In September 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that the Panama Canal Treaty of 1903, long opposed by Panamanians, would be revised. The new treaty, said the President, would “effectively recognize Panama’s sovereignty over the area of the present Canal Zone.”1 Ever since Panama became an independent nation on November 3, 1903, its relations with the United States have been troubled. Basic to every difficulty has been Panama’s dissatisfaction with the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty which granted to the United States “the use, occupation, and control ” of a zone of land for “the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection” of a canal across the Panamanian isthmus. While the subsequent controversy stemmed from the provisions of the treaty, Panama’s bitterness has been especially acute because of the man who negotiated the treaty in its behalf and the manner in which he did it. This refers to Philippe Bunau-Varilla, the first minister of Panama to the United States.

Bunau-Varilla is one of Panama’s best-known “citizens.” At the time of his appointment as Panama’s minister to the United States in November 1903, however, he was a citizen of France and had not been on the Isthmus of Panama since 1887. How this foreigner came to be Panama’s minister and the long fight he waged in behalf of the Panama Canal have been described many times in many ways. Bunau-Varilla gave his version in his book, Panama: The Creation, Destruction, and Resurrection (1913); the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives investigated the Panama affair in 1912 and published its findings as The Story of Panama (to which Bunau-Varilla added in the 1913 edition, “A Statement In Behalf of Historical Truth”); Jorge E. Boyd, Open Letter to President Porras, Refuting Bunau-Varilla’s Book with Regards to the Independence of Panama (1913), and Julio B. Sosa, José Agustin Arango: Su vida y su obra (1948) are among the many Panamanians who have written on the matter; and American scholars, Miles P. DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay (1940), and Norman Padelford, The Panama Canal in Peace and War (1943), to name only two, have done able jobs with data accessible to them. Since these publications, however, Bunau-Varilia’s papers have become available, and the author has found material that sheds new light on the Bunau-Varilla story.2

The explanation for Bunau-Varilla’s appointment as minister to the United States forms part of the story of the Panama revolution of 1903. While it is impossible to go into detail concerning the Panama revolution, it may be affirmed that Bunau-Varilla played a leading role in its execution. His papers do not provide any dramatic finds with regard to the major controversial aspects of the Panama secession movement, that is, whether or not President Theodore Roosevelt gave any direct assurances of assistance to the Panama conspirators; the specific nature of the connection between Bunau-Varilla and William Nelson Cromwell, the American lawyer for the French Panama Canal interests;3 or the truth to charges of speculation in French Panama Canal securities on the part of American financial interests and political leaders.4 Certain facts, however, relative to Bunau-Varilla’s appointment as minister, may be established.

Bunau-Varilla had a long connection with the Panama Canal enterprise. He had served on the Isthmus as an engineer for the DeLesseps venture in the 1880s, and after its failure he continued to write, travel, and agitate in France and Europe for the revival of the Panama undertaking. In 1900 he turned to the United States, where he won many adherents for Panama in opposition to elements that favored a canal at Nicaragua. This led to his prominent role in the fight that secured the adoption of the Panama route by the United States Senate in 1902.5 The final adoption of Panama was contingent, however, upon the negotiation of a satisfactory treaty with Colombia, and when the Colombian senate, jealous of its sovereignty, rejected it, the Panama conspiracy was born. Panamanians were unwilling to run the risk of losing the canal.6

The leaders of the Panama secession movement were business and professional men on the Isthmus and in New York, and a majority were connected with the Panama Railroad Company.7 At Panama, there were José Agustín Arango, railroad attorney and land agent; Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, physician for the railroad; James R. Shaler, superintendent of the Panama Railroad; Herbert G. Prescott, assistant superintendent; and James R. Beers, freight agent. In New York, William Nelson Cromwell, general counsel for both the Panama Railroad and the French New Panama Canal Company, was the leading conspirator. He was assisted by his law partners, Edward B. Hill and William J. Curtis, and by J. Edward Simmons and Edwin A. Drake, Panama Railroad president and vice president respectively. Joshua J. Lindo and J. Samuel Piza of Piza, Nephews, and Company, New York commission merchants with close business ties in Panama, were also implicated.8 The conspirators at Panama sent Beers to New York in July and Amador in September to arrange the details for a possible Panama uprising, including the securing of the sympathy and support of the United States government. It was during the latter’s visit in New York that Bunau-Varilla became involved in the plot.

When Bunau-Varilla arrived in New York from France on September 22, 1903, the Panama conspiracy was not doing well. The Colombians had learned of Amador’s activities in New York, and the chargé d’affaires, Tomás Herrán, warned Cromwell against becoming involved.9 Cromwell had met with Amador during the first week in September, but subsequently refused to see him. On September 10 he cabled Superintendent Shaler at Panama to instruct railroad employees “not to become involved in any movements.”10 The sincerity of these instructions may be questioned because the railroad employees continued to play important roles in the conspiracy. Cromwell reportedly made no effort to repeat them to Assistant Superintendent Prescott when the latter visited New York on September 18.11 At this point Bunau-Varilla arrived in the United States, but he said that his arrival was accidental, and he denied charges that Cromwell had summoned him.12 He denied that he even saw Cromwell, a statement which is hard to reconcile with their earlier close relationship or with a friendly telegram Bunau-Varilla received on November 10 from Cromwell’s partner, Curtis.13 Joshua Lindo put Amador in touch with Bunau-Varilla on September 24, and with only a change in the principal contact man in the United States the Panama conspiracy was again set in motion.14

In many respects, Bunau-Varilla was ably suited for the role he played in the Panama revolution. He knew the geography of Panama, and he had witnessed a United States landing on the Isthmus during a disturbance there in 1885. He knew that American forces could use the Treaty of 1846 with Colombia to assure the success of a Panama rebellion. He had made many influential friends in the United States during his struggle for the Panama route, one of the closest being Francis B. Loomis, who had become assistant secretary of state. Bunau-Varilla had an engaging and forceful personality; his mind was sharp; he was dedicated to the Panama scheme. He was also arrogant enough to believe that all his acts were just and honorable. On September 29 he called upon John Bassett Moore of Columbia University, a former assistant secretary of state, and an adviser to President Theodore Roosevelt. This interview convinced Bunau-Varilla that the United States was studying the possibility of occupying the Isthmus of Panama to construct a canal in assertion of rights under the Treaty of 1846.15 On October 10 Bunau-Varilla visited his friend Loomis at the State Department. He was taken next door to the White House to meet President Roosevelt. Six days later Bunau-Varilla again called upon Loomis and this time was introduced to Secretary of State John Hay, who invited the Frenchman to his house that evening. In these interviews Bunau-Varilla spoke frankly about the prospects for a revolution at Panama. He expressed the view that it was incumbent upon the United States to act to prevent bloodshed and violence. President Roosevelt later asserted that neither he nor anyone connected with his administration gave Bunau-Varilla any assurances that the Panama rebels would be protected. As early as October 15, 1903, however, United States naval vessels started to converge on the Isthmus of Panama, and Roosevelt observed that Bunau-Varilla would have been a “very dull man” not to guess his intentions.16

