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The convention which Japan will seek to make on the same subject will, as you have indicated, have to be shaped in some respects so as to meet the wishes of Japan in regard to the protection of her interests in the sea otter. What this Government deems necessary for the preservation of the seals in Behring Sea is entirely to prohibit the slaughter of them with firearms, nets, and other destructive implemeuts, at a distance from the coasts. The Departinent would be glad to learn the views of the Japanese Government concerning the meas. ures necessary for the protection of its interests in the otter, and to be furnished with information respecting their territorial and pecuniary extent. I am, etc.,
T. F. BAYARD.
Mr. Wurts to Mr. Bayard.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, St. Petersburg, September 3, 1887. (Received September 17.) SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 99, of the 19th of last month, relating to the measures to be taken for the better protection of the seal fisheries in Behring Sea, and to inform you that, in obedience to it, I have communicated the invitation of the Government of the United States to that of Russia to enter into such an arrangement as will put a check to the indiscriminate destruction, by the citizens of either country, of the seals in those waters. I am, etc.,
GEORGE W. WURTS.
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, St. Petersburg, December 8, 1887. (Received December 27.) SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith the translation of a note from the Foreign Office, received at the legation yesterday, on the proposition of the United States for an international agreement touching the capture of seals in Behring Sea. The earnestness felt here in the matter is plainly indicated by the language of the note, which speaks of unrestrained seal-hunting as a thing which not only threatens the wellbeing but even the existence of the people of the extreme northeast coast.
This language represents a view which I have heard here in conversation, of course not officially, and which is substantially as follows:
The seal fishery on our Behring coasts is the only resource our people there have; it furnishes them all the necessaries of life; without it they perish. Now, international law concedes to every people exclusive juris. diction over a zone along its coasts sufficient for its protection; and the doctrine of the equal rights of all nations on the high seas rests on the idea that it is consistent with the common welfare and not destructive of any essential rights of the inhabitants of the neighboring coasts, Such common rights, under public law, rest on general consent, and it would be absurd to affirm that such consent had been given, where its necessary result would be the absolute destruction of one or more of the parties. Hence the rule can not be applied blindly to an unforeseen case, and these alleged common rights must rightfully be limited to cases where they may be exercised consistently with the welfare of all. Behring Sea partakes largely of the character of an inclosed sea; two great nations own and control all its inclosing shores. It possesses a peculiar fishery, which, with reference to its preservation, can only be legitimately pursued on land, and even there only under strict regulations. To allow its unrestrained pursuit in the open waters of the sea is not only to doom it to annihilation, but, by necessary consequence, to destroy all its coast inhabitants. If this result is conceded it follows that the doctrine of common rights can have no application to such a case.
I have thought it might not be uninteresting to give this as a view which has found expression here, and, if found necessary, I think it not improbable that kussia would feel that she was driven to act on it. I am, etc.,
GEO, V. N. LOTHROP.
[Inclogure in No. 151–Translation.)
M. de Giers to Mr. Lothrop.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Asiatic Department, November 25, 1887. MR. MINISTER: Mr. Wurts, under date of August 22 [September 2], was good enough to communicate to me the views of the Government of the United States of America upon the subject of the desirableness of an understanding, among the governments concerned, for the regulation of the taking (la chasse) of the fur scal(loutres) in the Behring Sea, in order that an end might be put to those inconsiderate practices of extermination which threaten to dry np, at their source, an important branch of international commerce.
We concur entirely in the views of the Government of the United States. Like it, we also have been for a long time considering what means could be taken to remely a state of things which is prejudicial not only to commerce and to revenue, but which will soon work disastrons results, not only to the well-being but even to the existence of our people in the extreme northeast. The establishment of a reasonable rule, and of a lawful system in the use (l'erploitation) of the resources, which furnish their only industry, is for those people of vital importance.
The pressing interest which the Imperial Government has been this called to consider had already suggested to it the idea of an international agreement, by which this interest might find its most efticient protection. It is by this way that the different questions involved can be best resolved, and among which there exists, in our opinion, a close connection.
The proposition of an accord emanating from the Government of the United States, and which we take pleasure in considering as a step toward that general solution, must, of course, but meet the sincere sympathies of the Imperial Government, and its active support, and this I pray you to make known to the Cabinet at Washington. Please receive, etc.,
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.
LEGATION OF THE L'NITED STATES, St. Petersburg, February 22, 1888. (Received March 12.) SIR: Your dispatch, No. 110, relative to the protection of fur-bearing seals in the Behring Sea, has just reached me, and I have lost no time in making known to the Imperial Government your wishes respecting the coöperation of the Russian Ambassador in London with Mr. Phelps on this subject. Very truly, etc.,
GEO. V. N. LOTHROP.
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard. No. 164.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
St. Petersburg, March 12, 1888. (Received April 2.) Sir: Immediately upon the receipt of your dispatch No. 110 I communicated to Mr. de Giers the suggestions therein contained. In reply he now informs me that the Imperial Government, acting thereon, has instructed Mr. de Staal, its Ambassador in London, at once to put himself into communication with Mr. Phelps, and to do his best to promote the common object of the two governments. I am also requested to make this action known to you. Very truly, etc.,
GEO. V. N. LOTHROP.
SWEDEN AND NORWAY.
