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

No. 1452

Sir: In reply to the Department’s instruction No. 618 of July 29, 1933 (file No. 417.00/481), stating that with certain exceptions the Department is in complete sympathy with the new law prolonging the life of the Nicaraguan Claims Commission, I have the honor to report that in a letter to President Sacasa dated August 8, 1933, Minister Hanna transmitted the contents of the Department’s instruction pointing out that the time limit of four months for the filing of claims seemed somewhat inadequate and that the Department considered it pertinent to point out further that the Commission is a municipal tribunal whose acts are not binding on the United States and therefore that claims against Nicaragua 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. The President was also informed that the Government of the United States 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.

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Under date of August 30, 1933, President Sacasa replied to the Minister’s letter stating that he believed the observation of the State Department that the time limit of four months might conveniently be extended to six months was justifiable and that he would be willing to request Congressional action to bring this about, if the State Department should so desire.

With respect to the reservations made by the Department covering claims not brought to the Commission’s attention under the new law or the adjudication of which might constitute a denial of justice in the international sense, the President considered these reservations to be unjustifiable, since they did not seem to be in harmony with the generally accepted principles of international law. In discussing this point the President referred to the Convention relative to the Eights of Aliens, signed at the Second International American Conference of Mexico in 1902.87 Although the Government of the United States was represented at that Conference, it is believed pertinent to point out that according to the report thereof published by the Government Printing Office in Washington in 1902, the American representatives did not sign this Convention. A copy and translation of the President’s letter of August 30, 1933, are enclosed herewith.88

On September 8, 1933, I had occasion to converse with Judge Stanley and asked him his opinion with respect to the President’s attitude toward the reservations made by the State Department. He stated the President had already discussed the subject with him and appeared incensed because the Department had made such reservations in connection with the recently enacted law. According to Judge Stanley, the President exclaimed: “What is the use of having a Claims Commission if its decisions are not accepted”.

Respectfully yours,

Paul C. Daniels
  1. Second International Conference of American States, Message From the President of the United States, Transmitting a Communication From the Secretary of State, Submitting the Report, With Accompanying Papers, of the Delegates of the United States to the Second International Conference of American States, Held at the City of Mexico From October 22, 1901, to January 22, 1902 (Washington. Government Printing Office, 1902), p. 226.
  2. Not printed