No. 80.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard.

No. 620.]

Sir: I had the honor to report to you in any dispatch No. 600, of the 24th of December last past, that the Governments of Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica had accepted the invitation of the Government of Guatemala to send their delegates to a Central American Congress, which, it was proposed, should meet in this city on the 20th of January of the present year, with the view of uniting in a general treaty, acceptable to all, which would assure the peace, mutual friendship, and harmony of the Central American States.

The delegates met in this city on the appointed day, and on the 16th instant concluded and signed a general treaty of peace, friendship, alliance, and commerce containing many important provisions. I have the honor to inclose a copy and translation, which I have no doubt will be found of interest.

The principle of arbitration for the settlement of all disputes is adopted. The treaty contains stipulations in regard to non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, reciprocal free trade in their own products and manufactures and reciprocal freedom of navigation in their rivers, lakes, bays, and seas, and postal and telegraphic union.

A commission of two delegates from each state will meet in Guatemala two months after the exchange of ratifications for the purpose of formulating projects for the assimilation of their laws relating to coinage, weights and measures, and their civil, commercial, and penal codes.

It is stipulated also that there shall be a general congress of all the states every two years for the discussion of matters of mutual interest. [Page 101] They agree also to use their influence in promoting the political union of the states, and the congress, which it is proposed shall meet on the 15th of September, 1890, will be empowered to take preliminary steps for that object.

I have, etc.,

Henry C. Hall.
[Inclosure in No. 620.—Translation.]

Treaty of peace and friendship between the five Republics of Central America, signed in Guatemala the 16th of February 1887.

The Governments of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Salvador desiring to draw closer and to strengthen the ties of fraternity and the friendly relations fortunately existing between these Republics; desiring also to secure their internal tranquillity and exterior peace and to promote the most ample development of their elements of prosperity; desiring also to establish appropriate bases for the near advent of the longed-for political union of Central America, have decided to enter into a general treaty, that may tend to the realization of such important objects; to this effect they have appointed as their plenipotentiaries—

The Government of Nicaragua, his excellency the licentiate Don Modesto Barrios, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the Government of Guatemala; the Government of Costa Rica, his excellency Señor Don Ascension Esquivel, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary near the Government of Guatemala; the Government of Guatemala, his excellency Señor Dr. Don Fernando Cruz, minister for foreign relations; the Government of Honduras, his excellency the licentiate Señor Don Jeronimo Zelaya; and the Government of Salvador, his excellency Sefipr Don Rafael Reyes, respectively, the envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary of Honduras and Salvador near the Government of Guatemala, who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found to be in due form, have agreed to the following articles:

Article 1.

There shall be lasting peace and sincere and loyal friendship between the Republics of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Salvador.

If, unfortunately, any difficulty between two or more of the said Republics should occur, they shall endeavor to terminate it between themselves in an amicable and friendly way; but if that settlement should not be attained, they shall adopt, positively and inevasibly, the medium of arbitration for the termination of the disagreement.

In order that the selection of an arbitrator may never be an obstacle to the fulfillment of this stipulation, it is agreed that if in four months after the publication by one of the contending Governments, in its official newspaper, of the note in which it demands of the other or others the election of such arbitrator, they should not have come to an agreement for the designation of a government or person to undertake the duties thereof, three shall be drawn from among the Governments of the following nations:* Germany, the Argentine Republic, Belgium, Chili, Spain, United States of America, France, Great Britain, and Switzerland. The first drawn shall be the arbitrator; if ho declines, the second shall be taken, and if the second should also decline, then the third of those that have been drawn shall be the arbitrator.

The drawing shall be made in the presence of the representatives of the parties in contention by the delegates of the other Central American Governments whom either of the disputants may require for that purpose.

Article 2.

In case of a disagreement between two or more of the contracting Republics that may endanger the continuance of their good relations, it is the duty of the Governments which have no direct part in the dispute to interpose their good offices, jointly or separately, between the disputants, to induce them, if possible, to enter into a friendly arrangement, to the end that the principle of obligatory arbitrament be respected by all the parties to this convention.

[Page 102]

But if a rupture in fact should occur between two or more of the contracting Republics, the others, without omitting their good offices for an immediate cessation of commenced hostilities, agree to observe the strictest neutrality.

Article 3.

The contracting Governments, wishing to avoid motives for suspicion or mutual distrust, and recognizing the necessity that each one should abstain absolutely from all interference, direct or indirect, in the internal affairs of the other Republics, oblige themselves in the most solemn manner to respect the principle of non-intervention.

Article 4.

Should there be any disagreement between any of the contracting Republics and a foreign nation, the other parties to this contract, when informed thereof, shall interpose conjointly their good offices between the disputants, with the object of obtaining a friendly and peaceful settlement of the difficulty, and if such settlement should not be possible, it is agreed that the cause of the disagreement shall be submitted to arbitration.

