to Mr. Logan
Washington , May 26, 1881.
Sir: Your dispatch, No. 145, of the 25th of January last, inclosing copy of the convention between Costa Rica and Colombia, for the settlement by arbitration of their boundary differences, has been received.
As no official communication has been made to this government, either by Costa Rica or Colombia, of the execution of this convention, no formal representation can be made upon the subject.
But you will take an opportunity, informally, to bring to the knowledge of the Government of Costa Rica that you are aware of the impression which has been made upon your own government by this information. You will say that while the Government of the United [Page 106] States recognizes the wisdom of the method of arbitration for the solution of such differences, and while it neither pretends nor desires that it should be considered the necessary or only arbitrator between the Republics of South and Central America, it feels that by the thirty-fifth article of the treaty of 1846 with Colombia it is placed in a position in which it has a direct interest in the question submitted to this arbitration; that its guarantee the sovereignty of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the State of Panama and of the neutrality of the Isthmus entitles it to know how and to what extent the territory of that State is to be changed, and that its control over any interoceanic communication across the Isthmus gives it an interest recognized by treaty in any settlement of the littoral possessions of either republic in the neighborhood of any projected canal; that taking these circumstances into consideration, the United States of America are naturally surprised that such an arbitration should have been determined upon without communication with them. You will add that while having no possible objection to the character of the arbitrators selected, and expressing no opinion as to the merits of the contention between the two republics, the United States of America will not hold themselves bound, so far as their rights, obligations, or interests maybe concerned, by the decision of any arbitrator in whose appointment they have not been consulted and in whose selection they have not concurred.
You will make this communication temperately and expressly for the purpose of avoiding any future misunderstanding, and you will make it as coming from yourself, with the knowledge of your government, but without instructions to make any representations on the subject.
I have not deemed it necessary to state at large the reasons for this determination, as your own knowledge of our relations with the South and Central American States will sufficiently explain them.
I am, &c.,