HC Deb 16 July 1894 vol 27 cc15-6

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government is aware that a Bill is before the Senate of the United States for the incorporation of the Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua, and has been reported on favourably by the Foreign Affairs Committee; and, in such case, what steps are being taken to preserve British interests, to maintain the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, and to promote under the terms thereof the junction of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in union with the United States?

SIR E. HARLAND (Belfast, N.)

At the same time, I will ask the hon. Baronet whether a communication dated 9th instant, from the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, has been received by the Foreign Office, calling the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the facts that a Bill has been introduced into the Congress of the United States to provide for the construction of a ship canal by the United States Government from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, through the State of Nicaragua, and that a Resolution to abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer Convention, which was concluded in the year 1850 between Her Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, has also been introduced into the United States Congress by Senator Dolph of Oregon; and whether, inasmuch as the maintenance of the Clayton-Bulwer Convention (by Article 1 of which the Governments of Great Britain and the United States declare that neither one nor the other will ever obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive control over the said ship canal through Nicaragua) is one of great importance to British shipowners, owning, as they collectively do, two-thirds of the tonnage of the world, Her Majesty's Government will cause representations to be made to the United States Government against the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Convention, and also against any provisions in the Morgan Bill which may be detrimental to the interests of British shipping?


The answer to the first portion of this question is in the affirmative. The other matters referred to will receive attention from Her Majesty's Government when the proper moment arrives for considering them. There does not appear to be any occasion to suppose that the United States Government will abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty.