Right to Fortify

          The right of the United States to fortify the Panama Canal was seriously questioned at one time by statesmen and publicists because of a clause contained in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of April 19, 1859, providing that neither the United States nor the United Kingdom would fortify the Canal or exercise any dominion over any part of Central America.  In the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of November 18, 1901, it is provided that the first Treaty is superseded without impairing the general principles of neutralization as established in Article 8 of that Convention.  The Treaty further provides:

          "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 an 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 canal shall never be blockaded, nor shall any right of war be exercised nor any act of hostility be committed with 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."

       The question of fortification is no longer an open one because the United Kingdom, the only nation that had a right to object, has acquiesced in the erection of forts.  The ground taken by the United States was, that in order to insure the neutrality of the Canal, as it is bound to do by Treaty, it was necessary to have such forts and naval bases at both entrances as would enable it to repel the attack of an enemy, and to insure the use of the Canal by belligerents in accordance with the rules laid down.
          The forts as planned are in a position to protect not only the entrances of the Canal, but to make it practically impossible for the ships of an enemy to destroy or injure the only vulnerable part of the waterway that is, the locks.  Gatun Locks are seven miles inland from the forts at the Atlantic entrance, and Miraflores Locks nine miles inland from the outermost fortification at he Pacific entrance.
          In addition to the forts that guard either entrance, a system of inland defenses for the locks has been agreed upon.  The headquarters of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps on the isthmus will be at the Pacific entrance of the Canal, but posts will be maintained elsewhere, including the Atlantic entrance, the locks, and probably at a point along Culebra Cut, opposite Culebra.
("The Panama Guide", by John O. Collins, 1912)