File No. 817.812/119.
Minister Hale to the Secretary of State.
San José, February 27, 1915.
Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy and translation of the reply, dated February 19, of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to my note of February 12. A copy of the latter and of the previous correspondence was transmitted to the Department in my dispatches No. 63 of February 3, and No. 65 of February 12.[Page 1110]
The note now enclosed was not received in time for translation and transmission by the last mail (February 22). Meanwhile, a study of the situation, as developed so far, caused me to withhold a reply until I could hear from the Department in relation to the new phase of the question presented by the Secretary. It appears that the Costa Rican Government regards the sale of an option in perpetuity of the right to construct a canal as a fundamental objection to the proposition of our Government. It holds the sale of such an option as equivalent to entering into a contract for the non-construction of a canal, and that in territory which nature has designed for the use of the commerce of the world and of which the sovereign State of Costa Rica happens to be possessor. It offers, however, a solution of the difficulty from its standpoint in its suggestion of a “prudential term—fifty years, for instance—for the inauguration of the works, and another, proportional, for their completion.”
I have [etc.]