File No. 714.1515/54

Minister Ewing to the Secretary of State

No. 364

Sir: I have the honor to comply with the Department’s cabled instruction of December 8, 5 p.m.,1 to forward by pouch a copy, with translation, of the boundary convention between Guatemala and Honduras signed August 1, 1914, by both countries. * * *

I have [etc.]

Jno. Ewing
[Page 786]


francisco bertrand, constitutional president of the republic of honduras

Whereas: On the first day of August, 1914, was concluded and signed in the City of Guatemala by means of duly authorized Plenipotentiaries a Convention of Limits between the Republic of Honduras and the Republic of Guatemala, composed of a preamble and sixteen articles, whose text is the following:

convention op limits between honduras and guatemala

The Governments of the Republics of Honduras and Guatemala, desirous to establish in a definite manner the demarcation of the dividing limits between both countries, which till the present it has not been able to accomplish, and which gives occasion for difficulties which common interests make important to remove, and also desirous that the said matter shall be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties with all cordiality and with deference due sister nations, neighbors and friends, have believed it convenient to celebrate a convention which fulfills those aspirations, and to that end have named their respective Plenipotentiaries: His Excellency the President of the Republic of Honduras naming Attorney don Guillermo Campos, Minister Resident of his Government near the Government of Guatemala; and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Guatemala naming Doctor don Luis Toledo Herrarte, his Secretary of State in the Department of Foreign Relations; who, having examined their respective full powers and found them in good and due form, have convened in the following articles:

Article I

The Governments of Honduras and Guatemala shall name a mixed technical commission, composed of an equal number of members for each party encharged to study all of the antecedents, documents and data which exist regarding the boundary between both Republics.

Article II

As soon as the said commission shall be organized, it shall begin its studies; it is empowered to make on the frontier territory all investigations, operations and labors; having as its meeting place the city of Ocotepeque.

Article III

The commission shall consign the result of its studies and observations in detailed minutes, which shall be inscribed in a book which, for that purpose, must be carried on in duplicate. If upon one or several of the points occupying the commission its members cannot agree, they shall record such disagreement in the respective minutes, each one explaining the basis for his opinion; and this done, they shall continue the study of the remaining points until the conclusion of their task.

Article IV

When the commission finishes its work, it shall send the books of minutes to the respective Governments, and it shall propose to them the means, which, in its judgment, should be adopted to celebrate a treaty definitely fixing the limits between both Republics, accompanied by a map upon which shall appear traced the dividing line which the commission may judge ought to mark the boundary, according to the results of its studies.

Article V

In view of the bases which the commission proposes, the contracting Governments shall proceed to discuss them and to define in a treaty the limits between Honduras and Guatemala. To this end, both Governments shall name their representatives, who shall unite to fulfill their mission in Guatemala or in Tegucigalpa, no later than sixty days after the conclusion of the labors of the mixed commission.

[Page 787]

Article VI

To make the resolutions in the case, the contracting Governments, after the mixed commission has presented the result of its labors, shall take into account: The observations and studies of that commission; the demarcation lines in public documents not contradicted by others of the same kind and of greater force, giving to each one the value due it according to its antiquity and legal efficacy; the comprehension of the territory which comprised the ancient provinces of Honduras and Guatemala at the date of their independence; the dispositions of the Royal Statute of Intendents then in force; and, in general, all documents, maps, plans, etc., which tend to the uncovering of the truth, giving preference to those which by their nature ought to have more force by reason of age, being clearer, more just and impartial, or founded on any other reason, following the principles of justice. To possession shall be given value only in so far as it may be found just, legitimate and founded, conforming to the general principles of right and to the laws of justice which over that particular are sanctioned by the rights of mankind.

Article VII

To arrive at the establishment of a dividing line between Honduras and Guatemala, the respective Governments may, should they believe it necessary or convenient, adopt the system of equitable compensations, heeding the laws and usages established in international practice.

