National Geographic : 1897 Jul
THE VENEZUELAN BOUNDARY COMMISSION of the commission, which, however, is not new to the world, having been published May 25, 1897, as Senate Document No. 106, 55th Congress, 1st session. It is to contain also a report by Professor J. F. Jameson, of Brown University, on the Treaty of Miinster of 1648, and also Professor Burr's report upon what he found in the Dutch archives bearing upon the boundary matter. Exact reproductions of those Dutch documents with translations constitute the major part of volume 2. Professor Burr's report, however, will tell a connected story of Dutch occupation and doings in the disputed territory, as gathered from these old manuscript chronicles of the Dutch. With the publication in the summer of 1897 of these four vol umes the labors of the Venezuelan Boundary Commission end. The controversy, however, is not ended, but its settlement has been relegated to a new tribunal-a tribunal of arbitration, to be composed of five of the world's leading jurists. The commission, whose work now ends, it will be remembered, is wholly a United States commission. The United States de vised it, created it, and maintained it; and it did this " to deter mine with sufficient certainty, for its own justification, what is the true boundary line between British Guiana and Venezuela." It is a high compliment to the character of the commission that both Great Britain and Venezuela promptly and cordially aided it to the fullest extent by furnishing information fully and freely. Neither was bound so to do, and neither had agreed to accept its conclusions. But as time progressed it became clear that this quasi or involuntary arbitration, if I may say so, might well be turned into an actual arbitration-an arbitration where all the facts could be sifted out, judicially weighed, and a just conclusion reached. Accordingly, at the Lord Mayor's banquet in London last November, Lord Salisbury announced that an agreement had been reached by which the long-drawn-out controversy was on its way to a peaceful, amicable, just, and final determination; an agreement to arbitrate had been reached. That the action taken by the United States some eleven months before was a powerful agency toward securing this much-to-be desired end does not admit of doubt. Such is the prevailing opinion. Such is the opinion of the commission itself, which in its report says: "A wise and just view of the case is that the commission has been a potent factor in bringing the two nations into a consent to submit the matter in dispute to an arbitral tribunal."