The Secretary of State to the Hondusran Minister (López Gutiérrez)35

Sir: Since the Department of State offered its good offices as friendly mediator in the boundary dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua, more than three years ago, a large number of conferences have been held at this Department, with a view to ascertaining whether an agreement acceptable to both parties could be reached. These discussions have not, so far, achieved any definite result. The Department of State has, as you know, declined to express any opinion upon the validity of the award of the King of Spain defining the boundary between the two Republics, but has sought to find a solution of the controversy which would be agreeable to both parties. In September of last year a possible solution of this boundary question [Page 236] was suggested to the two parties by the Secretary of State, but neither felt able to agree to the proposals made. Thereafter the conferences were temporarily discontinued and were only recently resumed.

As a consequence of the recent conferences held with yourself and with the representative of the Government of Nicaragua, the Department of State, as mediator, now desires to suggest the following procedure as a means of reaching a permanent settlement of the boundary dispute between the Republics of Honduras and Nicaragua, namely,—(1) that the following question, “Is the award defining the boundary rendered by the King of Spain in 1906 valid?”, be submitted for determination to the Chief Justice of the United States, and that (2) in the event that the arbitrator should hold the award of the King of Spain to be invalid, and the boundary line fixed by that award consequently inapplicable, the Chief Justice of the United States be entrusted with the duty of determining the boundary which shall be established between the two Republics, taking into consideration all facts, circumstances and antecedents relating thereto, with the prior understanding that both the Government of Honduras and the Government of Nicaragua shall accept the decision so rendered as final and conclusive.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Nicaraguan Minister.