Mr. Magee to Mr. Bayard.
LEGATION OF THE L'NITED STATES,
Stockholm, March 20, 1888. (Received April 9.) Sir: I am in receipt this p. m. of the response to my note (written under your instruction of date September 17, 1887), inviting the Government of the United Kingdoms to join in an arrangem:ut whereby an end would be put to the indiscriminate killing of seals in the Bering Sea.
The Royal Government having no interest in seal fisheries, His Majesty thinks there is no need to take part in any treaty or arrangement in reference thereto on the part of the l'nited Kingdoms. He, however, expresses the desire that a mutually beneficial accord may be arrived at between the interested powers, and that the same may be maintained with a reservation that powers not at present interested may join in such an arrangement in the future if they desire.
At present neither Sweden nor Norway engages in seal-fishing in Behring Sea or adjacent waters. I have, etc.,
CORRESPONDENCE RELATIVE TO THE SEIZURE OF BRITISH SEAL
ING VESSELS IN BERING SEA IN 1889.
Mr. Edwardes to Mr. Blaine.
BAR HARBOR, August 24, 1889. SIR: In accordance with instructions which I have received from Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I have the honor to state to you that repeated rumors have of late reached Her Majesty's Government that United States cruisers have stopped, searched, and even seized British vessels in Behring Sea outside of the three mile limit from the nearest land. Although no official confirmation of these rumors has reached Her Majesty's Government, there appears to be no reason to doubt their authenticity.
I am desired by the Marquis of Salisbury to inqnire whether the United States Government are in possession of similar information, and further, to ask that stringent instructions may be sent by the United States Government, at the earliest moment, to their officers, with the view to prevent the possibility of such occurrences taking place.
In continuation of my instruction I have the honor to remind you that Her Majesty's Government received very clear assurances last year from Mr. Bayard, at that time Secretary of State, that pending the discussion of the general questions at issue no further interference should take place with British vessels in Behring Sea.
In conclusion, the Marquis of Salisbury desires me to say that Sir Julian Pauncefote, Her Majesty's Minister, will be prepared on his return to Washington in the autumn to discuss the whole question, and Her Majesty's Government wish to point out to the United States Government that a settlement can not but be hindered by any measures of force which may be resorted to by the United States. I have, etc.,
H. G. EDWARDES.
Mr. Blaine to Mr. Edwardes.
BAR HARBOR, August 24, 1889. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communi. cation of this date, conveying to me the intelligence “that repeated rumors have of late reached Her Majesty's Government that United States cruisers have stopped, searched, and even seized British vessels in Behring Sea outside the 3 mile limit from the nearest land.” And you'add that, “although no official contirmation of these rumors has reached Her Majesty's Government, there appears to be no reason to doubt their authenticity.”
In reply I have the honor to state that the same rumors, probably based on truth, have reached the Government of the United States, but that up to this date there has been no official communication received on the subject.
It has been and is the earnest desire of the President of the United States to have such an adjustment as shall remove all possible ground of misunderstanding with Her Majesty's Government concerning the existing troubles in the Behring Sea; and the President believes that the responsibility for delay in the adjustment can not be properly charged to the Government of the United States.
I beg you will express to the Marquis of Salisbury the gratification with which the Government of the United States learns that Sir Julian Pauncefote, Her Majesty's Minister, will be prepared, on his return to Washington in the autumi, to discuss the whole question. It gives me pleasure to assure you that the Government of the United States will endeavor to be prepared for the discussion, and that, in the opinion of the President, the points at issue between the two Governments are capable of prompt adjustment on a basis entirely honorable to both. I have, etc.,
JAMES G. BLAINE.
Mr. Edwardes to Mr. Blaine,
BAR HARBOR, August 25, 1889. SIR: I had the honor to receive yesterday your note in which you have been good enough to inform me, with respect to the repeated rumors which have of late reached Her Majesty's Government of the search and seizures of British vessels in Behring Sea by United States cruisers, that the same rumors, probably based on truth, have reached the United States Government, but that up to this date there has been no official communication received on the subject.
At the same time you have done me the honor to inform me that it has been and is the earnest desire of the President of the United States to have such an adjustment as shall remove all possible ground of misunderstanding with Her Majesty's Government concerning the existing troubles in the Behring Sea; and that the President believes that the responsibility for delay in that adjustment can not be properly charged to the Government of the United States.
You request me at the same time to express to the Marquis of Salisbury the gratification with which the Government of the United States learns that Sir Julian Pauncefote, Her Majesty's Minister, will be prepared, on his return to Washington in the autumn, to discuss the whole question, and you are good enough to inform me of the pleasure you have in assuring me that the Government of the United States will endeavor to be prepared for the discussion, and that, in the opinion of the President, the points at issue between the two Governments are capable of prompt adjustment on a basis entirely honorable to both.
I shall lose no time in bringing your reply to the knowledge of Her Majesty's Government, who, while awaiting an answer to the other inquiry I had the honor to make to you, will, I feel confident, receive with much satisfaction the assurances which you have been good enough to make to me in your note of yesterday's date. I have, etc.,
H. G. EDWARDES.
Mr. Edwardes to Mr. Blaine.
WASHINGTON, September 12, 1889. MY DEAR MR. BLAINE: I should be very much obliged if you would kindly let me know when I may expect an answer to the request of Her