Chargé Hibben to the Secretary of State.

No. 232.]

Sir: In reference to the department’s telegram of the 9th instant advising the legation that the Government of Panama had ratified the treaties between that country, the United States, and Colombia, I have the honor to inclose herewith a cutting from El Nuevo Tiempo, of this morning, together with translation thereof, [Page 362] announcing the convocation of the national assembly for the 22d instant to consider the acceptance of the treaties in question. As will be seen from this article, as well as from those transmitted in this legation’s Nos. 2231 and 2271 of January 13 and 18, respectively, the treaties are received with favor by both the official and semiofficial organs of the Government, and no doubt is expressed as to their ultimate acceptance by the national assembly. I have just seen the minister for foreign affairs, who questioned me closely in regard to the acceptance of the treaties by the Senate of the United States, and he assured me that it was the hope and belief of Gen. Reyes that there would not be the slightest difficulty in regard to the ratification of the treaties here.

I have, etc.,

Paxton Hibben.

Treaties of Colombia with Panama and the United States.

El Neuvo Tiempo, February 12, 1909.

Favorable stipulations toward Colombian-Convocation of the national assembly—To reunite February 22—To discuss the treaties and the budget of revenues and expenses.

As our readers are already aware, from the reproduction made yesterday of an article from the Panaman periodical, La Estrella, of some of the bases of the treaties which our minister in Washington signed with the representatives of Panama and of the United States—

In addition to the stipulations mentioned by La Estrella, we understand on good authority, that in the treaties in question there appear the following conditions, which are more favorable to Colombia than those contained in the Herrán-Hay treaty:

The isthmian railroad will carry members of the Colombian Army, army provisions, mails, etc., under the same conditions as stipulated by Panama with the United States;

The salt from the national salt mines on the Atlantic will be transported free, with no other encumbrance than the wastes of loading and unloading. This concession is of great importance, as on account of the same the ocean salt of our country will be used in place of foreign salt. In this manner the hundreds of thousands of pesos, gold, going out of the country to pay for foreign salt consumed in the departments of the Pacific will be stopped:

Colombia is conceded the right to enter the Canal Zone with such of her products, as provisions, fatted cattle, etc., for consumption, under the same conditions as the products of the United States. This concession promises for our agricultural industries and the welfare of our shores on both oceans—especially for the farmers of the Atlantic coast—a benefit worth thousands of pesos, gold, annually in the exportation of fatted cattle only, which exportation, as we all know, has ended with great detriment, owing to the fact that the markets of Cuba and of the Isthmus imposed a duty of 15 pesos, gold, on each head of fatted cattle;

Further, the treaty concedes to us the free passage of the canal—free of all taxes for the navy of our country, whether in case of interior or exterior wars;

Upon guaranty of the United States, Panama will pay to Colombia $2,500,000, corresponding to its participation in the foreign debt; and

The boundaries will be the same as those determined by the law of the 9th of June, 1855.

All these concessions are of such importance and magnitude that we have to recognize that the American Government has made an effort to give us satisfaction for the injustices committed against Colombia, and of which the diplomatic mission—of which the actual President of Colombia was chief—claimed, in the well-known note of grievance which to-day is placed in the right before the eyes of the civilized world.

In our yesterday’s edition we gave space to a letter addressed to the Herald by the well-known American professor, Hamilton Rice, in which he recognized the unjust manner in which Colombia was treated, and with grand altruistic spirit advised his country that they give satisfaction enforcing the principles of equity, a satisfaction which must correspond to the greatness of the American people.

[Page 363]

The council of ministers, in its session of yesterday, convoked the national assembly to extraordinary sessions, which will reunite on the 22d instant to consider, in addition to the budget of revenues and expenses of the present year, the treaties in question. We understand that they have already been approved by the Assembly of Panama, and judging by cable advices they will also be approved by the American Senate, which at present is discussing them.

Our minister in Washington was not mistaken when he reported to our minister for foreign affairs the generosity of these treaties, a fact which has been recognized by the sort of plebiscite which has begun in this country regarding this important question. By telegrams, which we have published in this periodical from several parts of the Republic, it will be seen that public opinion is unanimous in approbation.

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