Page images
PDF
EPUB

terms of equality with British subjects; and that the Government of the United States should agree to urge upon the several States to give to British subjects the use of the several State Canals on terms of equality with citizens of the United States. They also proposed, as part of the arrangement, a reciprocal agreement as to transit and transshipment, and that the Government of Great Britain should urge upon New Brunswick not to impose export duties on the lumber floated down the River St. John for shipment to the United States.

The American Commissioners repeated their views as to the navigation of the River St. Lawrence in its natural state.

The British Commissioners replied that they could not admit the claims of American citizens to navigate the River St. Lawrence as of right; but that the British Government had no desire to exclude them from it. They, however, pointed out that there were certain rivers running through Alaska which should on like grounds be declared free and open to British subjects, in case the River St. Lawrence should be declared free.

The American Commissioners replied that they were prepared to consider that question. They also assented to the arrangement as to the canals, which was proposed by the British Commissioners, limiting it, as regarded American Canals, to the canals connected with the navi. gation of the lakes or rivers traversed by or contiguous to the boundary. line between the British and American possessions. They likewise agreed to give the right of navigating Lake Michigan for a term of years. They desired, and it was agreed, that the transshipment arrangement should be made dependent upon the non-existence of discriminating tolls or regulations on the Canadian Canals, and also upon the abolition of the New Brunswick export duty on American lumber intended for the United States. It was also agreed that the right of carrying should be made dependent upon the non-imposition of export duties on either side on the goods of the other party passing in transit.

The discussion of these subjects was further continued at the conferences of the 24th, 25th, and 26th of April, and the Treaty Articles XXVI to XXXIII were agreed to at the conference on the 3d of May.

In the course of these discussions the British Commissioners called attention to the question of the survey of the boundary-line along the forty-ninth parallel, which still remained unexecuted from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains, and to which reference had been made in the President's Message.

The American Commissioners stated that the survey was a matter for administrative action, and did not require to be dealt with by a treaty provision. The United States Government would be prepared to agree with the British Government for the appointment of a boundary survey commission in the same manner as had been done in regard to the remainder of the boundary along the forty-ninth parallel as soon as the legislative appropriations and other necessary arrangements could be made.

ARTICLES XXXIV TO XLII. At the conference on the 15th of March the British Commissioners stated that it was proposed that day to take up the Northwest waterboundary question; that the difference was one of long standing, which had more than once been the subject of negotiations between the two Governments, and that the negotiators had, in January, 1869, agreed upon a treaty. They then proposed that an arbitration of this question should be made upon the basis of the provisions of that Treaty.

The American Commissioners replied that, though no formal vote was actually taken upon it, it was well understood that that Treaty had not been favorably regarded by the Senate. They declined the proposal of the British Commissioners, and expressed their wish that an effort should be made to settle the question in the Joint High Commission.

The British Commissioners assented to this, and presented the reasons which induced them to regard the Rosario Straits as the channel contemplated by the Treaty of June 15, 1846.

The American Commissioners replied, and presented the reasons which induced them to regard the Haro Channel as the channel contemplated by that Treaty. They also produced in support of their views some original correspondence of Mr. Everett with his Government, which had not been alluded to in previous discussions of the question.

The British Commissioners replied that they saw in that correspondence no reason to induce them to change the opinion which they had previously expressed. They then asked whether the American Commissioners had any further proposal to make.

The American Commissioners replied that, in view of the position taken by the British Commissioners, it appeared that the Treaty of June 15, 1846, might have been made under a mutual misunderstanding, and would not have been made had each party understood at that time the construction which the other party puts upon the language whose interpretation is in dispute; they therefore proposed to abrogate the whole of that part of the Treaty, and re-arrange the boundary-line which was in dispute before that Treaty was concluded.

The British Commissioners replied that the proposal to abrogate a treaty was one of a serious character, and that they had no instructions which would enable them to entertain it; and at the conference on the 20th of March the British Commissioners declined the proposal.

At the conference on the 19th of April the British Commissioners proposed to the American Commissioners to adopt the Middle Channel (generally known as the Douglas Channel) as the channel through which the boundary-line should be run, with the understanding that all the channels through the Archipelago should be free and common to both parties.

