Hon. Elihu Root,
Secretary of State, Washington.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report covering the mission I had the honor to receive as high commissioner to represent the President of the United States at the inaugural session of the court of justice for Central America, which took place at Cartago, Costa Rica, at 1 o’clock on Monday, May 25 last.
In accordance with your instructions I first stopped at Chihuahua, Mexico, to confer with his excellency the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Señor Don Enrique C. Creel, who represented the President of Mexico in the Central American peace conference held in Washington during November of last year, at which the convention creating the proposed court was signed by the five Republics of Central America—Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Salvador—as it was your earnest wish that Ambassador Creel should accompany me on the mission undertaken.
I spent two days with the ambassador and then proceeded to Mexico, where I remained for two weeks, during which time the arrangements necessary for the participation of Mexico could be made and details completed for the trip of Ambassador Creel and myself to San Jose, Costa Rica.
These arrangements are completed, and on Monday, the 10th of May, the ambassador and myself left for Salina Cruz in the presidential train placed at our disposal by His Excellency President Diaz. His instructions were that every comfort, facility, and courtesy should be extended us and those accompanying us during our trip through Mexico. These instructions were more than fully carried out. At Orizoba we were met by a special committee. We spent one day there in visiting the city and then proceeded to Cordova, where we spent the night of the 12th, leaving there early on the morning of the 13th for Salina Cruz, which point we reached on the morning of the 14th.
We found there awaiting our arrival the officials of the port and of the municipality, together with the commander and officers of the Mexican gunboat stationed there. We were also met by Commander Mayo of the United States cruiser Albany, which had been placed at our disposition for our voyage on the Pacific side of the continent by the Navy Department of the United States.
After visiting the new docks and public works at Salina Cruz we went on board the Albany; at 3 o’clock on the 14th. The Mexican ambassador was received with an ambassador’s salute, and at 4 o’clock we were under way, headed for San Jose de Guatemala, our first scheduled stop.
Capt. Mayo and the officers of the Albany gave up their cabins in order that Ambassador Creel and myself and those accompanying us might be comfortably accommodated, while I took every step possible to see that the Mexican ambassador was made as comfortable as possible on board the ship.
We reached San Jose de Guatemala at 7 o’clock on the evening of Friday, the 15th. The shore battery began firing a salute of 21 [Page 218] guns immediately after the Albany had dropped her anchor, without waiting for a national salute to be fired by the Albany. Immediately thereafter a boat came off to the Albany bringing the subsecretary for foreign affairs and the captain of the port, together with the United States consular agent. The first bore letters from the President of Guatemala to Ambassador Creel and to myself, together with an invitation from his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, representing the President, to attend a banquet in our honor. In view of the fact that our arrival after sunset had made it impossible for the Albany to fire a national salute, together with the lateness of the hour and the heavy sea at the landing stage, making it not only difficult but dangerous to attempt to land by our small boats, we felt to our great regret unable to accept the invitation that had been so courteously extended us. I sent my secretary, Mr. Donald I. Buchanan, together with an officer of the Albany, detailed by Commander Mayo, ashore to present the ambassador’s compliments and excuses and my own to his excellency the minister for foreign affairs and to invite him, with all the members of the commission who had been designated by the President to receive us, to visit the Albany on the following morning, immediately following the national salute we would fire at 8 o’clock. These instructions were followed. My secretary returned to the ship accompanied by his excellency Maj. William Heimke, the American minister to Guatemala, and by the Mexican chargé d’affaires, both of whom spent the night on board the Albany. They were accompanied by his excellency Señor Bustillos, the Hon-duranean minister of finance, who had been in Guatemala on a special mission and who accompanied us on the Albany to his home at Amapala as our guest.
On the following morning—Saturday, the 16th—the Albany fired a national salute of 21 guns with the Guatemalan flag at the fore, and immediately thereafter the commission sent by President Cabrera to welcome us came on board the Albany, accompanied by his excellency Señor Licenciado Angel Maria Bocanegra, the Guatemalan judge designated for the new court of justice to be installed in Cartago. In accordance with the article of the convention of Washington creating the court, which gives to the members of the court the privileges and immunities of diplomatic offices, the Albany fired a salute of 15 guns immediately upon Señor Bocanegra boarding the ship. The commission sent by President Cambrera was headed by his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, Señor Barrios, who was accompanied by the minister of finance, the minister of public instruction, by subsecretaries of the other ministries, by representatives of the different branches of the Guatemalan army, the captain of the port of San Jose, and by the military commander of the port. Refreshments had been prepared and were served to our guests, during which toasts of welcome and of appreciation of the part being taken by the United States and Mexico in the organization of the new court were proposed by his excellency the minister for foreign affairs. Our guests remained on board for an hour and a half, and upon leaving the Albany a cabinet minister’s salute of 17 guns was fired and the Albany immediately got under way for Acajutla, Salvador, where we arrived at 4.30 in the afternoon or the same day.
Immediately after the anchor had been dropped in front of Acajutla a salute of 21 guns was fired by the Albany and returned [Page 219] by the shore battery, and a launch at once came off containing a reception committee sent by the President of Salvador to greet us, composed of his excellency the minister for foreign affairs of Salvador, Señor Rodriguez, his excellency the Salvadorean minister to the United States, Senor Mejia, and of representative officers of the Salvadorean army and of the port of Acajutla, together with United States Minister Dodge and the secretary of legation, Mr. Gregory.
