No. 27.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Frelinghuysen .

No. 139.]

Sir: In my dispatch No. 136, of the 6th instant, reference is made to a recent attempt to settle the long pending disputes between Nicaragua and Costa Rica relative to their dividing boundary line; that the latter had sent a special envoy to Nicaragua for that purpose, and that the treaty made by him had been rejected by his Government.

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The following appear to be the bases of this dispute:

Nicaragua claims the main channel of the San Juan River from its mouth to Castillo Viejo to be the boundary line, and as that river during the past twenty-five years has appropriated to itself one of its outlets, the Colorado passing throught Costa Rican territory, which has become the main channel to the Atlantic, her Government here assumes that this should be a part of her boundary line, and these conditions appear to have been agreed to by the Costa Rican envoy in the negotiations referred to.

I have no means of ascertaining what may be the present pretensions of Costa Rica, although I have reason to believe that they do not differ materially from those reported by Mr. Riotte, formerly minister of the United States to Nicaragua, in his dispatch No. 110, of the 9th of May, 1872, substantially as follows: “That the interoceanic canal, in case of its realization, should in its entire extent, form the true boundary between the two Republics from ocean to ocean, provided that it shall not deviate more than six geographical miles from the boundary line proposed by Nicaragua in a certain memorandum (not published), and [Page 62] that in any contract for an interoceanic canal Costa Ricans shall have the same advantages which might be secured for Nicaraguans.”

The foregoing accords with a casual remark made by Dr. Castro, then the minister of foreign affairs of Costa Rica, in November last, and it is quite probable that the same pretensions are still held by that Government.

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I have, &c.,