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said territory. It is not to be supposed, however, in view of the wisdom and fairness which distinguish your excellency's Government, that it will be necessary to proceed to such extremes. Wherefore, once again, I beg your excellency to do all in your power to stop that occupation, against which, to protect the interests of Colombia, I solemnly protest.
I also avail myself of this opportunity, Mr. Minister, to again call your excellency's attention to the need of completing as soon as possible as a practical demonstration of incontestable force the adjustment of the provisional boundary between Colombia and Costa Rica. The mutual relations of the two States being so cordial, and the inclinations being so sincere in favor of a final settlement of the boundary question by means of arbitration, it is evident that the complaints arising from the want of such temporary arrangement may have a pernicious effect upon these kind feelings. I beg, etc.,
MARCO F. SUÁREZ.
Mr. Rengifo to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF COLOMBIA, Washington, February 22, 1894. (Received February 23.) SIR: When, in pursuance of the express instructions of my Gov. ernment, I intended to make certain statements to the honorable Secretary of State relative to the boundary question pending between Colombia and Costa Rica, I learned with surprise that the U. S. Gov. ernment was under the impression that my Government had not accepted the kind assurance of its friendly desire for the settlement of that dispute in accordance with the spirit of the treaty that was concluded to this effect, some years ago by the two countries, and I deem it my duty to dispel that erroneous impression, which the course actually pursued by my Government is very far from justifying, as I hope to have the honor to show by means of a simple statement of what has taken place in connection with this matter.
The honorable American minister at Bogota addressed to the minister of foreign relations of the Republic a communication, with the precise contents of which I am not familiar, but which I have good reason to presume contained an expression of the friendly desire of the U. S. Government for a settlement, by arbitration, of the differences in respect to boundaries which have existed for some time between my Government and that of Costa Rica. The aforesaid high Colombian functionary, being influenced by the most cordial feelings, personally solicited the Honorable Mr. McKinney to withdraw that note, it being his intention to discuss the case privately and confidentially, and by no means to act in a way that could offend a nation upon whose friendship the Government of Colombia places the high value which it deserves, and with which nation it earnestly desires to draw its relations constantly closer. The honorable American minister complied with the desire that had been expressed to him, and the point was taken into consideration in the manner proposed, to the satisfaction of both parties, its result having been an additional evidence of the special regard felt by my Government for that of the United States. In proof of this assertion I take the liberty to quote the very language used by the Honorable Mr. McKinney in his note of October 2 to the minister of foreign relations. He therein said:
You will remember that some time ago I wrote you in regard to the Costa Rican boundary question. You personally requested that I withdraw my official letter, as you preferred to talk that question over privately. In deference to your wish I did so, and offered to ask the good services of my Government to urge the acceptance of your proposition by Costa Rica. You thanked me for my good will, and promised to send me an abstract of your proposition to Costa Rica before you transmitted a copy to the Government of Costa Rica, that I might present my: Government with the same.
I also quote the exact language used by the minister of foreign relations in replying to the Honorable Mr. McKinney in the memorandum which accompanied his conversation of the 9th of the month aforesaid:
On the 3d of August last the Government of Colombia received a note from the Government of Costa Rica, expressing the desire of that Government to conclude a new arrangement for the determination, by arbitration, of their common frontier. Some time afterwards the honorable legation of the United States expressed, in the name of its Government, a desire that the request of Costa Rica should be complied with. The Government, being influenced by its constant friendship for the United States, complied immediately and spontaneously with the desire expressed by the honorable legation. It was consequently verbally informed that Colombia would apprise Costa Rica that it was prepared to revive the treaty of arbitration, and it was likewise informed that this step was due in a great measure to the friendship of the Colombian Government for that of the United States. A promise was also made to the honorable legation to send it the written bases of the Colombian draft.
