No. 378.
Mr. Curry to Mr. Bayard.

No. 26.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose the original and translation of the papal decision of the question between Germany and Spain in regard to the sovereignty of the Caroline Islands.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 26.—Translation.]

Proposition made by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, as mediator in the question of the Caroline and Pelew Islands pending between Germany and Spain.

The discovery made by Spain in the sixteenth century of the Caroline and Pelew Islands, which form part of the archipelago, and a series of acts accomplished at different periods by the Spanish Government in those same islands for the good of the the natives, have, in the conviction of that Government and of that nation, created a title to the sovereignty founded on the maxims of international law invoked and followed at that period in the case of analogous disputes. In fact, when one examines the history of the above-mentioned acts, the authority of which is confirmed by divers documents in the archives of the Propaganda, one cannot fail to recognize the beneficial work of Spain towards those islanders. It is also to he remarked that no other Government has ever exercised a similar action over them. This explains the constant tradition, which must be taken into account, and the conviction of the Spanish people relative to that sovereignty—tradition and conviction which two months ago were manifested with such an ardor and animosity, capable for a moment of compromising the internal peace and relations of two friendly Governments.

On the other hand, Germany and England in 1875 expressly informed the Spanish Government that they would not recognize the sovereignty of Spain over the said islands. On the contrary, the Imperial Government thought it is the effective occupation of a territory which creates the sovereignty, occupation which was never carried into effect on the part of Spain in the Caroline Islands. It was in conformity with this principle that it acted in the Island of Yap, and in that, as on its part the Spanish Government has also done, the mediator is pleased to recognize the complete loyalty of the Imperial Government.

[Page 777]

Consequently, and in order that this divergence of views between the two Governments be not an obstacle to an honorable arrangement, the mediator, after having well considered the whole question, proposes that in the new convention to be stipulated they shall observe the forms of the protocol relative to the Sooloo Archipelago signed at Madrid on the 7th of March last between the representatives of Great Britain, Germany, and Spain, and that the following points be adopted:

To confirm the sovereignty of Spain over the Caroline and Pelew Islands.
The Spanish Government to render her sovereignty effective engages to establish as quickly as possible in that archipelago a regular administration with sufficient force to guarantee order and the rights acquired.
Spain offers to Germany full and entire liberty of commerce and navigation, and of fishing at the same islands, as also the right of establishing a naval station and a coal depot.
The liberty of making plantations in those islands, and of founding agricultural establishments on the same footing as Spanish subjects, to be also guaranteed to Germany.



The undersigned, his excellency the Marquis de Molins, Ambassador of His Catholic Majesty near the Holy See and his excellency M. de Schloezer, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Prussia near the Holy See, being duly authorized to conclude the negotiations which the Governments of Spain and Germany, under the accepted mediation of His Holiness the Pope, have pursued in Madrid and Berlin relatively to the rights which each of said Governments may have acquired to the possession of the Caroline and Pelew Islands, considering the propositions made by His Holiness as a basis for a mutual understanding, have agreed upon the following articles in accordance with the propositions of the august mediator.

Article I.

The German Government recognizes the priority of the Spanish occupation of the Caroline and Pelew Islands and the sovereignty of His Catholic Majesty as specified, and the limits of which are indicated in article 2.

Article 2.

These limits are formed by the equator and by the eleventh degree of north latitude and the one hundred and thirty-third and the one hundred and sixty-fourth degrees east longitude (Greenwich).

Article 3.

The Spanish Government, to guarantee to German subjects fall and entire liberty of commerce, navigation, and fishing in the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes, undertakes to carry out in the said archipelagoes stipulations analogous to those contained in Articles I, II, and III, of the protocol regarding the Sooloo Archipelago, signed at Madrid on the 11th of March, 1875, and reproduced in the protocol of the 7th of March, 1885, as follows:

—“The commerce and traffic of German ships and subjects with the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes and in all parts thereof, as also the rights of fishing, shall, without prejudice to the rights of Spain, as recognized by the present protocol, be absolutely free in conformity with the following declarations:
—“The Spanish authorities cannot in the future require that the ships and subjects of Germany, which repair freely to the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes or from one point to another of them without distinction, or from thence to any other part of the world, shall touch, either before or afterwards, at any determined points in these archipelagoes or elsewhere, or that they shall pay dues of any kind, or be required to obtain permission from the authorities, who on their part shall abstain from any intervention, or in placing any impediment in the way of the said traffic. It is at the same time understood that the Spanish authorities shall in no way, nor under any pretext, impede the tree importation and exportation of whatever kind of merchandise without exception, except at the points occupied in conformity with Declaration III; and likewise that at all the points not effectively occupied by Spain neither the ships nor the subjects aforesaid, nor their merchandise, shall be subjected to any imports or duties or payments of any kind, nor to any sanitary regulations or other.
—“At all points occupied by Spain in the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes the Spanish Government can establish duties and sanitary and other regulations during the effective occupation of the points indicated.”

But on her side Spain undertakes to maintain the establishments and officials necessary for the requirements of commerce and the observance of the said regulations. It is nevertheless expressly understood, and the Spanish Government, being resolved not to improve restrictive regulations at the points occupied, voluntarily undertakes not to introduce at those points imposts or duties of a higher rate than those fixed by the Spanish tariffs or by the treaties or conventions between Spain and all other powers. Neither will she put in force exceptional regulations applicable to German, commerce and subjects, who shall in all respects enjoy the same treatment as Spanish do.

In order to anticipate any claims or complaints which may result through commercial uncertainty with respect to the points occupied and subjected to the regulations and tariffs, the Spanish Government will in each case of the effective occupation of a point in the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes make communication thereof to the German Government and at the same time inform commerce by means of a public notification in the official journals of Madrid and Manila. As regards the tariffs and regulations to be applied at the points which are or shall be occupied by Spain, it is stipulated that they shall not be enforced or levied until after a delay of eight months from the date of the publication in the official journal of Madrid.

It is understood that no German ship or subject shall be obliged to touch at one of the points occupied either on going to or returning from a point not occupied by Spain, and that no penalty can be inflcted on German subjects for this reason, nor for any kind of merchandise destined for a point not occupied in the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes.

Article 4.

German subjects shall have full liberty to purchase and make plantations in the Caroline and Pelew Archipelagoes, to found agricultural establishments, to exercise all kinds of commerce, and to make contracts with the inhabitants and utilize the land (d’exploiter le sol) under the same conditions as Spanish subjects. All their acquired rights shall be safeguarded. German companies which enjoy recognized rights in their own country, and especially anonymous companies (compagnies anonymes), shall be treated on the same footing as the aforesaid subjects.

German subjects shall enjoy for the protection of their persons and their goods the acquisition and transmission of their properties, and for the exercise of their professions, the same treatment and the same rights as Spanish subjects.

Article 5.

The German Government shall have the right of establishing in one of the Caroline or Pelew Islands a naval station and a coal depot for the Imperial navy. The two Governments will determine by common consent the place and conditions of that establishment.

Article 6.

If the Governments of Spain and Germany have not refused their adhesion to this present protocol within a period of eight days from this date, or if by the intermission of their respective representatives they notify their adhesion within that period, the present declarations shall immediately enter into force.

  • Marquis De MOLINS.