File No. 711.21/201.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

No. 14.]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith the English text of the draft preamble and articles for a treaty embodying the Colombian Government’s ideas regarding bases for a settlement, which have been informally communicated to me by Dr. Urrutia in accordance with the statement made in his note of the 6th instant, a copy of which was transmitted to the Department with my despatch No. 10 of the 8th instant.

These ideas comprise the views of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, composed of representatives of all political parties, and may, therefore, be considered as interpreting faithfully every national aspiration.

While the ideas may be deemed to constitute Colombia’s maximum desires, I feel convinced that she will accept considerably less.

Dr. Urrutia on several occasions during our conversation laid stress upon the fact that these desires were to be treated as an informal expression of views only and were to serve as a basis for discussion, in the hope that the two Governments might reach some mutually acceptable ground before he presented Colombia’s formal counter-proposition.

I have used every effort to dissuade Dr. Urrutia from presenting, even informally, in my opinion such exorbitant desires, but he has [Page 324] earnestly requested me to transmit them and I have thought it best to do so, although, when my views have been requested, I have not hesitated to state frankly that I thought no good purpose could be served in requesting greater preferential privileges in the use of the Canal than those enjoyed by the United States and United States commerce, nor a boundary other than that based upon the New Granadan law of June 9, 1855, nor a greater indemnity than one of 20 million dollars, in consideration of the foregoing concessions.

I sincerely trust that the Department will see its way clear to approve the phraseology of the preamble and of Article I, and especially that it will find it possible to accept the word “regrets,” which I am convinced would go far towards rendering any terms acceptable to this Government and the people of Colombia.

I have [etc.]

Thad. A. Thomson.

Draft Treaty embodying Colombia’s proposals.

The Republic of Colombia and the United States of America, desiring to put an end to everything which may impair the good understanding between the two nations; and wishing therefore to adjust the situation created by the political change which took place in Panamá in November 1903 and to regulate as well the rights and interests of both nations relating to the interoceanic canal which the Government of the United States is now constructing across the Isthmus of Panamá; and earnestly desiring to restore the reciprocal relations of their long and close friendship, have resolved for this purpose to conclude a convention and have accordingly appointed as their plenipotentiaries, etc.

article i.

The Government of the United States of America, in its own name and in the name of the people of the United States, sincerely regrets and invites the Government and the people of Colombia to forget anything that may have occurred to mar or to interrupt the close and long established friendship existing between the two nations, and likewise desires now to set at rest once and for all the differences which have arisen between it and the Government of the Republic of Colombia in connection with the question of proper reparation for the losses both moral and material suffered by the Republic of Colombia by reason of the circumstances which produced the situation enjoyed by the United States in the Isthmus of Panamá.

On its own part, the Government of the Republic of Colombia, in its own name and in the name of the Colombian people, accepts this declaration, confident that every obstacle to the progress of friendly relations between the two nations will thus disappear.

article ii.

The United States grants to Colombia the following rights in the matter of transit via the Interoceanic Canal and the Panamá Railway:

Once the Canal is opened which is now in course of construction in the Isthmus, Colombia shall have the right in perpetuity to transport at all times by this route both its merchant ships and ships of war as well as its troops and materials for war without paying any duty to the United States, even in the case of an international war between Colombia and another nation.
Colombian products, whatever may be their destination, and merchandise destined to Colombian ports of the Atlantic or of the Pacific for consumption in Colombia, which pass through the Canal whether in national or foreign ships, as well as the Colombian mails or mails for Colombia, shall be free from all customs duties, tonnage dues, anchorage, lighthouse, wharf, pilot, quarantine dues, or any other duty or tax of every nature whatsoever, upon passing through the Canal; wherefore, after the respective invoices have been examined by the [Page 325] Consul of the United States stationed at the port of their destination, that part of the toll corresponding to the said mails, products or merchandise, paid by the boat on passing through the Canal, shall be returned.
Colombian citizens shall be exempt from every toll, tax or duty whatsoever on crossing the Canal Zone, upon proving their nationality to the employees of the Canal.
The products of the soil and industry of the Republic of Colombia such as cattle, provisions, etc., shall be admitted to entry in the Canal Zone, as well as in the Islands and mainland auxiliary or accessory thereto, provided that they are for consumption therein, without paying other duties than those paid by similar products of the United States.
During the construction of the Canal and afterwards, whenever traffic thereby is interrupted or whenever it shall be necessary for any other reason to use the railway now existing or any other railway to be substituted therefor, the troops, materials for war, products, merchandise and mails mentioned in the preceding clauses shall be transported by said railway, paying only the same freight or dues which are paid by the troops, materials for war, products, merchandise and mails of the United States.
The officers, agents and employees of the Government of Colombia shall be entitled to free passage at all times upon said railway across the Isthmus of Panamá, upon proving their official character to the employees of the railway.
Colombian sea-salt and coal, destined to any Colombian port whatsoever and passing by the railway across the Isthmus of Panamá from one ocean to the other, shall be free of any charge except the actual cost of transportation and handling, not in any case to exceed one half of the lowest ordinary freight charges levied upon products of the United States passing over the said railway and in transit from one to another port of the United States.

article iii.

Colombian-Panamá boundary line to be the seventy-ninth longitude west of Greenwich.

article iv.

Fifty million dollars as indemnity.