The American Commissioners declined to entertain that proposal. They proposed that the Joint High Commission should recognize the Haro Channel as the channel intended by the Treaty of June 15, 1846, with a mutual agreement that no fortifications should be erected by either party to obstruct or command it, and with proper provisions as to any existing proprietary rights of British subjects in the island of San Juan.

The British Commissioners declined this proposal, and stated that, being convinced of the justice of their view of the Treaty, they could not abandon it except after a fair decision by an impartial arbitrator. They therefore renewed their proposal for a reference to arbitration, and hoped that it would be seriously considered.

The American Commissioners replied that they had hoped that their last proposal would be accepted. As it had been declined, they would, should the other questions between the two Governments be satisfactorily adjusted, agree to a reference to arbitration to determine whether the line should run through the Haro Channel or through the Rosario Straits, upon the condition that either Government should have the right to include in the evidence to be considered by the Arbitrator such documents, official correspondence, and other official or public statements, bearing on the subject of the reference, as they may consider

necessary to the support of their respective cases. This condition was agreed to.

The British Commissioners proposed that the Arbitrator should have the right to draw the boundary through an intermediate channel. The American Commissioners declined this proposal, stating that they desired a decision, not a compromise.

The British Commissioners proposed that it should be declared to be the proper construction of the Treaty of 1846 that all the channels were to be open to navigation by both parties. The American Commissioners stated that they did not so construe the Treaty of 1816, and therefore could not assent to such a declaration.

The discussion of this subject was continued during this conference, and in the conference of the 22d of April the Treaty Articles XXXIV to XLII were agreed to.

The Joint High Commissioners approved this statement, and directed it to be entered in the protocol. The conference was adjourned to the 6th of May.

J. C. BANCROFT DAVIS.
TENTERDEN.

XXXVII.-PROTOCOL OF CONFERENCE BETWEEN THE HIGH COMMISSION

ERS ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE HIGH COMMISSIONERS ON THE PART OF GREAT BRITAIN.

WASHINGTON, May 6, 1871. The High Commissioners having met, the protocol of the conference held on the 4th of May was read and confirmed.

Lord de Grey said, that as the Joint High Commission would not meet again after to-day, except for the purpose of signing the Treaty, he desired, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, to express their high appreciation of the manner in which Mr. Fish and his American colleagues bad, on their side, conducted the negotiations. It had been most gratifying to the British Commissioners to be associated with colleagues who were animated with the same sincere desire as themselves to bring about a settlement, equally honorable and just to both countries, of the various questions of which it had been their duty to treat, and the British Commissioners would always retain a grateful recollection of the fair and friendly spirit which the American Commissioners had displayed.

Mr. Fish, in behalf of the American Commissioners, said that they were gratefully sensible of the friendly words expressed by Lord de Grey, and of the kind spirit which had prompted them. From the date of the first conference the American Commissioners had been impressed by the earnestness of desire manifested by the British Commissioners to reach a settlement worthy of the two Powers who had committed to this Joint High Commission the treatment of various questions of pecu. liar interest, complexity, and delicacy. His colleagues and he could never cease to appreciate the generous spirit, and the open and friendly manner in which the British Commissioners had met and discussed the several questions that had led to the conclusion of a Treaty which it was hoped would receive the approval of the people of both countries, and would prove the foundation of a cordial and friendly understanding between them for all time to come.

Mr. Fish further said that he was sure that every member of the Joint High Commission would desire to record his appreciation of the ability, the zeal, and the unceasing labor which the Joint Protocolists had exhibited in the discharge of their arduous and responsible duties, and that he knew that he only gave expression to the feelings of the Commissioners in saying that Lord Tenterden and Mr. Bancroft Davis were entitled to, and were requested to accept the thanks of, the Joint High Commission for their valuable services, and the great assistance which they had rendered with unvarying obligingness to the Commission.

Lord de Grey replied, on behalf of the British Commissioners, that he and his colleagues most cordially concurred in the proposal made by Mr. Fish that the thanks of the Joint High Commission should be tendered to Mr. Bancroft Davis and Lord Tenterden for their valuable services as Joint Protocolists. The British Commissioners were also full as sensible as their American colleagues of the great advantage which the Commission had derived from the assistance which those gentlemen had given them in the conduct of the important negotiations in which they had been engaged.

Monday, the 8th of May, was appointed for the signatures of the Treaty.

J. C. BANCROFT DAVIS.
TENTERDEN.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »