Mr. McKinney to Mr. Gresham. No. 34.]


Bogota, January 12, 1894. (Received February 6.) SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No.32, of November 27, regarding the complaint of the Colombian minister that the tone of my communication, by which I transmitted your desire regarding the Costa Rica boundary question to the Colombian Government, was not in harmony with the spirit of the friendly relations existing between the two Governments. In communicating your instructions, I followed very closely the language of your letter, as you will see by the copy I inclose. I withdrew this letter at the request of the minister of foreign affairs, because he said he preferred to deal with the American legation on questions of this kind by private interviews. He said they were preparing a proposition to Costa Rica for a treaty; that they desired the good services of the United States in urging Costa Rica to accept it, and promised to send a copy of the proposition to this legation before it should be forwarded to Costa Rica.

They failed to comply with this seeming friendly promise, and we did not receive a copy until two weeks after its transmission to Costa Rica, when it had been published in the official organ of the Government.

I learned then that the Colombian Government did not wish to acknowledge the right of our Government to interfere in any way between two South American governments. I called the attention of the minister of foreign affairs to his failure to fulfill his promise, and politely intimated to him that his action in the matter, under the circumstances, was in the nature of a slight to the United States. He dis claimed any such intentions, and explained that on account of the great length of the document, and the timo required to copy it, they had decided to wait for its publication before transmitting it to this legation. I am now convinced that his request for the withdrawal of my note was not inspired by the strong spirit of friendship which he professed, but through a desire to prevent any record being made of interference by the Department at Washington.

If there is any cause of complaint in this matter, it seems to me it should come from the Government of the United States. I am, etc.,


(Inclosure in No. 34.]
Mr. McKinney to Mr. Suárez.

Bogota, August 21, 1893. SIR: I am instructed by the Department of State at Washington, to communicate to you the earnest desire of the Government of the United States for the settlement of the boundary dispute between

See Foreign Relations, 1893, pp. 266, 270, 281, 286, 287, 289, 294.

Colombia and Costa Rica, as agreed in the convention between the two States, of December 25, 1880, and the additional convention signed at Paris, January 20, 1886.

The Government of the United States, maintaining friendly relations with both the parties to the dispute, is as indisposed to support the claim of Costa Rica, that the arbitration is still validly open, as it is to accept the converse claim of Colombia, that it has lapsed.

Not being in any sense a party to the arbitration, it is moved only by the desire to preserve the rights of its citizens in the territory in dispute, and to fulfill the international obligations of existing treaties.

The United States are by the treaty of 1846 with New Grenada, now Colombia, guarantors of the rights of sovereignty and property which Colombia has and possesses over the territory of the Isthmus of Panama, "from its southern extremity until the boundary of Costa Rica."

The Government is therefore interested in knowing the limits of the guaranty it has assumed, and regards it as a duty of friendship to do what it can toward the determination of its own rights and duties in respect to a territory the bounds of which are unsettled and in controversy.

Without therefore expressing any opinion touching the merits of the dispute now pending between Colombia and Costa Rica, the United States, in a spirit of complete disinterestedness, feels constrained to represent to the Government of Colombia, as also of Costa Rica, its earnest desire and hope that they shall waive the comparatively trivial obstacle to the accomplishment of the larger purpose of amicable arbitration, which they have both advocated, and that they shall come to an understanding whereby that high aim shall be realized either by the continuance of the arbitration under Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain, or if Her Majesty be indisposed to renew the functions, then by the alternative method already agreed upon, or by resort to any impartial arbitrator.

The President, in directing me to convey these views to the Government of Colombia, desires me to impress upon your excellency his sincere conviction “that the agreement of arbitration entered into by the two nations constitute an obligation between them which neither is morally free to disregard on grounds of technical formality, and his confidence that both Governments will endeavor to promote its successful issue." I avail, etc.,


Mr. McKinney to Mr. Gresham.

No. 38.]


Bogota, February 10, 1894. (Received March 9.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith further correspondence in regard to the boundary question between Colombia and Costa Rica.

The Colombian minister of foreign affairs is opposed to the appointment of a Colombian or Costa Rican legation to treat about the matter on account of the expense.

He sees no reason why the legations of their respective countries, at either Washington or Madrid, should not arrange this matter. I am, etc.,


(Inclosure 1 in No. 38.-Boundaries between Colombia and Costa Rica.-Taken from the Diario

Official, 9-267.)

Mr. Jiménez to Mr. Suárez.


Costa Rica, San Jose, November 18, 1893. Mr. MINISTER: The Government of Costa Rica has always desired, and still desires, to put a just and decisive end to the boundary dispute between the two Republics.

Urged not only by motives of mutual advantage to two neighboring states of common origin and of the same historical aspirations, but also by reasons of great-economical importance, such as the removal of the obstacles which, on account of the existence of the dispute, drive away, up to a certain point, moral and material progress in the zones of the Atlantic and Pacific of both countries. To this end, every means compatible with the national honor has been tried. Its boundary treaties, its arbitration conventions, and its diplomatic correspondence prove my words.

With this understanding, and based upon the principles of justice which determine the validity of international acts, it has supported, in accordance also with the opinion of the Spanish Government, the judge of this lawsuit, the noncaducity of the arbitration convention celebrated by both States the 25th of December, 1880, and the additional convention of Paris dated January 20, 1886, in regard to which your excellency's Government unexpectedly declared the authority of the arbitrator instable, when the decision, it may be said, was on the point of being given. Having stated my Government's wishes, wishes which I sincerely trust are also your excellency's, and the powerful reasons which led to them, I have thought it opportune to reply thus to the communications of your department of March 16, 1891, and September 6th of the present year, for any other reply could but give rise to long, and useless discussions between the two cabinets, without obtaining any practical results, or one mutually satisfactory.