The minister for foreign affairs, on behalf of the President, invited us to accept a banquet at San Salvador, but having been obliged to decline a similar courtesy extended by His Excellency the President of Guatemala, we were unable to accept this honor and courtesy. After a very pleasant visit the commission returned to the shore, Minister Dodge and Secretary Gregory remaining with us on the Albany over night.
At half-past 3 on Sunday my secretary and an officer of the Albany went on shore to receive his excellency Senor Dr. Don José Madriz, the judge designated by Nicaragua for the court at Cartago, who had arranged to meet us and accompany us from Acajutla. He was received on board with a salute of 15 guns and immediately thereafter the Albany proceeded to Amapala, Honduras, at which beautiful harbor we arrived at 9 o’clock on Monday, the 18th.
The water front and landing stage at Amapala was decorated with flags and flowers, and immediately after a national salute of 21 guns had been fired by the Albany, and answered by the fort, a boat from the Albany was sent ashore with my secretary and an officer of the ship, to accompany Dr. Bustillos, who landed there, and to present our compliments to the officers of the port and to receive the Honduranean judge to the court at Cartago, his excellency Señor Dr. Don Carlos Alberto Ucles, who was to accompany us to San Jose. A few moments thereafter a launch put off from the shore containing his excellency the minister for foreign affairs of Honduras, Senor Don E. Constantino Fiallos, the minister of war, and officers of the port, who had come from Tegucigalpa, with instructions from His Excellency the President of Honduras to welcome us. They were accompanied by his excellency Magistrate Ucles, who was received on board with a salute of 15 guns.
After a very pleasant visit with the committee the Albany got underway and sailed for Panama, having abandoned our plan to stop at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica, and proceed from there to San Jose. We made this change owing to a report that reached us officially that yellow fever had been reported at Punta Arenas, and we deemed it safer, therefore, to proceed to Panama, cross the Isthmus to Colon, and from there to Port Limon, Costa Rica.
We anchored off Panama at 7.30 on the morning of Thursday, the 21st. After the visit of the health officer of the port, a launch was sent ashore from the Albany to ascertain what arrangements had been made to take us across the Isthmus. Shortly thereafter a launch from the shore reached the Albany, bringing the chairman of the Canal Commission, Senator Blackburn, and others, who came to welcome us and to extend the courtesies of the railway in accordance with the instructions of the War Department in order that we might at once cross the Isthmus and proceed on our way.[Page 220]
Before leaving the Albany a testimonial, acknowledging the constant courtesy that had been extended by the commander and officers of the ship and expressing the very great pleasure they had experienced during our trip, was signed by Ambassador Creel and the judges who had accompanied us as our guests, and left with Commander Mayo. We left the Albany with regret and with many expressions of gratitude on the part of all, to her commander and officers for the delightful and most comfortable voyage we had concluded on the ship.
Upon reaching the shore we found carriages awaiting us, and after calling upon his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, Señor Arias, we proceeded with him to pay our respects to His Excellency President Amador and thereafter to United States Minister Squires. Senator Blackburn then had the carriages containing our party drive about through Panama, in order that we might see the improvements that had been made in the city. After this we drove to the railway station, where a special train was waiting. We were met there by a large number of officers of the Canal Zone and of the Panama Government, whom I had pleasantly known and remembered.
His excellency the minister for foreign affairs, with Senator Blackburn and other officers of the Canal Commission, accompanied us and we started across the Isthmus. Col. Goethals, the engineer in charge of the construction of the canal, joined us at Culebra and pointed out to our party the different features and the interesting portion of the great work under his direction.
We reached Colon at half past 3 o’clock and found awaiting us an officer of the United States cruiser Des Moines, which had been ordered by the Navy Department to meet us at Colon and convey us to Limon and to remain there for such time as necessary, and thereafter convey Ambassador Creel and myself to such port in Mexico or the United States as I might decide upon. We were received on board the Des Moines by Capt. Potts, who extended a warm and generous welcome to our guests. Like the commander and officers of the Albany, Capt. Potts and his officers gave up their cabins in order that our party might be made comfortable, and extended to our guests every attention and kindness possible. After a salute fired in honor of his excellency the Mexican ambassador tike Des Moines got under way at 4.30 and proceeded to Port Limon, Costa Rica, where we arrived at 10 o’clock on the morning of Friday, the 22d.
On our arrival at Port Limon we found the shipping in the harbor, the landing stage, and public and private buildings decorated with bunting and with flags of the United States and of Mexico in honor of the arrival of the Des Moines and our guests. After a national salute of 21 guns had been fired, which was promptly replied to by the port battery, and the visit of the port doctor had been concluded, we were waited upon by the reception committee that had been designated by the Government of Costa Rica to welcome us and to arrange for our trip to San Jose and for our comfort during our stay in Costa Rica. At the head of this commission were Señor Don Manuel Aragon, Sehor Don Felipe Alvarado, and Mr. John Keith, whose constant courtesy met us at every step during our stay in Costa Rica, and can not be sufficiently recognized nor ever forgotten.[Page 221]
Accompanying the commission was his excellency Señor Licenciado Don José Astua Aguilar, the Costa Rican judge designated for the court to be installed at Cartago, together with the governor of the Province, the United States consul, and a number of prominent local officials who came off to welcome our party to Limon and to extend to the officers and men of the Des Moines every possible courtesy that would be serviceable to the ship or increase the comfort of her officers and men. After refreshments had been served we proceeded to disembark from the Des Moines, which fired a national salute to the flag of each of the judges who were leaving the ship and to the Mexican ambassador.
Upon reaching the landing stage we found a great crowd of people awaiting our party. We were received by military officers and members of the reception commission, the military band present playing the American and the Mexican national anthems. Comfortable quarters had been arranged for us in the headquarters building of the United Fruit Co., in Limon, and a banquet was tendered us on the same evening by the people of Limon, presided over by his excellency the governor of the Province. It was most enjoyable and marked the beginning of a constant succession of attentions and courtesies which followed each other during the entire time we were in Costa Rica.
On the morning of the 23d we left for San Jose in a special train, accompanied by the members of the reception committee and by many of the officials of the port of Limon.
Our train reached Cartago at 12 o’clock. We found the entire city beautifully decorated with flags, while in the center of the city arches had been erected and an elaborate scheme of street decoration carried out in honor of the inauguration of the court which was to take place on the following Monday. The streets through which the railway runs, especially those adjacent to the station, were packed with people, while the station platform was occupied by a military band and by a reception committee representing Cartago, headed by the governor of the Province and the mayor of Cartago, who welcomed our party with great cordiality.
Our party was met at Cartago by his excellency the minister for foreign affairs of Costa Rica, Señor Licenciado Don Luis Anderson; his excellency the minister of gobernación, Señor Licenciado Don Alfredo Volio; his excellency the minister of Avar, Señor Licenciado Don Vidal E. Quiros; his excellency Señor Dr. Don Salvador Gallegos, the judge designated by Salvador for the new court at Cartago, and who had reached San Jose a week in advance of our arrival, together with the other members of the reception committee, Senores Licenciado F. Aguilar, B. Licenciado Alberto Gallegos, and Dr. José Maria Soto, and by the special aids-de-camp who had been designated by His Excellency the President to attend each of our party during our stay in Costa Rica. The officers assigned to me were Col. Rafael Gonzalez, Col. Carlos Prestinary, and Lieut. Pisa, to whose never-failing courtesy and attention during my Stay in Costa Rica I am indebted beyond words.
We left Cartago at 12.30 and at 1.30 reached San Jose. The station and station grounds were packed with people to welcome our party. We found carriages awaiting each of our party, and these were thereafter constantly at our service. Leaving the station accompanied [Page 222] by the cabinet ministers, who had met us at Cartago, by members of the reception committee, and by the aids who had been assigned us, we turned into the street leading to the center of the city and I to our surprise found it lined on both sides by 3,500 children from the different schools of San Jose, attended by their teachers. The children carried flags and bunches of flowers, which were thrown into the carriages as they passed, a striking and beautiful method to welcome the judges who had come to Costa Rica for the purpose of establishing an international court from which it is hoped peace and good relations may result for all of Central America.
We found that the Government had arranged for our stay in Costa Rica in a delightful and most commodious manner. Completely and excellently furnished houses, with servants, were assigned to Ambassador Creel and to your commissioner, while the judges were taken to a hotel in which ample and excellent provision had been made for their comfort. It is impossible to speak too highly of the great courtesy extended to your high commissioner and party by the Costa Rican Government in connection with the arrangements thus made for our stay in San Jose or with regard to their completeness and excellence. Nothing in connection with comfort had been omitted by the Government, and I desire particularly at this point to especially express my deep and lasting appreciation of this mark of courtesy and distinction shown by the Government of Costa Rica.
On the evening of our arrival we were taken to the Central Plaza, where a splendid band concert was given in honor of the judges of the court. The plaza had been especially decorated with bunting and lights and an enormous crowd of people were in attendance.
On Sunday, the 24th, Ambassador Creel and myself called officially on his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, who accompanied us on our official visit to His Excellency the President of the Republic, Senor Licenciado Don Cleto Gonzalez Viquez, during which we presented our credentials and were most delightfully welcomed.
The reception committee extended to Capt. Potts and the officers and men of the Des Moines the courtesy of a special train at any time and as often as they might desire to visit San Jose, This courtesy was greatly appreciated by the officers of the Des Moines and by the men, who were enabled through it to pass several delightful days in and about San Jose.
On Monday, the 25th, the day fixed for the inauguration of the court at Cartago, we proceeded to the railway station at 11 o’clock to join His Excellency the President of the Republic, his cabinet, the vice president, their excellencies the judges of the new court to be installed, the justices of the supreme court, the diplomatic and consular representatives accredited at San Jose, the presiding officers of Congress, the governor of the Province, the bishop of San Jose, and a large number of distinguished guests who had been invited by His Excellency the President to witness the installation of the new court. Capt. Potts and officers of the Des Moines, who had been specially invited to attend the inauguration of the court by His Excellency the President, accompanied me.
A special train carried us to Cartago, which we reached at 12 o’clock. The day had been declared a holiday by the municipality and throughout the Province by the governor, and an enormous crowd [Page 223] was present at the station and in all of the streets leading to the building in which the inauguration of the court was to take place, to greet the President and our party.
The governor of the Province, the mayor of Cartago, and all the officials of the municipality were in attendance at the station in a body to welcome the President, the judges of the new court, and Ambassador Creel and myself.
Elaborate arrangements had been made for the reception of the President, the judges, and our party at the large Central School Building, in which the inauguration was to take place, and for their proper seating.
The building and the adjacent streets were profusely decorated with the flags of the five Republics and with the Mexican and United States flags. We noticed that wherever flags were displayed in Cartago or in San Jose or Limon the United States flag and the Mexican flag were conspicuous.
In view of the historic character of the ceremony of installation of the new court and for the purpose of record I attach hereto as an inclosure (2) a diagram showing the seating arrangements of the chamber in which the inauguration of the court took place.
Promptly at 1 o’clock the President, his cabinet, the vice president, and other national officers, Ambassador Creel and myself, the judges composing the court, the governor of the Province, and the other invited guests were ushered into the inaugural chamber and took our seats, that of the President being in the center of the group of seats occupied by the judges of the court.
The inauguration of this new international court, created through the patriotic efforts of the five Republics which signed the convention and treaties of Washington, and in which so great and so deep an interest had been and was being shown by the people of each of these Republics, was begun amid profound silence, in the presence of one of the most distinguished and representative assemblages that had ever convened in Costa Rica, and witnessed outside the building by a mass of people who packed every inch of available space in the adjoining streets.
The program of the inaugural ceremonies was as follows:
Solemn inauguration of the court of justice for Central America.
- The President declares the tribunal installed.
- Speech by the minister for foreign affairs.
- Speech by the governor of Cartago.
- Speech by his excellency Señor Don Enrique C. Creel, high conimissk)Her of the Government of the United Mexican States.
- Speech by his excellency Mr. William I. Buchanan, high commissioner of the Government of the United States of America.
- Speech by the president of the court of justice for Central America.
The court had held a preliminary session during the afternoon of the 24th and had elected president of the court his excellency Señor Licenciado Don José Astua Aguilar, of Costa Rica, and vice president his excellency Señor Dr. Don Salvador Gallegos, of Salvador, and as secretary Señor Licenciado Don Ernesto Martin.[Page 224]
In view of the historic interest attached to the installation of this new international court, I deem it well to insert here in the body of this report the entire proceedings of its inaugural session.
Following the declaration of the president of the court that it was open, his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, Señor Licenciado Don Luis Anderson, spoke as follows:
Mr. President of the Republic; Your Excellencies the High Commissioners of Mexico and of the United States; Honorable Magistrates of the Court of Justice for Central America.
Gentlemen: The act which has brought us together to-day is surrounded by-special solemnity, and will be noted throughout the world as one of the most splendid triumphs of justice and of human solidarity. We are assisting at the installation of the court of justice for Central America, the high tribunal to which live sister nations, wearied by the expenditure of the best of their blood, and the most virile of their forces in valueless strife, will in the future, guided by the sublime genius of civilization, come to render obedience to the precepts of divine law, to place their difference in the balances of justice.
This act, which constitutes the realization of that great humanitarian thought dear to philanthropists and to statesmen for many years past, will without doubt have greater transcendency in the history of the future than we can possibly attribute to it now.
The desire to arrange the differences between the nations by pacific means is one of the forms through which modern civilization has increasingly manifested its tendency to aspire to found on earth the reign of peace and law. Statesmen and men of science are at this moment persuaded that the intervention of violent measures, which unfortunately have been used so many times to solve international conflicts, must cease, for the reason that the triumph of arms does not always represent the truthful and legitimate triumph of right.
Arbitration has been contemplated as a sure means of arriving at pacific solutions, and those peoples who have been favored thus have accumulated strong proofs of its efficiency in their national life and have escaped in their history pages of sorrow.
In the history of the countries of Spanish America the noble idea has a glorious origin. It was born with their independence as though inseparable with liberty, and as a necessary element in their existence, since liberty surges from truthful force which resides in justice. It was thus comprehended by the genius of Bolivar at the very beginning of American emancipation, and, notwithstanding frequent and lamentable vicissitudes, is to-day, germinated by the deep desire of Central American patriotism developing itself, and will soon begin to give abundant and beneficent fruit.
I think it well to recall that glorious page of Latin-American history because it puts in evidence the fact that from the beginning of independence justice and concord were the deities to which homage was rendered by our forefathers, who in their political councils always invoked these and wished to place them in evidence through treaties and in their institutions; if they do not yet reign absolutely in the privileged soil of America it is our duty, and that of all good men, to procure incontestable good fruits by their planting.
Happily, all things tend to this generous end. The Pan-American conferences that have been celebrated and that will be celebrated in the future have for their primordial duty the finding of a formula for confraternity which will make the people of this continent happy and great through concord, peace, and work.
Civilization does not halt in its march while there is a step in advance to be taken, but day by day transforms ideas into doctrines and doctrines into institutions. All realized progress is crystallized into practical and fundamental form after the natural period of evolution of idealistic theory. For this reason great thinkers believe that the idea of international arbitration, a simple humanitarian doctrine contemplated by philanthropists as the base of a superior aspiration, must be carried farther and be converted into an institution which shall form an integral part of the organism of nations.
The glory of making the first attempt at such an institution, worthily represented by this court of justice for Central America, belongs to us, and our prayers, which will be accompanied without doubt by those of all thinkers in the [Page 225] world, are that the results of this tribunal will reach the ideal and the legitimate hopes placed in it by our patriotism and humanity.
The success of this court of justice of five nations will be the success of their civilization; the purpose of the court will triumph in the end, notwithstanding the resistance that will be opposed to it by the reactionary spirit of some and the pessimism of others. It is a glorious thing for Central America to have purified its past errors by throwing to the winds to-day this new banner.
Patriotic hearts will in the future rejoice as they listen to the voices announcing success. The court of Cartago will in the future be the stone upon which those charged with realizing the magnificent destiny of Central America must build; and we have faith that the egotism of men will never reach here to destroy its purifying virtue. The interest of these people demand this; the ideal they have dreamed of, which in the person of this court is to dignify these countries before the other nations of the world, together with the aspiration of all among them who long for the coming of an era of peace and contentment, of liberty and justice upon which there is to be raised the future greatness of this rich section of the continent. For this reason we must never forget that there is incarnate in this court of justice for Central America the spirit of the old Patria; that Central America is united through the personality of its members, who have received their commissions from the representatives of the people of Central America and who thus form one body in which the soul of the old nationality is to be developed so that it may become the first step toward the union which all of us desire to see arise solidly and vigorously by virtue of peace and of the forces of work.
The present moment presents signs of a happy awakening for these countries agitated by disunion and revolutions. The hour has struck when arms must stand aside and make way for the toga. For the rude noise of battle there must be substituted the harmony of the workshop, and in place of making earth sterile by gutters torn by cannon balls it must be made fecund by the plow. In this way alone will we be great, and to this end we welcome peace, which to-day spreads its wings with a desire to cover all of the territory of the old Patria with international justice, whose throne is now raised in this chamber to carry to these peoples the good news of concord and of progress.
In this glorious day, gentlemen, I am sure there will not be a Central American heart that will not palpitate with thankfulness to the illustrious Presidents Roosevelt and Diaz, initiators of the conference of peace which created the court of justice for Central America, and to their worthy Secretaries of State, their excellencies Root and Mariscal, indefatigable apostles in the realization of that humanitarian ideal. It was not enough that Their Excellencies the Presidents of the powerful republics of the north should have proposed that conference as a resource against imminent shipwreck, but that in addition they should have followed its deliberations with lively interest, applauding its results, and at this inaugural session they honor us with their representation through two eminent men, their excellencies Senor Enrique C. Creel and William I. Buchanan, who in the same high character they bear here carried to the Central American conference at Washington their invaluable presence, placing at its service as prudent and fraternal councilors their vast fund of intelligence and their profound knowledge.
Magistrates: The Government of this Republic presents to you a most cordial and effusive welcome, and prays that the labors of this tribunal will correspond to the greatness of the idea which created it. Costa Rica welcomes you, full of pride, and greets in you an era of peace, of justice, and of progress of which you are the distinguished messengers.
Following the brilliant discourse of his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, the governor of the province, Señor Don Nicolas Jimenez, welcomed the court and other guests to Cartago in the following words:
Mr. President of the Republic; Your Excellencies the High Commissioners of the United States and Mexico; Honorable Magistrates of the Court of Justice for Central America.
Gentlemen: In the Central American Conference of Peace which took place in Washington at the close of last year, the city of Cartago had the very high honor to be selected for the residence of the court of justice for Central America, [Page 226] which in this solemn and splendid function, this moment brilliant for our destinies, this splendid aurora of right and of civilization for the sister peoples of the Isthmus, to-day begins its labors.
The noble and elevated mission confided to this august tribunal about to be installed, and from whose labors we look for such benefits in confraternity and in progress for our different nationalities, will, together with this memorable moment in which this occurrence is to take place, remain imperishable among Cartagonians because they symbolize the victory of peace in Central America and the consecration of the motto “fide et pace,” which from remote times has been carried on the shield of Cartago.
As a representative of and in the name of the Province, I extend to you a respectful and hearty welcome, and I declare to you the immense pleasure, the legitimate pride, which all Cartagonians feel in reverently opening for you in this not-to-be-forgotten hour the doors of our humble hearths and in uniting our enthusiastic wishes and prayers for the success of your efforts in this new historical epoch in the life of Central America.
I am also extremely happy to be able to respectfully and cordially welcome their excellencies the representatives of the United States and of Mexico, who have taken so much interest in the peace of the sister Republics of Central America.
The governor’s words of welcome were followed by the notable discourse of his excellency Señor Don Enrique C. Creel, high commissioner representing the Government of Mexico, who spoke as follows:
Your Excellency, Mr. President; Your Excellencies, Magistrates of the Court.
Gentlemen: It is a very high honor for me to be present at this inaugural session of the court of justice for Central America representing the people and the Government of Mexico.
This occurrence, to-day registered in history, is the only one of its kind. It responds to the noblest of human aspirations; it means the conservation of peace in five Republics, and is the foundation stone of a new era of tranquility, progress, and good fortune for the heroic people of Central America.
Some months back a new manifestation of war disturbed public tranquility hereabouts. This, if serious and threatening, was neither new nor exceptional, since unfortunately political commotion, either internal or international, had been frequent in various portions of Central America and this chronic misfortune added gravity to the situation.
Under these circumstances Mexico and the United States of America tendered their good offices toward an endeavor to see if the questions which seemed almost certain to lead to war might not be adjusted within the field of reason and justice, instead of under the dominion of force, death, and extermination.
The invitation was accepted with wisdom and patriotism, and following this the preliminary protocol of Washington of September 17, 1907, was arranged and the Central American Peace Conference came together on the 13th of November of that year in the capital of the powerful Republic of the north and within the beneficent shadow of the monument of the great Washington.
In this conference Mexico and the United States of America were given posts of honor and we were witnesses of the noble, generous, patriotic, and eminently altruistic striving for good that took place. Its delegates were inspired for good, were sustained by affection for their country and for humanity, and made no effort whatever to secure advantages for one country to the detriment of others, but, on the other hand, endeavored with rectitude and honor to procure justice for all.
I will never forget the solemn declaration made by each of the delegations in that conference that their country had no claim of any kind to present against either of their sister countries of Central America. This breadth of view, this generous and magnanimous act, under the conditions which all of us remember, honored, and will always honor, the Governments which made them and the distinguished delegates who thus so worthily elevated their respective countries.
It was in addition the genuine expression of this patriotic people and illustrated the abnegation of this noble, generous, and heroic race.[Page 227]
While from all sides charges of lack of confidence were made, and while it was announced to the world that instead of being a conference of peace it would be but a reunion of discontent wherein the fires of passion might even bring about ridicule, the distinguished delegates answered these charges with the generous declaration to which I have referred and by a thousand evidences of culture and labor, which as a model might be presented anywhere with pride as a manifestation of the progressive evolution of humanity.
The conventions of Washington constitute a program of civilization of the greatest importance and of the highest order to the five Republics. The happiness of these people depend upon their faithful execution and exact compliance with their terms.
Without doubt the most important of these conventions is that which created this court of justice for Central America. Its juridical structure is solid and was worked out with wisdom and love, while its faculties are greater than have been delegated heretofore to any tribunal.
This work, magistrates of the court, is confided to you in this historic moment. The world fixes its eyes on you. Confiding to you its future, its national honor, and the prestige of its flag each Republic thus gives to you the highest testimony of its confidence and delivers to you the urn which contains its most sacred rights. You are elevated to be judges not of one but of five nations, and this establishes and fixes upon you an extraordinary responsibility.
Mexico and the United States of America have accepted a serious moral responsibility in this international undertaking. Their representatives were present in the conference of Washington and in the same capacity of two friendly nations they are found here at this moment as an evidence of their sympathy and of especial consideration for the people and Governments of Central America, and also to signify their faith and confidence in the success of this court. This faith and confidence, magistrates of the court, is placed by our Governments in you. You are not only the guaranty of this faith and confidence which two friendly nations have placed in you, but you also occupy this relation to the people of Central America and to the civilized world, being from this moment representatives of law and of justice in Central America.
Mexico and the United States have sent their high commissioners here on a mission of friendship and sympathy, and with the assurances of their highest respect for your heroic people, your governments, your autonomy, and your institutions; they come to this rich portion of the territory of America with the olive branch as messengers of peace. We must felicitate ourselves on the fact that on the American Continent there has been developed a policy of confraternity, of humanity, of political principles, of equal social aspirations, of respect for autonomy, of honor in complying with obligations, seeking high ideals, which by justice make nations rich through happiness and labor, through order and respect for law. In this work the five Republics of Central America should take that leading part which justly and legitimately belongs to them as free and sovereign peoples. Nature has covered them with riches; two oceans ask for their commerce; a noble and generous race awaits and asks for the benefits of peace; and it remains to their public men to take advantage of these elements and to give to the court of justice the high prestige and indorsement which it must have; to respect its decisions, thus adding new testimony of culture, and to surround it with respect and consideration of every kind in order that it shall come to constitute a new jewel of peace, a positive element of order and of progress, a center of justice and most solid international guaranty. May this honorable court, by its wisdom, become a lighthouse, whose rays of justice may be carried as a sublime lesson to the peoples of the earth.
The court of justice for Central America is neither an occurrence of the moment nor without antecedents. It is in the New World the seed sown by Simon Bolivar, which, by a happy coincidence, springs forth in these moments in which the plow of civilization breaks the earth where it was deposited in order that nations may be united for the good of humanity, and with beneficent influence upon the peace of the entire world. It is the result of the forces which for a great time past have been moving on the road toward international justice and toward the frank, cordial, and friendly unity of the Republics of the American Continent. It is the result of the labor of the Pan-American conferences; it is a consequence of the deliberations of The Hague; it is the national soul which palpitates in the Mexican people, always disposed to glorify justice; it is the fruit of the voyage of the distinguished Secretary of State, Mr. Elihu Root, that sincere friend of Latin America; it is the triumph of justice over passion and of principles over force.[Page 228]
In glorious hymns the blessings of peace will be sung by humanity as the most precious of its conquests, and this we find in a tangible manner in this beautiful country which overflows with hospitality toward us, and here is felt that tranquillity which produces order and labor and brings well-being and happiness to the people.
Magistrates of the court: There are white pages left for you in the great book of history. May you inscribe on these the success of the court of justice for Central America. That triumph will be the triumph of international justice, the success of humanity, and the triumph of justice in the highest tribunal which human intelligence has produced.
These are the fervent wishes of the people and of the Government of Mexico. I beg that you, magistrates of the court, will accept these as an offer of friendship for the peoples and for the governments of your beautiful countries.
Ambassador Creel’s speech was most cordially received and loudly applauded. I then spoke, as follows:
I am charged by the President of the United States to express to you, and through you to the Government composing this court, on this historic occasion, his congratulations on this new and marked evidence of advance in the international relations of your several countries, and to assure you of his confident expectation that peace and quiet and industrial progress will result to the people of Central America through the wise, patriotic, and elevated consideration and solution by this new court of questions that may arise between them.
The convention creating this court was an expression on the part of the Governments and people of Central America that a necessity existed for a more effective means than has heretofore been met with to conserve the peace and strengthen public confidence within Central America. That is the mission of this court, and the step thus taken is therefore one of grave responsibility and of transcendental importance.
While applauding this new movement toward the quiet, orderly, and judicial adjustment of international questions, the world will confidently expect that success will follow, and will not be satisfied with less than that.
To reach this splendid ideal it is necessary, however, that the conclusions of this court shall be of so high and of so impartial a character, and the acquiescence therein on the part of the Governments of Central America so full and prompt, that together they shall be morally recognized as an expression of the national conscience of Central America, as stated in article 13 of the convention creating this court.