If by these means of peace and conciliation it should not be possible to obtain a friendly termination of the dispute, and it should not be the Central American Republic which rejects such means, it is agreed that all the contracting Republics shall make common cause and shall be allied for the defense of the Central American territory.

Article 5.

Each one of the contracting Republics obligates itself to respect the independence of the others, and to prevent, by all the means in its power, the collection or preparation of war material, the enlistment of men, the collection of arms, or arming vessels to operate hostilely against any of the others, and political refugees from abusing their asylum, by plotting or conspiring against the established order in such Republic or against its Government.

In case such refugees or political malcontents should give just motives for distrust to one of the parties or that such party should ask for their detention, they shall be removed from the frontier or coast a sufficient distance to dispel all anxiety and to prevent their continuing to be a cause of apprehension.

That the Governments may be duly informed upon this point, it is also stipulated that whenever there shall be any suspicious emigration from one of the Republics to any of the others, or information received in regard to the plottings or conspiracies of malcontents against any of the contracting Governments, the party interested shall give official notice to the others so that it may adopt opportune measures in due season.

Article 6.

As the contracting Republics must consider themselves as disintegrated members of one sole political body, and in no one case as nations foreign to each other, it is established that the natives of any one of them shall enjoy all the political rights that pertain to the natives of the Republic in which he resides. But in order that he may be considered as a native, and be subject to the duties and contributions to which natives are subject, it is essential that expressly, by a declaration in writing made before a competent local authority, or tacitly by the acceptance of an office of public duties, he shall manifest his wish to be considered as a native. It is understood, notwithstanding, that the Central American who accepts the concessions granted by this article does not by such acceptance of citizenship in one of the Republics lose his nationality in that of which he is a native.

In order that this stipulation may be effective in all Central America, the Governments which require it agree to amend their respective constitutions in the sense that the natives of the other Republics of Central America, without other requisites than their express or tacit consent, shall enjoy all political rights without any limitation.

In regard to civil rights, all Central Americans are on an equal footing. This assimilation shall be absolute, unreserved, and without any difference whatsoever.

Article 7.

The term of one year of continuous residence is the limited time to be required of the natives of Spanish American States for obtaining naturalization in Central [Page 103] America; and three years are designated as the maximum of residence to be required for the same object of other foreigners. In this sense the Governments that require it agree to amend their respective constitutions.

Article 8.

The citizens of one Republic residing or domiciled in any of the others shall be exempt from obligatory military service of every kind, land or marine, and from forced loans, exactions, and military requirements. They shall not be compelled, under any pretext, to pay higher contributions or ordinary and extraordinary taxes than those paid by natives.

Article 9.

The diplomatic agents of one Republic in any of the others may morally aid with their good offices the rights of their compatriots in matters that are carried before the authority; but claims to establish diplomatic action shall be admitted and made use of only after all the recourses of legal process which by the laws of the country are granted to natives shall have been exhausted, there shall have been a denial or a culpable retardation of justice or notorious injustice in the resolution.

Article 10.

As regards the damages and injuries that the native of one of the Republics may receive in the territory of any of the others, the Government of the latter shall not be responsible except when caused by the Government itself or by the authorities of the country. In such case the injured party shall be heard by the authorities, and justice obtained through them, under the same laws to which the natives are subject, so that in no case shall the citizens of one of the contracting parties be placed on a better footing than the citizens of the others.

Article 11.

The natives of one of the contracting Republics may exercise in any of the others, in conformity with the local laws, their professions and trades without other requirements than the presentation of the titles therefor, properly authenticated, their identification of person, if required, and the credential of the executive power. They shall also have the right to matriculate in the university, faculty, or respective college their academic courses upon such authentications and identifications.

Article 12.

The commerce, by land or by water, between the contracting Republics, in products natural to the soil or manufactured in their territory, shall be absolutely free and exempt from duties of importation or exportation, whether customs or municipal. This stipulation shall commence to have effect on the 15th day of September, 1890. Neither shall any duty, fiscal or municipal, be collected in any of the contracting Republics nor at any place in Central America upon the products, natural or manufactured, passing in transit from one to another of said Republics.

The exemptions of this article are not to be extended to products which are not now, and may not be hereafter, of free trade in the Republic to which they are destined, from which exported, or through whose territory they may pass in transit.

To avoid the frauds that might be committed under this concession it is agreed that the products referred to, of free trade, upon being imported into the territory or dominions of one of the Republics, or in passing through them in transit, shall be accompanied by a safe conduct issued by the competent authorities of the Republic from whence they proceed, in which shall be certified their origin and that such products are exported from one of the contracting Republics to another, and the corresponding landing certificate, signed by the competent authority (of the place of destination), shall be presented within two months. The presentation of this landing certificate shall not be necessary if the said articles should be of free exportation, whatever may be the place to which they may be destined.