In accordance, therefore, with these aspirations, the principal object of the present dispatch, the President of the Republic has instructed me to propose to the honorable and just Government of Colombia that the validity or nonvalidity of the above mentioned conventions be submitted to arbitration, during which time there is no objection to the appointment of a Costa Rican or Colombian legation, which, with the delegates of the respective Governments, shall try to draw up a boundary treaty, or an arbitration convention, and to decide upon the temporary frontiers of the two countries. With sentiments of high esteem and distinguished consideration, and awaiting your reply, in regard to the proposed point, I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 2 in No. 38.]

Mr. Jiménez to Mr. Suárez.


Costa Rica, San Jose, November 20, 1893. MR. MINISTER: Amplifying the ideas contained in my note of the 18th of the present month, I have the honor to tell your excellency that this department has just received your excellency's dispatch of March 16, 1891, in reply to my Government's note proposing the adoption of a provisional frontier between Colombia and Costa Rica. Your excellency manifests in your letter the satisfaction with which your Government embraces the idea, but you state that the line which the Castro Valenzuela” treaty established is not acceptable to Colombia; and propose in its stead the river “Doraces,” the mountain chain “Las Cruces,” and the river "Golfito."

I have the honor to tell your excellency that the proposition which you make is full of obstacles which render it entirely unacceptable, for it would leave on the side of Colombia territories which belong to Costa Rica not only by right, but by act. Moreover, the question would still remain in regard to the great extension of territory, referring, as the said limit line does, to places about which no two maps agree. The circumstance that the proposition of your excellency's Government was not acceptable to Costa Rica, and that, shortly after the receipt of your note of March 16, my Government learned that the “Colombian Venezolana" boundary question had been settled by the Spanish Government, and that the said Government would immediately take up the boundary question between Colombia and Costa Rica, led my Government to suspend, as unnecessary, the discussion in regard to an agreement of a statu quo.

As the decision had almost been rendered, which would have defi. nitely established the frontier line of our two countries, it was unnecessary to discuss longer a provisional arrangement which had only been commenced in the belief that the date of the final decision was exceedingly remote. Moreover, as the incident in regard to the validity of the time limit within which the Government of His Catholiç Majesty was to try the boundary question between the two States according to the treaties in force, serves to prolong the decision in regard to the prin. cipal matter, my Government thinks that it would be very acceptable to appoint a Costa Rican or Colombian legation which could proceed to the business mentioned in my dispatch of the 18th of the present month. I am, etc.,


[Inclosure 3 in No. 38.]

Mr. Suárez to Mr. Jiménez.


Bogota, January 4, 1894. MB. MINISTER: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency's note of November 18, 1893, regarding the boundary question between Colombia and Costa Rica, a matter which has for some time occupied the attention of our two Governments. The Government of Colombia, as well as that of Costa Rica, has always desired and still desires to settle this matter in a just and decisive way. The same motives which animate your excellency's Government in this matter, impel also the Colombian Government, for it is urged not only by motives of mutual convenience to the two States, but also by considerations of economical importance such as your excellency mentioned in the note which I now have the honor to answer. The Colombian Government finds itself in similar circumstances as regards Costa Rica, in all that relates to the means of accomplishing its wishes, in a friendly

and just way, as is proved by the treaties and conventions concluded with this intention, and the correspondence exchanged with your excellency's Government.

This correspondence, from its beginning up to the last notes addressed by this department to that under your excellency's charge, evidently shows a desire to have the boundary question definitely and bindingly settled. For as soon as it became evident that the validity of the treaties was doubtful, the Government of the Republic hastened to mention it, at the same time inviting Costa Rica to renew the said compacts, and giving a practical proof of its desire to prevent the boundary decision from being null and void. Therefore, my Government is certain it has given the best practical proof of its desire for the settlement of this matter, for it has prevented useless work in the accomplishment of this settlement, and at the same time has invited Costa Rica, with the greatest good will, to remove in good time any cause of failure in the laborious work of the arbitrator and of the interested parties.

As these sentiments exist, and as it is not to be supposed that the Government and people of Costa Rica fail to respond to this friendly and loyal conduct, or willfully misinterpret it, this department thought that the governments were in perfect accord, as regards the ideas (and propositions) referring to the conclusion of a new treaty, and to the establishment of a provisional boundary which would enable the final decision to be calmly awaited. This belief has been confirmed by your excellency's letter, which I now answer; and in consequence, and according to the instructions of the vice-president of the Republic, I take pleasure in renewing to your excellency the invitation contained in my preceding note, as the Colombian Government desires the renewal of the treaties and the establishment of a provisional boundary.

As the two governments agree upon this point, there is absolutely no necessity for wasting time and money in concluding an arbitration treaty referring to the validity of former treaties, a thing entirely unnecessary, inasmuch as the Governments of Colombia and Costa Rica desire to ratify, without loss of time, those treaties.

Once ratified, there would be no object in discussing the theoretical question of the value of the renewed treaties. Accept, etc.,


(Inclosure 4 in No. 38.]

Mr. Suárez to Mr. Jiménez.


Bogota, January 12, 1894. MR. MINISTER: Once more, and obliged by recent reports received by the Colombian Goverument, I have the honor earnestly to call your excellency's attention to the grave fact that Costa Rica, as is asserted, is performing jurisdictional acts on the right bank of the river Sixaola, which river, as that Government has admitted, is to mark the border line of the present possession of our two countries. If this fact is so, the Colombian Government, making use of the right which is conferred upon it by the said admission, and complying with the common obligation which has for some time bound the two republics, namely, to respect the status quo of the international possession, will be obliged to proceed to positive acts in the defense of the invic lability of the

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