Treaty Series No. 678
General Claims Convention between the United States of America and Mexico, Signed at Washington, September 8, 192329
The United States of America and the United Mexican States, desiring to settle and adjust amicably claims by the citizens of each country against the other since the signing on July 4, 1868, of the Claims Convention entered into between the two countries (without including the claims for losses or damages growing out of the revolutionary disturbances in Mexico which form the basis of another and separate Convention), have decided to enter into a Convention with this object, and to this end have nominated as their Plenipotentaries:
- The President of the United States of America:
- The Honorables Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Charles Beecher Warren and John Barton Payne, and
- The President of the United Mexican States:
- Señor Don Manuel C. Téllez, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United Mexican States at Washington;
>Who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers found to be in due and proper form, have agreed upon the following Articles:[Page 556]
All claims (except those arising from acts incident to the recent revolutions) against Mexico of citizens of the United States, whether corporations, companies, associations, partnerships or individuals, for losses or damages suffered by persons or by their properties, and all claims against the United States of America by citizens of Mexico, whether corporations, companies, associations, partnerships or individuals, for losses or damages suffered by persons or by their properties; all claims for losses or damages suffered by citizens of either country by reason of losses or damages suffered by any corporation, company, association or partnership in which such citizens have or have had a substantial and bona fide interest, provided an allotment to the claimant by the corporation, company, association or partnership of his proportion of the loss or damage suffered is presented by the claimant to the Commission hereinafter referred to; and all claims for losses or damages originating from acts of officials or others acting for either Government and resulting in injustice, and which claims may have been presented to either Government for its interposition with the other since the signing of the Claims Convention concluded between the two countries July 4, 1868, and which have remained unsettled, as well as any other such claims which may be filed by either Government within the time hereinafter specified, shall be submitted to a Commission consisting of three members for decision in accordance with the principles of international law, justice and equity.
Such Commission shall be constituted as follows: one member shall be appointed by the President of the United States; one by the President of the United Mexican States; and the third, who shall preside over the Commission, shall be selected by mutual agreement between the two Governments. If the two Governments shall not agree within two months from the exchange of ratifications of this Convention in naming such third member, then he shall be designated by the President of the Permanent Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague described in Article XLIX of the Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes concluded at The Hague on October 18, 1907. In case of the death, absence or incapacity of any member of the Commission, or in the event of a member omitting or ceasing to act as such, the same procedure shall be followed for filling the vacancy as was followed in appointing him.
The Commissioners so named shall meet at Washington for organization within six months after the exchange of the ratifications of [Page 557] this Convention, and each member of the Commission, before entering upon his duties, shall make and subscribe a solemn declaration stating that he will carefully and impartially examine and decide, according to the best of his judgment and in accordance with the principles of international law, justice and equity, all claims presented for decision, and such declaration shall be entered upon the record of the proceedings of the Commission.
The Commission may fix the time and place of its subsequent meetings, either in the United States or in Mexico, as may be convenient, subject always to the special instructions of the two Governments.
In general, the Commission shall adopt as the standard for its proceedings the rules of procedure established by the Mixed Claims Commission created under the Claims Convention between the two Governments signed July 4, 1868, in so far as such rules are not in conflict with any provision of this Convention. The Commission, however, shall have authority by the decision of the majority of its members to establish such other rules for its proceedings as may be deemed expedient and necessary, not in conflict with any of the provisions of this Convention.
Each Government may nominate and appoint agents and counsel who will be authorized to present to the Commission, orally or in writing, all the arguments deemed expedient in favor of or against any claim. The agents or counsel of either Government may offer to the Commission any documents, affidavits, interrogatories or other evidence desired in favor of or against any claim and shall have the right to examine witnesses under oath or affirmation before the Commission, in accordance with such rules of procedure as the Commission shall adopt.
The decision of the majority of the members of the Commission shall be the decision of the Commission.
The language in which the proceedings shall be conducted and recorded shall be English or Spanish.
The Commission shall keep an accurate record of the claims and cases submitted, and minutes of its proceedings with the dates thereof. To this end, each Government may appoint a Secretary; these Secretaries shall act as joint Secretaries of the Commission and shall be subject to its instructions. Each Government may also appoint and employ any necessary assistant secretaries and such other assistance [Page 558] as deemed necessary. The Commission may also appoint and employ any persons necessary to assist in the performance of its duties.