To accomplish this there must be behind this court and its decisions an elevated, patriotic public conscience in each of the Republics that will lift and maintain the court in every way above the plane of political purposes or necessities.
This great and responsible work rests with you who compose this court and with the Governments and people of your several Republics.
The President and the Government of the United States believe fully in the deep and sincere purpose on the part of the Governments of Central America that this splendid step forward shall be maintained, and recognize the wisdom and appreciate the patriotism and the high ideals for which your excellencies are so well known. Believing this, they confidently look forward to your complete success.
It is a great pleasure for me, therefore, and a most distinguished honor, which I shall always recall with pride, to be present at this inaugural session as the representative of the President, and on his behalf and on behalf of the Government and people of the United States to extend to you on this historic occasion, and through you to the Governments and people of Central America, their cordial, heartfelt assurance of their sincere and deep interest in the peaceful, steady growth of progress in your several countries, and to assure you of their confident expectation that the new era of good relations between the Republics of Central America, founded on the conventions and treaties of Washington and put in action by the inauguration of this court, will be durable and lasting.
Toward the attainment of that goal the good wishes and godspeed of the President, the Government, and the people of the United States will always accompany you.
I concluded in Spanish as follows:
Mr. President; Magistrates of the Court:
I have the honor and the great pleasure of bringing to the knowledge of your excellency, Mr. President, and of your excellencies the magistrates representing the Republics of Central America in the court of justice for Central America, that I have received a telegram from his excellency the Secretary of State of the United States, Hon. Elihu Root, instructing me to advise your excellencies that he has been authorized by Mr. Andrew Carnegie to offer the sum of $100,000 for the construction in the city of Cartago of a temple of peace to be destined for the exclusive use of the court of justice for Central America, as a mark of his good wishes for the peace and progress of Central America and of his confidence in the success of the great work of humanity and justice which is to spring from this court, which is to constitute a new and splendid example of civilization, of peace, of justice, and of confraternity in the relations of the countries represented here.
Before concluding I also have the great pleasure to bring to your excellencies’ attention the closing words of Secretary Root’s telegram, which were as follows: “To the distinguished magistrates: Long life, my best wishes, respect, and honor to the court.”
As I closed there was a general manifestation of great gratification to Mr. Carnegie for his splendid gift.
Immediately thereafter His Excellency the President of Costa Rica, Señor Licenciado Don Cleto Gonzalez Viquez, replied as follows:
The information which his excellency Mr. Buchanan has just communicated to us calls for the highest gratitude on the part of all Central Americans.
The name of Andrew Carnegie, known to the literary world through the excellence of his productions, admired by the student of social and political science for his philanthropic works, for his charitable spirit and for his love of humanity, will remain associated with the work of peace and civilization which Central America to-day begins under such happy auspices.
We esteem this worthy gift of the philanthropist not alone because of its material character, but especially because it symbolizes and will stand as a proof of sincere sympathy and as a voice of encouragement directed to us from the north, where “triumphant democracy” is effective, by that man of generous impulses and of noble ideals rightly named an “apostle of peace.”
I am sure that the other Governments of Central America will unite with this Government in signifying to Mr. Carnegie the great appreciation felt for his disinterested and splendid aid.
I am also sure that Mr. Carnegie, a sincere enthusiast for universal peace, will appreciate that the most eloquent as well as the most satisfactory testimony of our gratitude that can be given will be the fact that in the temple to be erected through his gift the differences which may arise between our countries are to be adjusted, thus avoiding hereafter the spectacle of fratricidal strife.
May many years remain to Mr. Carnegie in which he may honor humanity, and may it please Heaven that the world may be convinced through the decisions of this court, in which its magistrates are to act as the high priests of justice, that in Central America it is to become the substitute for the action of > war, which leaves behind it nothing but sorrow for the family, desolation for the agriculturist, and ruin for those engaged.
May we be able to demonstrate to the world that armed combats, which are but backward steps, are henceforward to be definitively but things of the past in this portion of the New World, and that in place of the radiant but exterminating figure of war there shall reign as sovereign the majestic, serene, and immaculate figure of peace.
The inaugural session was closed by the president of the court, his excellency Señor Licenciado Don José Astua Aguilar, who spoke as follows:
Mr. President of the Republic; Your Excellencies the High Commissioners of the United States of America and of Mexico.
Gentlemen: Following the eloquent discourse to which we have just listened from the minister for foreign affairs for Costa Rica, and those from their excellencies Mr. William I. Buchanan and Don Enrique C. Creel, respectively, high commissioners of the Governments of the United States of America and of the United Mexican States, who bring us in these moments, ever to be remembered, the encouragement and good wishes of the eminent heads of the two powerful and illustrious Republics of the north; after listening to the grateful manifestation of welcome which has been given this court of justice by the noble city of Cartago, in which the first days of our democracy shone forth and in which there is now raised the first altar by the apostles of Central American confraternity, I have not words sufficient to express the greatness of the motive which has brought us here.
Whatever I may say will but feebly express to you the merit of the institution, without example in times past, which we initiate to-day under such auspicious circumstances and in which there is inherent the most advanced progress in international law by which international conflicts are to be resolved and the barbarous custom of sanguinary violence, whose aftermath of death has so many times darkened the earth, is to be proscribed from the human heart, and, as the walls of Jericho which were stormed one day by the barriers of the Ark of the Covenant and destroyed by the sound of their trumpets, so may those catastrophes in which military power strikes as lightning fall at the cry of the multitude filled with charity and with justice.
