Page:Frontiers.djvu/53

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51
Frontiers

instead of supervening at a later date to cover them with ridicule or reduce their findings to a nullity. I do not say that absurd mistakes and blunders are not still committed. I could, if I had the leisure, construct a notable and melancholy list. But the tendency is unquestionably in the direction of greater precision both of knowledge and of language.

Lastly, when the Commissioners reach the locality of demarcation, a reasonable latitude is commonly conceded to them in carrying out their responsible task. Provision is made for necessary departures from the Treaty line, usually 'on the basis of mutual concession'; tribes or villages are allowed to use watering places or grazing grounds across the Frontier, or to choose on which side of the border they will elect to dwell. Some Treaties (for instance that between the United States and Mexico) allow for the pursuit of raiders across the common Frontier without the creation of a casus belli. When the Commissioners have discharged their duty, not as a rule without heated moments, but amid a flow of copious hospitality and much champagne, beacons or pillars or posts are set up along the Frontier, duly numbered and recorded on a map. The process of demarcation[1] has in fact become one of expert labour and painstaking exactitude.

  1. I use the word intentionally as applying to the final stage and the marking out of the boundary on the spot. Diplomatic agents and documents habitually confound the meaning of the two words 'delimitation' and 'demarcation', using them as if they were interchangeable terms. This is not the case. Delimitation signifies all the earlier processes for determining a boundary, down to and including its embodiment in a Treaty or Convention. But when the local Commissioners get to work, it is not delimitation but demarcation on which they are engaged.