National Geographic : 1900 Apr
THE ANGLO-VENEZUELAN BOUNDARY DISPUTE with the Amakuru and thence along the midstream of the Amakuru to its source in the Imataka Ridge and thence in a southwesterly di rection along the highest ridge of the spur of the Imataka Mountains opposite to the source of the Barima and thence along the summit of the main ridge in a southeasterly direction of the Imataka Mountains to the source of the Acarabisi to the Cuyuni and thence along the northern bank of the River Cuyuni westward to its junction with the Wenamu and thence following the midstream of the Wenamu to its westernmost source and thence in a direct line to the summit of Mount Roraima and from Mount Roraima to the source of the Cotinga and along the midstream of that river to its junction with the Takutu and thence along the midstream of the Takutu to its source, thence in a straight line to the western point of the Akarai Mountains and thence along the ridge of the Akarai Mountains to the source of the Corentin called the Cutari River." In this award are involved two things: first, the sovereignty of a tract of country claimed by two nations; second, international arbi tration as a mode of settling such disputes. As to the first, the award is clear, sharp, and decisive, though it will be contrary to gen eral experience if difficulties of interpretation do not arise when the line is surveyed. As to the second, viz., the international arbitration of such questions, this is strengthened by a unanimous award, but weakened by the absence of a written opinion setting forth the facts and principles upon which the award was reached. As the common law has grown up and been established by the opinions of great jurists dealing with great cases, so here was, it seems to me, an exceptional opportunity to expound and establish principles of international law that would be most helpful in the future. The award is obviously the verdict of a widely disagreeing jury, which finally compromises on a line satisfactory to none. Such a decision concludes the particular dispute, but affords little light for the future. In theory, principles of international law control; in fact, compro mises control. The award is on its face a compromise. Moreover, on the day on which it was published there was cabled to America an inter view with Justice Brewer, in which the reporter quotes him as saying: " Until the last moment I believed a decision would be quite impossible, and it was only by the greatest conciliation and mutual concessions that a compro mise was arrived at. If any of us had been asked to give an award, each would have given one differing in extent and character. The consequence of this was that we had to adjust our different views, and finally to draw a line running between what each thought right."