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BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN ECUADOR AND PERU.-MEDIA
TION OF THE UNITED STATES, ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL
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[Treslation] No. 1]
Lima, January 2, 1911. Mr. MINISTER: I hare had the honor to receive your esteemed com. munication of the 27th of the past month' in which your excellency makes known to me that the Governments of the United States of America, of the Argentine Republic, and of Brazil counsel the Governments of Peru and Ecuador to submit to the Tribunal of Arbitration at The Hague the entire boundary question pending between these countries.
In reply I have the honor to say to your excellency that my Government appreciates at its great ralue the proposal of the mediating powers and trusting fully in the force of the rights of Peru, agrees to submit to the Tribunal of Arbitration of The Hague the entire boundary question pending between Peru and Ecuador.
Fulfilling the pleasant duty of expressing once more the sincere gratitude of my Government for the friendly initiative of the mediating States, I improve this occasion, etc.,
File No. 722.2315/547.
Quito, January 16, 1911, EXCELLENCY: It was only in the last mail that I had the honor to receive the note announced by his excellency the Argentine minister; a note which corroborated the invitation of the mediating powers to
1 Continued from Foreign Relations, 1910, pp. 438-507. See Foreign Relations, 1910, p. 506.
Ecuador and Peru to submit their boundary disputes to The Hague Tribunal. This will explain to your excellency my delay in answering the note which you were pleased to direct to me with the same object on the 27th of last month.
The solicitude with which the mediating powers have striven to remove the obstacles which were in the way of the peace of both countries could not be more praiseworthy or more deserving of gratitude; and the history of America will register in its best pages the great benefit of the mediation, so generously offered at the moment when a disastrous war between two sister peoples was about to commence. Out of gratitude for this offer, my Government wishes that it were able to accept the friendly and benevolent suggestions of hose powers, so that all the glory of having cemented the peace Jetween these two nations should belong to them.
But unfortunately our dispute with Peru does not rest upon a mere demarcation or settling of frontier lines, but also upon the dominion and sovereignty of very vast territories; upon the very life of Ecuador, which, without the zone which Peru disputes now with us, would remain dead for the future, as even the Peruvian minister, Dr. García, himself confessed in his report before the congress of his country in 1890. The question of boundaries for us is a question of existence, and it can not, therefore, be included in article 38 of The Hague Convention.
In the said article it is stated that arbitration is the most just and efficacious means of finding a solution for legal controversies, especially those relative to the interpretation or application of international conventions. But what are these merely legal questions which should be solved before the above-mentioned international tribunal? In order to answer this we have but to consult the acts of the Second International Peace Conference, the true source of interpretation of the resolutions made by the congress referred to. There we find the genuine explanation of the doctrines held by the nations represented at the conference above-mentioned, and we see, specifically stated, the cases to which article 38 of the convention refers. And in order to exclude every doubt, I will permit myself to make special mention of the doctrines sustained by the delegation of the United States of America, whose proposition is to be found in Appendix 37, page 899 of the second volume of acts, official edition of 1907.
Article I of the said proposition textually states: Controversies of a legal nature relative to the interpretation of existing treaties * * * and which have not been able to be settled by diplomatic channels, shall be submitted to arbitration : Provided, however, That the vital interests, the independence, and the honor of neither State shall be in question. and provided that the interests of other States strangers to the dispute shali not be affected.
This article, so wisely conceived, is but the exact and faithful expression of the doctrine of the principal and most renowned jurists; a doctrine which has been put into practice by all the nations that have celebrated treaties of general arbitration. We may say that there has been an understanding, almost unanimous, about the doctrine sustained by the North American delegation in the Second Hague Conference; and consequently my Government could not in any form submit our dispute with Peru to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, since it refers to the dominion and sovereignty of Date tinescu:: 23:21
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There is another great diiñculty which prerents mr (orernment from accepting the kids suggestions of the mediating paners namely, the solemn treates which bind Ecuador with Colombia Without taking into consieration article 20 of the treaty of July 9, 1956, renewed and notied in the tresor of the lath of Tugust, 1905, we have the treaty of War, 1910, a convention avunling to which the defense of the Amazon territory must be made jointly by Ecuador and Colombia, forming a single party. This trenty makes it impossible for either of the two powers to proceed separately and without the agreement of the other. If, therefore, we should accept the friendly counsel of the mediators without the express acquiescence of Colombia we should break, your excelleney, a solemn international treaty, which would be contrary to justice, to national honor, and to the sincere friendship which unites us to our sister to the North. If the arbitration of The Hague were possible we could not therefore go to that tribunal except jointly with Colombia.
These, your excellency, are the very strong reasons which my Gora ernment has the regret to express to the mediating powers, and on account of which it does not believe that it is in a position to accept the kindly invitation which it has received, although it gratefully acknowledges the generosity and noble zeal with which these powers have proceeded from the time that our conflict with Peru commenced until to-day, when the fears of a war between the two countries are entirely removed. At present nobody in Ecuador, Mr. Minister, thinks of confiding to arms the triumph of our rights; and Spanish arbitration having been eliminated, and the excitement of the Republic of Peru being calmed, I believe that there will not be great difficulties placed in the way of entering into friendly and direct arrangements. This would be the most decorous and appropriate means for sister nations to terminate definitely their boundary dispute; and an equitable and noble transaction, celebrated under the auspices of friendly powers, would be the most beautiful example which we could give to our continent; to terminate the differences as in a family, without other judicial procedure than the good offices of our illustrious anú great friends, would be to lay new and firmer foundations for American concord, and to present ourselves before the world as peoples worthy of the civilization to which we havo attained.
