Mr. Hay to Mr. Newel.
Washington, March 9, 1904.
Sir: The Department has given careful consideration to the award of The Hague tribunal in the case of the Venezuelan arbitration. The first and second clauses adjudge to Germany, Great Britain, and Italy the preferential payment of their claims over those of all other governments against Venezuela out of the 30 per cent of the assigned customs revenues of La Guaira and Porto Cabello. The third clause of the award decides that “Each party to the litigation shall bear its own costs and an equal share of the costs of the tribunal.” To these three clauses of the award is added the decree that “The Government of the United States of America is charged with seeing to the execution of this latter clause within the term of three months.”
Inasmuch as the protocols did not confer upon the tribunal any power to commission any government to see to the execution of the award or any part of it by other governments, the United States Government would feel great delicacy in undertaking to execute the mandate. The want of authority on its part to do so would make it extremely embarrassing. In case any one of the other States should refuse to pay its own costs or its share of the costs of the tribunal the United States Government would have no means to execute the mandate. The action of the United States in respect to the payment of the costs must, therefore, be limited to the payment of its own costs and its share of the costs of the tribunal.
At the time The Hague tribunal was in session a conference was held between the agents and counsel of the different interested governments and an understanding was informally reached that each of the arbitrators ought to be paid the sum of $5,000 as an honorarium, and an additional sum of $1,500 to cover their expenses. The [Page 517]United States Government stands ready to bear its own costs and its aliquot share of the costs of the tribunal, testifying by its loyal acceptance of the award and by the payment of its share of the costs its great respect for The Hague tribunal, which must depend upon the corresponding voluntary action of the other interested governments for the performance of the award.
You will communicate the above to the international bureau, and advise the Department of the result and whether the other interested governments entertain the same opinion as the United States in relation to the amount of the honorarium and the expenses of the arbitrators. If so, the United States will promptly pay its share as above indicated.
I am, etc.,