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

No. 593

Sir: Reference is made to the Legation’s despatch No. 1210, dated October 29, 1929, concerning the Provisional Claims Commission and its relationship to the Government of Nicaragua.

The Department has observed that it apparently is believed by the Legation as well as by the American member of the Commission that the Provisional Claims Commission has been established through a “Claims Convention” and that it enjoys therefore an “international character” by virtue of which it should have unrestricted independence of action and be free from control by the Nicaraguan Government.

Although the establishment of a Claims Commission was contemplated by the so-called Tipitapa Agreements as a necessary step to be taken by Nicaragua in order to place its economic affairs in order and maintain its domestic and external credit, the actual establishment of the present Commission has resulted from the Legislative Decree of December 3, 1926, and the Presidential Decree of July 30, 1929. Its status and jurisdiction are therefore determined solely by Nicaraguan legislation, and it does not appear inappropriate for the Commission to consult with the Nicaraguan Government regarding matters of procedure and policy. It is obvious that the Commission should be completely independent in the actual decision of cases and in any other matters which might affect the justice and impartiality of its awards.

The foregoing is not to be construed, however, as indicating that the operations of the Provisional Claims Commission have no international character or that they are not a matter in which this Government is keenly interested. The Government of the United States, in view of the several claims of considerable importance that undoubtedly will be submitted to the Commission for consideration on behalf of injured American interests, as well as similar claims on the part of foreigners, takes a keen interest in the Provisional Claims Commission and is most anxious that it shall initiate its labors at an early date and carry them forward as speedily as possible and with the greatest possible freedom. It is hoped, therefore, that you will lend such assistance whenever possible and appropriate as will serve to facilitate the work of the Commission.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White
[Page 696]

[Legislation creating a permanent Claims Commission was passed by the Congress and signed by President Moncada on February 6, 1930—La Gaceta, No. 34, February 10, 1930 (417.00/380).]