International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
LATER ARBITRATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN

141. As to territorial disputes . -- Recognizing the Jay Treaty as marking the beginning of the modern era of arbitrations, especially between the United States and England, we note that the subjectmatter of one board was that of territorial boundaries. A number of other disputes of like character were subsequently dealt with in the same general manner.

In 1814, by Article 4 of the Treaty of Ghent, there was referred to a joint commission of two members, having power in the event of disagreement to call in a third, the question of the ownership of islands in Passamaquoddy Bay and of the Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. This arbitration was had without calling in the assistance of an umpire.

By Article 5 of the same Treaty of Ghent a like arbitration commission was appointed to determine the northeastern boundary of the United States from the source of the River St. Croix to the St. Lawrence River. These commissioners failing to agree, the question was referred to the King of the Netherlands. His award, given January 10, 1831, assumed the form largely of a recommendation rather than of a decision. As such the United States rejected it, and England accepted the judgment of this country as to the character of the award. It was undoubtedly void as failing to follow the terms of submission. Later this particular difficulty was adjusted by voluntary action between the two countries embodied in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Article 6 of the Treaty of Ghent also referred to a joint commission the determination of the boundary along the middle of the Great Lakes to the water communication between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. This resulted in an agreement between the arbitrators, which agreement was accepted by the parties.

Article 7 of this same treaty contained a similar reference covering the boundary line to the Lake of the Woods. In this case the commissioners were unable to agree and the question was settled by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

A further boundary dispute occurred with relation to the northwestern corner of the old United States and concerning the meaning of the convention signed at London October 20, 1818, as to the extension to the Pacific, and afterward undertaken to be covered by the boundary

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