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Proposed interoceanic canal treaty between the United States and Nicaragua, and protests of Salvador and Costa Rica in relation thereto

Introductory Note. On December 15, 1912, the American Minister notified the Department (File No. 817.812/5) that the Government of Nicaragua desired to negotiate a treaty with the United States giving to the latter a thirty year option to acquire a strip of land for canal purposes under conditions similar in form to those of Panama, the consideration being: (1) payment by the United States of three million dollars gold at the time of the exchange of ratifications, and an additional sum to be agreed upon, together with an annual rent charge, at the time of the exercise of the option; (2) grant to the United States pending the negotiations of a discretionary right to let a subsidiary privilege of putting the existing waterway into navigable condition for light-draught vessels; and (3) grant to the United States of a naval station in the Gulf of Fonseca and one on Corn Island, if these should be desired. The advantages to Nicaragua besides the cash payment were the guaranty of the peace and independence of the Republic, the development of its great resources through capital, attracted by the definite settlement of the question, the prospect of eventual construction of the canal, and elimination of a constant European incentive to revolution. The advantages to the United States were the preparation for further growth of its coastwise commerce, elimination of foreign political influence, the service of a caveat against any more canal concessions or territorial privileges such as had been attempted with European and Asiatic powers, an additional important defense of the Panama Canal, and an effective means for guaranteeing the Washington conventions.

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This proposal resulted in the signing of a treaty between the United States and Nicaragua, February 8, 1913, which was submitted to the Senate on February 24, 1913.1 It is this treaty to which reference is made in the following communications.


[1310] The Minister of Costa Rica to the Secretary of State.

File No. 817.812/22.


[1311] The Minister of Nicaragua to the Secretary of State.

File No. 817.812/27.


[1312] The Secretary of State to the Minister of Nicaragua.

File No. 817.712/27.


[1313] The Secretary of State to the American Minister to Guatemala.

File No. 711.13/15.


[1314] The Secretary of State to the American Minister to Salvador.

File No. 711.13/18.


[1315] The American Minister to Costa Rica to the Secretary of State.

File No. 711.13/34.


[1316] The Secretary of State to the American Minister to Coata Rica.

File No. 711.13/34.


[1317] The Secretary of State to the American Minister to Salvador.

File No. 711.13/34.


[1318] The Secretary of State to the American Minister to Nicaragua.

File No. 711.13/34.


[1319] The American Chargé d’Affaires at San Salvador to the Secretary of State.

File No. 711.13/36.


[1321] The Minister of Salvador to the Secretary of State.

File No. 817.812/49.


[1322] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 817.812/55.


[1323] The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia.

File No. 817.812/135.

  1. Not acted upon by the Senate during 1913; in the course of the year amendments were proposed by Nicaragua which led to negotiations for replacing it with a new one, a draft of which was received by the Department on October 31, 1913 (File No. 817.812/54).