Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 6, 1904
Mr. Newel to Mr. Hay.
The Hague, February 26, 1904.
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I have the honor to state that duplicate copies of the verdict in English text were sent to the Department on the 23d instant and that herewith I inclose two more copies of the sentence.a * * *
In addition to the official representatives of the powers interested in this litigation there was a large assembly, consisting of members of the diplomatic corps, the minister of foreign affairs, and the Netherlands members of the court of arbitration. Immediately upon the opening of the sitting the president called upon the secretary-general to read the sentence, which was done first in English and then in French, upon which the president read his closing remarks, which were heard in profound silence.
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I have etc.,
Award of the Tribunal of Arbitration constituted in virtue of the Protocols signed at Washington on May 7th, 1903, between Germany, Great Britain, and Italy, on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other hand.
The Tribunal of Arbitration, constituted in virtue of the Protocols signed at Washington on May 7th, 1903, between Germany, Great Britain, and Italy on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other hand;
Whereas other Protocols were signed to the same effect by Belgium, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway, and the United States of America on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other hand;
Whereas all these Protocols declare the agreement of all the Contracting Parties with reference to the settlement of the claims against the Venezuelan Government;
Whereas certain further questions, arising out of the action of the Governments of Germany, Great Britain, and Italy concerning the settlement of their claims, were not susceptible of solution by the ordinary diplomatic methods;
Whereas the Powers interested decided to solve these questions by submitting them to arbitration, in conformity with the dispositions of the Convention, signed at The Plague on July 29th, 1899, for the pacific settlement of international disputes;
Whereas, in virtue of Article 3 of the Protocols of Washington of May 7th, 1903, His Majesty the Emperor of Russia was requested by all the interested Powers to name and appoint from among the members of the Permanent [Page 507]Court of Arbitration of The Hague three Arbitrators who shall form the Tribunal of Arbitration charged with the solution and settlement of the questions which shall be submitted to it in virtue of the above-named Protocols;
Whereas none of the Arbitrators thus named could be a citizen or subject of any one of the Signatory or Creditor Powers, and whereas the Tribunal was to meet at The Hague on September 1st, 1903, and render its Award within a term of six months;
His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, conforming to the request of all the Signatory Powers of the above-named Protocols of Washington of May 7th, 1903, graciously named as Arbitrators the following members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration:
His Excellency Mr. N. V. Mourawieff, Secretary of State of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, Actual Privy Councillor, Minister of Justice, and Procurator-General of the Russian Empire.
Mr. H. Lammasch, Professor of Criminal and of International Law at the University of Vienna, Member of the Upper House of the Austrian Parliament, and
His Excellency Mr. F. de Martens, Doctor of Law, Privy Councillor, Permanent Member of the Council of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Member of the “Institut de France”;
Whereas, by unforeseen circumstances, the Tribunal of Arbitration could not be definitely constituted till October 1st, 1903, the Arbitrators, at their first meeting on that day, proceeding in conformity with Article XXXIV of the Convention of July 29th, 1899, to the nomination of the President of the Tribunal, elected as such his Excellency Mr. Mourawieff, Minister of Justice;
And whereas, in virtue of the Protocols of Washington of May 7th, 1903, the abovenamed Arbitrators, forming the legally constituted Tribunal of Arbitration, had to decide, in conformity with Article I of the Protocols of Washington of May 7th, 1903, the following points: “The question as to whether or not Germany, Great Britain, and Italy are entitled to preferential or separate treatment in the payment of their claims against Venezuela, and its decision shall be final.
“Venezuela having agreed to set aside 30 per cent, of the Customs revenues of La Guayra and Puerto Cabello for the payment of the claims of all nations against Venezuela, the Tribunal at The Hague shall decide how the said revenues shall be divided between the Blockading Powers on the one hand and the other Creditor Powers on the other hand, and its decision shall be final.
“If preferential or separate treatment is not given to the Blockading Powers, the Tribunal shall decide how the said revenue shall be distributed among all the Creditor Powers, and the Parties hereto agree that the Tribunal, in that case, shall consider, in connection with the payment of the claims out of the 30 per cent, any preference or pledges of revenues enjoyed by any of the Creditor Powers, and shall accordingly decide the question of distribution, so that no Power shall obtain preferential treatment, and its decision shall be final.”
