File No. 713.001/55

The Minister of Salvador to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: Acting under instructions from my Government, I have the honor to enclose herewith, for your excellency’s information, translations of telegrams that have just passed between the Foreign Offices of Nicaragua and El Salvador bearing date the 9th2 and 16th instant, respectively, and relating to Nicaragua’s denouncement of the convention for the establishment of a Central American Court of Justice, concluded at Washington on the 20th of December, 1907.

I beg leave, also, to bring to the attention of your excellency’s Government the attached memorandum containing a brief expression of the views of the Government and people of El Salvador respecting that momentous act on the part of her sister Republic, and would be grateful if your excellency would be good enough to give some expression of the views of your Government as, in a way, one of the moral guarantors of the denounced convention.

With renewed assurances [etc.]

R. Zaldivar
[Inclosure 1—Telegram—Translation]

The Salvadorean Minister of Foreign Relations to the Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Relations

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s esteemed telegram of the 9th instant, in which you are pleased to inform me that, according to Article 27 of the convention for the establishment of a Central American Court of Justice, the said convention shall remain in force for the term of ten years counted from the last ratification, which was that of the Guatemalan Government, on the 11th of March, 1908; and that, for reasons that need not be fully set forth on this occasion—but among which you cite the most important, to wit, the heavy expenses occasioned by the maintenance of the Central American Court, which expenses, you say, are already insupportable in face of the economic conditions under which Nicaragua is laboring—your Government regretfully denounces to this Government the said convention, in conformity with the above-cited Article that fixes the term within which the convention is to remain in force.

In reply, Mr. Minister, my Government begs to express to your excellency’s Government the deep pain with which it has received the notification of the latter’s intention to hold as rescinded the convention in question, at the approaching conclusion of the term prescribed in Article 27 thereof, because my Government considers the fact to be most momentous that that sister Republic should place itself outside the international concert of Central America which was created in 1907 by the Conventions of Washington (conventions that my Government is confident will be adhered to by the other signatory republics), and consequently outside the system which the Republics of the Isthmus established by those conventions for the pacific settlement of their disagreements and controversies—a highly beneficent system which the prominent men of America have recognized as being a most advanced step in the progress of international institutions. This act is the more regrettable when it is considered that just now all peoples are anxious to provide for their future well-being by seeking to protect themselves from the calamities of war by means of what must be acknowledged as one of the best methods, the adoption of a system of the kind that by good fortune has [Page 32]been established in Central American States; a system that makes it easy to disadjust their agreements by the peaceful and honorable application of the principles of law and justice. This conception of the Central American Court of Justice must of necessity become more and more popular from now on, and the tribunal must come to be accepted as a wise and far-sighted measure that will reflect glory, not only on the Republics of Central America, but on the United States and Mexico, under the auspices of whose Governments was born that august international institution, the first of its kind.

For the reasons set forth, my Government believes that your excellency’s Government will contract a very grave moral responsibility if it carries out its intention of holding as rescinded the convention in question. Wherefore, in the most friendly and fraternal spirit, my Government has the honor hereby to address to the Nicaraguan Government, in the distinguished person of your excellency, the most respectful expression of its hope that the Government will generously strive to overcome any obstacles to its adherence to that pact and retire from its determination to withdraw therefrom, in order that it may continue, in unison with the Governments of its sister Republics, to enjoy the benefits of the stipulations agreed to at Washington, the object of which is that Central America should form an international nucleus guided, in the relations of its five States, by the canons of justice, law and peace.

If, in spite of the considerations above suggested, your excellency’s Government decides to insist upon its determination, I must inform your excellency’s illustrious Government that my Government understands that the stipulation contained in Article 27 of the Convention for the Establishment of a Central American Court of Justice, and prescribing the term within which it is to remain in force, cannot be availed of as justification in holding that convention alone to be rescinded whilst holding to be in full force and vigor the General Treaty of Peace and Amity that was concluded at Washington on the same date, because the first and most important of the stipulations of the latter pact provides, as the means whereby peace and the most complete harmony among the signatory Republics is to be maintained, that every difference or difficulty that may arise amongst them, of whatsoever nature it may be, shall be decided by means of the Central American Court of Justice. That stipulation constitutes the most essential provision of that General Treaty, and, consequently, my Government considers that its force and effect is wholly bound up with the life of the treaty itself. From this it must naturally be inferred that so long as one of the High Contracting Parties does not signify its intention to put an end to that treaty, in the manner prescribed in its 19th Article, the convention for the establishment of a Central American Court of Justice cannot be held to be rescinded, even though the term fixed in Article 27 of the latter may have elapsed. That term is merely a repetition of the identic term prescribed in Article 19 of the General Treaty, but it is unaccompanied by the provision granting power to denounce the convention separately at the end of the period.

My Government, Mr. Minister, takes refuge in the firm hope that the Government of Nicaragua will do all that may lie in its power to maintain in force the Treaties of Washington, and in thus giving expression to these most fervent hopes, it remains only to assure your excellency that the sentiments of my Government towards that sister Republic are inspired by the liveliest sympathy and the most sincere desire for the preservation of the friendly relations that happily exist between the two countries.

I beg [etc.]

R. Arrieta Rossi
[Inclosure 2—Memorandum]


The Government and people of El Salvador consider that the existence of the Central American Court of Justice is of vital importance to the maintenance of peace in Central America, since, in their opinion, that court is the fundamental basis of the General Treaty of Peace and Amity which was concluded at Washington on the 20th of December, 1907. They are also of the opinion that the contemplated rescission of the convention that created that court, if allowed to be consummated, will effectively carry with it the rescission of the other pact, because, conversely, so long as the General Treaty remains in force, it would be impossible to hold that the convention that gave life to a court which is called upon to settle peacefully all disagreements that may arise among the Central American States is not also in force; and that, therefore, if the Government [Page 33]of Nicaragua persists in the determination of which the Salvadorean Foreign Office has been given notice, by telegram of March 9, then also must stand without force and effect the vitally important stipulations contained in these Treaties of Washington that were concluded under the auspices of the Governments of the United States and Mexico.

  1. Printed supra.