While making these contacts and inquiries, Bunau-Varilla drew up a revolutionary plan. It called for the rebels to seize the cities of Panama and Colón and the line of transit. The United States would prevent Colombia from taking any retaliatory measures and would quickly recognize the new state.17 Bunau-Varilla presented the plan on October 13 to Amador, who initially objected to limiting the uprising to the transit route and terminal cities, but then accepted it the next day.18 On October 17, following Bunau-Varilla’s meeting in Washington with Hay and Loomis and three days before Amador’s departure for Panama, the conspirators met again. Bunau-Varilla reaffirmed his opinion that the United States would act, but stated that the Panamanians would have to take the first step in order to create the conditions for American intervention. He promised that once the rebellion had occurred he would send $100,000 for immediate expenses and insisted as a condition for his aid that he be appointed minister to the United States.19 The republic would thereby have immediately available an experienced spokesman in Washington. Although Amador accepted the condition, he probably did not intend to go through with it, but in the end did so because of the rapid movement of events, the degree of precision with which Bunau-Varilla seemed to redeem his pledges, and the conviction that he was too influential to alienate.20

When Amador returned to the Isthmus, his fellow conspirators were disappointed in the seeming lack of substance to Bunau-Varilla’s pledges and anxious about reports that additional Colombian troops were expected to arrive at Colón. Accordingly, Amador cabled Bunau-Varilla on October 29 that a ship was needed at Colón.21 Bunau-Varilla went immediately to Washington, where he described the situation at Panama to Loomis on October 29 and 30. He insisted later that Loomis had made no promises or disclosures, but that his behavior had indicated that the United States would intervene. This view was strengthened when he read a news dispatch that the cruiser U.S.S. Nashville was at Kingston, Jamaica under orders to sail for an undisclosed port. He guessed that its destination was Colón and, estimating its speed, cabled Amador early on October 30 that a ship would arrive in two and one-half days.22 At 5:30 P.M. on November 2 the Nashville steamed into Colón harbor. On the following morning its captain, Commander John Hubbard, received instructions to keep the transit open, to occupy the railroad line if service was threatened, and to prevent the landing of any forces, government or insurgent, “with hostile intent” at Colón, Porto Bello, or any other port.23 The timely arrival of the Nashville convinced the secessionists that the United States would support them and that Bunau-Varilla was truly an insider in Washington. It also contributed to the later charges of collusion between the Panama rebels and the United States government, but there is nothing among Bunau-Varilla’s papers, nor has any evidence been found elsewhere, to refute this remarkable story.24

With the Nashville in Colón harbor, Panama’s independence was achieved with ease. There were some anxious moments owing to the arrival of about 500 Colombian troops at Colón some six hours after that of the Nashville. Commander Hubbard as yet had no instructions to stop them, so the troops disembarked without incident. It was Superintendent Shaler who proved to be the man of the hour. He hastily moved his rolling stock over to the Pacific side and then induced the Colombian commanding officers, Generals Ramón Amaya and Juan Tovar, to cross over to Panama pending arrangements for their troops.25 These officers became prisoners when Panama declared its independence later the same day; in the meantime, Hubbard received his orders, and the Colombian troops were immobilized. The Colombians continued to occupy their beachhead until November 5, but as additional United States vessels arrived at Colón and Panama, Colonel Eliseo Torres, the acting commander, decided to return with them to Cartagena.26 Meanwhile, in New York Bunau-Varilla awaited developments.

For Bunau-Varilla, the first three days of Panama’s independence were filled with frustration. On November 3 he waited anxiously all day and finally at 10:00 P.M. received a cable from Amador announcing Isthmian independence, but it omitted any word of his appointment.27 Nonetheless, he took the train that same night to Washington and the following morning informed Loomis that he was the spokesman for the newly proclaimed Republic of Panama. Loomis told him that Colombian forces still occupied Colón, so Bunau-Varilla realized that any talk of recognition was premature. He hastened to cable Amador that Colón had to be taken and added, by way of encouragement, that additional American forces were moving towards the Isthmus.28 He then returned to New York, where Lindo delivered a cable to him from Amador requesting $50,000. In the absence of his appointment Bunau-Varilla balked, but decided to send $25,000, since events on the Isthmus had taken an unexpected turn.29 On November 5 Bunau-Varilla received two urgent demands for more money, both of which he rejected because he was still not minister, although he was pleased to learn that the Colombians had evacuated Colón.30 The following morning he received a message from the three consuls of the Junta of Provisional Government of Panama, José Arango, Tomás Arias, and Federico Boyd, which stated that they were in control of the Isthmus. They asked him to seek recognition. Perplexed, Bunau-Varilla replied that he could not act in Panama’s behalf lacking official status.31 At 6:40 P.M. on November 6 Bunau-Varilla was named envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the government of the United States, with full powers for financial and political negotiation.32

Almost six hours before Bunau-Varilla’s nomination, the United States accorded Panama de facto recognitiop, but timing was critical, and the impression was that Bunau-Varilla had achieved it. Panama’s Foreign Minister, Francisco V. de la Espriella, expressing the new nation’s gratitude on November 7, assured Bunau-Varilla that his name would be found “in a prominent place on the first page” of Panama’s history.33

Although Bunau-Varilla was now Panama’s minister to the United States, he felt his position to be insecure. His fears were substantiated when he learned on November 7 that in shuttling between New York and Washington he had missed a cable from the junta dated November 4, which had appointed him “confidential agent” before the United States.34 Bunau-Varilla saw this as an effort by Amador to renege on his promise. Additional evidence of this attitude followed in the next few days, but Bunau-Varilla was determined that Panama should not “repeat the errors of Bogotá.”35 He was certain that he knew Washington’s mood better than the Panamanian leaders. Already Roosevelt was being charged with intervention at Panama, and Bunau-Varilla was anxious to negotiate the canal treaty before opposition swelled. By acting swiftly, he would secure the Panama solution and safeguard Panama’s independence at the same time.

