No. 74.
Mr. Logan to Mr. Evarts.

No. 145.]

Sir: I have information that the boundary dispute between Costa Rica and Colombia is to be settled by arbitration. A convention was [Page 100] signed in San José on the 25th of December last, which was ratified by the council of state of Costa Rica, signed by President Guardia, and afterwards transmitted to the Colombian Government for like ratification. By the terms of the convention the King of Belgium is named arbitrator, and in case of his non-acceptance of the trust the King of Spain is to be requested to assume it; and in case of his declination also, the President of the Argentine Republic is to be solicited to accept the office.

The parties are to be heard by the arbitrator, and the sentence is to be pronounced within ten months from the acceptance of the position by the arbitrator. Both parties bind themselves to submit to the decision, and the status quo is to be preserved until the decision is formally made.

The selection of the arbitrator does not indicate a very favorable feeling towards the United States by the plenipotentiary of Colombia, at whose instance, as I am informed, the nominations were made.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 145.—Translation.]

Copy of convention between Costa Rica and the United States of Colombia.

Thomas Guardia, General of Division and President of the Republic of Costa Rica.

Whereas the Grand National Council has decreed the following:

No. 8.

The Grand National Council of the Republic of Costa Rica:


That between the respective plenipotentiaries of Costa Rica and the United States of Colombia has been concluded and signed in this city, on the 24th of the present month, the convention, which, submitted by the executive power to the deliberation of this high chamber, word for word, is as follows:

The Republic of Costa Rica and the Republic of the United States of Colombia, equally animated by the sincere desire of maintaining and consolidating their amicable relations, convinced that to obtain this benefit, so important to their prosperity and good name, it is necessary to remove the only source of the difference existing between them, which is no other than the question of boundaries, that is foreseen in articles 7 and 8 of the convention of the 15th of March, 1825, between Central America and Colombia, has been since that time the object of divers treaties between Costa Rica and Colombia, none of which were ratified; and both nations understanding that this antecedent counsels the adoption to-day of other means, more expedient, prompt, and sure of terminating the aforesaid question of boundaries by means of the designation, in perpetuity, of a dividing line, clear and incontrovertible, for the whole extent in which their respective territories are contiguous; in consequence, the president of the Republic of Costa Rica, by virtue of the powers invested in him, has conferred full powers on his excellency Dr. José Ma. Castro, secretary of state and of the department of foreign relations, and the President of the United States of Colombia, specially and fully authorized by the legislative chambers of that nation, on the Hon. Dr. José Ma. Quijano Otero, chargé d’ affaires near this government, who, after having mutually communicated their respective full powers, and finding them in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:

  • Article 1. The Republic of Costa Rica and the United States of Colombia agree to submit to arbitration the question of boundaries existing between them, and the designation of a line which shall divide forever and with all clearness the territory of the first from the territory of the second, each one remaining in full, quiet, and peaceful dominion with respect to each other of all the lands left on its side of the aforesaid line, which shall remain without special charge or grievance whatever in favor of the other.
  • Art. 2. The arbitrator who shall be pleased to accept the charge stipulated in the preceding article shall, in order that the decision may be binding, complete its duties [Page 101] within the period of ten months, dating from the period of his acceptance, and this notwithstanding either of the high contracting parties shall fail to be present to maintain his rights by means of a representative or attorney.
  • Art. 3. In order that the acceptance of the arbitrator may be held to be duly notified to the high contracting parties, and that these may not be able to allege ignorance thereof, it shall suffice that it be published in an official periodical of the nation of the arbitrator or in that of either of the high contracting parties.
  • Art. 4. The arbitrator having heard by oral or written argument the parties or party presenting, and having considered the documents that they may produce or the arguments they may make, shall emit his decision without other formality, and this decision, whatever it may be, shall be held immediately as a compact concluded, perfect, obligatory, and irrevocable, between the high contracting parties, who renounce formally and expressly all reclamation of whatever nature against the decision of the arbitrator, and oblige themselves to respect and fulfill it immediately, faithfully, and forever, pledging to this the national honor.
  • Art. 5. In consonance with the preceding articles and for their execution the high contracting parties name as arbitrator His Majesty the King of Belgium; in the unlooked for case that he shall not choose to accept. His Majesty the King of Spain, and in the event, equally unlooked for, that he shall also refuse, His Excellency the President of the Argentine Republic; in all of whom the high contracting parties have, without any difference whatever, the most unlimited confidence.
  • Art. 6. That one of the high arbitrators named who may come to exercise the arbitration may delegate his functions, not failing to intervene directly in the pronunciation of the definitive sentence.
  • Art. 7. If, unfortunately, none of the high arbitrators named can lend to the high contracting parties the eminent service of accepting the charge, they, by common agreement, shall make new nominations, and so successively until some one shall take effect, for it is agreed, and hereby formally stipulated, that the question of boundaries and the designation of a dividing line between the limiting territories of Costa Rica and Columbia shall never be decided by other means than the civilized and humane one of arbitration, preserving in the mean time the statu quo agreed on.
  • Art. 8. The present convention shall be submitted to the approbation of the Grand National Council in the Republic of Costa Rica and of the legislative chambers in that of Colombia, and shall be exchanged in the city of Panama within the shortest time possible.

In testimony whereof the plenipotentiaries above mentioned sign and affix their respective seals to two originals of the present convention.

[seal.] JOSÉ M. CASTRO
National palace in San José, twenty-seventh of December, one thousand eight hundred and eighty.

Finding the foregoing convention arranged in all its parts according to the instructions given to the plenipotentiary, who has adjusted it on the part of this republic, let it pass to the Grand National Council for the fulfillment of article 8.


The secretary of state in the department of foreign relations.


Considering that this convention is correct in its form, reasonable and equitable in its foundation, and evidently useful and necessary to the two contracting nations,


Sole article. Let the above convention be approved and ratified in all its parts, which shall have the force of law when they shall have been exchanged in due form.

To the executive power.



Let it be executed.


The secretary of state in the department of foreign relations.