Hay-Herrán Treaty

Hay-Herrán Treaty hā-ĕränˈ [key], 1903, aborted agreement between the United States and Colombia providing for U.S. control of the prospective Panama Canal and for U.S. acquisition of a canal zone. It was signed by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and Colombian foreign minister Tomás Herrán on Jan. 22, 1903. The treaty stipulated that the New Panama Canal Company, which held an option on the canal route, might sell its properties to the United States; that Colombia lease a strip of land across the Isthmus of Panama to the United States for construction of a canal; and that the United States pay Colombia $10 million and, after nine years, an annuity of $250,000. Although it did not give the United States complete governmental control over the proposed canal zone, the treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate. The Colombian congress delayed ratification, hoping to increase the price offered by the United States; finally, it rejected the treaty because of dissatisfaction with the financial terms and fear of “Yankee imperialism” and loss of national sovereignty.

See D. C. Miner, The Fight for the Panama Route (1940).

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