Bunau-Varilla went to Washington on November 7 to set up his legation and to secure de jure recognition from the United States, the first necessary steps in creating the legal basis for canal treaty negotiations. From Panama’s new legation, a room in the Willard Hotel, Bunau-Varilla gave formal notice of his appointment to Secretary of State Hay, expressing Panama’s appreciation for the protection it had received from the United States.36 The next day, a Sunday, he sent three dispatches to the Isthmus; in two he made specific reference to a canal treaty. At 9:15 A.M. he referred to pending elections in Panama for a constituent assembly and said that voters should also approve a statement giving constitutional force to acts of the provisional government, including the signing of a canal treaty.37 At 2:30 P.M. he stated that he would place at the disposal of the government on Monday or Tuesday the funds he had promised Amador. Up to this point Bunau-Varilla had dispatched only one-quarter of the pledged $100,000 to Panama. As it turned out, this was all he ever sent. In his message he advised the government to exercise economy and declared that in view of the presence of American forces it would not be necessary to purchase $25,000 in arms “as ordered.” He felt such money “could be indispensable if obstruction from Nicaraguan forces in the Senate delayed ratification of the treaty.”38 His third dispatch urged the junta to assure foreign creditors that Panama would meet its financial obligations.39 But if Bunau-Varilla was thinking of initiating treaty talks, the junta at Panama wanted to be certain he was carefully supervised.

On November 9 the Panama junta appointed Amador and Federico Boyd delegates of the Republic of Panama in the United States to consult and cooperate with their minister. The collaboration of the delegates or commissioners with Bunau-Varilla was to be governed by written instructions they carried for him, along with special verbal instructions they were given at the time of their appointment. Significantly, the junta empowered them, “in case of necessity in the interests of the Republic,” to make démarches directly with the government of the United States.40 The written instructions carried by the delegates were contained in a letter from De la Espriella dated November 9. They consisted of three main points. First, De la Espriella entrusted Bunau-Varilla with the negotiation of a treaty in which all agreements contracted between the United States and Colombia as of November 3, 1903 would remain effective between the United States and Panama, “providing they [did] not affect the sovereignty of Panama, which [was] free, independent, and sovereign.” Second, Bunau-Varilla was to negotiate a treaty whereby the United States would protect the “sovereignty, territorial integrity, and public order” of Panama. Third, a treaty for the construction of a canal by the United States was to be drafted. The new government instructed Bunau-Varilla that “all clauses” of that treaty were to be “previously consulted” with Amador and Boyd. “You will proceed in everything,” De la Espriella told Bunau-Varilla, “strictly in agreement with them.” The treaty’s provisions, he concluded, “must not be any less favorable for Panama than were those of the Hay-Herrán treaty for Colombia.”41

These documents, if implemented, would have reduced Bunau-Varilla to the status of an errand boy, but neither the decree nor the November 9 letter of instructions was delivered to him before he negotiated the canal treaty. Moreover, communications by cable from the junta and from De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla changed substantially the status of the delegates while they were en route to the United States. Bunau-Varilla managed this by making use of rapidly changing circumstances; it also developed that the junta cooperated with him better when it was not under the influence of Amador.

Bunau-Varilla first learned about this maneuver from Hay at an informal luncheon in his honor on November 9. When Hay said he had a report that a commission was coming from Panama to oversee the canal talks, Bunau-Varilla declared that there was no truth to it.42 He then cabled De la Espriella that “rumors” of a special commission had produced a “bad effect” and that he had arranged to initiate canal talks on Wednesday, November 11. He added that he had assured Hay “nothing on our side would impede the rapid drafting” of the treaty.43 At 6:50 P.M. the same day Bunau-Varilla received a message announcing that Amador and Boyd were embarking for the United States on November 10. The reason given for their coming was that it would avoid delays in matters requiring “urgent resolution.”44 Since this message was brief and badly garbled in transmission, another quickly followed. De la Espriella explained that it would “dignify” Bunau-Varilla’s mission for him to consult with Amador and Boyd. He declared that the junta wished the canal treaty, “a grave and complex matter greatly involving policy and finances and so deeply affecting the interests of the people of Panama,” would be conducted with the greatest care and wisdom “in order to obtain everything possible and to avoid criticisms.”45 But then, at 7:20 P.M., another communication brought alarming news from the Isthmus. De la Espriella reported that General Rafael Reyes, an important Colombian leader around whom post-revolutionary sentiment was rallying, was coming to the Isthmus in hopes of a reconciliation. The Panamanian foreign minister said that the junta did not want to see Reyes and proposed sending a commissioner to Cartagena to say so. He asked Bunau-Varilla to secure a United States warship to carry this commissioner.46 The dangers presented by the Reyes mission provided Bunau-Varilla with a chance to prove again his usefulness to Panama and at the same time to strengthen his hand.

In fact, before Bunau-Varilla had time to act upon his latest instructions, De la Espriella sought to reassure him concerning his powers. On November 10 the foreign minister cabled: “We approve that you have repudiated reports the commissioners are coming to discuss and sign the canal treaty, powers which are entrusted to Your Excellency. Amador and Boyd have no mission before the government of the United States except that communicated to you yesterday, that is, for the purpose of avoiding delays.”47 On the next day he reiterated that they were coming in order to “avoid inquiries here on doubtful points in démarches entrusted to Your Excellency as representative.”48 If Bunau-Varilla’s position was still ambiguous, he maintained the initiative and cabled the Isthmus on November 11 that “the incident was considered closed.”49 His stand was reinforced by a dispatch to Secretary Hay from the United States consul at Panama, Felix Ehrman, who reported that he was officially informed that Bunau-Varilla was the sole authority to transact treaties and that the commissioners, who had other duties, were to assist their minister.50 The canal talks could now proceed. Arrangements were made for Bunau-Varilla to be received formally by President Roosevelt on Friday, November 13.

Bunau-Varilla had also discussed the Reyes matter with Hay, and the two agreed that it would be improper for a United States ship to escort a Panamanian delegate into Colombian waters. Instead, they proposed to tell Reyes that he could not enter Panamanian territory on an official mission unless he was accredited as minister.51 This would be equivalent to the recognition of Panama on the part of Colombia and would abort Reyes’ mission before it began. Panama accepted this suggestion, but as Reyes could not be contacted before he departed Colombia, Bunau-Varilla quickly arranged for him to be welcomed in Colón harbor on board a United States man-of-war.52 When Reyes arrived on the Isthmus on November 19, he refused American hospitality and met Isthmian representatives on board the French mail steamer, Canada. His talks proved unsuccessful. On November 20 he left to take his case to the United States. Reyes, on his own authority, had already offered to ratify the Hay-Herrán treaty by decree if the United States would restore Colombian sovereignty over the Isthmus.53 While President Roosevelt considered this offer “shocking” and saw it as a vindication of his policies, Bunau-Varilla exploited the situation throughout the canal negotiations.

