Hay-Pauncefote Treaty


Hay-Pauncefote Treaty
(1901)
   Named for U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and the British Ambassador at Washington, Lord Pauncefote, the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty guaranteed free passage for the ships of all nations through the Panama Canal. The treaty superseded the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, which had effectively committed both powers not to construct an isthmian canal.
   The first Hay-Pauncefote Treaty was signed in 1900. It stipulated that equal tolls would be charged to ships of all nations using the new canal, and that it should not be fortified. The Senate then amended the treaty so as to exclude the second restriction; Britain rejected the amendment. A Second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty was therefore negotiated and signed on November 18, 1901, which was worded so as to permit an interpretation allowing the fortification of the canal. Following, as it did, the resolution of the Venezuela crisis of 1895 and being succeeded immediately by the 1903 treaty providing for arbitration of the Canada-Alaska border, the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty was an important step in ending the Anglo-American tensions that had marked the nineteenth century, and in bringing the two powers closer to the alliances of the twentieth century.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Tilchin, William N. Theodore Roosevelt and the British Empire: A Study in Presidential Statecraft . New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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