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Senate until December 16, when the final vote was taken and it passed. Under the reciprocity treaty commercial relations with Cuba were established on a firm basis and the volume of trade increased rapidly.
In August, 1906, President Palma was reelected for another term, but the Cubans had not learned the primary lesson of democracy, submission to the will of the majority, and his opponents at once began an insurrectionary movement which had for its object the overthrow of his government. About the middle of September President Roosevelt sent Secretary Taft to Havana for the purpose of reconciling the contending factions, but Mr. Taft's efforts proved unavailing and President Palma resigned. When the Cuban Congress assembled, it was found impossible to command a quorum. Under these circumstances Secretary Taft assumed control of affairs on September 29 and proclaimed a provisional government for the restoration of order and the protection of life and property. A body of United States troops under command of General Franklin Bell was sent to Cuba to preserve order and to uphold the provisional government. On October 3, 1906, Secretary Taft was relieved of the duties of provisional governor in order that he might resume his duties in Washington, and Charles E. Magoon was appointed to take his place at Havana. In his message to Congress December 3. 1906, President Roosevelt declared that while the United States had no desire to annex Cuba, it was "absolutely out of the question that the island should continue independent" if the "insurrectionary habit "
Secretary Taft's report on the Cuban situation was sent to Congress December 17, 1906.
should become "confirmed." The second period of American occupation lasted a little over two years, when the control of the government was again restored to the people of the island and the American troops were withdrawn.
THE DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF THE PANAMA CANAL
THE cutting of the isthmus between North and South America was the dream of navigators and engineers from the time when the first discoverers ascertained that nature had neglected to provide a passage. Yet the new continent which so unexpectedly blocked the way of Columbus in his search for the Indies opposed for centuries an insurmountable barrier to the commerce of the East and the West. The piercing of the isthmus always seemed a perfectly feasible undertaking, but the difficulties in the way proved greater than at first sight appeared. There were (1) the physical or engineering problems to be solved, and (2) the diplomatic complications regarding the control of the canal in peace and its use in war. The weakness of the Spanish-American states, whose territories embraced the available routes, and their recognized inability either to construct or protect a canal made what might otherwise have been merely a question of domestic economy one of grave international import. In this respect, as in others, the problem presented the same features as the Suez canal. To meet these difficulties three plans were successively developed during the nineteenth century: (1) a canal constructed by a private corporation under international control, (2) a canal constructed by a private corporation under the exclusive control of the United States, and (3) a canal constructed, owned, operated,
and controlled by the United States as a government enterprise. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty provided for the construction of a canal in accordance with the first plan; several unsuccessful attempts were made to raise the necessary capital under the second plan; while the third plan was the one under which the gigantic task was actually accomplished.
The comparative merits of the Nicaragua and Panama routes long divided the opinion of experts. American engineers generally favored that through Nicaragua. The length of the Nicaragua route, from Greytown on the Atlantic to Brito on the Pacific by way of the San Juan river and through Lake Nicaragua, is about 170 miles. The elevation of the lake above the sea is about 110 feet. Its western shore is only twelve miles from the Pacific, with an intervening divide 154 feet above the sea. From the southeast corner of the lake flows the San Juan river, 120 miles to the Atlantic, with an average fall of about 10 inches to the mile. The serious objections to this route are: (1) the lack of harbors at the terminals, Brito being a mere indentation on the coast, rendering the construction of immense breakwaters necessary, while at Greytown the San Juan broadens out into a delta that would require extensive dredging; and (2) the enormous rainfall at Greytown, exceeding that known anywhere else on the western continent-nearly 25 feet.
The Panama route from Colon on the Atlantic to Panama on the Pacific is about 50 miles in length, with a natural elevation nearly double that of Nicaragua. There are natural harbors at each end which are capacious and able to accommodate the heaviest
shipping. The Panama Railroad, built along the line of the proposed canal, in 1850-55. gave this route an additional advantage. There were, however, certain disadvantages: (1) the unhealthfulness of the vicinity, rendering labor scarce and inefficient; (2) the heavy rainfall, 10 to 12 feet at Colon; and (3) the treacherous character of the geologic structure, due to its volcanic origin, through which the cut had to be made. The impossibility of making even approximate estimates of the cost of the work in such a deadly climate and through such an uncertain geologic formation was one of the greatest difficulties to be overcome. The De Lesseps plan provided for an open cut throughout at the sea-level, at an estimated cost of $170,000,000. The work was begun in 1884 and prosecuted until 1888, when the gigantic scheme collapsed, after the company had expended about $300,000,000 and accomplished less than one-third of the work.
Great as the engineering problems of the various canal schemes have been shown to be, the importance to the world's commerce of the object in view would, in all probability, have led to their solution and to the construction of a canal long before the United States undertook the Panama enterprise, had it not been for difficulties of an altogether different character, complications arising out of the question as to the status of the canal in international law. The diplomatic difficulties in the case of an interoceanic canal are very great. It cannot be regarded as a natural strait, like the Dardanelles, the Danish Belts, or the Straits of Magellan, which were for a long time held under exclusive jurisdiction, but are now free to all nations. Nor, on the other hand, could an