Bunau-Varilla also tried to use another factor to his advantage, the political climate in the United States. Here critics of Roosevelt’s actions in Panama tended to focus their attacks upon the “French adventurer.” On November 9 the New York Evening Post charged that he had conspired in the Panama revolution in order to promote speculative operations in French Panama Canal stock. Bunau-Varilla denied these charges and brought suit for libel in January 1904, only to drop it later. At this point Roosevelt and John Bigelow advised him, in the words of the latter, to give the public “some eloquent flashes of silence.”54

Despite these warnings, on November 12 Bunau-Varilla wrote to Alabama Senator John Tyler Morgan, long the leading American advocate of the Nicaragua canal route, saying that now was the time for him to accept defeat gracefully and to claim his rightful title of “Father of the Isthmian Canal.”55 Morgan was incensed, and there were calls that this latter-day Citizen Gênet be declared persona non grata. But since Bunau-Varilla had not yet presented his credentials he was able to weather the storm. Later, as a result of some addresses Bunau-Varilla delivered, there were demands for a Congressional investigation of his activities.56 He countered by suggesting a similar investigation into the activities of Tomás Estrada Palma and the Cuba Libre movement.57 These political skirmishes gave him another cogent argument for hasty action and for negotiation of a treaty with “an eye on the American Senate.” Only by giving the United States Senate a treaty it could not reject, he contended, could a coalition of Nicaragua advocates, Democrats, and anti-imperialist Republicans be overcome.

Immediately following his formal presentation to President Roosevelt on November 13, Bunau-Varilla pressed Hay to accelerate the canal talks. Hay obliged by sending him two days later a draft treaty for his study and observations. It was the Hay-Herrán treaty with a few minor changes.58 The use of the Hay-Herrán treaty as a basis for talks coincided with Panama’s planning. This was clear from the instructions De la Espriella cabled to Bunau-Varilla on November 14; all references cited specific articles in the Hay-Herrán treaty. The only significant change involved Article XIII which had established a judicial system in the Canal Zone, with respective jurisdictions for Colombian, United States, and mixed tribunals. De la Espriella wished to extend the jurisdiction of the mixed tribunals at the expense of United States courts. In effect, United States judicial tribunals would be eliminated. De la Espriella also sought an American protectorate over Panama, requesting that Articles XIII and XXII be modified to provide for such, “unless the United States wished to negotiate a special convention.” The instructions ended with the general plea to “try to obtain everything possible which works to the advantage of Panama.”59 Under these instructions Bunau-Varilla had a right to engage in treaty talks, but he virtually ignored them and decided to propose an entirely new treaty. He felt the Hay-Herrán treaty carried the stigma of the long struggle with Colombia and contained too many points to which the American Senate might object.

Bunau-Varilla began writing a new treaty at 6:00 A.M. on November 16, following an all-night review of the Hay draft.60 He was assisted by his friend and attorney, Frank Pavey, whom he had appointed legal counsel to the Panama legation.61 Pavey shared Bunau-Varilla’s opinion of the Hay-Herrán treaty, that it was “a hodge-podge affair, with clauses that would have caused trouble sooner or later.”62 Bunau-Varilla determined to insist upon only four main points: the neutrality of the canal; the free and equal passage of ships of all nations; the payment to Panama of an indemnity equal to that offered Colombia; and the guarantee by the United States of the independence of Panama.63 In return, he proposed to give the United States greater attributes of sovereignty in the Canal Zone than those included in the Hay-Herrán treaty, but when he started to list them he feared he might overlook some, so he wrote out an all-embracing formula to give the United States in the Canal Zone “all the rights, power, and authority, which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the Sovereign of the territory; to the entire exclusion of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any such sovereign rights, power, and authority.”64 The mixed tribunal provision disappeared entirely. He also increased the width of the Canal Zone and extended the lease of the zone from 99 years renewable at the sole option of the United States to one in perpetuity. By 10:00 P.M., Bunau-Varilla and Pavey had completed their labors. Bunau-Varilla was so anxious to present it to Hay that, despite the late hour, he went immediately to the secretary’s residence. Finding the house dark, Bunau-Varilla had to return the next morning, which was also the morning of the arrival of Amador and Boyd in New York.

November 17 and 18 were extremely busy for Bunau-Varilla. He had to concern himself with the movements of Amador and Boyd in New York, while at the same time he pushed the canal treaty negotiations. Bunau-Varilla, of course, did not go to New York to greet the commissioners personally. Instead, Joshua Lindo met them. He described their arrival in a telegram to Bunau-Varilla, saying that the scene was hectic and that reporters and photographers had besieged them. Lindo reported that he had warned Amador and Boyd to be “guarded in their utterances,” and that he felt they had “acquitted themselves very well.” When he asked them how they liked the situation, they responded: “Splendid! Mr. Varilla has done excellently, and we are satisfied and grateful.”65 Lindo added that they would probably go to Washington on November 18 and that he would telegraph Bunau-Varilla concerning their departure time. Lindo, however, did not take the commissioners in hand, for Roger L. Farnham, described as Cromwell’s “man Friday,” was also at the pier, and he stayed with them to await Cromwell’s arrival in New York from Paris some six hours later.66 Bunau-Varilla later expressed surprise that Amador would meet with the man whom only two months earlier he had threatened to kill, but Bunau-Varilla also admitted that Cromwell served him well by delaying Amador and Boyd in New York.67 Later that day, Bunau-Varilla sent a telegram to the commissioners in which he welcomed them “affectionately” and asked them to await a letter which he was mailing that evening.68 Early the next morning he telegraphed again apologizing because he had been unable to find time to send his promised letter but instead had sent a telegram for them through Lindo.69 Bunau-Varilla instructed the commissioners to avoid “talks with any person connected with the canal company,” and to issue a statement to the press denying that they had come to negotiate the canal treaty. They were to state that, “rather than going to Washington for such negotiations, they would remain for some time in New York.” They were to add that their work would begin after the signature of the treaty in order to “facilitate and expedite” its ratification by Panama.70 Though Amador and Boyd never issued such a statement, Bunau-Varilla was not deterred.

On the morning of November 17 Bunau-Varilla delivered to Hay both the Bunau-Varilla-Pavey draft and the one prepared by Hay. Panama’s minister expressed willingness to sign either and withdrew to await Hay’s pleasure. At ten that evening, only a few hours after he had advised Amador and Boyd to remain in New York, Bunau-Varilla contacted Hay to express his desire to sign the canal treaty the next day. He explained that he was apprehensive about the arrival of the commissioners and the fact that they were being approached by individuals who would “find great profit” in delaying the treaty.71 This obvious reference to Cromwell was strange, since the New York attorney had likewise been a devoted Panama Canal advocate. It probably indicated the degree to which Bunau-Varilla was now a “lone wolf” and the extent to which he was driven by a desire for personal glory. Bunau-Varilla later wrote that Amador had a “childish desire” to affix his name to the canal treaty.72 It is likely that Bunau-Varilla also wanted such fame. There was another possible reason for his conduct. It has been suggested that Bunau-Varilla and Cromwell represented rival speculative pools interested in Panama Canal stock.73

Hay replied immediately, asking Bunau-Varilla to call on him at once or early the next morning.74 He told him that the only obstacle to the treaty was the opinion of certain American senators that the indemnity payment for the canal rights should be shared between Panama and Colombia. Bunau-Varilla argued that to do this could be interpreted as an admission of wrong-doing and called the suggestion blackmail. Since Hay was to have lunch with the senators in question the following day, Bunau-Varilla undertook to put these ideas in writing.75 His maneuver succeeded, and Bunau-Varilla was requested to call on Hay at 6:00 P.M. on November 18.

