818.6363 Am 6/85

The British Ambassador ( Geddes ) to the Secretary of State

No. 356

My Dear Mr. Secretary: In conversation in regard to the Amory concession on the 29th ultimo you informed me that you believed it to be a fact that the holders of the concession now had access to the Courts in Costa Rica.

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I have made enquiry at San José and I find that no doubt an appeal to the Courts would lie to test the validity of Law 41, the measure under which the concession was cancelled.

I should, however, mention that, according to my information, one of the first acts of the present Costa Rican Congress was to remove the justices from the Supreme Court Bench and, without regard to constitutional practice, to appoint their own nominees to the vacancies thus created. This course was adopted for the very purpose of upholding confiscatory measures such as Law 41, to the policy embodied in which, both the Costa Rican Government and a number of other Costa Rican notables have declared themselves to be opposed.

In the circumstances, an appeal to the Courts on this particular question could not, I think, be expected to convince the holders of the concession that their case would receive an impartial hearing by the Supreme Court of Costa Rica.

It is on the ground of the very special circumstances which I have explained above that His Majesty’s Government consider that the only fair way to obtain a settlement of this question is to have recourse to arbitration. To admit the validity of confiscatory legislation of this character would create, to my mind, a most dangerous precedent, apart altogether from the question of the interests involved. We should in fact be accepting in Costa Rica that to which we so strongly object in Mexico. Having regard to these considerations I still hope that the American Government will see their way to support our demand for arbitration. As the matter is becoming more and more urgent, I should be particularly grateful if you would give the matter further consideration in the light of what I have explained above and let me have a statement of your views at the earliest possible moment.

Believe me [etc.]

A. C. Geddes