Hay-Pauncefote Treaties

views updated May 21 2018


HAY-PAUNCEFOTE TREATIES. The first Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, signed 5February 1900 by Secretary of State John Hay and Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British ambassador, modified the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, which provided for a joint protectorate by England and the United States of any trans-isthmian canal. It permitted the construction and maintenance of a canal under the sole auspices of the United States. The U.S. Senate amended the treaty to have it supersede the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and to give the United States the right to fortify the canal. Great Britain declined to accept the Senate amendments, and the second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty was negotiated, signed on 18 November 1901. Article I declared that it should supersede the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. Article II provided that a canal might be constructed under the auspices of the United Sates and that it would have all the rights incident to such construction as well as the right to regulate and manage the canal. Article III stipulated that the canal should be free and open to the vessels of all nations "on terms of entire equality" and that the charges of traffic should be "just and equitable." The United States was virtually accorded the sole power to assure the neutrality of trans-isthmian transit. Fortification of the canal was not mentioned, but during the negotiations the British foreign secretary admitted that the United States would have the right to fortify. This treaty made feasible the construction of a canal through Central America by the United States and enabled it to consider the Nicaragua route as an alternative to the Panama route. On 16 December the Senate overwhelmingly ratified the second treaty. Acquiescence of the British reflected their preoccupation with growing German power in Europe, acknowledgment of Washington's predominance in Central America, and the rise of the United States to great power status.


LaFeber, Walter. The Panama Canal: The Crisis in Historical Perspective. Updated ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Major, John. Prize Possession: The United States and the Panama Canal, 1903–1979. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Schoonover, Thomas D. The United States in Central America, 1860–1911: Episodes of Social Imperialism and Imperial Rivalry in the World System. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991.

Max PaulFriedman

William SpenceRobertson

See alsoPanama Canal .

Hay-Pauncefote Treaty

views updated May 23 2018

Hay-Pauncefote Treaty (1901) Agreement promising equal rates through the Panama Canal to all nations and all vessels. It also granted the USA the full right to build and manage the canal. John Hay and Lord Pauncefote, British ambassador to the USA, negotiated the treaty.

About this article

Hay-Pauncefote Treaties

All Sources -
Updated Aug 24 2016 About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic