File No. 7692/3–5.

Ambassador Dudley to the Secretary of State.

No. 105.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of the following three documents, which appear in the Diario Oficial of December 20, 1907:

Treaty of boundaries and navigation between Brazil and Colombia;

Modus vivendi relative to navigation and commerce on the lea or Putumayo; and

A protocal complementary to the modus vivendi agreement.

I also inclose a translation of the letter of Baron do Rio Branco, the Brazilian foreign minister, transmitting these documents to the President of Brazil for submission to the ratification of the Federal Congress.

The point in Baron do Rio Branco’s letter which has specially attracted my attention is his allusion to the treaty concluded in 1777 between Portugal and Spain, for the purpose, as has always been maintained by the interested Spanish-American republics, of defining the boundary between the possessions which, in colonial times, were Portuguese and which were Spanish. The statement is made by the Brazilian foreign minister that by common consent Brazil and Colombia agreed to regard this treaty as not in force, and to make the actual possession of their nationals, and their rights growing therefrom, the criterion of decision.

Accompanying this dispatch I also forward the department a copy of the Diario Oficial containing the original text of the several documents hereinbefore specified, and will forward a second copy by the next mail, not having it or being able to procure it in time for this outgoing mail.

I have, etc.,

Irving B. Dudley.
[Inclosure 1.—Translation.]

Treaty between Brazil and Colombia.

The Republic of the United States of Brazil and the Republic of Colombia, desirous of consolidating on a firm and durable basis their old relations of peace and friendship, of suppressing any reasons for discord, and for facilitating the development of their interests of good friendship and of commerce, have decided to conclude the following treaty, and taking into consideration, for a friendly agreement, the condition of their respective powers and rights, for that purpose have nominated their plenipotentiaries, viz: His Excellency the President of the Republic of the United States of Brazil, Dr. Enéas Martins, minister resident on special mission near the Government of Colombia; and His Excellency the President of Colombia, Gen. Alfredo Vasquez Cobo, minister of foreign relations, who, after having exhibited their full powers, which have been found in due form, have stipulated the following:

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Article 1.

The frontier between the United States of Brazil and Colombia, between the rock of Cocuy in the Rio Negro, and the mouth of the Apaporis on the left bank of the Yapurá or Coquetá, shall be the following:

  • Section 1. From the island of San José, in front of the rock of Cocuy, in a westerly direction it shall follow toward the right bank of the Rio Negro, which it shall cut at 1° 13' 51" 76 north latitude and at 23° 39" 11" 51 of longitude west from Rio de Janeiro; in other words, at 7° 16' 25" 9 of longitude east of Bogotá. From that point in a straight line until it meets the source of the little river Macucuni, an affluent on the right bank of the Rio Negro (or Guainiá) and which is entirely in Colombian territory.
  • Sec. 2. From the course of the Macucuni the boundary continues through the divortiam aquarum, passing between the source of the Igarapi Japeri, an affluent of the Xié, and the source of the river Tomo, an affluent of the Guainia, at the point indicated by the coordinates of 2° 1' 26" 65 of north latitude and of 24° 26' 38" 58 of longitude west of Rio de Janeiro; or in other words, 6° 28' 59" 8 of longitude east of the meridian of Bogotá.
  • Sec. 3. The boundary shall continue in a westerly direction along the highest part of the winding land which separates the waters which flow to the north from those which flow to the south, as far as the hill “Caparro,” whence it shall continue always along the most elevated land which separates the waters which flow into the Guainia from those which flow into the Cuyari or Iquiary to the principal source of the Memachi, an affluent to the Naquieni, which in its turn is an affluent of the Guainia.
  • Sec. 4. From the principal source of the Memachi, at 2° 1' 27" 3 of north latitude and 25° 4' 22" 65 of longitude west of Rio de Janeiro; or, in other words, 5° 51' 15" 8 of longitude east from Bogotá, the boundary shall follow along the highest elevations to the source of the principal affluent of the Cuyari (or Iquiary) which is nearest to the source of the Memachi, continuing along the course of said affluent to its confluence with the Cuyari.
  • Sec. 5. From that confluence the boundary shall descend through the valley of the Cuyari to the place in which the River Pegua flows into it, its affluent on the left bank, and from the confluence of this river with the Cuyari it shall follow to the west along the parallel of that confluence to the meridian which passes through the confluence of the Kerary with the Uaupes.
  • Sec. 6. Upon reaching the meridian of the confluence of the Kerary the boundary shall descend along the meridian to said confluence; whence it shall continue through the valley of the Uaupes to the mouth of the Capury, an affluent of the right bank of the said Uaupes, near the rivulet Jauarite.
  • Sec. 7. From the mouth of the Capury boundary shall follow to the west through the valley of that river to its source, more or less at 69° 30' of longitude west from Greenwich, descending thereafter along the meridian of its source to the river Yarairá., following through the valley of the Yarairá to its mouth in the Apaporis, and the valley of this river to its mouth in the Yapura or Coquetá, where the frontier established by the present treaty ends; thus the frontier line is the rock Cocuy to the mouth of the Apaporis; and the remaining portion remaining for a subsequent convention in case Colombia wins the boundary questions which it has pending with Ecuador and Peru.

Article 2.

The mixed commission, appointed by the two Governments one year after the exchange of ratifications, shall proceed to the demarcation.

  • Section 1. By special protocols the make-up and the instructions for the work of that mixed commission, which must begin work within eight months from the date of its appointment, shall be arranged.
  • Sec. 2. It is now decided that, to finish and complete the boundary line, wherever it may be necessary on account of breaks in the territory, circles parallel to the equator shall be adopted, and meridian lines in preference to long oblique lines.

Article 3.

All doubts which may arise respecting the demarcation shall be amicably settled by the high contracting parties, to which they shall be submitted by the respective commissioners, and the demarcation shall be meanwhile continued. If unable to come to an agreement, the Government shall submit the differences to an arbiter.

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Article 4.

The two high contracting parties shall conclude within the space of twelve months a treaty of commerce and navigation based on the principles of the greatest liberality toward land transit and fluvial navigation by both countries, a right which they mutually recognize in perpetuity from after the approbation of the present treaty, throughout the course of the rivers which rise or flow within or into the region determined by the frontier line established by this treaty; and the fiscal and police regulations in force, or which may be in force in the territory of each one of the countries, must be observed, and these regulations shall in no case establish greater burdens or formalities for vessels, merchandise, and persons of Brazil in Colombia than they have established or may establish in Colombia for Colombian nationals or in Brazil for Brazilian nationals. Colombian ships destined for the navigation of these rivers shall communicate freely with the ocean by the Amazon. The fiscal and police regulations must be as favorable as possible to navigation and commerce, and shall be as alike as possible in the two countries. It is understood and declared that this navigation does not include that from one port to another of the same country or to fluvial commerce which shall continue subject in each one of the two states to their respective laws.

Article 5.

The present treaty, after having been duly and regularly approved by the Republic of the United States of Brazil and the Republic of Colombia, shall be ratified by the two Governments, and the ratifications shall be exchanged in the city of Bogotá or in that of Rio de Janeiro in the shortest possible time.

Enéas Martins.

Alfredo Vasquez Cobo.
[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

Modus vivendi.

The Governments of Brazil and of Colombia, desirous of developing navigation and commercial relations between their respective countries, on the River Iça or Putumayo, have agreed to sign a modus vivendi to that effect, and having met for that purpose in the ministry of foreign relations at Colombia, the minister resident of Brazil on special mission, Dr. Enéas Martins, and the minister of foreign relations of Colombia, Gen. Alfredo Vasquez Cobo, have discussed and agreed in the name of their respective Governments, and duly authorized by them according to the full powers which they have shown, to the following:

  • Article 1. The merchant ships of Brazil and Colombia may freely communicate with the ports which these countries have or may establish hereafter in the Iça or Putumayo exempt from tax of whatever kind, except those lighthouse and said dues levied in aid of navigation, and observing the fiscal and police regulations which each one of the two countries may establish for its territory.
  • Colombian ships engaged in the navigation of the Putumayo may communicate freely with the ocean by way of the Amazon.
  • Art. 2. During the period this present accord remains in force, foreign importations which are consigned to Colombia by way of the Amazon and the Iça shall be dispatched in the custom-house of Manaos or Belem as places of deposit subject to the Brazilian legislation. Colombian exportations also may be dispatched there by said custom-houses, provided the articles are duly accompanied by manifests issued by the Colombian authorities in the place of their origin and authenticated by the authorities of the Brazilian fiscal post of the Iça.
  • Art. 3. Brazil will permit, on condition that she is previously notified of the number, the passage on the Amazon and the Iça of Colombian ships of war either way to the jurisdictional waters of Colombia on the Putumayo. Reciprocally, Colombia shall permit the navigation of the men-of-war of Brazil in [Page 111] the waters of its jurisdiction in the Putumayo. These vessels shall be subject to the fiscal and police regulations in case they receive merchandise in respective ports.
  • Art. 4. This modus vivendi shall go into effect immediately and shall be in force until it is denounced or modified by mutual agreement by the two Governments, and is signed and sealed with their private seals at Bogotá on April 24, 1907.

