Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 148.]

Sir: I have advised you, under date of November 3, of impending troubles between Honduras and Nicaragua. I learn here from reliable source that Salvador has been appealed to by Honduras to intervene against Nicaragua, and that the Honduranean Government is recruiting troops. The Government of Salvador has replied to Honduras by wire, asking that hostilities be suspended until it may communicate by mail.

In this connection, I desire to call your attention to the treaty of peace and arbitration, which was signed in this city on May 23, 1892, by the commissioners from Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and ratified since that time by the Governments of Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Article 11 of that treaty provides that “it is not indispensable for the validity of this treaty that it be ratified completely by all the Republics who sign it. The one who may approve it shall communicate the fact to the Government of Salvador, so that it may be communicated to the other contracting powers. This procedure shall serve in lieu of exchange of ratifications between the parties who may have approved it.”

And, therefore, the fact would be valid in so far as the Republics of Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are concerned, although the latter, while it approved the treaty, never advised Salvador of the fact.

The President of Salvador considers the treaty in force between the three nations, and, in accordance with that view and in the interest of peace, he has communicated by wire with the Governments of Honduras and Nicaragua, asking them to send each a commissioner to La Union of Salvador to meet there a commissioner from this country who will offer the friendly offices of this Government in an effort to submit to arbitration the questions at issue between Honduras and Nicaragua.

To this Honduras has replied that, while the Government appreciates the friendly intervention of Salvador in this matter, it desires to await the reply of the other Central American Governments to its communication, similar in tenor to that sent to Salvador, mention of which was made above.

Nicaragua has replied, thanking the Government of Salvador for its intervention, and advising that a minister would be sent. I am informed also by a private letter from Costa Rica that that Government has offered its friendly offices to Honduras and Nicaragua in the interest of [Page 437] a peaceful settlement of the matters at issue between them. This was done, in all likelihood, in reply to the communication of Honduras to the administration at San Jose, of which I speak in the preceding paragraph.

I beg, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure in No. 148.—Translation.]

Treaty of peace and arbitration of San Salvador.

The Governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador, and Guatemala, represented in the Central American peace congress, through their respective plenipotentiaries, viz: Dr. Don Adolfo Zuñiga for Honduras, General Isidro Urtecho for Nicaragua, Dr. Don Manuel Gallardo for Salvador, and Dr. Cayetano Diaz Merida for Guatemala, wishing to insure the benefits of peace between the Republics of Central America and to strengthen at the same time the sentiments of brotherhood which must serve as basis for the settlement of the disputes which may arise between them, have agreed to enter into a treaty covering these points, and to that end, after having exhibited their respective full powers, and after conferences and discussions on the subject, have agreed upon the following stipulations:

Art. 1. The high contracting parties recognize and guarantee to each other, as a basis of their international public law, the following principles:

Nonintervention in the internal affairs of the respective Republics.
The strictest neutrality in the questions or difficulties which may occur between two or more of the contracting Republics. Notwithstanding this, if any of these Republics shall permit, encourage, or protect the organization of factions within its territory, or shall invade another state, causing a “de facto” rupture, then the neutral Republics shall make common cause and shall constitute themselves into a defensive alliance with the state offended or invaded, until they shall obtain the reestablishment of peace; and
Arbitration as the sole method of settling or solving all questions or difficulties which may arise between the signatory Republics, whatever their cause, nature, or object may be.

Art. 2. For the safeguard and application of these fundamental principles a periodical delegation is established, composed of five plenipotentiaries, one being named by each of the Governments of Central America. This delegation shall be called the “Central American Diet,” and it shall hold its inaugural session on the 1st of January of the year 1893.

The sessions of the Central American Diet shall last ninety days, which may be extended, at the will of said diet, when the affairs of which it must take cognizance or the, public interest demand it; and it may adjourn before the expiration of the term mentioned if it should deem it expedient.

The meetings of the Central American Diet shall take place, in turn each year, in the capitals of the contracting Republics, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

Art. 3. The Central American Diet has the following functions:

To offer its pacific mediation when there is danger of any disagreement between the contracting Republics.
To settle, as arbitrators, questions which may be submitted to it if pacific mediation should not suffice to end the dispute.

Art. 4. The Central American Diet has moreover the following functions:

To draw up all the treaties involving private international law in criminal, civil, commercial, and judicial matters.
To draw up treaties for the Central American customs, monetary, postal, and telegraphic union.

Art. 5. When the signatory Republics wish to submit their disagreements or questions to the arbitration of the Central American Diet, the Republic believing itself menaced or offended shall present to the diet, through its plenipotentiary, a memorandum stating the grounds of complaint. The plenipotentiary of the Republic against which the memorandum shall have been drawn up shall present one of explanations. If in that one there should also be complaints, the plenipotentiary who took the initiative shall reply.

With these documents before them the plenipotentiaries of the Republics not directly interested in the question shall deliberate in regard to the means of conciliation which may appear the most equitable and efficacious, and shall submit them to the consideration of the plenipotentiaries of the differing Republics, in order to try to reach an agreement.

[Page 438]

If such agreement can not he attained, the competent plenipotentiaries shall name arbitrators to complete the diet from among the ministers of the friendly nations, residing in Central America.

The majority of votes shall constitute a decisive award.

Art. 6. If when the Central American Diet is not in session any question should arise between two or more of the contracting Republics, the Governments having no interest in the dispute shall, upon hearing thereof, interpose their friendly offices to bring about a settlement. If this should not be possible, they shall advise the contending parties to submit their disagreements to the arbitral award of the diet or of any friendly nation.

If the Governments concerned should express the desire that the diet settle the pending question or disagreement, the latter shall be called together, without any loss of time, by one or more of the mediating or neutral Governments.

In this case the diet shall proceed in conformity with the provisions of article 5.

Art. 7. If the disagreeing Governments should not wish to submit their disagreements to the arbitration of the Central American Diet, the designation of the arbitrator, the terms of the question, and the rules to be observed until the rendering of the award, shall be the subjects of a special treaty.

Such treaty shall be signed within the term of four months after the grounds of disagreement shall have become known.

Art. 8. Until the contracting Governments shall agree upon special treaties regulating asylum and the recognition of their public documents, it is provided that the removal from the frontier of political refugees, stipulated in the treaties, shall take place without any further proceedings than the demand of the Government of the nation whence they come, to the Government of the nation in which they took refuge.

And it is also stipulated that the verification of the authenticity of public documents issued by any of the contracting Republics shall be sufficient to establish the validity and force of such documents and their effectiveness in securing in any of the Republics the results inherent to their nature as if they had been issued by that Republic itself.

Art. 9. The treaties and conventions entered into heretofore by and between the Republics of Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica in matters relating to peace, friendship, commerce, and extradition, and in any other matters not in conflict with the present stipulations, are considered valid and in force in conformity with the internal constitutional law of these countries.

Art. 10. The present treaty shall be submitted to the Government of Costa Rica for its adhesion.

Art. 11. It is not indispensable to the validity of this treaty that, it be formally ratified by all the Republics who sign it. The one who may approve it shall communicate the fact to the Government of Salvador, so that it may be communicated to the other contracting powers. This procedure shall serve in lieu of exchange of ratifications between the parties who may have approved it.

  • Adolfo Zuñiga,
  • M. Gallardo,
  • Isidro Urtecho,
  • Cayetano Diaz Merida.