Minister Squiers to the Secretary of State.

No. 7.]

Sir: I have the honor to report the arrival of the President at Colon on Wednesday, the 14th of November, at about 2 p.m.

The President wired inviting President Amador and Mrs. Amador, Secretary of State Arias, chief officials of the Canal Commission, and myself to go on board the Louisiana at 8.30 to discuss with the Canal Commission the plan of inspection and with me the festivities proposed in his honor by the Panama Government. I inclose official programme furnished by the secretary of foreign affairs, and which was practically adhered to. I inclose a translation of President Amador’s address of welcome, and also a copy of President Roosevelt’s reply. Both speeches, but particularly the latter, were received with much cheering and enthusiasm. The President and Mrs. Roosevelt dined at the palace the same evening, guests of President and Mrs. Amador. The following persons were present:

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens; Mr. and Mrs. Shonts; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Arias; Mr. and Mrs. Ehrman; Doctor Rixey, U. S. Navy; Mr. Latta; Mr. Arango; Mr. Quintero; Mr. T. Arias; Mr. de Roux; Mr. De la Vaya; Mr. De la Espriela, and myself and Mrs. Squiers.

After dinner the President and the rest of the party attended a reception given in his honor by President Amador at the Commercial Club. Here his reception was most cordial and enthusiastic.

The two following days were entirely devoted to the inspection of the canal and the various working plants. Saturday evening he attended a reception given by the canal employees at Cristobal, where he made an address. A newspaper account of this reception and his address is inclosed. During the President’s stay here Panama and the towns along the route were gaily decorated with flags and arches as handsomely as the people could afford. Whatever they may have lacked in decorations they made up in other respects.

On no other occasion, and in spite of the downpour of rain during the whole day, have there been so many people in Panama. The streets along the line of march were crowded with most enthusiastic natives, who cheered the President on every possible occasion.

The people of the better classes, government officials, the press, political parties, have been most favorably impressed by his address, an impression which is likely to bear good fruits. The President sailed from Colon on the evening of November 17, at 11.30 p.m.

[Page 1195]

I inclose copies of telegrams and memorialsa sent the President while here, some of which I replied to by his direction.

I have, etc.

H. G. Squiers.
[Inclosure 1.]

president amador’s address.

Mr. President: The visit with which you honor the people of Panama would make the most powerful and haughty nation of the world feel proud, and is an evident proof of the cordial interest they inspire in you.

Understanding and appreciating this to its full value, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, as it is additional cause for us to admire, love, and respect you, as you are admired, loved, and respected by your fellow-citizens, and even more, if it is possible, because a sentiment of deep gratitude binds us.

In olden times the nations achieved their independent life amidst the thunder of battles, bathing their soil with the blood of their martyrs, their heroes, and the victims of their wrath.

The Republic of Panama, daughter of a modern civilization, was not born under these conditions. She has come to life by virtue of this self-same civilization and as the result of the struggle between advancement and retrogression, and in pursuance of her manifest destiny has allied her forces to those of the great nation whose path you guide in the most stupendous undertaking of the latter-day progress, the construction of the Interoceanic Canal, wide highway for universal navigaiton and the great marvel of the century.

A rare alliance this, Mr. Roosevelt—that of the great Colossus of the North, with its immense riches, unlimited credit, its vast store of knowledge, and numerous elements that contribute to make it the only entity capable of successfully carrying on such a great enterprise, with the small and the youngest republic of America, owner of the land, which she gladly lends for the work; and nestling it, as we do, in our country’s bosom, we feel that its safe-keeping in a large measure devolves upon us.

To harmonize the various elements that had to be united, to overcome the opposition and obstacles that arose, to reorganize the great work, to grasp, in a word, its immense magnitude, a superior man was necessary, and you were this man. Firm in your endeavors, you now come as commander in chief of our allied forces to review them and infuse in them the enthusiasm which you possess, so that the victory of toil and science may soon crown our sacrifices and efforts for the common glory of your country and mine in proportion to the contingent of each.

In passing through the Canal Zone this morning you have, no doubt, rapidly reviewed your legions, and in your countenance I read the satisfaction of this first examination.

You have heard frequent and thundering detonations, but they were not those of the murderous cannon, but instead the explosive energy with which science knocks at the door of the Andes, demanding of them free passage for the commerce of the world.

