File No. 718.1915/193.

The Chief Justice to the Secretary of State.

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have your recent letter2 inquiring concerning my action in the request referred to me by the representatives of Costa Rica and Panama as to the arbitration provided for in the agreement between these two countries. I must apologize for my delay in replying to the request, which has been occasioned by circumstances over which I had no control. I beg leave under this cover to send you a copy of a letter by me to-day addressed to the ministers of the two countries, and at the same time to send you the letters which I have addressed to the respective ministers so that you may see that they are delivered.

The conditions which I have imposed to the acceptance of the duty of arbitration are in exact compliance with the result of a conversation [Page 676] which took place between myself and the ministers of the respective countries in Washington in June last, of which conversation and understanding I took the liberty of informing you in a letter1 addressed to you some time since.

With the greatest respect, believe me, etc.,

Edward D. White.

The Chief Justice to the Ministers on Special Mission.2

Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favor of June 10 last, dated at Washington, D. C., inclosing me “an authentic copy of the convention entered into between the two aforesaid Republics under date of the 17th of March, 1910, whereby your honor (myself) was nominated arbitrator to decide in conformity with the terms of the said convention upon their boundary questions.” I beg leave to further observe the fact that in your letter referred to you have done me the honor to request me “to kindly accept the office referred to, and advise us of your acceptance.”

Thus taking notice of the statements made, and of the request therein made, I beg leave to say that I accept the duty of considering and passing upon the dispute as to the boundary between the respective countries referred to in and provided for by the agreement; and this acceptance, however, on my part is made subject to the following express and special understanding, that is: “That all the documents and papers submitted to me for my action in my official capacity which are originally in the Spanish language shall be translated into English by a translator selected by the respective parties, they being therefore wholly responsible for the sufficiency and accuracy of the translations, and that all the arguments or proceedings submitted to me to be acted upon shall be in the English language.” This condition is affixed by me to my acceptance, because it seems to me to be essential to enable me to discharge the duties which the arbitration implies with fairness to both of the countries involved. I am led further to exact the condition because that condition literally conforms to what I understand was the agreement between the representatives of the respective countries when their representatives did me the honor to call upon me personally in Washington in June last and inform me of their intention to more formally notify me thereafter.

With the assurance of the greatest respect, etc.,

Edward D. White.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Identic note to each minister.