Article VIII

Once definitely determined by the High Parties by treaty the dividing line between both Republics, it is established from now that national properties which may lie on one side or the other shall belong, respectively, to the Republics in whose territory they are found to be included; and that private properties which exist legitimately titled with priority to the present convention, must be respected as they deserve, and shall enjoy all the guaranties which the Constitution and the laws of each of the countries establish for its nationals, to which laws the said properties shall be subject in full.

Article IX

If the Governments shall not be able to agree in one or several of the points under discussion, they consent to submit its decision to an arbiter, who shall be the President of the United States of America.

The naming of the arbiter must be done at the latest within sixty days from the publication by the official periodical of the note in which one of the contracting Governments requests of the other the said naming.

Article X

In case of the unwillingness or inability of the President of the United States of America, the point or points under discussion shall be submitted to the decision of the President of the French Republic; and should this fail, to that of the President of the Republic of Chile; and if this high functionary is not able to accept, to that of whichever of the Presidents of the Republics of South America may be agreed upon by the chancelleries of both countries.

Article XI

The proceedings and terms to which the arbitral judgment shall devote itself shall be the following:

Within sixty days from the date upon which the two High Parties were notified of the acceptance by the arbiter they shall present to him their allegations, plans, maps and documents.
The arbiter shall communicate to the representative of each Government the allegation of the other within eight days following its presentation.
Each Government shall have the right to refute the allegation of the opposed party within ninety days following the date upon which such allegation was communicated, and with both refutations there may be presented, also, documents, plans and maps.
The arbiter shall pronounce his verdict within one hundred eighty days following the date upon which the allegations should have been answered, no matter whether such answers were presented or not.
The arbiter may delegate his functions for the procedure and study of the matter; but he must hand down directly and personally the definite sentence.

Article XII

The arbiter’s finding, whatever it may be, shall be held as the perfected treaty, obligatory and perpetual, between the high contracting parties, and there shall be no recourse against him.

Article XIII

The present convention shall be submitted in Honduras and in Guatemala to the constitutional ratifications of law, and the exchange of these shall take place in Guatemala or in Tegucigalpa within sixty days following the date on which both Governments may have complied with what is stipulated in this article.

Article XIV

The provisions of the previous article do not prevent in any manner the immediate organization of the mixed commission, which must begin its studies, at the latest, two months after the ultimate ratification, in conformity with what is provided in the present convention, without prejudice should they begin before the ratifications, if these are delayed, to take advantage of the dry or summer season for the field work.

Article XV

None of the time limits in this treaty shall have a character to be regarded as indispensable, nor to provide ground [for] nullification of any kind.

The purpose for which they are fixed is to give precision to the work; but if for any cause they shall not be sufficient for their object, it is the will of the High Parties treating that the negotiations shall be carried forward to its termination in the form stipulated, which is the one they believe most convenient. To this end they consent that the present convention shall have force for ten years, during which term it may not be reversed nor modified in any manner, excepting stipulations to the contrary, neither shall the question of limits be adjusted by other means.

Article XVI

The High Contracting Parties declare that they recognize as valid the labors executed until this date by the mixed commission of limits, by virtue of and in agreement with the convention signed in this city March 1, 1895 by the Plenipotentiaries of both nations.

By virtue of which, the Plenipotentiaries of Honduras and Guatemala sign the present convention, in two copies of the same tenor, and who affix their respective seals in the city of Guatemala the first of August, nineteen hundred fourteen.

[seal] Guillermo Campos
[seal] Luis Toledo Herrarte

And whereas: The National Congress of the Republic by Decree No. 40 issued January 29 of the present year of 1915, approved and the Executive Power sanctioned the mentioned convention.

Therefore: By virtue of Article XIII of the said convention, and that it may be complied with and observed as law of the Republic, I extend the present instrument of ratification, signed with my hand, sealed with the Great Seal of the Republic and countersigned by the Secretary of State in the Department of Foreign Relations, in Tegucigalpa, this February twelvth, nineteen hundred fifteen.

  1. Not printed.