The Chargé in Nicaragua (Hanna) to the Secretary of State

No. 1100

Sir: With reference to the Legation’s despatch No. 1072 of July 11, 1929, and to its telegram No. 207 of July 30, 3 p.m., I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of the Presidential Decree of July 30, 1929, establishing a Provisional Claims Commission, as published in La Gaceta of July 31, 1929, as well as a copy and translation of the Foreign Office’s note No. 157 of July 31, 1929,93 transcribing a Presidential Decree dated July 31, 1929, appointing Mr. J. S. Stanley President of the Commission.

Paragraph sixteen of the draft submitted to the Department is omitted in the published decree. This paragraph provided for the naming of the members within the decree itself but it was omitted principally because the Liberal party at the time the decree was [Page 689] published had not nominated its candidates for the Commission. The salary of the secretary of the Commission has been increased from one hundred cordobas to two hundred cordobas monthly. The above are the only two changes from the draft decree submitted to the Department. In the second line of Paragraph two there is a typographical error. “5 de diciembre” should obviously read “3 de diciembre”.

I have [etc.]

Matthew E. Hanna

Decree of July 30, 1929, Establishing a Provisional Claims Commission

The President of the Republic,

In use of the general powers conferred on him by articles 190 and 111, No. 36 of the Constitution, and considering:

That the Claims Commission created by the law of December 5 [3], 1926, cannot be reconvened, among other reasons because the appointee of the Department of State of the United States of America on the High Commission is prevented from forming part of that tribunal because he is in charge of the office of Collector General of Customs, and because the work of said tribunal requires his entire attention to the exclusion of all other employment or office;

That it is indispensable to delay no further in receiving and studying the claims against the State, originating during the last civil war, in order to establish their total amount and consider the form of payment and the funds available for that purpose;

That in order to give foreign claimants the best guarantee of impartiality and justice and to carry out the evident intention of the law of December 3, 1926, referred to, the presence of an American judge on the tribunal who will concur with his vote in rendering decisions is necessary; taking advantage of the assistance offered Nicaragua by the Government of the United States of America,


  • Article 1. There is established in the capital of the Republic a Provisional Claims Tribunal or Commission which shall receive and take cognizance of all claims for exactions, requisitions, war damages and other obligations not liquidated and pending against the Government of Nicaragua as a consequence of the civil war, from October 25, 1925, until the date when the Executive shall declare the country officially at peace.
  • Article 2. The claims presented to the Commission created by the law of December 3, 1926, shall be received and passed upon by the [Page 690] Provisional Commission without necessity of a second presentation by the interested parties.
  • Article 3. The Provisional Claims Commission shall be made up of three members: One from the Conservative Party, another from the Nationalist Liberal Party, and another who shall act as President and who shall be an American citizen named by the President of the Republic, after nomination by the Department of State of the United States of America. The President of the Republic will name the Nicaraguan members.
  • The Commission shall meet not later than 60 days following the publication of this decree in the Diario Oficial.
  • Article 4. The Provisional Commission shall cease in its functions as soon as the Congress of the Republic enacts a new organic law of the Claims Commission; but it shall not have the right to continue functioning longer than 18 months from the date of its first meeting. Within this time all the claims of which cognizance has been taken should be passed upon.
  • Article 5. The decisions of the Commission shall be made by the three members, each one having the obligation to give and explain his respective vote. The tribunal shall decide by a majority vote, but no decision shall be valid unless it is concurred in by the American member of the Commission.
  • Article 6. For the study and decision of claims, the Commission shall proceed with the powers of arbitrators or friendly mediators.
  • Article 7. The Commission is authorized to formulate its rules and regulations of procedure or to adopt those of the Commission created by the law of December 3, 1926. The said rules shall be published in the Diario Oficial and the tribunal shall begin to function 10 days after their publication. The claims shall be presented according to the requirements of the rules, without prejudice to the requirements of article 2 of this decree.
  • Article 8. Nicaraguan citizens and juridical persons, and foreign societies or corporations and citizens or subjects, shall have equal rights, without any exception, to present themselves before the Provisional Commission, whether they be inhabitants of the territory of the Republic or not. Claimants who do not present their claims within six months from the date on which the Executive shall have officially declared the peace, shall not have the right to do so later and shall lose the right to all judicial and extrajudicial indemnification.
  • Article 9. There shall be considered among the claims against the State exactions, requisitions and war damages caused by both sides in the last civil war, as well as those caused by acts of banditry in all the territory of the Republic. But the benefits of this decree shall [Page 691] not accrue to foreign societies, citizens or subjects who have taken part in the civil war or in acts of banditry.
  • The Commission is also authorized to receive and pass upon, within the period established, claims for personal injuries which foreign citizens or subjects may have suffered, provided they have not taken part directly or indirectly in the civil war or acts of banditry.
  • Article 10. The Nicaraguan members of the tribunal shall receive a salary of 300 cordobas monthly; and there shall be paid to the American member, as salary and for his expenses of installing himself and of his stay in Nicaragua, the sum to be fixed by the President of the Republic in agreement with the Department of State of the United States of America; but in no case shall the said sum exceed 10,000 cordobas annually.
  • Article 11. The secretary of the Commission shall be a Nicaraguan, named by it, and he shall receive a monthly salary of 200 cordobas. The Commission shall have available 4,000 cordobas annually for office expenses and investigations, in the form prescribed in the respective rules.
  • Article 12. Claimants shall not have the right to be members of the Commission. Members of the Commission shall not have the right to take cognizance of the claims of their relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity and the second degree of affinity; and when one of them is inhibited for this reason, the American member shall have double vote.
  • Article 13. All members of the tribunal shall remain in the capital on all working days without absenting themselves therefrom except for justifiable cause. In case any member absents himself persistently and without good cause, or for any reason shall be incapacitated for the fulfillment of his duties, the members who attend shall notify the Executive power to this effect, and the latter will proceed immediately to name the person to replace him.
  • Article 14. The Treasury shall be represented before the tribunal by one or more lawyers named by the President of the Republic, and these lawyers shall be given hearings and opportunity to examine documents under the law. They shall receive a salary of 150 cordobas monthly each.
  • Article 15. The decisions of the Provisional Commission created by the present decree shall not constitute a judgment or obligation of the State until the Congress of the Republic so directs upon enacting the new organic law of the Claims Commission.
  • Article 16. The present decree shall go into effect upon its publication in the Diario Oficial.
  1. Note not printed.
  2. Translation supplied by the editor.