To guaranty more efficiently the reciprocal commerce between the contracting Republics, it is agreed that in no case, save in that of a formal declaration of war, shall one Government close the commercial relations of its country with another or others of the sections of Central America.

Article 13.

The navigation of the rivers, lakes, lagoons, gulfs, bays, and seas of either of the contracting Republics shall be free to all Central Americans upon the same terms and with the same limitations accorded to the natives.

[Page 104]

Article 14.

The merchant vessels of any of the contracting parties shall be considered in the rivers, lakes, seas, coasts, or ports of the other as national vessels; they shall have the same exemptions, franchises, and concessions of the latter, and shall pay no other duties nor support other burdens than are paid by or are imposed upon the vessels of the country.

Article 15.

Correspondence is permitted between the judicial authorities of the contracting Republics in whatever relates to requisitory warrants in civil, commercial, or criminal matters, judicial summons, interrogatories, reception of declarations, reports of experts, and other acts of legal procedure.

The requisitions shall be addressed through the diplomatic channel and the authority called upon is bound to give them due course in conformity with the local laws.

Article 16.

The sentences in civil and commercial matters, arising from personal action, duly legalized and emanating from the tribunals of one of the contracting parties, shall have, upon the requisition of the same tribunals, in the territory of the other parties, the same force as those that emanate from the local tribunals and shall be executed by them in the same manner.

In order that these sentences may be carried out, they must be previously declared to be executory by the superior tribunals of the Republic in which their execution is to take place, and this tribunal shall not so declare them to be without establishing by a previous summary process—

That the sentence has been pronounced by a competent judicial authority and with legal citation of the parties.
That the parties have been legally represented or legally declared to be contumacious.
That the sentence contains nothing that is contrary to public order or the public rights of the state.

Article 17.

Public instruments of every kind, granted in either of the contracting Republics, even previous to the conclusion of the present treaty, shall have in the others the same force and validity as those that emanate from the local authority or that have been granted by the local notaries or registers, conditional with their being draughted in accordance with the laws of the Republic from whence they proceed.

Article 18.

The contracting Governments agree to receive, reciprocally, in their respective territories the diplomatic agents that they may have occasion to accredit, and to protect and treat them according to generally accepted international rules and practices.

Article 19.

Diplomatic and consular officers of either of the contracting Republics in the foreign cities, places, and ports, where at the time there may not be a diplomatic or consular agent of another of the said Republics, shall afford the persons, vessels, and other interests of the citizens of the latter the same protection that they give to the persons, vessels, and interests of their compatriots, without requiring of them for the official dispatch of their business other or higher dues and emoluments than those that they are accustomed to require of their own citizens.

The acts of authentication and notarial, extended in a foreign country by a diplomatic or consular officer of either of the contracting Republics, in accordance with the laws of his country and treating of his own compatriots, shall be valid and shall have full faith in either of the other Republics. Acts of the same nature, extended in favor of or treating of the natives of another of the Republics shall be valid and shall receive faith in the latter, provided that the laws of the nation, in which the acts are to be executed, shall have been observed and that the latter had not, at the time of granting such documents, any diplomatic or cousular representation at the place of the residence of the consul or diplomatic agent, and after the formalities of stamping, recording, and others required in the country wherein they are to be put into execution.

[Page 105]

The appointments of diplomatic agents and of consuls made by each of the Governments and the signatures of such functionaries shall he communicated to the other Governments.

Article 20.

The natives of either of the contracting Republics shall enjoy in the others the rights of literary, artistic, and industrial property upon the same terms and subject to the same requisites as are enjoyed by their citizens.

Article 21.

The contracting Republics obligate themselves to maintain for their mutual mail service the same basis adopted by them as parties to the Universal Postal Union, with the sole exception that printed matter of whatever kind published in either of the Republics shall circulate free of postage in every part of the Central American terriritory.

Article 22.

It is agreed between the five Governments that the transmission of a telegram from one to another of the Republics shall pay no higher rate than those designated for the cheapest telegraphic communication between any two places in the territory of the Republic from whence the telegram proceeds, and that neither in the intermediate nor transit offices nor in that of reception shall any fee be received or extra charge made.

So long as Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica have no telegraphic cable station on the Pacific coast, the land lines of Salvador and Nicaragua shall continue to transmit, respectively, the cablegrams received at La Libertad and San Juan del Sur from and to Guatemala and Honduras and from and to Costa Rica. The telegrams in which cable dispatches are transmitted shall pay no higher rates than those of telegraph land communications.

