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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90

Colombia,   pp. 405-432 PDF (11.1 MB)

Page 405

                             No. 268.
                     Mr. Bayard to Mr. Maury.
No. 12.1                        DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
                                   Washington, February 25, 1887.
  Siu: The French Canal Company avows its control of the land line
of telegraph operated in connection with the Panama Railroad Coin-
pany, and asserts its determination to retain the monopoly alleged to
have been derived from the railway concession. The railroad company
gives notice, for its part, that "1 theirs is a private wire, and they
messages between Panama and Colon by courtesy."
  The mere fact that the international communications of two conti-
nentS, over an intricate net-work of cables, is dependent for an impor-
tant connecting link upon the ,1courtesyl of a corporation and the use
of a line of wire alleged to be "private," and constructed as an
sory to a railway, is a matter of concern to the governments which are
constrained to use such limited and unstable means of official intercom-
  The guaranties of the treaty of 1846 are necessarily general and
  somewhat vague, especially as to matters not distinctly foreseen when
  it was framed. It may not be practicable or even expedient to seek to
  define its provisions, for the progress of invention and development of
  material forces would soon demand a re-adjustment of its terms. But
  it is very evident, without resorting to elaborate argument, that if tel-
  egraphic facilities are among the means of interoceanic communication
  covered by the treaty, they must be open and public and their free and
  neutral use fully secured. The announcement that the railroad and
  canal companies' telegraph line from Colon to Panama is a private wire,
  and that the use of it by the Governments of the United States and
  Colombia and by the commercial public is permissive only, is, if true,
  abundant demonstration that no trans-isthmian telegraphic communi-
  cation now exists such as was contemplated and falls under the neces-
  sary guaranties of the treaty of 1846. That instrument guaranties to
  us "equal, tranquil, and constant use" of whatever means of transit
  provided for "correspondence," and the telegraph is assuredly
the most
  important and useful of all Such means.
       I am, etc.,
                                                   T# F. BAYARD0

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