Arriving at Hay’s residence at the appointed hour, he was informed that Hay was ready to sign the Bunau-Varilla-Pavey draft. Secretary Hay desired only one change. With reference to Panama’s transfer of the Canal Zone, he wished “leases in perpetuity” to read “grants to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation, and control.”76 Bunau-Varilla did not object, and the treaty was signed at 6:40 P.M. For his purposes, Bunau-Varilla had signed none too soon. A telegram from Lindo was transmitted at 6:18 P.M. announcing that Amador and Boyd had left New York for Washington on the “4:50 express.”77 The exact time that Bunau-Varilla received this message is uncertain, but he included the information in a cable which he sent to De la Espriella at 7:15 P.M. In it he reported the signing of the canal treaty and affirmed he had obtained the same political and financial conditions as those contained in the Hay-Herrán treaty, “with necessary simplifications concerning jurisdiction.”78 By just a few hours, then, Bunau-Varilla was able to act without the “consultation” with Amador and Boyd. All that was left to Amador was to fall into a near faint when Bunau-Varilla met his train at 10:00 P.M. with the news of the signing.79

What kind of treaty had Bunau-Varilla given Panama? John Hay said the treaty was “disproportionately advantageous” to the United States. Theodore Roosevelt felt that the United States might exercise the “equivalent of sovereignty” in the Canal Zone.80 Bunau-Varilla admitted his desire to please the United States Senate, and De la Espriella complained of “the manifest renunciation of sovereignty” on the part of Panama over a zone of ten miles which could be extended even farther to include additional land and water needed in the canal construction.81 That the treaty was not specific on a number of important points probably reflected Bunau-Varilla’s absence from Panama for almost two decades. On the other hand, Bunau-Varilla had secured the same indemnity and annuity payments for Panama as those which Colombia was to receive, and the United States guaranteed the independence, sovereignty, and public order of a country only two weeks old. Bunau-Varilla did not feel that Panama’s sovereignty was affected. It was his view that “the concession of a lessee of the rights of the proprietor, within certain limits and for a certain purpose, never were held anywhere as an abandonment of the property itself.” He felt that the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty was “absolutely perfect” and that Panamanian objections to it were trivial.82 These assessments came later, however, because the fight for the Panama Canal was not over.

If the treaty was written and signed in Washington, the exchange of ratifications remained. To accomplish this, Bunau-Varilla remained at his post despite professed intentions to resign.83 He continued to warn Panama to act rapidly or it would lose everything. Actually the Panamanians, Amador and Boyd included, cooperated well with him. Criticism of the treaty in Panama developed slowly; it was in the United States where the “hurry-up” treaty found its earliest critics. As already indicated, some American newspapers denounced Bunau-Varilla from November on, and the treaty received extremely rough handling by the United States Senate. The Roosevelt administration led the fight for the treaty in Washington, while Bunau-Varilla concentrated his efforts on the Panamanian government.

Bunau-Varilla’s first maneuver was to try to convert the Amador-Boyd mission into an instrument of ratification. It might be expected that Amador and Boyd would be furious with Bunau-Varilla for signing the treaty before their arrival in Washington, but apparently they accepted his explanation. On November 19 Bunau-Varilla was asked by De la Espriella to explain his action, but before he could reply he was told to overlook the request, because Amador and Boyd had reported “the powerful reason for signing the treaty.”84 Bunau-Varilla and the commissioners met to read the treaty on November 19. The next day they called upon Secretary Hay, who also wanted quick action. According to Bunau-Varilla, Hay suggested that the commissioners seek authorization to ratify the treaty in behalf of Panama.85 Hay promised to consider any objections in negotiating a supplementary treaty.86 The commissioners rejected Hay’s suggestion, though they did agree to recommend to the junta at Panama the immediate ratification of the treaty.87 Bunau-Varilla also took the commissioners to see President Roosevelt, but since their position did not change, Bunau-Varilla left for New York to arrange to send the treaty on the next steamer departing for Panama. In the meantime Amador and Boyd remained in Washington with Cromwell, who introduced them to Senator Marcus Alonzo Hanna. The Ohio Senator advised them against hasty ratification and recommended that the treaty be sent to Panama, where, he felt, it should be posted publicly and freely discussed for at least ten days before the junta took action.88 To Bunau-Varilla this was unwelcome advice.

In New York on Saturday morning Bunau-Varilla still hoped he could avoid sending the treaty to the Isthmus. He dispatched a long cable assuring De la Espriella that “everything would be perfect if it were not for the question of the ratification of the treaty.” He added that he had thought such authorization would be “within the powers” of the commission and that it could be done “immediately.” Since this was not the case, he said, the commissioners, “animated by the most respectable consideration of delicacy,” did not wish to ask the government for such authorization and had informed Secretary Hay that the treaty would be sent to the Isthmus on Tuesday with their strong recommendation. Nonetheless, Bunau-Varilla said, despite the commissioners’ “good intentions,” their decision was embarrassing to the Roosevelt administration, because its enemies were comparing its haste in recognizing Panama with the disposition on the part of Panama to observe “formalities.” He reported that Roosevelt would not submit the treaty to the Senate until after Panama had ratified it, and, as a result, there might be no reference to the Panama Canal in the President’s address to Congress in December. For these reasons, but “without having consulted the commission,” Bunau-Varilla recommended that the junta send “full powers” to Amador and Boyd to ratify the treaty without delay.89 To expedite the decision he cabled a synopsis of the treaty. On November 22 Bunau-Varilla repeated his request, warning that General Reyes was on his way to Washington.90 Bunau-Varilla’s maneuvering failed, for on November 23 De la Espriella cabled: “Without official text, it is impossible to decide.”91 Bunau-Varilla had no choice but to send the document to the Isthmus.