As is seen, the agreement could not have been more complete, nor could the friendly offer of the U. S. Government have been more frankly and sincerely accepted; and if the bases of the Colombian draft were afterwards not sent to the honorable American minister before they were transmitted to Costa Rica, this was due to the fact that, as was remarked by the minister of foreign relations in the document referred to, “the principal effort was made by the Government of Costa Rica, and the collaboration by the U. S. Government. The natural course was to reply to Costa Rica, and send to the U. S. Government a copy of that reply, because a contrary course would have inverted the natural order of things." This proceeding, which was fully justified, did, it is true, induce the honorable American minister to charge the minister of foreign relations with, insincerity, the justice of which charge, in view of what has been stated, I leave to the consideration of the honorable Secretary of State. It is, however, to be remarked that the Honorable Mr. McKinney has never told the Government of Colombia that he considered the good offices of the United States as not having been accepted. He has, on the contrary, admitted that they were accepted, as appears from his aforesaid note, although a change in the form of the offer was requested, which, if thoroughly examined, is rather an evidence of kindly cordiality, since the discussion of a case on intimate and confidential ground can not be regarded otherwise than as an indi. cation of deference.
To the foregoing statement, which places the facts in their true light, I must add the most positive and solemn declaration that the Government of Colombia has gladly accepted the friendly offer of the United States in its boundary question with Costa Rica; that it regards this offer as being as important as it really is, and still further, that its consent to couclude a new treaty with that Republic for the determi. nation of their common frontier by means of arbitration is due in a great measure to the feeling of special consideration and regard which it entertains for the United States.
I beg the honorable Secretary of State to permit me to avail myself of this occasion to remind him of the correctness of the attitude assumed by Colombia in its differences with Costa Rica, for my Government, which duly appreciates the moral value of the judgment of the United States, has specially instructed me to do so, and I will do it in very general terms, in order not to encroach too much upon your valuable time.
The Government of Colombia and that of Costa Rica, by the treaty of arbitration concluded between them December 25, 1880, and the additional treaty of January 20, 1886, agreed to settle their boundary dispute by arbitration, and to this end they appointed, in the first place, His Majesty Alfonso XII, and afterwards Her Majesty the present Queen Regent of Spain, as arbitrators. According to the treaties referred to, decision was to be pronounced within twenty months from the date of the acceptance of the office by the arbitrator, which acceptance took place on the 19th day of June, 1887, so that, according to the express letter of the agreement, bis jurisdiction was to terminate February 19, 1889. The last-named day arrived, and the decision had not been pronounced, and the Government of Colombia informed that of Spain, through the Spanish representative at Bogota, under date of October 9, 1891, that, since the term fixed for pronouncing a decision had long since expired, its jurisdiction was ended, in consequence of which the Government of Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain declined to have anything further to do with the matter.
The Government of Colombia was induced to take this step by its sincere desire to prevent so important a decision from being rendered null and void, and from giving occasion to the party that might deem itself injured for declining to accept it. It moreover desired to prevent the great labor which had been so kindly performed by the arbitrator from being wasted, which would doubtless have been a source of mortification to the latter. The uprightness of the purpose of the Government of Colombia is still further shown by the fact that it proposed, at the very outset, the revival of the lapsed conventions, its sole desire being that the boundary dispute should be finally settled, and that the decision by which it should be settled should be unassailable. My Government has been consistent in the view thus taken, in proof of which reference may be made to the correspondence between it and that of Costa Rica since the month of October, 1891, and it has constantly songht to bring about arrangements for the determination of a provisional boundary whereby conflicts of jurisdiction might be avoided.
If a final arrangement on this subject has not been reached sooner, this is the fauit of Costa Rica, which has claimed that that boundary should be extended until it encroached upon the region to which Colombia bas a very ancient right of possession, and which is governed by its laws. The contrast between the course pursued by each country is very noteworthy: Colombia, acting uprightly, keeps within the limits of its right; Costa Rica, on the other hand, constantly provokes dissensions by attempting to extend its jurisdiction farther than it is now authorized to do. Both nations should respect the statu quo established in 1881, which, for Colombia, is law, and for Costa Rica a dead letter. As a recent practical case, I may cite, in proof of the foregoing statement, the course pursued by the present Costa Rican minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Jiménez, who, four years ago, when he filled the same office, admitted that the river Sixaola was the dividing line between the possessions of Colombia and Costa Rica, so that the eastern bank of that river belongs, incontestably, to Colombia, notwithstanding which, and in spite of the protests of the latter country, the Government of Costa Rica continues to place authorities in that region, thereby abusing the patient and upright attitude of my Gov. ernment.