And if, in discussing this honorable compromise, difficulties should prevent its satisfactory conclusion, we then might have recourse to amiables compositeurs, charged with, splitting the difference on the basis of equity; and my Government, always animated by the most earnest spirit of conciliation, would designate for the friendly duties referred to Governments or political personages whom Peru would accept with applause. I repeat, your excellency, that the Ecuadorian people and their Government desire only peace with their neighbors and will lend themselves to any arrangement based upon equity and honor. I seize, etc.,
File No. 722.2315/526.
The Chilean Chargé d'Affaires to the Secretary of State.
Washington, January 17, 1911. The chargé d'affaires of Chile has received telegraphic instructions from his Government to transmit to the Secretary of State the following telegram received from Santiago on January 16:
The minister of Chile in Quito reports that the minister for foreign affairs of Ecuador does not accept the proposition of taking the case to The Hague Court, because the question at issue involves vital interests which affect the sovereignty of his country in a manner that only Ecuador can appreciate. Besides. Ecuador does not purpose to fall again into the same error that she committed in 1887 under which she submitted to arbitration two-thirds of her territory. The Ecuadorian Government adds that the best solution of the controversy is a compromise by direct settlement, by which, through mutual concessions, the disputed zone that is afterwards to be divided should be de. termined. It states further that these are the terms in which the Government replies to the note of the media tors.
The minister for foreign affairs of Chile has answered, through the medium of our representative, as follows:
We regret the resistance of Ecuador to resorting to The Hague, and we find that there are not sufficient grounds for the reasons adduced for following such a course. The argument referring to vital interests is not applicable since the case is not that of a compulsory arbitration, but an arbitration freely consented to. If in 1887 it consented to submitting the question to arbitration by Spain, there is no reason why it should not, at this time, submit the question to a tribunal which offers every guaranty of impartiality, the more so if it be considered that the refusal of Ecuador to abide by the decision of the Spanish Government is what provoked the conflict. It is not necessary for Ecuador to have delegates at The Hague Tribunal, since by virtue of articles 47 and 51 of The Hague Convention for the settlement of international disputes, the parties may freely appoint national or foreign arbitrators. As to the determination which is the object of this litigation, it could be made in the same manner as it was made before the Spanish Government. It is wise to insist upon the proviso that the arbitrator should be invested with the powers of an "amiable compositeur" thus facilitating an equitable solution and the division of the disputed territory in the best possible manner. We can not see why Ecuador should act in conjunction with Colombia in settling the boundary question with Peru; it did not proceed in that wise at the time of the arbitration by the King of Spain. The direct settlement proposed by Ecuador is not feasible on account of its exigencies, and because according to its affirmations it would have to act in accord with Colombia, which would render the solution impossible.
We trust that Ecuador will accept the proposal of arbitration, because we do not see another way of settling the difficulty without altering the peace of the continent. The Government of Chile supports the action of the mediators because of the good relations that bind us to them, which we desire to maintain, and also by reason of the just purpose for which they unselfishly work.
Our legation in Washington is informed of the purposes stated.
File No. 722.2315/543.
The Colombian Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American
Chargé d'Affaires. [Identical with notes transmitted on the same day to the Brazilian and Argentine
Bogotá, January 17, 1911. Mr. CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES : Animated by sentiments of Pan-Americanism and desiring that peace be firmly maintained in all of our continent, your Government and that of the United States of Brazil and of the Argentine Republic offered their mediation to the Republics of Ecuador and Peru for the purpose of facilitating a just solution of the frontier dispute which exists between these two States. At that time the question had been submitted by Ecuador and Peru to the arbitration of His Majesty the King of Spain, who later manifested his wish to withdraw from pronouncing the decision; and at this juncture the mediating powers have proposed to the Governments of Ecuador and Peru to submit the dispute to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
The Government of the Republic of Colombia has always manifested its most formal reserve regarding a decision which at the instigation of any State might be declared concerning territory which Colombia declares as her own and over which she maintains and is resolved to maintain all her rights of property and sovereignty.
It being the purpose of the mediating powers to obtain results. which may permit the satisfactory termination of a situation which has agitated public opinion in the interested countries, I consider it opportune to state to your Government, through the honorable conduct of its representative in Colombia, that my Government thinks that the solution proposed by the mediating powers to the Governments of Ecuador and Peru will not be conducive to the end desired by them.
Certainly arbitration is a praiseworthy means of settling international difficulties provided that it does not compromise or touch the interests of a third State. Colombia can do no less than formulate the most peremptory reservation of her rights whensoever agreements are negotiated regarding territory which she considers and defends as her own. A dispute would be submitted to the Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which compromising the interests of a third State, would leave existing the same difficulties which the mediation proposes to avoid or analogous ones.
The right of Colombia to intervene in this adjustment of frontiers is so clear that it was recognized by Ecuador and Peru in the convention signed in 1894 at Lima by the plenipotentiaries of the three Republics and of which the Peruvuan Congress approved.