with laboring to that end. She has done so recently after celebrating the contract with Mr. A. G. Menocal in conditions which assure to the other states of the Center the same advantages as to the sovereign of the territory in which the work should be constructed.

But in view of the meager result obtained up to the present in the United States, and of the lukewarmness manifested by the provisional company, concessionee of the privilege, this Government thinks best to abstain for the present from undertaking new efforts toward the Government of Washington, hoping that your excellency will be pleased to communicate to me the information which the minister of Salvador may obtain in virtue of the instructions which have been transmitted to him.

I reiterate, &c.,