Bunau-Varilla dispatched the canal treaty to Panama on November 24, but he was determined to extract a pledge from the junta that the treaty would be ratified immediately upon receipt. Along with Amador and Boyd, Bunau-Varilla placed the treaty in a steel box on board the Panama Railroad Steamer, City of Washington, and in the safekeeping of Panama Railroad Superintendent James Shaler. This was the same Shaler who had saved the day for Panama on November 3 and who was Cromwell’s man. The treaty now carried the signature of Boyd, who, as a former member of the junta, had approved it in his own behalf. Bunau-Varilla gave Shaler a letter for the junta in which he explained that he was sending the original treaty, which “assured the protection of the Republic by the United States and the construction of the canal, with provisions similar, but clearer and more simple, to those of the Hay-Herrán treaty.” Although the situation had changed by the time the junta received this letter, it merits attention, since it makes clear Bunau-Varilla’s thinking on the canal negotiations. First, he declared that the treaty, which had been secured in only fifteen days following the revolution, was the “justification” for the revolution and its “ essential objective.” Second, he said he had hoped to resign at the same time he sent the treaty to Panama, but since this “could be interpreted unfavorably by public opinion,” he decided to stay on until after the exchange of ratifications. Third, he felt the United States had been “very generous” in maintaining the same conditions it had given Colombia, and consequently the danger that it would lose patience was more serious than he could find words to express. Fourth, while he yielded to Panama’s decision to have the treaty in hand, he feared that the same thing “would happen in Panama as had happened in Bogotá,” that is, politics would push aside “the essential needs of the country.” He declared that anything which could be interpreted as a renewal of the “criminal errors of Bogotá” would place Panama in danger of losing “more than a part of its territory.” In the event opposition arose, he concluded, he was certain the junta would know how to assume responsibilities for the “public good.”92 These sentiments expressed, Bunau-Varilla was unwilling to wait the seven days it would take the City of Washington to deliver his letter and the treaty to the Isthmus.

He went to Washington on November 25 and that evening sent to Panama a message which he hoped would force the issue. He declared that there was growing indignation in “the highest spheres” over Panama’s delay in ratifying the treaty. He insisted that, since the treaty had been approved by Boyd, the junta authorize him to notify the government of the United States officially that the canal treaty would be signed and ratified upon arrival at Colón. He warned that if Panama did not “take this minimum but sufficient step” he did not wish to be responsible for the “calamities” which would follow, “the more probable being the immediate suspension of protection and the signing of a definite treaty in Bogotá.” In such case he asked the foreign minister to present his resignation to the junta.93 A conference with Secretary Hay may have inspired this message, for Bunau-Varilla sent his own English translation of it to Hay.94

Bunau-Varilla was subsequently charged with sending “alarmist messages” to Panama, but the Roosevelt administration was in fact exceedingly concerned about the opposition to its Panama policy.95 When General Reyes arrived in the United States on November 28 former President Grover Cleveland extended his hand, and Cleveland’s attorney-general, Wayne MacVeagh, served as an adviser to Reyes.96 Roosevelt, moreover, was anxious to secure the Republican nomination in 1904.97 While Roosevelt insisted he would not desert his friends, in December he withdrew some land and naval forces from Panama in order to ease tensions.98 The State Department’s role in this was evident from a telegram which Bunau-Varilla sent Amador and Boyd on November 25, telling them that it was necessary to endorse his demands. If they would not do so, he asked them to come to Washington to confer with Assistant Secretary of State Loomis.99 The next day the commissioners replied that the treaty would be ratified. They told Bunau-Varilla: “Do not worry, everything will turn out right and satisfactory.”100 Subsequently, the junta cabled that it would ratify the canal treaty upon receipt.101 Bunau-Varilla was authorized to inform the United States Government of this decision. He did so immediately, although he had to interrupt Hay’s Thanksgiving dinner.102 For all purposes Bunau-Varilla had committed Panama to the canal treaty, and the junta seemed completely cooperative.103

Still dissatisfied, Bunau-Varilla now took a foolhardy step. Wanting the treaty back in his hands as quickly as possible, he tried to arrange for its return with the aid of the Panama Railroad Company and in so doing brought about an open break with Cromwell. The City of Washington was due to arrive in Colón at 9:00 A.M. on December 1, and her sister ship, the Yucatan, was to embark on a return trip three hours later. Bunau-Varilla decided to detain the Yucatan about a day and a half in order to give the junta time to review, ratify, and return the treaty. With this in mind he telegraphed to the president of the railroad, J. Edward Simmons, on Saturday, November 28, and then, receiving no reply, came to New York and sought out the railroad office around noon on Monday.104 Here he found only the vice president of the company, E. A. Drake, who told him that company officers would meet on the following day to discuss delaying the ship and promised to telegraph him as soon as they reached a decision. Bunau-Varilla stated later that in spite of Drake’s “excessive courtesy,” he left the office convinced that his request would be refused.105 Drake’s version of the conversation was that he had told Bunau-Varilla on the spot that the company could not grant his request, since its mail contracts required it to maintain its schedules.106 A story in the New York World reported that the two almost came to blows.107

Whatever actually happened in the Panama Railroad office, both men took quick and diverse action. At 4:10 P.M. Bunau-Varilla telegraphed to Assistant Secretary Loomis to report his difficulties with the company, adding that he had asked his government “to employ all means available” to detain the Yucatan and asking Loomis “to give similar instructions to American authorities in Colón.”108 Two hours later he cabled De la Espriella that General Reyes had arrived in the United States to offer “the canal concession for nothing and full sovereignty.” He declared that Reyes would receive a “mortal blow” if the treaty could return on the Yucatan, signed and ratified. He said: “If necessary I should recommend detaining the Yucatan by force if the timid officials of the company hesitate to hold it.” He concluded with a reference to “hypocritical friends.”109

For his part, Drake cabled Captain Beers in order to discredit Bunau-Varilla and to secure his removal, saying that Roosevelt, Hay, and Hanna had assured him that Bunau-Varilla’s threats were groundless.110 This falling out broke the last tenuous links between Bunau-Varilla and Cromwell. Later Bunau-Varilla wrote that until the Yucatan affair he “had no complaint to make against Cromwell,”111 and also, on another occasion, that his troubles with the canal lawyer resulted because he had “had the audacity of getting rid of Cromwell,” and “they hoped to make me pay for my independence from their grip.”112 It is true that Cromwell did what he could to influence the situation in Panama and used Bunau-Varilla’s mistakes to improve his own position.113 The quarrel, however, was probably unnecessary, for Cromwell was no enemy of the treaty and according to good evidence worked hard for it when it came before the United States Senate.114

Panama was caught in the middle of this struggle, but Bunau-Varilla enjoyed the support of the United States, and the affair was resolved to his satisfaction. At 9:00 P.M. on November 30, Loomis wired Bunau-Varilla that he had sent his “suggestion” to Admiral John G. Walker.115 Admiral Walker was the former chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission and at the time was President Roosevelt’s personal representative at Panama. About an hour later, Bunau-Varilla notified De la Espriella that if American authority was needed to hold the steamer, he should “ask Admiral Walker to give it.”116 According to the New York World, Walker investigated the situation and advised that the treaty be ratified immediately, but that for appearances’ sake it be held for the steamer sailing on December 8.117 Secretary Hay implied in a telegram to Bunau-Varilla on December 2 that he had tried to delay the Yucatan. Hay asserted: “My cable, though sent the moment I received your dispatch, did not arrive in time to delay the steamer.”118

Although the Yucatan sailed without the treaty, the Panama junta approved the document unanimously and without change on December 2. Bunau-Varilla rejoiced at the news, but he was not through with the Panama Railroad Company. He informed De la Espriella that owing to the “inexplicable attitude” of the railroad officials, he was unwilling to entrust them with the return of the treaty and had, therefore, requested and obtained the consent of Secretary Hay to use the United States diplomatic pouch.119 In accordance with this plan the canal treaty was turned over to the United States consul general at Panama on December 4. This action chastised the Panama Railroad Company; it also enabled President Roosevelt to submit the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty to the United States Senate when it convened on December 7, 1903.