By virtue of the memorable act we are witnessing, carried out at this modest Spanish-American hearth, there is united the general voice which in the second conference of The Hague, warmed by the most holy links of Christian civilization, but without success, brought forward by the favorable vote of 31 States the principle of the adoption of obligatory arbitration as the only mode of conciliation in controversies arising between nations.
From this present moment there will eternally live in history, in letters of gold, the fact that the New World, in the labor of those spirits which have for their perspective the redemption of society from the horrors of war, has brought this court before the world, bathed in the splendors of justice, heroic with its investiture of a messenger of peace, anointed by faith and defended by the honor of a group of sister peoples which have placed in it their hopes of a happy evolution in their communal life.
It is a magnificent testimony to the fact that in the long and weary road of redeeming thought the mirage of supreme good is not a vision, even though along this road human society has made its pilgrimage, and will continue it, since thus from the remote times of the Greeks and Romans the ideal life beat its wings generation upon generation and century upon century, asking the concerted groups of individuals by their love of justice within each such constituted body should also bring about the coexistence of the separate States in one great body of humanity; that it should not be cruel strife nor the preponderance of those which could make themselves factors of destruction, but the high magisterial qualities of law that should decide the inevitable cases which alter the normal life of the world, and that there should thus be reunited the elements of harmony and of collaboration, which egotism and error had broken; to accomplish this society has, with a firm step, directed itself along the peaceful road of peace toward that happy era of our dreams wherein the majestic hymn of work would be the perpetual wave of echo surrounding the memory of the benefactor and the wise men of the world.
By its constitution, by its juridictional powers, and by its juridical criterion the court of justice for Central America realizes in the most complete form the noble proposition that was lost in the world’s congress in the hall of the knights of The Hague between the vacillation of statesmen, the resistance of traditional habit, and the suspicions of politics.
We must therefore look upon this result as a happy augury for the future, since it signifies that in the zone limited by the two oceans and the Isthmus of Panama and Tehuantepec fratricidal discord has been abolished; that the peoples who occupy this territory will not be taken, as were the sons of Rebecca [Page 231] from the hearth of their mother, to engage in combat In this Central America, which, with an intelligent and virile race, with natural resources rich in wealth of every description, needs only peace and the opportunity to labor to raise it not only in its own eyes but in the eyes of the world.
This tribunal, gentlemen, and I state it with great satisfaction, constitutes the first political link—nay, even more—the first stable organism of the great and strong Patria, which as time passes will comprise under only one sovereignty, covered with one flag, the five nations which are grouped within it; it is indeed federation, to be constructed by utilizing the service of the highest social interests exemplified by this court to demonstrate justice, upon which without doubt other aspirations of unity will germinate and grow.
Before leaving this chamber in which we have gathered to celebrate this fiesta of the ideal triumphant, let us engrave in our memory of this glorious day as a symbol of the transcendental reforms which are to redeem Central America and fix upon it the admiration and respect of the world, a manifestation of gratitude to their excellencies Presidents Roosevelt and Diaz, who through their sentiments of pan-Americanism, by their enthusiastic belief in everything that tends toward the betterment of the nations of his hemisphere, and by their friendly aid contributed so much to the happy results obtained in the conference at Washington and who now honor us so much by their participation in this solemn function through the medium of two of their best-known diplomats and statesmen.
Let us also express to the worthy American philanthropist, Mr. Carnegie, who has been good enough, as we have just learned, to make an offering for the construction of the palace destined to be the home of the new power of justice, our sincere recognition, and let us inscribe at the close of the record of this inauguration the words of profound faith which Baron de Staal, the first delegate of Russia in the conference of The Hague in 1899, left as an epilogue of the labors of that memorable assembly: “We await the harvest.”
Gentlemen, the court of justice for Central America appreciates highly the welcome which has been extended to it by the minister for foreign affairs of Costa Rica in the name of the Government over which the patriotic and worthy statesman, His Excellency Señor Licenciado Don Cleto Viquez, presides.
I also comply with a deep sense of obligation by directing myself in the same sense to the other public powers of the State and extend my most fervent wishes for the prosperity of this Nation, where labor, order, and liberty live in nevers disturbed harmony.
At the close of his address the president of the court declared the session ended. The President of the Republic requested us to join him at luncheon, during which toasts were drunk to the success of the new court, while innumerable expressions of pleasure and of deep appreciation of Mr. Carnegie’s gift were heard.
Certainly none of the many splendid philanthropic acts that have so worthily marked the life of Mr. Carnegie have done or will do more good than will this one. In view of their importance, I desire at this point to include your cable instructions carried out by me in my address to the court, together with translations of the record of the inaugural session of the court, of the communication addressed to me by the municipality of Cartago, and of all telegrams connected directly with Mr. Carnegie’s generous and public-spirited action. These are as follows:
The Secretary of State to Mr. Buchanan.
Washington, May 23, 1908.
Hon. William I.
In care United States Legation, San Jose, Costa Rica:
Say to Dr. Anderson, minister for foreign affairs, with my compliments, that I am authorized by Mr. Andrew Carnegie to pledge the sum of $100,000 in gold for the construction of a courthouse for the new Central American court at Cartago if there is no obstacle to the immediate acceptance of the offer, as to which Mr. Anderson has already assured me.[Page 232]
The announcement may be made in such a manner and at such time as Dr. Anderson and you think expedient. Best wishes to you all. Long life, respect, honor, and usefulness to the court.