You have noticed the movement of trains in different directions, similar to those that in time of war carry the destructive elements where they better serve their cursed end; but here this does not happen. On the contrary, their mission is for the benefit of man; it is the tribute that the mountains themselves pay at the demand of engineering science to change the topography of the country, to convert the ravines into valleys and the valleys of urn into lakes, the sweet kisses in which will counteract the brine of the two oceans and will serve as a silvery link between the betrothed of the future, the Atlantic and the Pacific.

God be blessed, sir, for permitting His own work to be thus altered by the hand of man for the benefit of mankind.

You have been able to see that the staff under the indefatigable Stevens attends assiduously to the directions of the work, and assigns to each his post and duty; that the numerous body of engineers, mechanics, and clerks obey [Page 1196] and cheerfully fulfill the orders they receive, and that everyone, even the humble laborers, seem inspired by one sole purpose, all protected by the tireless corps under Colonel Gorgas, the guardian of the health and life of the soldiers of toil and all the inhabitants of this tropical land.

I should now have the honor to offer you the forces of our own contingent, but I shall not enumerate them, because they are well known to you. But I do believe this is the occasion for me to say, supported by the testimony of all your representatives, that the Panamanian people and Government not only strictly fulfill the obligations contracted toward you, but that we are filled with enthusiasm and willingness to facilitate all the means at our disposal, whether it be our written duty or not, to make your immense task lighter and even pleasant.

Permit, sir, the people of Panama to acclaim you as commander in chief of the allied American-Panamanian forces in this great struggle of progress and civilization.

We are a grateful people, and the remembrance that in you we have had a generous defender remains indelibly impressed upon our hearts.

The qualities that have chiefly strengthened your character are two—courage and justice—and you have displayed both in our favor, when it has been necessary, against your own people and foreigners.

Panama is aware, through your utterances, that as long as we continue along the path of honor and duty we shall not lack your powerful support.

Therefore we ask you to receive this expression of our sincere gratitude.

Be welcome, and consider yourself in the midst of your best friends and admirers.

[Inclosure 2.]

president roosevelt’s speech.

Mr. President, Senora Amador, and you, citizens of Panama:

For the first time in the history of the United States it has become advisable for a President of the United States to step on territory not beneath the flag of the United States, and it is in the territory of Panama that this has occurred, a symbol and proof of the closeness of the ties that unite the two countries because of their peculiar relations to the gigantic enterprise of digging the Panama Canal.

In the admirable address of President Amador, to which we have just listened, the President rightly said that the United States and Panama are partners in the great work which is now being done here on this Isthmus. We are joint trustees for all the world doing that work; and, President Amador, I hereby pledge on behalf of my country to you and your people the assurance of the heartiest support and of treatment on a basis of a full and complete and generous equality between the two Republics. Nowhere else in the world at this moment is a work of such importance taking place as here on the Isthmus of Panama, for here is being performed the giant engineering feat of the ages, and it is a matter for deep gratitude that I am able, I am happy to say, that it is being well and worthily performed.

It is but a few weeks since the Secretary of State of the American Republic, Secretary Root, was your guest here in this city, he having at that time finished a tour of South America, which in its interest and in its far-reaching importance dwarfed anything of the kind that had ever hitherto been done by a Secretary of State of the American Republic, save only on the one or two occasions of absolute national importance in the great crises of the past. Mr. Root, President Amador, at that time spoke to you and your people, giving his assurance of the hearty friendliness of spirit of the Republic of the North in its relations toward you and your people; and I wish here, with all the emphasis possible, to make Mr. Root’s words mine, and to reiterate what he has said to you already—that the sole desire of the United States as regards the Republic of Panama is to see it increase in wealth, in numbers, in importance, until it becomes, as we earnestly hope it will become, one of the republics whose history reflects honor upon the entire western world. Such progress and prosperity, Mr. President, can come only through the preservation of both order and liberty; through the observance by those in power of all their rights, obligations, and duties to their fellow-citizens, and through the realization of those out of [Page 1197] power that the insurrectionary habit, the habit of civil war, ulimately means destruction to the republic.

I now wish to thank you, President Amador, and all your people for the reception that has been accorded us. Not only have I been immensely impressed with the tremendous work being done so successfully on this Isthmus, but I have also been immensely impressed with the beauty and fertility of your country; and I prophesy for it a great future, a future which, when the canal is completed, will be of such a kind and will attain such dimensions as to make it indeed a proud boast to claim citizenship in Panama.

And now, Mr. President, in closing I have but to say that not only do our people heartily wish well to Panama, but that we shall never interfere with her save to give her our aid in the attainment of her future.

  1. Not printed.