After the canal treaty went to the Senate, Bunau-Varilla assumed a passive role, for the major responsibility for the canal fight now rested with President Roosevelt and his advisers. It was deemed best for Bunau-Varilla to stay in the background because of the attacks upon him in the Senate and press. He remained on call, working energetically for the recognition of the Republic of Panama by other nations and tending to many other details connected with his mission.

Bunau-Varilla found it impossible, however, to keep out of the struggle over ratification. On December 9 Senator George F. Hoar, an anti-imperialist Republican from Massachusetts, introduced a resolution which questioned the legality of the government of Panama. Two days earlier Bunau-Varilla had cabled the Isthmus and advised that nothing be done to change the existing form of government until after the ratification of the treaty.120 Following Hoar’s action and after a conference with Loomis, Bunau-Varilla cabled Panama to advise the convening of a constituent assembly to frame and adopt a constitution. He suggested that the Cuban constitution of 1901 be used as a model in order to validate all acts of the junta.121 On December 13 De la Espriella cabled Bunau-Varilla that the next day a decree would be published calling elections for a constituent assembly to meet on January 15, 1904.122 Bunau-Varilla also advised Secretary Hay with reference to an exchange of notes with Reyes in January 1904. Subsequently, when Reyes threatened a possible land invasion of Panama by Colombia, Bunau-Varilla pointed out to Hay and Secretary of War Elihu Root the infeasibility of any invasion via the jungles of southeastern Panama.123

The most serious threat to the treaty came when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee attached three amendments to it on January 18. The amendments concerned harbor improvements and sanitary control measures. Bunau-Varilla imagined his months of labor undone, and Hay warned the senators that, given a second chance, Panama would make amendments too.124 Bunau-Varilla managed to head off this possibility by proposing to Hay on January 19 an exchange of notes in which they would state their intentions with reference to the points raised in the amendments. Bunau-Varilla affirmed that the amendments were only clarifications and involved no difference in principle. He assured Hay that Article II of the treaty gave the United States all the land and water it needed for the canal and its appurtenances, and that there were no restrictions on sanitation measures.125 His explanations so satisfied the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Shelby Cullom, that the amendments were withdrawn on January 26.126 The treaty was over its last hurdle, for the United States Senate approved it on February 23, 1904, by a vote of 66 to 14. The same day Bunau-Varilla cabled his resignation to Panama’s new president, Manuel Amador, and requested that Panama retain his salary for use in a fund to erect a monument to Ferdinand DeLesseps at Panama.127 On February 25 Bunau-Varilla received a long-awaited message: John Hay requested him to call at the State Department the next day at 10:30 A.M. to exchange the ratifications for the canal treaty.128

The remarkable mission of Philippe Bunau-Varilla was at an end, but the debate over its merits has continued. Although Manuel Amador told Bunau-Varilla that his services “would live forever in the hearts of the people of Panama,” most Panamanians share the view that he “mortgaged the happiness” of their country “for eternity.”129 And it must be admitted that Bunau-Varilla’s critics had just cause for complaint. When one considers that John Hay offered to negotiate on the basis of the Hay-Herrán treaty, which Colombia had rejected because it infringed upon its sovereignty, and that he regarded the treaty with Bunau-Varilla “vastly more advantageous” to the United States than the one with Herrán, it is obvious that Bunau-Varilla made a bad bargain for Panama.130 Bunau-Varilla relinquished more of Panama’s sovereign rights than he need have, and he made the grant in perpetuity. He used as his guide reservations which Senator John Tyler Morgan had tried to attach to the Hay-Herrán treaty which were intended as solely obstructionist measures and which were never meant to be part of an international convention.131 In paying court to the American Senate Bunau-Varilla conceded powers that were too broad and ill-defined. In the long run both Panama and the United States suffered from the ambiguities of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty. While it may be argued that Bunau-Varilla had the authority to negotiate the treaty, he violated the letter and spirit of his instructions and took it upon himself to judge what was best for Panama. Moreover, once the treaty was written, he did not permit the Panamanians to study it. He deliberately misled them as to the urgency of the situation, and in his machinations he was abetted by Hay. In effect, Panama had no voice in the treaty. Though Bunau-Varilla was really a “third party,” he dealt unfairly with the country he supposedly represented. And the United States, which accepted the windfall, became and remains the object of Panama’s resentment.


Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LIII, No. 1373 (October 18, 1965), 625.


The papers of Philippe Bunau-Varilla (1859-1940) are deposited in The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., Manuscripts Division. They consist of fifty-nine letter boxes and twenty-three volumes from the library of Bunau-Varilla in which may be found correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, notes, miscellaneous documents, pamphlets and papers relating to an isthmian canal, photographs, maps and charts, and press clippings. The author has translated from the Spanish the official correspondence between Bunau-Varilla and Panamanian leaders. Cited hereinafter as BV.


See the author’s “The Panama Canal Lobby of Philippe Bunau-Varilla and William Nelson Cromwell,” American Historical Review, LXVIII (January, 1963), 346-363.


The hint of stock speculation and scandal has plagued the Panama Canal affair in the United States. The allegations, largely unsubstantiated, may be found mainly in articles in the New York World, January 17, 1904, and October 3, 1908. The charges were investigated by the House Foreign Affairs Committee; see Story of Panama. Also see Earl Harding, The Untold Story of Panama (New York, 1959).


Ameringer, AHR, LXVIII, 346-363.


Julio B. Sosa, José Agustín Arango: Su vida y su obra (Panama, 1948), 45-46.


Story of Panama, 678; José Agustín Arango, Datos para la historia de la independencia del istmo. . . (1905) in Sosa, Arango, 133.


Story of Panama, 702. Bunau-Varilla was a frequent correspondent with Piza and Lindo. Secret messages sent in late October and early November 1903 from the conspirators at Panama to Bunau-Varilla in New York were addressed to ‘‘Tower, New York,” which was the cable address of Piza, Nephews, and Company. BV.