Whereas the abovenamed Arbitrators, having examined with impartiality and care all the documents and acts presented to the Tribunal of Arbitration by the Agents of the Powers interested in this litigation, and having listened with the greatest attention to the oral pleadings delivered before the Tribunal by the Agents and Counsel of the Parties to the litigation;
Whereas the Tribunal, in its examination of the present litigation, had to be guided by the principles of International Law and the maxims of justice;
Whereas the various Protocols signed at Washington since February 13th, 1903, and particularly the Protocols of May 7th, 1903, the obligatory force of which is beyond all doubt, form the legal basis for the arbitral Award;
Whereas the Tribunal has no competence at all either to contest the jurisdiction of the Mixed Commissions of Arbitration established at Caracas, nor to judge their action;
Whereas the Tribunal considers itself absolutely incompetent to give a decision as to the character or the nature of the military operations undertaken by Germany, Great Britain and Italy against Venezuela:
Whereas also the Tribunal of Arbitration was not called upon to decide whether the three Blockading Powers had exhausted all pacific methods in their dispute with Venezuela in order to prevent the employment of force;
And it can only state the fact that since 1901 the Government of Venezuela categorically refused to submit its dispute with Germany and Great Britain to arbitration which was proposed several times and especially by the Note of the German Government of July 16th. 1901;[Page 508]
Whereas after the war between Germany, Great Britain and Italy on the one hand and Venezuela on the other hand no formal Treaty of Peace was concluded between the belligerent Powers;
Whereas the Protocols, signed at Washington on February 13th, 1903, had not settled all the questions in dispute between the belligerent Parties, leaving open in particular the question of the distribution of the receipts of the Customs of La Guayra and Puerto Cabello;
Whereas the belligerent Powers in submitting the question of preferential treatment in the matter of these receipts to the judgment of the Tribunal of Arbitration, agreed that the arbitral Award should serve to fill up this void and to ensure the definite reestablishment of peace between them;
Whereas on the other hand the warlike operations of the three great European Powers against Venezuela ceased before they had received satisfaction on all their claims, and on the other hand the question of preferential treatment was submitted to arbitration, the Tribunal must recognize in these facts precious evidence in favor of the great principle of arbitration in all phases of international disputes;
Whereas the Blockading Powers, in admitting the adhesion to the stipulations of the Protocols of February 13th, 1903, of the other Powers which had claims against Venezuela, could evidently not have the intention of renouncing either their acquired rights or their actual privileged position;
Whereas the Government of Venezuela in the Protocols of February 13th, 1903 (Article I) itself recognizes “in principle the justice of the claims” presented to it by the Governments of Germany, Great Britain and Italy;
While in the Protocol signed between Venezuela and the so-called neutral or pacific Powers the justice of the claims of these latter was not recognized in principle;
Whereas the Government of Venezuela until the end of January 1903, in no way protested against the pretension of the Blockading Powers to insist on special securities for the settlement of their claims;
Whereas Venezuela itself during the diplomatic negotiations always made a formal “distinction between “the allied Pavers” and “the neutral or pacific Powers”;
Whereas the neutral Powers, who claim before the Tribunal of Arbitration equality in the distribution of the 30 per cent of the Customs receipts of La Guayra and Puerto Cabello, did not protest against the pretensions of the Blockading Powers to a preferential treatment either at the moment of the cessation of the war against Venezuela or immediately after the signature of the Protocols of February 13th, 1903;
Whereas it appears from the negotiations which resulted in the signature of the Protocols of February 13th and May 7th, 1903, that the German and British Governments constantly insisted on their being given guarantees for “a sufficient and punctual discharge of the obligations” (British Memorandum of December 23rd, 1902, communicated to the Government of the United States of America)a;
Whereas the Plenipotentiary of the Government of Venezuela accepted this reservation on the part of the allied Powers without the least protest;
Whereas the Government of Venezuela engaged, with respect to the allied Powers alone, to offer special guarantees for the accomplishment of its engagements;
Whereas the good faith which ought to govern international relations imposes the duty of stating that the words “all claims” used by the Representative of the Government of Venezuela in his conferences with the Representatives of the allied Powers (Statement left in the hands of Sir Michael Herbert by Mr. H. Bowen of January 23rd, 1903), could only mean the claims of these latter and could only refer to them;
Whereas the neutral Powers, having taken no part in the warlike operations against Venezuela, could in some respects profit by the circumstances created by those operations, but without acquiring any new rights;
Whereas the rights acquired by the neutral or pacific Powers with regard to Venezuela remain in the future absolutely intact and guaranteed by respective international arrangements;
Whereas in virtue of Article V of the Protocols of May 7th, 1903, signed at Washington, the Tribunal “shall also decide, subject to the general provisions laid down in Article LVII of the International Convention of July 29th, 1899, how, when and by whom the costs of this arbitration shall be paid”;[Page 509]
For these reasons, the Tribunal of Arbitration decides and pronounces unanimously that:
- Germany, Great Britain, and Italy have a right to preferential treatment for the payment of their claims against Venezuela;
- Venezuela having consented to put aside 30 per cent of the revenues of the Customs of La Guayra and Puerto Cabello for the payment of the claims of all nations against Venezuela, the three above-named Powers have a right to preference in the payment of their claims by means of these 30 per cent of the receipts of the two Venezuelan Ports above mentioned;
- Each Party to the litigation shall bear its own costs and an equal share of the costs of the Tribunal.
The Government of the United States of America is charged with seeing to the execution of this latter clause within a term of three months.
- N. Mourawieff.
- H. Lammasch.