Fortunately, the time when these annoying differences must cease seems to be not far off. According to the last notes exchanged between the two Governments, there is a willingness on the part of both to conclude a new treaty, submitting their conflicting claims to arbitration, only that of Costa Rica desires that, when a new treaty is concluded, the validity of the old ones be submitted to arbitration, to which Colombia objects as being useless and illegal.
A new treaty is what the conditions of the dispute require, both because it is evident that the preceding ones have lapsed, and because provision may thereby be made that the decision that may be pronounced in consequence thereof shall be executed independently of the legislative action of each country, and that it shall determine what is necessary for the payment of the indispensable technical commissions that will have to trace the final boundary line. Recent and painful experience induces Colombia to pay special attention to these points, although they are apparently mere points of detail.
I will not close this note without declaring, in virtue of express authorization, that, if the decision of the arbitrator should adjudge to my Government control over the territories which it thinks belong to it, it would recognize the rights of private parties therein, and the transfers of actual ownership made by Costa Rica. Citizens of the United States or any other foreigners that have obtained concessions of uvimproved lands, or who, for any other just cause, are the owners of lands, shall be maintained in possession thereof, since every valid title is to be respected.
Hoping that I have attained the friendly purposes which I had in
I have, etc.,
Mr. Uhl to Mr. Rengifo.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 14, 1894, SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 22d ultimo in relation to the settlement of the pending boundary question between your country and Costa Rica.
It is very gratifying to be assured, as I now am by your note, that the Government of Colombia appreciates the friendly desires and earnest hopes of the United States for a speedy settlement of a controversy in which this Government can but feel a deep interest as the neighbor of the parties to the contention and in view of its existing treaty guarantees with respect to the territory of the Isthmus.
The withdrawal of the note which, following the President's direction, the U. S. minister at Bogota addressed to the Colombian Gov. ernment simultaneously with a like communication made through our legation in Central America to the Government of Costa Rica may serve to explain the impression I discern in your note that Mr. McKin. ney's representation conveyed an offer of some sort looking to the mediation of this Government toward the adjustment of the matter, and this view is strengthened by the circumstance that the Colombian minister for foreign attairs asked the cooperation of this Government to induce Costa Rica to accept the proposal for a new treaty negotiation for the revival of the arbitration. The withdrawn note of Mr. McKinney was careful, following my instruction, to make it clear that the Government of the United States expressed no opinion touching the question raised by Colombia in regard to the lapse of the Spanish arbitrators' powers, and limited itself to conveying to Colombia, as to Costa Rica, the President's sincere belief that the agreement of arbitration entered into by the two nations constitutes an obligation between them which neither is morally free to disregard on grounds of technical formality, and his conviction that both governments will endeavor to promote its successful issue.”
With cordial gratification I learn from your note that the Government of Colombia is inspired by the same high motives, and as the disinterested friend of both nations the United States trusts that an honorable adjustment of the dispute may be speedily reached. Accept, sir, etc.,
EDWIN F. UHL,
Mr. Sleeper to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogota, September 13, 1894. (Received October 8.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith further correspondence between Colombia and Costa Rica, in regard to the boundary question. I am, etc.,
JACOB SLEEPER, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 69.-Translation.]
Mr. Jiménez to Mr. Suárez.
REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA,
San Jose, February 12, 1894. MR. MINISTER: I have had the honor to receive your excellency's letter, dated on the 4th of last January, in answer to the one sent by this department on the 18th of November, 1893, both referring to the boundaries between Colombia and Costa Rica, the solution of which matter would be of the greatest benefit to both States.
It was a great satisfaction to my Government to note in your excel. lency's letter that the illustrious Government of Colombia is animated by the same desires which that of Costa Rica has always entertained, in regard to the early termination of this matter in a just and decisive way, thus guaranteeing and strengthening more and more the friendly relations between the two countries, and at the same time eliminating obstacles which hinder the greater growth of their economical interests. It is likewise pleased that the Colombian Government agrees about the measures to be adopted, in order to realize in a just and friendly way that their common aspirations, viz, that the boundary question be settled by an arbitrational decision; and in the meantime