No. 84.
Mr. Titus to Mr. Blaine.

No. 2.]

Sir: The last coast mail brought a note from the minister of foreign relations of Costa Rica in answer to the one sent him, according to your instructions, by Mr. Logan, concerning the proposed arbitration between Costa Rica and Colombia. I inclose a copy of the note clipped from the official journal of Costa Rica, and a translation of the same.

As being calculated to throw some light on the views of the Costa Ricans on this subject, I also inclose a translation of an article from the Mensajero, a journal of San José, sent to the legation with the Gaceta Oficial, commenting upon the notes.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 2.—Translation.]

Mr. Castro to Mr. Logan.

Sir: I have received the note, dated June 23, ultimo, which your honor was pleased to remit me, because of having seen in a periodical of Central America the reproduction of the treaty celebrated the 25th of December last, between Costa Rica and Colombia, and by which the high contracting parties submit to arbitration the question of boundaries pending between the two mentioned countries.

Your honor addresses me in an unofficial manner, on account of not having any official notice that the said treaty was ratified by the Government of Costa Rica, and that it had been sent to Colombia to receive like authorization; and that you must believe—these are the exact words of your note [Mr. Logan said, “I am led to believe,” which the translator has rendered “debosuponer”]—that it is not yet “definitely approved,” because the government of your honor has received no notification of the fact.

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Being aware, nevertheless, of the impression produced on the mind of your government by the information you have furnished it, your honor enters, in the note to which I am replying, into considerations of a grave character concerning the form in which the treaty was celebrated, and its possible consequences, arriving at the extreme of assuring me that “the United States of America will not consider themselves as obliged, where their rights, duties, and interests are concerned, by the decision of any arbitrator in whose nomination they have not been consulted, and in whose election they have not taken part,” and your honor invokes for the justification of such a surprising assertion the existence of a treaty in which, as you assure me, the United States of America and the United States of Colombia were bound in the year 1846.

Your honor accompanies your observations with expressive protestations of the friendship which happily unites our governments, reminds me of the cordiality of your personal sentiments towards myself, and terminates, asserting that you proceed with the knowledge but without instructions from the Government of the United States of America, in the communication which you make me.

Permit me to observe that the celebration of the treaty of 1846, to which your honor’s note refers, was not notified to the Government of Costa Rica, neither before nor after the said treaty received “the final ratification;” but with regard to the apreciaciones (untranslatable) which spring from that antecedent, and to the reply made necessary to the various points touched upon by your honor, I am obliged to delay them until the instructions being received, which I have no doubt the Cabinet of Washington will transmit you concerning this interesting affair, the words of your honor may have official signification, the only one with which I am permitted to submit them to the examination of his excellency designated for the exercise of the executive power, that he may instruct me concerning the answer which they merit.

With regard to the instructions which your honor will receive, I am flattered by the hope that they will be inspired by that noble spirit of respect for the liberty, sovereignty, and independence of other peoples, and to the immovable principles of justice, which keep the government of your honor so highly recommended to the estimation of the enlightened world, and to the favorable judgment of history.

I conclude, renewing to your honor the assurances of my esteem, and of my very distinguished consideration.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 2.—Extract from El Mensajoro, August 4, 1881.—Translation.]

two diplomatic dispatches.

The Diario Oficial, No. 1030, publishes a dispatch from the legation of the United States of America, directed on the 23d of June last to the honorable minister of foreign relations of our government, and the respective answer dated the 28th of July ultimo, concerning the legality and efficaciousness of the convention celebrated between Costa Rica and Colombia, for the settlement by arbitrators of the question of boundaries pending.

The pretensions revealed in the dispatch of the honorable minister of the United States of intervention in the arrangement of boundaries between the said nations, manifested by rumors more or less consistent, and by some New York periodicals of recognized political importance, have now come, from being mere rumors of opinions and conjectures, to be affirmations of a diplomatic representative of the Government of the United States of America.

The honorable minister, Mr. C. A. Logan, after manifesting his surprise at his government’s not having had any official knowledge of the convention between Costa Rica and Colombia, which furnishes the motive for his dispatch, and making the most cordial protestations of delicacy and friendship, establishes that by article 35 of the treaty of 1846, between the United States and Colombia, that government has a direct interest in the question of boundaries submitted to arbitration; that this treaty likewise gives it the right to know how, and to what point, the Colombian territory is to be modified; that the preponderance of the United States in any interoceanic road across the Isthmus gives it interest, based on a treaty, in any arrangement of the littoral possessions of countries situated in the vicinity of any projected canal; and this being considered, the Government of Washington is surprised that such decision of arbitration should not have been officially communicated to it. And from all this argumentation, he concludes that the said government will not consider itself bound, as concerns its rights and interests, by the decision of any arbitrator for whose nomination it has not been consulted, and in whose election it has not taken part.

