International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
ARBITRATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO

145. The first Mexican arbitration. -- Continuing the historical treatment of arbitrations between the United States and its nearest neighbors, it is to be remembered that next after Great Britain, with which nation arbitrations have been most frequent because of proximity along a long boundary line and innumerable business relations, the Mexican arbitrations naturally come next in importance and for like reasons.

The first arbitration between the two countries occurred under the Treaty of April 11, 1839, taking the place of conventions unratified by Mexico of September 10, 1838. This treaty provided for two commissioners on the part of each of the two countries and in the event of differences a reference to an arbitrator who should be appointed by the King of Prussia. A large number of claims were passed upon by this commission, many being finally determined by the fifth arbitrator, who, however, never gave any reasons for his conclusions to the parties in interest, but reported them to the authority naming him. The aggregate amount of claims allowed by agreement of the commissioners or by award of the umpire was $2,025,111.69, though at the conclusion of the labors of the commission a number of claims remained unsettled. For the disposition of these and any other claims of citizens of either country or its government against the other, a new convention was provided for under date of January 30, 1843. Internal disturbances in Mexico and the Mexican War prevented this convention from functioning.

146. Commission under Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. -- By the Treaty of Peace of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States appointed a board of commissioners to pass upon the validity of outstanding claims against Mexico, the awards of which to an amount not exceeding three and one-quarter million dollars were to be paid by the United States. The commission so appointed, however, was purely a domestic tribunal, although guided by the law of nations.

The treaty to which we refer concluded Feb. 2, 1848, was notable in that by its Article 21, still in force, it provided that

If unhappily any disagreement should hereafter arise between the governments of the two republics, whether with respect to the interpretation of any stipulation in this treaty, or with respect to any other particular concerning the political or

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