File No. 817.812/180

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister of Costa Rica

No. 10

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of the Legation’s note of March 27, 1916, in which, pursuant to special instructions of your Government, you inform me that the Government of Costa Rica has brought suit against the Republic of Nicaragua before the Central American Court of Justice, on the ground that the negotiation and consummation of the Convention of August 5, 1914, between the United States and the Republic of Nicaragua, without the requisite advice and consent of Costa Rica, are construed by your Government to be in flagrant violation of the rights and sovereign integrity of Costa Rica, as stated in the protests lodged with this Department by you, under date of February 2 and 21, 1916.

You are doubtless aware that the establishment of the Central American Court at Cartago by virtue of the Convention of the Governments of Central America, signed December 20, 1907, at Washington, took place long after the agreements of Costa Rica and Nicaragua to undertake negotiations with the United States for the construction of a Nicaraguan Canal, as provided by the protocols signed December 1, 1900, by each of the interested Governments. This Government is not of the opinion that any of the Conventions entered into at Washington in 1907 between the Governments of Central America affected, or were intended to affect, the international relations between the United States and any of the Governments of Central America. It was manifestly not contemplated that the Court at Cartago, established for the settlement of difficulties between the Governments signatory to the Convention, would undertake jurisdiction of matters concerning diplomatic relations between those countries and the United States.

Inasmuch as the declarations of this Department and the proviso adopted by the Senate of the United States affirm that no right of Costa Rica therein involved was intended to be injuriously affected by the Nicaraguan Treaty, an endeavor on the part of Costa Rica [Page 838] to interfere with Nicaragua’s freedom of action in this connection can be viewed by this Government only as indicative of an attempt to prevent Nicaragua’s fulfillment of her contractual obligations.

Accept [etc.]

Frank L. Polk