The honorable minister of foreign relations of our government, Dr. José Maria Castro, in the substantial part of his answer expresses himself thus: [See inclosure 1.]

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This precise and adequate answer will reveal to the Hon. Mr. Logan and his government the disposition and attitude of the Costa Rican chancellory to treat the question which gives rise to the diplomatic correspondence of which we write.

Grave and most transcendental certainly is the question, advanced by the Cabinet at Washington, concerning the arrangement of the boundaries between Costa Rica and Colombia, and the interpretation of the treaty of 1846, between the United States of America and Colombia, so much the more, in our opinion, because the principle of intervention, a principle of international policy admitted in exceptional cases, and with prudent reserve will come to be sanctioned by the pretensions of the United States in an application as arbitrary in its foundation, as perilous in its consequences, seeing that such pretensions obey no other motives nor recognize other object than the exclusive interests, industrial and maritime, of the United States.

All that is definitely expressed and revealed by the dispatch of the honorable minister, Mr. Logan, is, without doubt, material for a serious and conscientious discussion; but at the same time it demands a very attentive and reflective examination. So we shall limit ourselves for the present to a few observations which rebut, under a general point of view, the dispatch of the American legation in Guatemala.

The treaty of 1846, invoked by the Hon. Mr. Logan, whatever might be the interpretation and efficaciousness given it, can only obligate the contracting parties, and it would be entirely absurd to derive from it obligations relative to Costa Rica, or any consequence whatever that would affect the fundamental rights of sovereignty, independence, and jurisdiction of this republic.

The more that the guarantee of the Government of the United States respecting the neutrality of the Isthmus of Panama and the integrity of the territory of Colombia, conventionally established, would limit the transient (transeunte) sovereignty of this last nation; said guarantee could not in any manner determine an intervention which would attack the rights of a third which would be beyond the means proportionate to the end for which the guarantee is intended and not authorized by international right. (Bluntschli, Droit international codifie.)

On the contrary, the United States could sustain the integrity of the Colombian territory not in the real and lawful conditions of the latter, but in virtue of the most extreme pretensions of Colombia, extended on one side to Cape Gracias á Dios and on the other to the furthest points of the frontiers with Venezuela and Brazil, deducing from the litigious character of those same frontiers since long before the celebration of the treaty of 1846 referred to.

The interest alleged by the Hon. Mr. Logan, in favor of the United States emanating from the preponderance of that nation in regard to the construction of any interoceanic canal across America, great and legitimate as that interest might be, could never serve as a criterion in a matter of international right, and for results that would affect the rights and licit conveniences of other nations, also interested in undertakings of the nature treated of, and in the free development, sure and prosperous of their commerce and their industry.

Regarding the consideration that the United States neither pretend nor desire that they should be considered the indispensable and sole arbitrator in questions between the republics of South and Central America, we say that, without doubting the sincerity of this declaration, the moral incompetence of the government of the American Union, by reason of the interest which it so emphatically alleges having in any arrangement of the littoral possessions of the countries in the vicinity of any way of communication in this case inhibits that government from the exercise of the impartial functions of judge, as has been opportunely brought to its notice by, among other periodicals, the Courrier des Etats Unis and the Sun of New York.

In conclusion we can do no less than declare with profound emotion, that we would suffer a martyrizing undeception (desengaño), if the Government of the United States representing a great people, ruled by exemplary democratic institution, should adopt with the other sister nations of America, before the world, which looks on with lively interest, a policy, troublesome, radically egotistical, that would sacrifice the sacred principles of justice to the spirit of mercantilism overpowering and dangerously developed; if it should not be inspired with profound respect for the autonomy and independence of other nations; and we would suffer this undeception, which we dare to qualify as melancholy, because we are fervent republicans, and admirers of the great republic of America, and because without destroying the most founded and flattering hopes of the complete triumph of republican institutions in America and Europe, we cannot attribute to that powerful and free nation which inspires us with such hopes any other policy than the truly human, according to the expression of Mr. Pradier Foderée the universal policy of all epochs and all places, which is the sovereign science of obtaining the good by means of justice and liberty.

L. R.