The Secretary of State to Minister Dawson.
Washington, March 19, 1909.
Your undated telegram received 18th concerning punctuation and intent of article 6. Colombian minister has also brought the matter to my attention. The comma in the Spanish text is obviously [Page 379] misplaced. Equivalence to sense of the English text requires comma after comercio and none after refugio. The change can be initialed on the original by the Colombian minister and Mr. Root, and you can do the same with the Colombian minister for foreign affairs on his text.
You are authorized to write the Colombian minister in the sense you suggest concerning the use of Colombian ports for shelter in case of stress or need for vessels using or bound for the canal. We understand that all the first part of article 6 does is to recognize the long-standing doctrine of international law concerning the friendly shelter of vessels in stress or need plus a gracious waiver of anchorage or tonnage dues which Colombia could rightfully impose by virtue of her sovereignty over such ports.
- Mr. Dawson and the minister can do the same at Bogota.↩