Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 7, 1911
File No. 417.00/96.
The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.
Managua , October 31, 1911.
I have the honor to report that on the 14th instant the National Constituent Assembly unanimously approved the decree of the Executive bearing date of the 9th instant, and embodying the amendments approved by the Department in its telegram of June 26 to the mixed commission decree of May 17 last. A certified copy of this law is herewith inclosed.
I have, etc.,
Act of October 14, 1911, of the Nicaraguan Constitutional Assembly, approving the presidential decree of October 9, 1911, amending the act of April 4–May 17, 1911, establishing the tribunal or mixed commission.
The National Constituent Assembly decrees that the following presidential decree of October 9, 1911, is approved in its entirety:
The President of the Republic, seeing that in the legislative decree of May 17, 1911, certain amendments and additions should be made to clarify and better apply its provisions, by the authority invested in him and in ministerial council, decrees:
Article 1. The preamble of said
decree of May 17, 1911, shall be amended to read as follows:
The President of the Republic, having conferred with the Government of the United States as to the best mode of affording a just and equitable solution of questions concerning the validity or invalidity of all pending claims against the Government of Nicaragua, including those that originate through the cancellation or suspension of monopolies, leases, concessions, and contracts executed by prior governments of the Republic, and to guarantee to nationals and aliens equally their lawful rights—by the authority invested in him and in ministerial council decrees:
Article 2. To article 1 of the
said decree shall be added the following:
The claims referred to in this article are all those claims which from any cause whatsoever may arise or may have arisen against the Government of Nicaragua from the beginning of the administration of President Zelaya until the closing of the commission, including claims which may arise out of the belligerent operations of either faction during the recent civil war. To facilitate the examination of these claims the commission is empowered to meet in its discretion in places other than in Managua, and it shall give due and appropriate notice of such meetings to the interested parties. The commission shall in its consideration of claims give precedence to claims arising out of military loans, requisitions, or exactions by either faction during the recent civil war.
Article 3. To article 2 shall be
added the following:
The commissioner appointed by the Department of State shall act as president of the tribunal, and no meeting at which he or his duly appointed successor is not present shall be held, nor shall any rule or regulation be adopted or put into effect until the president of the commission shall have expressed his opinion regarding the same. All vacancies arising from whatever cause shall be filled within thirty days from the beginning of such vacancies in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.
Article 4. Article 3 shall read
All cases pertaining to the said claims shall be initiated by introduction before said tribunal or mixed commission, which shall hear, try, and judge them in all their phases; and a majority of the votes of the members shall suffice for final judgment in all cases, and in pronouncing said judgment every member of the tribunal shall vote. If any member is persistently absent and without just cause, or for any reason is incapacitated for the performance of his duties, the attending members shall notify the Government of Nicaragua, which shall thereupon declare the commissionership vacant, which vacancy shall immediately thereupon be filled as provided in article 2. The commission is empowered to employ the clerical force necessary for the conduct of its work, which clerical force shall be compensated by the Nicaraguan Government.
Article 5. Article 5 shall read
Article 5. The individuals or companies referred to in article 1, or their assigns, who shall not appear before the tribunal or mixed commission established [Page 642] by this law within six months to plead, shall thereby lose their rights by default, as well as the right of indemnification, and the concessions, leases, or contracts shall immediately be considered finally forfeited, the tribunal being under obligation so to declare upon the request of the Government of Nicaragua: Provdied, however, That the right to oppose the cancellation or annulment of concessions, and the right to indemnity, shall not be forfeited, and the forfeiture of rights and remedies with reference thereto shall in no case be declared by the commission, except upon proof satisfactory to the tribunal that, six months prior to the motion for such judgment, the Government of Nicaragua gave in appropriate form express notice to the parties concerned of the intention of the Government to move for such judgment against them, and unless said parties shall have failed to appear before the tribunal during the said term and shall not have presented any valid excuse for such failure to appear.
Article 6. Article 6 shall read
Article 6. The President shall cancel by special decrees such contracts or concessions as may be illegal or unconstitutional. No contract or concession contemplated in articles 1 and 5 and the present article shall be canceled or annulled except on the ground that such contract or concession is illegal or unconstitutional, and no decree of cancellation or annulment shall take effect until affirmed by the commission after an opportunity for a full hearing has been given to the parties in interest and until such damages, if any, as may by the commission be found due to the concessionaires from the Government of Nicaragua shall have been paid. No cancellation or annulment heretofore decreed by the present Government of Nicaragua shall take effect until a like determination by the commission and payment of damages, if any, by the Government. Where, by reason of special equipment or experience or for any other sufficient reason, the parties from whom the concession or contract is taken are better able to carry on the legally proper part of such concession or contract than a new concessionaire, such parties if responsible shall be given preference as to any new grant touching the same matter, which new grant shall be conferred in as liberal terms as may be consistent with the law and the national welfare.
Article 7. To article 9 shall be
added the following:
The salary of the president of the tribunal shall be 10,000 dollars gold besides the sum of 2,000 dollars gold for expenses.
Article 8. Article 14 shall read
Article 14. The six months period above mentioned shall begin to run from the date on which the actual notice of the annulment or cancellation of the concession is given to the concessionaire or contractor, provided that in no case shall such six month period be held to expire at a date earlier than six months from the date on which the tribunal formally begins its regular sessions for the determination and adjudication of claims; and provided that as to all other claims the period shall begin to run from the date on which the tribunal formally begins its regular sessions for the determination and adjudication of claims, which date shall be notified by proper publication in the official gazette for a period of thirty days beginning fifteen days before said date of opening and continuing for fifteen days after said date of opening.
Article 9. The following new
article shall be added to the said decree:
Article 15. The Government of Nicaragua shall accept the decisions of the tribunal as final and binding adjudications of the claims passed upon by the tribunal, and undertakes to pay all awards made by said tribunal against the Government.
Enacted at Managua, in the Hall of Sessions, the 14th day of October, 1911.
Promulgated October 17, 1911.
Certified to the American Chargé d’Affaires October 20, 1911, by the Ministro de Gobernacion ad interim, Luis Mena.