PLAN TO STAY PANAMA TOLLS LAW
TILL 1915 MAY SAVE DAY
Senator Vardaman Offers an
Amendment Which Would Return Question to Diplomatic Conference of Two
Washington, May 19.--
There is a far
deeper significance than appears upon the surface in the amendment refered
to the tolls question which Senator Vardaman to-day offered. It may carry,
and many conservative Senators think it will carry the wise and patriotic
solution of the vexed and dividing issue.
It was at 4
o'clock that Senator Vardaman presented his amendment, and accompanied it
with a brief speech preliminary to a longer speech he is to make within a
fey days. The amendment reads:
The amendment would suspend
the canal law until July 1, 1915, at which time it would go into effect
automatically. Meanwhile the tolls would be collected from coastwise
shipping; and segregated in the treasury, ultimately to be returned to the
ship owners unless otherwise determined.
The President is
authorized to appoint not fewer than three, nor more than five
commissioners to meet a like number appointed by Great Britain. These
commissioners would be authorized to renew the diplomatic negotiations at
the point where they yere stopped when Secretary of state Knox went out of
Mr. Vardamann emphasizes the fact
that this amendment provides for a continuance of diplomatic negotiations
and in no sense is an arbitration. The amendment sets forth that the
purpose of the diplomatic conference is to take into consideration the
pending controversy and the construction of the treaty so far as it
relates to the right of the United States to exempt its coastwise
This is not a hasty amendment offered as an
impulsive substitute. It is one of the most carefully thought out and
fully prepared measures presented during the entire session. It meets the
approval of some of the most powerful Senators upon both sides of the
canal question, and it may be adopted as a compromise which many serious
Senators believe to be necessary to save the Democratic party and to
prevent trouble to the country.
There has been growing for
several weeks among Senators and newspapers supporting the President the
feeling that the menace of Democratic decision in the November elections
on this question was growing more pronounced every day. Which ever way the
Cana tolls issue is settled, It will be by a narrow margin.
Whether the President is alarmed by this or not, there
are many Administration Senators who are alarmed and would be glad to
settle this question, jointly in regard to toe President's obstinate
opposition to free tolls and to their own safe return in
The terms of the Vardaman amendment
provide just this compromise. It is an effort to exhaust diplomacy before
going to arbitration. It repeals for a time the exemption clause, to be
renewed at the end of a year, unless later and more tranquil determination
can decide otherwise. It saves the position of the President, as is saves
the pride and independence of the country.
It prevents the inevitable bitter ness that will be felt toward England...
VARDAMAN'S LASHING WHIP.
Senator Vardaman's an arraignment of the
administration in his speech in the Senate yesterday on the Panama tolls
bill will have Democratic echoes through out the country. The works
uttered by the Mississippi Senator are those of a Democratic leader and of
one who helped to frame the Democratic national platform at
To him it is amazing that the principal pledge
in that platform, the sovereignty of the United States in the Panama
Canal, which was affirmed by all Democratic speakers and candidates,
including the candidate for President, during the campaign, should be
denied by Senator Root, a reactionary Republican, and the denial be
supported and urged upon Congress by the Democratic President and
secretary of state.
The Senate is a forum of decorous
debate. However strong may be the feelings of a Senator, he is
exceedingly circumspect in his language. Senator La Follette is one exception and the
Mississippi Senator is another.
But in the tolls debate there has been too
little of plain, unvarnished talk.. This has been a time to call a spade a
spade, and Mr. Vardaman in his speech invited the scurrilous abuse of the
railroad press by his plain English.