411.57 N 83/155

The Secretary of State to the Norwegian Minister (Bryn)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of June 16, 1921, with reference to the arbitration of claims presented by your Government against the Government of the United States on account of the requisition of property by the United States Emergency Fleet Corporation.

In view of the extended conversations that have been held with you at the Department, it would seem unnecessary to enter into any considerable, further discussion of the matters referred to in your communication.

You urge that the word “law” in Article I of the draft proposed by the Department be eliminated and state that this word “as a basis for international arbitrations has not been applied in any of the arbitration agreements before the Permanent Court of the Hague”. As of possible interest in connection with this point, I beg to invite attention to Article III of the Agreement between France, Great Britain, Spain and Portugal for the Arbitration of Claims Relating to Religious Properties, signed at London [Lisbon], July 31, 1913. This Article, in a translation from the French which I believe to be accurate, reads as follows:

“The Tribunal shall examine and decide the aforesaid claims in accordance with the conventional law applicable thereto, or that failing, according to the general provisions and principles of law and equity.”

Whichever term, “law” or “public law”, might be used in the agreement, I presume that the Arbitral Tribunal would apply, as is desired, any principles and rules of law which, in its judgment, might be deemed applicable to the determination of the claims to be arbitrated. For reasons which have been indicated to you at [Page 596] length I prefer the term “law.” I feel certain that this term furnishes a basis of arbitration, grounded on precedent, and fair to both Governments in the light of the facts involved in the claims in question.

While I should have no objection to inserting an appropriate provision in the agreement with reference to the production of papers to which you refer, the particular provision which you have proposed is, for reasons that have been explained to you, unsatisfactory; and since, I understand, you do not desire to press this point, I refrain from delaying the signing of the agreement by submitting a counter-proposal or by entering into any further discussion of it.

I beg to enclose herewith a draft of an agreement25 which is acceptable to the Department and which I understand meets with your approval. I shall be glad to sign it with you next Thursday afternoon at three o’clock if you will be good enough to call at the Department for that purpose.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Not printed; text of agreement as signed, infra.