Treaty for the Free Navigation of the Rivers Parana and Uruguay Between the United States and Argentina; July 10, 1853

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Concluded July 10, 1853; ratification advised by the Senate June 13, 1854; ratified by the President July 5, 1854; ratification exchanged December 30, 1854; proclaimed April 9, 1855.

The President of the United States and His Excellency the Provisional Director of the Argentine Confederation, being desirous of strengthening the bonds of friendship which so happily subsist between their respective States and countries, and convinced that the surest means of arriving at this result is to take in concert all the measures requisite for facilitating and developing commercial relations, have resolved to determine by treaty the conditions of the free navigation of the rivers Parana and Uruguay, and thus to remove the obstacles which have hitherto impeded this navigation. With this object they have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

The President of the United States, Robert C. Schenck, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Brazil, and John S. Pendleton, Charge d'Affaires of the United States to the Argentine Confederation; and His Excellency the Provisional Director of the Argentine Confederation, Doctor Don Salvador Maria del Carril, and Doctor Jose Benjamin Gorostiaga;

Who, after having communicated to each other their full powers found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:


The Argentine Confederation, in the exercise of her sovereign rights, concedes the free navigation of the rivers Parana and Uruguay, wherever they may belong to her, to the merchant vessels of all nations, subject only to the conditions which this treaty establishes, and to the regulations sanctioned, or which may hereafter be sanctioned, by the national authority of the Confederation.


Consequently, the said vessel shall be to remain, load and unload in the places and ports of the Argentine Confederation which are open for that purpose.


The Government of the Argentine Confederation, being desirous to provide every facility for interior navigation, agrees to maintain beacons and marks pointing out the channels.


A uniform system shall be established by the competent authorities of the confederation, for the collection of the custom-house duties, harbor, lights, police and pilotage dues, along the whole course of the waters which belong to the Confederation.


The high contracting parties, considering that the Island of Martin Garcia may, from its position, embarrass and impede the free ill navigation of the confluents of the river Plate, agree to use their influence to prevent the possession of the said island from being retained or held by any State of the river Plate, or its confluents, which shall not have given its adhesion to the principle of their free navigation.


If it should happen (which God forbid) that war should break out between any of the States, Republics or Provinces of the river Plate or its confluents, the navigation of the rivers Parana and Uruguay shall remain free to the merchant flag of all nations, excepting in what may relate to munitions of war, such as arms of all kinds, gunpowder, lead and cannon balls.


Power is expressly reserved to His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil, and the Governments of Bolivia, Paraguay and the Oriental State of Uruguay to become parties to the present treaty, in case they should be disposed to apply its principles to the parts of the rivers Parana, Paraguay and Uruguay, over which they may respectively possess fluvial rights.


The principal objects for which the rivers Parana and Uruguay are declared free to the commerce of the world, being to extend the mercantile relations of the countries which border them, and to promote immigration, it is hereby agreed that no favor or immunity shall be granted to the flag or trade of any other nation which shall not equally extend to those of the United States.


The present treaty shall be ratified on the part of the Government of the United States within fifteen months from its date, and within two days by His Excellency the Provisional Director of the Argentine Confederation, who shall present it to the first Legislative Congress of the Confederation, for their approbation.

The ratifications shall be exchanged at the seat of Government of the Argentine within the term of eighteen months.

In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this treaty, and affixed thereto their seals.

Done at San Jose de Flores, on the tenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three.





Treaties, Conventions, International Acts and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers 1776-1909.
Compiled by William M. Malloy
Under Resolution of the Senate of January 18, 1909
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1910.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.