Hay-Herrán Treaty 1903

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hay-Herrán Treaty (1903)


an agreement between the USA and Colombia regarding a future canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was signed on Jan. 22, 1903, by the American secretary of state, J. Hay, and the Colombian chargé d’affaires in the USA, T. A. Herrán.

The treaty provided for the transfer to the USA of sole rights for the construction, exploitation, and defense of the canal and the use of a zone 5 km wide along each side of the canal for a term of 100 years (with the possibility of extension of this term), with Colombia’s retention of formal sovereignty. Colombia would receive a single payment of compensation from the USA of $10 million and, beginning with the tenth year of the treaty’s operation, an annual fee of $250,000. The US Senate ratified the treaty in March 1903. In Colombia, however, the unequal terms of the treaty provoked indignation, and in August 1903 the treaty was rejected by the Colombian Senate.


Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal. Washington, D.C., 1914. Pages 277–88.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.