The High Contracting Parties, being desirous of effecting an equitable settlement of the claims of their respective citizens thereby affording them just and adequate compensation for their losses or damages, agree that no claim shall be disallowed or rejected by the Commission by the application of the general principle of international law that the legal remedies must be exhausted as a condition precedent to the validity or allowance of any claim.
Every such claim for loss or damage accruing prior to the signing of this Convention, shall be filed with the Commission within one year from the date of its first meeting, unless in any case reasons for the delay, satisfactory to the majority of the Commissioners, shall be established, and in any such case the period for filing the claim may be extended not to exceed six additional months.
The Commission shall be bound to hear, examine and decide, within three years from the date of its first meeting, all the claims filed, except as hereinafter provided in Article VII.
Four months after the date of the first meeting of the Commissioners, and every four months thereafter, the Commission shall submit to each Government a report setting forth in detail its work to date, including a statement of the claims filed, claims heard and claims decided. The Commission shall be bound to decide any claim heard and examined within six months after the conclusion of the hearing of such claim and to record its decision.
The High Contracting Parties agree that any claim for loss or damage accruing after the signing of this Convention, may be filed by either Government with the Commission at any time during the period fixed in Article VI for the duration of the Commission; and it is agreed between the two Governments that should any such claim or claims be filed with the Commission prior to the termination of said Commission, and not be decided as specified in Article VI, the two Governments will by agreement extend the time within which the Commission may hear, examine and decide such claim or claims so filed for such a period as may be required for the Commission to hear, examine and decide such claim or claims.[Page 559]
The High Contracting Parties agree to consider the decision of the Commission as final and conclusive upon each claim decided, and to give full effect to such decisions. They further agree to consider the result of the proceedings of the Commission as a full, perfect and final settlement of every such claim upon either Government, for loss or damage sustained prior to the exchange of the ratifications of the present Convention (except as to claims arising from revolutionary disturbances and referred to in the preamble hereof). And they further agree that every such claim, whether or not filed and presented to the notice of, made, preferred or submitted to such Commission shall from and after the conclusion of the proceedings of the Commission be considered and treated as fully settled, barred and thenceforth inadmissible, provided the claim filed has been heard and decided.
The total amount awarded in all the cases decided in favor of the citizens of one country shall be deducted from the total amount awarded to the citizens of the other country and the balance shall be paid at Washington or at the City of Mexico, in gold coin or its equivalent to the Government of the country in favor of whose citizens the greater amount may have been awarded.
In any case the Commission may decide that international law, justice and equity require that a property or right be restored to the claimant in addition to the amount awarded in any such case for all loss or damage sustained prior to the restitution. In any case where the Commission so decides the restitution of the property or right shall be made by the Government affected after such decision has been made, as hereinbelow provided. The Commission, however, shall at the same time determine the value of the property or right decreed to be restored and the Government affected may elect to pay the amount so fixed after the decision is made rather than to restore the property or right to the claimant.
In the event the Government affected should elect to pay the amount fixed as the value of the property or right decreed to be restored, it is agreed that notice thereof will be filed with the Commission within thirty days after the decision and that the amount fixed as the value of the property or right shall be paid immediately. Upon failure so to pay the amount the property or right shall be restored immediately.
Each Government shall pay its own Commissioner and bear its own expenses. The expenses of the Commission including the salary [Page 560] of the third Commissioner shall be defrayed in equal proportions by the two Governments.
The present Convention shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective Constitutions. Ratifications of this Convention shall be exchanged in Washington as soon as practicable and the Convention shall take effect on the date of the exchange of ratifications.
In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed and affixed their seals to this Convention.
- In English and Spanish; Spanish text not printed. Ratification advised by the Senate, Jan. 23, 1924; ratified by the President, Feb. 4, 1924; ratified by Mexico, Feb. 16, 1924; ratifications exchanged at Washington, Mar. 1, 1924; proclaimed by the President, Mar. 3, 1924.↩