Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 1

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV
SECURING THE PANAMA CANAL--CONCLUDED

THE negotiation of a treaty between the United States and the Republic of Panama was began at once by Secretary Hay and Bunau-Varilla, and was completed and signed by them at Washington on November 18, 1903. It was ratified by Panama on December 2, 1903.

In his annual message to Congress, December 7, 1903, and in a special message, January 4, 1904, President Roosevelt gave a detailed account of the revolution at Panama and of his conduct in recognizing the Republic. In the two messages he set forth the facts which have been stated in the present narrative, showing that in 53 years there had been 53 revolutions on the Isthmus, and giving the full text of Commander Hubbard's official report. He accompanied his annual message with the treaty which Secretary Hay and Bunau-Varilla had drawn. After describing the events which led up to the recognition of the Republic, he said in the message of December 7:

"Under such circumstances, the Government of the United States would have been guilty of folly and weakness, amounting in their sum to a crime against the Nation, had it acted otherwise than it did when the revolution of November 3 last took place in Panama. This great enterprise of building the interoceanic canal can not be held up to gratify the whims, or out of respect to the governmental impotence, or to the even more sinister and evil political peculiarities, of people who, though they dwell afar off, yet, against the wish of the actual dwellers on the Isthmus, assert an unreal supremacy over the territory. The possession of a territory fraught with such peculiar capacities as the Isthmus in question carries with it obligations to

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