Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 686.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith printed copy and translation of the treaty entered into by the executives of the republics of Nicaragua, Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica, at Corinto, on January 20, 1902, relating to obligatory arbitration, etc. I am informed by President Iglesias, who has just arrived here, that the president of Guatemala has also agreed to sign it and that a fifth copy will be sent him for that purpose. If this convention is duly ratified by the legislative branches of the respective Governments, of which I have no doubt, it will tend to the peace of Central America.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.
[Inclosure.—From El Comercio, Managua, Nicaragua, January 30, 1902.—Translation.]

Central American treaty of peace.

The Governments of Nicaragua, Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica, desirous of contributing by all the means in their power to the maintenance of the peace and good harmony that exists and should exist among them, have agreed to celebrate a convention of peace and obligatory arbitration, and to that effect have named as their respective plenipotentiaries:

  • The Government of Nicaragua, his excellency Señor Doctor Don Fernando Sanchez, minister of foreign relations;
  • The Government of Salvador, his excellency Señor Doctor Don Salvador Rodriguez, subsecretary of foreign relations;
  • The Government of Honduras, his excellency Señor Doctor Don Cesar Bonilla, minister of foreign relations;
  • The Government of Costa Rica, his excellency Señor Don Leonidas Pacheco, minister of foreign relations;

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Who, after having presented their credentials and the same being found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following covenant:

  • Article 1. It is declared that the present convention has for object the incorporation in form of public treaty the conclusions to which have arrived their excellencies, the Presidents, General Don J. Santos Zelaya, General Don Tomas Regalado, General Don Terencio Sierra, and Don Rafael Iglesias, in the several conferences that have been held in this port with the sole object of maintaining and assuring, by all possible means, the peace of Central America.
  • Article 2. The contracting Governments establish the principle of obligatory arbitration, in order to adjust every difficulty or question that might present itself between the contracting parties, binding themselves in consequence to submit them to a tribunal of Central American arbitrators.
  • Article 3. Each one of the contracting parties shall name an arbitrator and a substitute to constitute the tribunal. The terms of the arbitrators shall be for one year, counting from their acceptance, and then they may be reelected.
  • Article 4. The arbitrators of those states among whom exists the disagreement shall not form part of the tribunal for the consideration of the concrete case, this remaining entirely with the arbitrator or arbitrators of the remaining states.
  • Article 5. If, through pairing, there should be no decision, the tribunal shall select a third among the substitutes. The third should necessarily adhere to one of the views given out.
  • Article 6. As soon as a difficulty or question presents itself between two or more states, their respective Governments shall advise the remaining signers of the present convention.
  • Article 7. The contracting Governments establish and recognize the right of each one of them to offer without delay, singly or conjointly, their good offices to the Governments of the states that are in disagreement, even without previous acceptation by them, and though they should not have notified them of the difficulty or question pending.
  • Article 8. The friendly offices exhausted without satisfactory result, the government or governments that would have exercised them shall notify the others, declaring at the proper time arbitration proceedings. This declaration shall be communicated with the greatest possible brevity to the member of the tribunal corresponding to the president of same, with the object that within a period not exceeding fifteen days the tribunal that is to know and decide the case comes together. The installation of the tribunal shall be communicated by telegraph to the signing governments, demanding from the contending parties the presentation of their claims within the fifteen days following.
  • Article 9. The tribunal shall give its judgment within five days following the expiration of the term which has been spoken of.
  • Article 10. The difficulties that may arise through questions of pending limits, or through interpretation, or execution of treaties of limits, shall be submitted by the governments interested to the knowledge and decision of a foreign arbitrator of American nationality.
  • Article 11. The Governments of the states in dispute solemnly agree not to execute any hostile act, warlike preparations, or mobilization of forces, with the object of not impeding the arrangement of the difficulty or question through the means established by the present agreement.
  • Article 12. The presidency of the arbitration tribunal shall be held alternately for annual periods by each one of the members, following the alphabetical order of the states represented, the first year corresponding to the Costa Rican arbitrator, the second to that of Salvador, and so on.
  • When, in the event foreseen in article 4, the member filling the presidency of the tribunal shall be prohibited from acting, the temporary presidency for the case in question shall be filled by the arbitrator that may be available according to precedence established in the foregoing paragraph. The tribunal shall be held in the capital of the state to which the arbitrator belongs, who should preside.
  • Article 13. The arbitration tribunal shall dictate all those rational dispositions that it considers necessary to fully carry out the high mission which is conferred upon it by this treaty.
  • Article 14. With the object of preventing those abuses that might be committed in a state by political emigrants from another against the public peace and tranquillity of this, the contracting Governments agree to send to the frontier those emigrants with respect to whom a petition should be made by the Governments interested.
  • Article 15. With the object of harmonizing as much as possible the ideas and tendencies of the Governments of the states signing, in all that relates to the maintenance and strengthening the bonds of Central American friendship and good under [Page 883] standing among them, while for such ends there are not established permanent legations among the contracting States, the nomination of consuls-general is recommended from each one in the other States, who shall have at the same time the character of confidential agents from their respective Governments.
  • Article 16. The present convention shall be submitted to the ratification of the respective congresses as soon as possible and once ratified by them all will enter into force thirty days after without the need of exchange.
  • Article 17. For the installation of the arbitration tribunal established by this agreement, the 15th of September of the current year, anniversary of the independence of Central America, is named.
  • Article 18. In the desire that the present convention may unite all the States of the Central American family, the signing Governments shall invite, jointly or separately, the Government of the Republic of Guatemala to adhere to its stipulations if it shall be possible.

In witness whereof we sign four copies of the same tenor in the port of Corinto, Republic of Nicaragua, the 20th day of January, 1902.

Fernando Sanchez.

Salvador Rodriguez.

Cesar Bonilla.

Leonidas Pacheco.

The present treaty being drawn up in accordance with instructions to that effect, the president of the Republic resolves to give it his approval.


Sanchez, Minister of Foreign Relations.