Enéas Martins.

Alfredo Vasquez Cobo.
[Inclosure 3.—Translation.]

Additional protocol signed between Brazil and Colombia April 24, 1907.

Together in the ministry of foreign relations of Colombia, the minister resident of Brazil on special mission, Dr. Enéas Martins, Brazilian plenipotentiary, and the minister of foreign relations of Colombia, Gen. Alfredo Vasquez Cobo, Colombian plenipotentiary, signatories of the modus vivendi agreement concerning the Iça or Putumayo of April 24, 1907, have agreed, in the name of their respective Governments and as an integral part of the modus vivendi, that the said modus vivendi agreement concerning the Iça or Putumayo shall be considered null and void in case the boundary treaty be not approved or opportunely ratified, which has also been signed to-day, between the rock of Cucuhy and the mouth of the Apaporis at the Japurá or Coquetá.

As a proof thereof they sign this document in duplicate and seal it with their private seals.

Enéas Martins.

Alfredo Vasquez Cobo.
[Inclosure 4.—Translation].


[Agreements signed at Bogotá on April 24, 1907, and submitted to the decision of the National Congress.]

Statement made by the minister of foreign relations relative to the agreements of April 24, 1907, signed at Bogotá.

To his excellency Dr. Affonso Augusto Moreira Penna,
President of the Republic.

Mr. President: I have the honor to present to your excellency, in authentic copies, so that they may be submitted to the deliberation of the National Congress, the following documents, signed at Bogotá April 24 of this year, by Dr. Enéas Martins, minister of Brazil on special mission, and Gen. Alfredo Vasquez Cobo, minister of foreign relations of Colombia:

Treaty of boundaries and navigation between Brazil and Colombia;
Modus vivendi agreement relative to navigation and commerce on the Iça or Putumayo; and
A protocol complementary to the modus vivendi agreement.

The boundary which the treaty establishes begins in front of Pedra de Cucuhy, on the island of San Jose, of the Rio Negro, where our boundary with the Republic of Venezuela ends, and follows first toward the west, then toward the south, to the mouth of the Apaporis on the left bank of the Japurá or Coquetá, place where the boundary line ends which, in a northerly direction, begins from Igarape San Antonio on the Amazon, not far from Tabatinga.

Only Brazil and Colombia have disputed domain over the territory to the north of Japurá, so that the fixing of the boundaries described in the present treaty does not implicate the rights or claims of other Republics, our neighbors.

Between the island of San Jose de Cucuhy and the source of the Memachi, Brazil and Venezuela, in the treaties of November 25, 1852, and May 5, 1859, had arranged and fixed in 1880 a boundary line, but expressly reserving the rights of Colombia, then the Republic of New Grenada. (Art. 6 of the treaty of 1859.)

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In arbitral decision, before the Queen Regent of Spain, the rights of Colombia were victorious over those of Venezuela by the decision of March 16, 1891. It was therefore our duty, after the Madrid decision, to treat with the Government of Bogotá. That is what we have now done, and Colombia has accepted the same boundary line as was fixed in those parts by the commissioners of Brazil and Venezuela.

To the south of the confluence of the Apaporis and of the Japurá Colombia claimed to have the boundary limit with Brazil. That claim is, however, opposed by Peru and Ecuador, both of whom claim sovereignty over the territory claimed by it (Colombia) to the west of our boundary line from the Amazon to the Japurá.

The line from San Antonio to Apaporis has already been recognized as the boundary of Brazil by Peru in the treaty of October 23, 1851, concluded at Lima, and by Ecuador in treaty of May 6, 1904, signed at Rio de Janeiro.

In that treaty of 1904 we declared that neither in that occasion nor in 1851 was it our intention to modify the territories belonging to or in discussion between Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia, among themselves, nor those of Brazil with Colombia.

When the decision of His Majesty the King of Spain is known in the suit, which is following its regular course at Madrid, between Peru and Ecuador, the Colombian Government will dispute with the winner the territory attributed to it before His Majesty the German Emperor and the King of Prussia at Berlin. For that purpose it signed a special arbitration treaty with the Government of Ecuador on November 5, 1904, and with Peru on September 12, 1905.

In the treaty of July 25, 1853, of which Consul Miguel Maria Lisboa, afterwards Baron Japurá, the minister of Brazil at Bogotá, and the minister of foreign relations, Lorenzo Maria Lleras, were negotiators, the description of the common boundary commenced at the confluence of the Apaporis and continued in a northwesterly direction. (Art. 1.)

