Case 135 - Beagle Channel Negotiations
This three-part case study explores a territorial dispute between Argentina and Chile over three small islands in the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of South America. Part A provides background on the 19th-century origins of the dispute and then traces the effort to resolve it by arbitration in 1972. Part B details similarly unsuccessful attempts to resolve the impasse through a formal negotiation process and mediation, as both countries edged toward military confrontation. Part C describes the shuttle diplomacy of Pope John Paul II’s personal envoy, Cardenal Samore, which resulted in an agreement on both sides to cease provocations and submit the dispute to papal mediation in Rome.
The case illustrates several negotiating principles, including domestic, economic, institutional, and bureaucratic issues that can affect the course of a negotiation. It can be usefully assigned along with “A Question of Sovereignty: Bahrain, Qatar, and the International Court of Justice" (Case Study 301).