The Minister in Panama (South) to the Secretary of State

No. 628

Sir: Referring to the Department’s telegram No. 10 of January 23, 4 p.m., and confirming my telegram No. 13 of January 30, 11 a.m.,24 I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a note dated January 29, 1925 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which is set forth the attitude of the Panaman Government with regard to the settlement of the Costa Rica boundary question. A translation of the above note is also inclosed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This morning I received a note dated January 30, 1925, a copy and translation of which are enclosed, informing me that the Government of Panama considers it essential that some agreement along the lines specified in the communication of January 29th be reached, before Panama can name its engineer to proceed with the demarcation of the boundary line.

I have [etc.]

J. G. South
[Enclosure 1—Translation25]

The Panaman Minister for Foreign Affairs (Alfaro) to the American Minister (South)

S. P. No. 249

Mr. Minister: I have received Your Excellency’s kind note No. 310 of the 20th [sic] instant in which you inform me, pursuant to instructions from your Government, that the Government of Costa Rica has approached the Department of State with a view to the demarcation of the boundary between Panama and Costa Rica. Your Excellency states that this matter has been pending for many years without any advance having been made in its final determination, and that the Government of Costa Rica is naturally anxious to settle it in order to avoid disagreeable and regrettable frontier incidents. Your Excellency suggests that now that there are new administrations in both Panama and Costa Rica, since the painful incidents of 1921, it should be possible to dispose of this matter without further friction.

Finally Your Excellency states that your Government would be happy to have Panama appoint its engineer to delimit, in conjunction with those named by the arbitrator and by the Government of Costa Rica, the frontier as set forth in the arbitral award.

[Page 473]

In reply I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that Panama also earnestly desires to end forever the boundary question with Costa Rica; but as the Republic of Panama in 1921 was the victim of an unjustifiable aggression which at that time obliged it to make heavy expenditures, my Government feels that the settlement of the pecuniary claim should be considered a question precedent to the demarcation of the frontier.

Once this question has been settled the Government of Panama would be disposed to proceed with the delimitation, in accordance with the line fixed in the arbitral award,26 from the mouth of the Sixaola River to the point near the ninth degree of north latitude beyond Cerro Pando, and would accept the rest of the delimitation as far as the Pacific coast, it being always understood that in making this delimitation of the territory a just line will be established which protects the interests of the Panamans who live or hold properties in the region in controversy, permitting, as far as may be practicable, the lands of the said inhabitants or owners to remain within the frontiers of Panama. This could be done by the mere signing of a protocol in which would be incorporated the instructions which could be carried out by the Boundary Commissioners. The proposed solution does not involve any new feature inasmuch as the President of France, in explaining his decision at the request of Costa Rica, declared that the lines of the award were general, and that they remained subject to the changes which the Boundary Commissioners might consider necessary to make when setting the landmarks, taking into consideration the best interests of the two countries.

To carry out the proposed solutions along the lines above described, Panama is disposed to enter into direct negotiations with Costa Rica as soon as possible. My Government wishes to have it understood, however, that in making these proposals it is animated by a spirit of pure conciliation, and that this attitude does not imply in any manner that Panama accepts the validity of the arbitral award, to which, it is understood, the note of Your Excellency refers.

I avail myself [etc.]

H. J. Alfaro
[Enclosure 2—Translation]

The Panaman Minister for Foreign Affairs (Alfaro) to the American Minister (South)

S. P. No. 262

Mr. Minister: With reference to our interview of this morning permit me to inform Your Excellency that the Government of Panama considers that in order to proceed with the nomination of the [Page 474] Panaman engineer who should participate in the demarcation of the boundary line with Costa Rica, it is essential that a previous agreement be reached along the lines indicated in the note which I had the honor to address to Your Excellency dated the 29th instant, numbered S. P. 249.

I avail myself [etc.]

H. J. Alfaro
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. File translation revised.
  3. For the text of the Loubet award, see Foreign Relations, 1910, p. 786.