Article 7 reads as follows: “The Republic of New Granada having pending questions relative to the territory touched by the waters of the Tomo and of the Aquio, also relative to that situated between the rivers Japurá and the Amazon, the citizen President of the same Republic, in its name, declares that, in case said territory may come to definitely belong to it, it shall recognize as the boundary limits with Brazil, by virtue of the principal of Uti Possidetis, those stipulated in the treaty between the Empire and Venezuela on November 25, 1852, and in the convention between the same Empire and Peru of October 23, 1851, to wit: As to what refers to the first, a line which, passing by the falls which separate the waters of the Tomo and of the Aquio from those of the Iquiare and Issana, follows toward the east, touching the Rio Negro in front of the island of San José, near Pedra de Cucuhy, situated more or less on a parallel of 1° 38' latitude; and as to what refers to the second, a straight line drawn from the Fort of Tabzinga toward the north to the confluence of the Apaporis with the Japurá.”

The Government of Bogotá recognized, nevertheless, as the boundary of Brazil from the Amazon to the Apaporis the same which we negotiated in 1851 with Peru. The New Grenadan senate, however, rejected the treaty of 1853, and one of the reasons given for this was precisely that to anticipate that recognition would be to weaken the rights resulting from all the titles of New Grenada against Peru and Ecuador in respect to those same territories.

The same reason was presented against the acceptance, which the same treaty of 1853 anticipated, in respect to the line which Venezuela recognized to us from Cocque to the Memachi.

As the Colombian Government came out victorious in its claim against Venezuela in that region, it thought that the same would happen with those which it has with its southerly contenders.

We have been able, however, as has already been said, to maintain now as the boundary line between Brazil and Colombia the same which the senate of New Grenada considered dangerous to accept in 1855, so as not to weaken the New Grenadian rights against Venezuela. We have been able, in addition, to delay the adjustment of the question relative to the line from the Apaporis to the Amazon. And if it should happen, which is possible may never happen, that Brazil meets Colombia on the south of the Japurá, then it will be necessary to definitely settle the question now laid aside. It is to be hoped that the Government of Bogotá, in accordance with the last part of the said article 7 of the treaty of 1853, shall accept the line settled in our adjustments with Peru [Page 113] and Ecuador, as it has now accepted that which in another region had been settled by Brazil and Venezuela.

In the treaty of April 24 last, in opposition to the old pretensions based by our neighbors in the insubsistent treaty or preparatory of 1777, Brazil and Colombia have adopted as the criterion for the fixing of their limits the actual possession and the rights growing therefrom. That criterion permitted and facilitated at last friendly concession in the whole of the ancient claim of both. The boundary stipulated separates and covers the Brazilian and Colombian administrative occupancy in the true development which they have with the character of efficient continuous and complete exercise of sovereignty.

Thus the new treaty represents a prudent act, because it dissipates forever old causes of conflicts, which have unfortunately taken place in regions of uncertain boundary, which could not have but increased with the development of activity and individual interests there; and besides prudent it is an honorable act, with reasonable reciprocal concessions, counseled by sentiments and conveniences of loyal harmony and concord.

In that region which includes the northwestern boundary of Brazil there is established by treaty the liberty of fluvial navigation, claimed for a long time by Colombia as its right, independent of any agreement, and Brazil has always subordinated the definite concession of transit by the rivers which cross it to previous settlement of international boundary.

At the same time, as far as the River Iça or Putumayo is concerned, which, as it is the natural exit of the territory to the southeast of Colombia, crosses the territories adjacent to our boundary from the Amazon to the Apaporis, we have agreed on a modus vivendi, by which Brazil permits as a concession, made of its own will and for that reason as a proof of its sovereignty, the passage of Colombian vessels and to export and import commerce by Colombia by the Brazilian district of Baizo Iça.

I believe that the agreements signed at Bogotá on April 24 last deserve the approval of our National Congress, as they have already received that of the legislative branch of Colombia.

The boundary treaty happily ends with the negotiation begun fifty-four years ago by the Visconde do Uruguay, in which on our side Consul Miguel Maria Lisboa, in 1853, and Joaquin Maria Nascents de Azambuza, from 1868 to 1870, so distinguished themselves.

It would be unjust on this occasion not to commend to the high appreciation of your excellency the Brazilian plenipotentiary, Dr. Enéas Martins, for the zeal, tact, and competency with which he conducted negotiations, which are now going to be submitted to the two houses of National Congress.

I beg, etc.,