The telegraphic conventions and those relating to cable dispatches, between the contracting parties are modified in whatever they are in conflict with the present stipulations.

Article 23.

There shall be a complete and regular exchange of official publications between the five Governments. There shall also be an exchange of the unofficial publications in their respective territories; to this effect every editor and every owner of a printing-press shall be required to deposit in the respective department for foreign affairs, immediately after the publication thereof, eight copies, of which two copies shall be sent to each one of the other Central American Governments. In order that they may be duly preserved, for convenient reference, each Government shall deposit one copy of each publication in the public library it may select.

Article 24.

The Governments of the contracting Republics, in the cases wherein capital punishment may still be legally applied for common or political offenses, obligate themselves to procure, in the shortest period possible, the abrogation of the laws that prescribe it, to the end that respect for human life may become an established principle of Central American law.

Article 25.

A commission of two individuals of each contracting party shall meet in the city of Guatemala, two months after the exchange of ratifications, with the object of formulating projects for the unification of the laws of all the. Republics concerning moneys, weights, and measures, professional studies, diplomatic and consular regulations, as also the civil, penal, and commercial codes. As soon as the said commission shall terminate either of the projects, it shall be transmitted to all the Governments for presentation to their respective congresses at their first sessions.

Article 26.

In order that the affairs of common interest to all of the contracting Republics may be discussed periodically and expedient measures adopted, there shall be a congress of the plenipotentiaries of all of them every two years. The congress shall employ itself [Page 106] in the formation of such new treaties as experience may have suggested as necessary or useful for the development of the great Central American interests; in reforming those that in practice may have proved to be prejudicial or dangerous, and in discussing the affairs of general interest that either of the plenipotentiaries may submit for consideration.

The meetings of the congress shall take place by turn in all of the Republics in the following order: Costa Rica, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala; and the first meeting shall take place on the 15th of September, 1888.

Article 27.

The contracting Governments agree to labor for the political union of Central America, in the sense of making it practicable, always by pacific means and upon solid bases that will conciliate reciprocal interests and be acceptable to public opinion. With this object the plenipotentiaries to the congress that will meet on the 15th of September, 1890, shall carry instructions and powers (should the obstacles which now prevent such union and the required elements therefor be removed) to enter into an appropriate compact in the form most suited to the general interests. To attain this object, the Governments will come to an understanding as to the most adequate means for carrying it out.

Article 28.

The contracting Governments desiring to proceed in accord in whatsoever affects the general interest of Central America will take steps to assimilate their foreign policy and to have a common representation near other nations. They will endeavor also to come to an understanding as to the bases for ulterior treaties with other nations, concessions to steamship companies, railroads, etc.

Article 29.

The five Governments agree to continue observing a policy in conformity with the democratic principles established in their several constitutions, and especially to carry out, in whatever depends upon themselves, the principle of alternation in the exercise of power.

Article 30.

The present treaty shall be perpetual and always binding in all that relates to peace, friendship, alliance, and arbitration; upon all other points relating to commerce, navigation, and other subjects it shall remain in force and vigor for the term of fifteen years, dating from the exchange of ratifications. Notwithstanding, if one year previous to the expiration of that term none of the parties shall have given official notice of an intention to terminate the same, it shall continue in force until one year after such notice shall have been given. Even should the notice referred to be made by one or more Governments the treaty shall not thereby be terminated for all, and shall continue to be binding upon the contracting parties that may not have manifested their intention to terminate it.

If, unfortunately, hostilities should break out between two or more of the contracting Republics, the present treaty shall subsist without alteration with the others. It shall be binding between the contending parties in whatever may not be incompatible with a state of war. Peace being made, the treaty shall revive without the necessity of an especial declaration to that effect.

Article 31.

This treaty shall be subject to the requisite ratifications, and these shall be exchanged in the city of Guatemala within the term of two months after the last ratification shall have been made. To this effect each Government shall notify the others of the ratification on its part as soon as it shall have taken place. The non-ratification of this treaty by one or more of the contracting Republics shall not release those which may have already ratified it, and among these it shall be bidding and valid.

If either of the Republics should reject one or more only of the articles of this treaty, the other articles which it may have approved shall be binding in case that, after having communicated it to the others, these by common accord should consider the rejected articles as not indispensable for the conservation of the whole treaty. It is understood that they, as between themselves, remain bound to the observance of all the stipulations.

[Page 107]

Article 32.

In virtue of this treaty those of peace, friendship, and commerce existing between the parties remain without effect.

In faith whereof the plenipotentaries have signed five originals and have thereunto affixed their respective seals.

  • Modesto Barrios.
  • Ascension Esquivel.
  • Fernando Cruz.
  • Jeronimo Zelaya.
  • Rafael Reyes.
  1. These countries are named in alphabetical order in the original.