The Colombian Minister to the Secretary of State.

No. 62.]

Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to forward to your excellency a copy of the message sent by the President of the Republic of Colombia, Gen. Rafael Reyes, to the national assembly respecting the treaties concluded with the United States of America and the Republic of Panama, from which document your excellency will see the [Page 383] keen interest with, which the President recommends the approval of the treaties to the assembly.

I avail myself of this other opportunity to renew to your excellency the expression of my highest consideration and to subscribe myself the Secretary’s very humble obedient servant.

Enrique Cortes.


Honorable members of the National Constituent and Legislative Assembly:

The minister of foreign relations will lay before you the treaties signed at Washington on January 9 last by our minister, Senor Don Enrique Cortés and the plenipotentiaries of the United States and Panama, the Hon. Elihu Root and Senor Don Carlos Constantin Arosemena.

After all, this important and delicate negotiation began in Washington with the uote addressed on the 23d of December, 1903,1 to his excellency, the Hon. John Hay, Secretary of State of the United States, by the mission over which I had the honor to preside and of which Gen. Don Jorge Holguín, Don Pedro Nel Ospina, and Don Lucas Cabellero were members.

In concluding these treaties our legation at Washington kept within the instruction sent it by the Government through the various ministers in charge of the department of foreign affairs under this administration, and justice demands recognition of the patriotism and intelligence with which our present minister to the United States Senor Don Enrique Cortés, has conducted and carried to a successful issue those negotiations.

I cherish the hope that the Colombian people will, when it knows them, give them its decidedly favorable verdict, since the Government, in concluding them, has borne in mind not only its interests and conveniences but also its mandates.

Indeed, the board of commissioners of commerce, agriculture, and industry of the departments assembled at Bogota in July, 1906, for the treatment of economical questions alive at that time and of great importance, whose members belonged to every political party and are furthermore favorably known for their high political and social standing in our community, unanimously approved at its session of July 12, 1906, the following motion:

The undersigned commissioners of commerce, agriculture, and industry, of the departments of Narino, Cauca, Antioquia, Bolivar, Atlantico, and Magdalena, which are the departments of which some abut on the Pacific and others on the Atlantic Ocean, declare to the Government the necessity of promptly adjusting, in an honorable way acceptable to Colombia, the questions pending with the United States and Panama and asks that this motion, which has been drawn up in accord with the minister of foreign relations, be taken up by the board.

Celedonio Piñeres.

oscar a. noguera.

Luciano Herrera.

Ricardo Restrepo, C.

Leonardo Tascón.

Very respectable organs of the press have welcomed this motion with applause, and public opinion, in possession of the knowledge needed to form judgment on so grave subject, was not long in bringing its preponderating influence to bear in the same sense, as is evidenced by a multitude of documents circulated in printed form, which may reasonably be considered as the result of a great plebiscite.

The Government considering, in a way, that relations with foreign nations are part of domestic policy, conscious of its duties and responsibilities, and at the same time interpreting the national will and looking after the moral and material interests of the country in its charge, never ceased in the last 5 years to labor with the greatest zeal for an honorable and suitable settlement of so delicate a question, and believes it has succeeded in this with the treaties that are submitted to your enlightened examination and are approved by it without any restriction.

R. Reyes.

  1. Printed in S. Doc. 95, 58th Cong., 2d sess.