Miles P. DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay (Stanford, 1940), 288-289.


Story of Panama, 694.


Ibid., 702.


Philippe Bunau-Varilla, “Statement In Behalf of Historical Truth,” Story of Panama, 27.


Ameringer, AHR, LXVIII, 346-363. Curtis to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 10, 1903, BV.


Philippe Bunau-Varilla, Panama: The Creation, Destruction, and Resurrection (New York, 1914), 289-291.


Bunau-Varilla had expressed such a possibility in an article published on Sept. 2, 1903, in Le Matin, a Paris newspaper owned by his brother, Maurice, and these views were not too far afield from the then secret memorandum prepared in early August 1903 by John Bassett Moore. President Roosevelt later stated that he had contemplated acting under the Moore Memorandum. See DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 292-293; and Henry F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography (New York, 1931), 318-319.


Margaret Clapp, Forgotten First Citizen: John Bigelow (Boston, 1947), 312-313.


Bunau-Varilla claimed authorship of the plan, but Panamanian leaders had discussed this plan throughout their summer of conspiracy. See Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 312-313; Arango, Datos, 133-134; and Story of Panama, 349.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 315-316.


Ibid., 321; Clapp, Bigelow, 313-314.


Story of Panama, 103-105. Sosa, Arango, 76.


Smith [Amador] to Fate [Bunau-Varilla], Oct. 29, 1903, BV.


Jones [Bunau-Varilla] to Obscure [Amador], Oct. 30, 1903, BV.


U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal, 63 Cong., 2 sess., Sen. Doc. No. 474 (Washington D C 1914), 362.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 331-333. Bunau-Varilla pointed out that the New York Times made the same guess on Nov. 1, 1903, in an article entitled, “Nashville sailed—for Colombia?” ibid.


Story of Panama, 388.


DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 333-335. Col. Torres allegedly accepted an $8,000 bribe to depart with his troops.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 335.


Ibid., 343-344.


Ibid., 345.


Ibid., 346.


Ibid., 348.


Arango, Boyd, and Arias to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 6, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 7, 1903, BV.


Arango, Boyd, Arias to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 4, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 24, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Hay, Nov. 7, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 8, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 8, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 8, 1903, BV.


Decree Number Five of the Junta of Provisional Government, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 355-358.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 9, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 10, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 11, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 11, 1903, BV.


Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal, 350.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 11, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 14, 1903, BV.


Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal, 356.


New York Evening Post, Nov. 10, 1903, and Nov. 12, 1903. Bigelow to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 14, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 356.


Bunau-Varilla spoke before the Quill Club in New York on Dec. 15, 1903. On Dec. 28, Senator Daniel of Virginia questioned if it was proper for Bunau-Varilla to speak about a matter under consideration by the U.S. Senate, and the New York Evening Post echoed these views on the same day.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 422-423.


Ibid., 368.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 14, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 368.


Pavey to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 11, 1903, BV.


This statement is found in an unidentified news clipping which Hay enclosed in a letter to Bunau-Varilla on Nov. 23, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 368.


Ibid., 369.


Lindo to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 17, 1903, BV.


Story of Panama, 415.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 372. Bunau-Varilla described Amador as extremely indignant about his abandonment by Cromwell. Story of Panama, 30.


Bunau-Varilla to Amador and Boyd, Nov. 17, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Amador and Boyd, Nov. 18, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Lindo, Nov. 18, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 372-373.


Ibid., 358.


New York Evening Post, Dec. 11, 1903.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 373.


Ibid., 374.


Ibid., 376.


Lindo to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 18, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 18, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 378.


U. S., Department of War, Letter of the Secretary of War, Transmitting The First Annual Report of the Isthmian Canal Commission (Washington, 1905), 4.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Dec. 7, 1903, BV.


A note written by Bunau-Varilla, dated Aug. 12, 1938, which the author found attached to De la Espriella’s letter of Dec. 7, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 24, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 19, 1903; De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 20, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 379-380.


DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 386.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 380. This information, in essence, was reported by Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella on Nov. 21, 1903 (see below).


New York World, Jan. 17, 1904.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 21, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 22, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 23, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 24, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 25, 1903, BV.


See DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 388-389. Hay to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 12, 1903, BV.


Jorge E. Boyd, Open Letter to President Porras Refuting Bunau-Varilla’s Book. . . (Panama, 1913), 18-19; DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 385.


Story of Panama, 729.


Thomas Beer, Hanna, Crane, and The Mauve Decade (New York, 1941), 619; De Alva Stanwood Alexander, Four Famous New Yorkers (New York, 1923), 421.


DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 390, 396-397, and 369-372.


Bunau-Varilla to Amador and Boyd, Nov. 25, 1903, BV.


Amador and Boyd to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 26, 1903, BV.


Arango, Arias, Manuel Espinosa B., and De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 26, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Hay, Nov. 26, 1903, BV.


On Nov. 29, 1903, De la Espriella cabled Bunau-Varilla and requested him to notify the junta about any other matters which might arise with regard to Panama, so that “we might assist you with our cooperation and instructions.” De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 29, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to President, Panama Railroad Company, Nov. 28, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Hay, Dec. 3, 1903, BV.


Letter written by Drake in 1907 in support of Cromwell’s plea for fees, BV.


New York World, Jan. 17, 1904.


Bunau-Varilla to Loomis, Nov. 30, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 30, 1903, BV.


Story of Panama, 723.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 402.


Bunau-Varilla to Mitchell, May 10, 1905, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Edward Mitchell (Editor, New York Sun), May 10, 1905, BV.


Story of Panama, 285-287.


Loomis to Bunau-Varilla, Nov. 30, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Nov. 30, 1903, BV.


New York World, Jan. 17, 1904.


Hay to Bunau-Varilla, Dec. 2, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Dec. 2, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Dec. 7, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla to Loomis, Dec. 10, 1903; and Bunau-Varilla to De la Espriella, Dec. 10, 1903, BV.


De la Espriella to Bunau-Varilla, Dec. 13, 1903, BV.


Bunau-Varilla, Panama, 419.


DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 414.


Bunau-Varilla to Hay, Jan. 19, 1904, BV.


New York Evening Post, Jan. 27, 1904.


Bunau-Varilla to Amador, Feb. 23, 1904, BV.


Hay to Bunau-Varilla, Feb. 25, 1904, BV.


Amador to Bunau-Varilla, Feb. 24, 1904, BV; Sosa, Arango, 76.


Graham H. Stuart, Latin America and the United States (New York, 1943), 128.


DuVal, Cadiz to Cathay, 380, 384.

Author notes


The author is Associate Professor of History at The Pennsylvania State University.