File No. 721.000.

Report of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Colombian Congress, August 22, 1911.


The special circumstances attending our relations with the great Republic of the North, due to acts which it is useless to recall, are known; as my honorable predecessor had occasion to state in his report to the National Assembly of the past year, the Root-Cortés treaties were unfavorably received by the public opinion. But the results of said negotiations in no wise signify that all hope of reaching an honorable solution, such as has been the wish of the Colombian people, must be abandoned. For in the midst of transitory interests justice opens the way and compels the adhesion of the understanding and the will, and much may be hoped of peoples who have become great by observing the lofty traditions of the law.

Echoes of this sentiment and currents of sympathy spontaneously developed in the great Republic in favor of the rights of Colombia reach us and are unexceptionable testimony in favor of our just claims.

Since the separation of the Isthmus and the ensuing treaty between the de facto Government of Panama and that of the United States regarding cession of the Canal Zone Colombia asked that the principal point in dispute be submitted to arbitration, that is to say whether the United States had faithfully complied with the treaty of 1848. The points of view of the two countries being diametrically opposed and Colombia considering the new interpretation given by the North American Government to said treaty, famous in diplomatic annals, to be contrary to the treaty and especially to the express stipulation contained in article 35, the solution of the difference by arbitration seemed to be indicated, a system which Colombia has always proclaimed as the most civilized and equitable for the solution of international difficulties not susceptible of direct adjustment. Arbitration exercised by an entity or by a person worthy of acting as a representative of justice equalizes the forces of the powerful and the weak and insures the security of all rights. It is noteworthy that the present illustrious President of the United States has publicly expressed his opinion regarding the projected treaty of arbitration with England, that in such a manner all questions, even those affecting the national honor, should be decided. This breadth of judgment, which doubtless responds to a high conception of justice, permits the hope of arriving finally at a satisfactory solution of an incident which has engendered profound uneasiness in the national life.

[The rest of the report refers to the difficulty between the public of Bogotá and the North American Tramway Co., Mr. Johnson Martin, manager, and the settlement thereof by the sale of the tramway to the city of Bogotá.]