Signed by the United States and Britain in 1901, the treaty gave the United States the sole right to manage, fortify, build and/or supervise the construction of a canal across the Central American isthmus.
Under the accord, all nations were to pay fair and equal traffic charges and enjoy equal rights of passage during peacetime. In wartime, however, the U.S. could close the canal to any nation.
The Treaty reads as follows:
November 18, 1901
The High Contracting Parties agree that the present Treaty shall supersede the aforementioned Convention [the ClaytonBulwer treaty] of the I9th April, 1850.
It is agreed that the canal may be constructed under the auspices of the Government of the United States, either directly at its own cost, or by gift or loan of money to individuals or Corporations, or through subscription to or purchase of stock or shares, and that subject to the provisions of the present Treaty, the said Government shall have and enjoy all the rights incident to such construction, as well as the exclusive right of providing for the regulation and management of the canal.
The United States adopts, as the basis of the neutralization of such ship canal, the following Rules, substantially as embodied in the Convention of Constantinople, signed the 28th October, I888, for the free navigation of the Suez Canal, that is to say:
I. The canal shall be free and open to the vessels of commerce and of war of all nations observing these Rules, on terms of entire equality so that there shall be no discrimination against any such nation, or its citizens or subjects, in respect of the conditions or charges of traffic, or otherwise. Such conditions and charges of traffic shall be just and equitable.
2. The canal shall never be blockaded, nor shall any right of war be exercised nor any act of hostility be committed within it. The United States, however, shall be at liberty to maintain such military police along the canal as may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness and disorder.
3. Vessels of war of a belligerent shall not revictual nor take any stores in the canal except so far as may be strictly necessary; and the transit of such vessels through the canal shall be effected with the least possible delay in accordance with the Regulations in force, and with only such intermission as may result from the necessities of the service. Prizes shall be in all respects subject to the same Rules as vessels of war of the belligerents.
4. No belligerent shall embark or disembark troops, munitions of war, or warlike materials in the canal, except in case of accidental hindrance of the transit, and in such case the transit shall be resumed with all possible dispatch.
5. The provisions of this Article shall apply to waters adjacent to the canal, within 3 marine miles of either end Vessels of war of a belligerent shall not remain in such waters longer than twenty-four hours at any one time, except in case of distress, and in such case, shall depart as soon as possible; but a vessel of war of one belligerent shall not depart within twenty four hours from the departure of a vessel of war of the other belligerent.
6. The plant, establishments, buildings, and all works necessary to the construction, maintenance, and operation of the canal shall be deemed to be part thereof, for the purposes of this Treaty, and in time of war, as in time of peace, shall enjoy complete immunity from attack or injury by belligerents. and from acts calculated to impair their usefulness as part of the canal.
It is agreed that no change of territorial sovereignty or of the international relations of the country or countries traversed by the before-mentioned canal shall affect the general principle of neutralization or the obligation of the High Contracting Parties under the present Treaty.