Citation. Perm. Ct. of Arbitration, 2 U.N. Rep. Int’l Arb. Awards 829 (1928).
Brief Fact Summary. Both the United States (P) laid claim to the ownership of the Island of Palmas. While the U.S. (P) maintained that it was part of the Philippines, the Netherlands (D) claimed it as their own.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A title that is inchoate cannot prevail over a definite title found on the continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty.
Issue. Can a title which is inchoate prevail over a definite title found on the continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty?
Held. (Huber, Arb.). No. A title that is inchoate cannot prevail over a definite title found on the continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty. The peaceful and continuous display of territorial sovereignty is as good as title. However, discovery alone without subsequent act cannot suffice to prove sovereignty over the island. The territorial sovereignty of the Netherlands (D) was not contested by anyone from 1700 to 1906. The title of discovery at best an inchoate title does not therefore prevail over the Netherlands (D) claims of sovereignty.
Discussion. Evidence of contracts made by the East India Company and the Netherlands (D) was examined by the arbitrator. The claims made by the Netherlands (D) were also based on the premise of the convention it had with the princes and native chieftains of the islands. Hence, at the time of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain was found not to have dominion over the island.
y 4,700 private U.S. claims, ordered payment by Iran (D) to U.S. nationals amounting to over $2.5 billion.