The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Nicaragua ( Hanna )

No. 618

Sir: The Department refers to your despatch No. 1369, of July 17, 1933,83 enclosing a copy of the law recently enacted by the Nicaraguan Congress extending the life of the Nicaraguan Claims Commission to June 30, 1934.

For reasons previously indicated to you, the Department regards the new law with approval and considers that Article 1 thereof extending the jurisdiction of the Commission to include every claim against the Government gives an excellent opportunity to obtain the adjudication of outstanding American claims against Nicaragua that did not previously come within the jurisdiction of the Commission. To this end the Department will notify all American claimants of record of the extended jurisdiction of the Commission and advise them to bring their claims to its attention.

In view of the fact, however, that most of these claimants are not residents of Nicaragua, the Department considers that the limitation of four months for the filing of claims, contained in Article 2 of the new law, should be extended to at least six months. It appears that under Article 4, claimants will have further time in which to fully support their claims by appropriate evidence.

While, as stated, the Department considers the extension of the Commission’s jurisdiction a favorable opportunity for settling claims against Nicaragua that might otherwise be the subject of diplomatic negotiation or of arbitration, it considers it pertinent to point out that the Commission is a municipal tribunal whose acts are not binding on the United States and therefore that claims against Nicaragua [Page 568] not brought to the Commission’s attention under the new law or not decided by the Commission could not be considered as barred from future presentation through diplomatic channels should their merits seem to warrant such action. Furthermore, while it is improbable that any such course will be necessary, this Government reserves the right to present to the Nicaraguan Government any claim decided by the Commission, should the Commission’s decision be so patently unjust as to constitute a denial of justice in the international sense.

With the exception of the time within which claims may be filed and with the understandings mentioned, the Department is in complete sympathy with the new law and you may so inform President Sacasa.

When informing the Department of the publication of the law please cable,85 in order that claimants may have the longest possible time after notification to prepare their claims.

Very truly yours,

Wilbur J. Carr
  1. Not printed.
  2. By telegram No. 51, August 20, 1933, 10 a.m., the Minister in Nicaragua informed the Department of the publication of the law, signed by the President July 8, 1933, in La Gaceta-Diario Oficial, August 18, 1933, p. 1585.