the boundary question, stated that there was not “the slightest uncertainty" as to where it crossed the Stikine. “The survey of Mr. Hunter, C. E.,

conclusively establishes the coast line range of mountains at the crossing of the Stikine to be about 20 miles from the sea."




Following the arrangement as to the provisional line on the Stikine River in 1878, the British Case introduces the correspondence of 1856 with a personal letter of Dr. W. H. Dall to Dr. George M. Dawson. It shows upon its face that it is part of a previous correspondence, not produced in the British Case. No record of it exists in the Office of the Coast Survey, and it has no special significance even if it had been clothed with official authority. The correspondence which passed between the two governments in 1886 was initiated by an instruction sent by the Secretary of State, Mr. Bayard, to the United States minister in London. The latter was informed that in the judgment of the President the time had come for an understanding looking to the establishment of the boundary line, and the minister, Mr. Phelps, was instructed to propose the appointment of an international commission for that purpose.

Mr. Bayard dwelt at some length upon the difficulties which presented themselves to the accurate demarcation of the line by monuments, especially in the mountainous section between the head of Portland Canal and mount St. Elias, and he seemed to favor a conventional line, which, while in substantial accord with the intent of the negotiators of the treaty, could be readily laid down by astronomical and topographical surveys. As the proposal was not acted upon, the correspondence has little present application, and its chief value today is in the declaration made by Secretary Bayard that he was not aware that any question concerning the true location of the line so stipulated (in the treaty of 1825] ever arose at any time between Great Britain and Russia prior to the cession of Alaska to the United States. It is certain that no question has arisen since 1867 between the Gorernments of the United States and Great Britain in regard to this boundary."

This declaration was communicated by Mr. Phelps to Lord Salisbury and received by him without dissent. It is true that some


(Ibid., 253; L'. S. Counter Case, App., 91.

a U.S. Counter Case, App., pp. 181, 188. b British Case, App., 219.

months later Lord Iddesleigh, in sending to Mr. Phelps a Canadian official map which he had requested, called his attention to the boundary line as marked on the Stikine River, which was higher up than that fixed by Hunter in 1877 and accepted as the provisional line, and entered a disavowal of the recognition of its correctness; but his note had no reference to the previous correspondence and did not in any way qualify or dissent from it. The Iddlesleigh map is No. 32 in the Atlas of the British Case and is also shown in the comparative collection of the Stikine River in the Atlas of this Counter Case. (Sheet No. 29). It was discussed in the correspondence between Lord Salisbury and Mr. Choate, to which reference is here made. The British Case concludes its review of this subject as follows: “No survey was made as suggested by Mr. Phelps." This assertion calls for some qualification.

Between the notes of Mr. Phelps and Lord Iddlesleigh some correspondence occurred which is printed in the Appendix to this Counter Case, and from which it is learned that the Canadian Government, while unwilling to agree to the appointment of a joint commission, was “prepared to take part in a preliminary investigation” or survey. The President thereupon recommended to Congress that an appropriation be made for the purpose. On October, 1888, Congress voted the necessary funds to begin the survey, which was to be conducted under the general direction or approval of the Secretary of State. There is printed in the British Case a letter from the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey addressed to the Canadian Minister of the Interior, in which the latter is informed of the action of Congress and of the plans being made by the superintendent for carrying out the proposed survey. He further stated that the object of the preliminary work was to collect such data as would enable the two governments to agree upon a treaty establishing a boundary. He then invited the Minister of the Interior, to whom he had been referred as the proper official, to arrange the detail of the Canadian parties who would join or coöperate with those of the Coast Survey. All the correspondence which passed upon this subject between the two officers named has been obtained from the office of the United States Coast Survey and will be found in the Appendix to this Counter Case. It will there be seen that the Minister of the Interior

a British Case, App., 255.

U.S. Counter Case, App., 134, 149.

cIbid., 91-93. ( Ibid., 177-177.


acknowledged the receipt of the superintendent's letter, stated that the matter had been submitted to his government and was then under consideration. With this letter the correspondence ended, and the Canadian Government took no part in the survey, which was conducted by the United States alone.


What is termed the “Dall-Dawson Conferences" has been given such importance in the British Case that it has been deemed proper to complete the correspondence which is there only partially produced. *

The meeting of these two scientists was brought about at the time of the sessions of the Atlantic Fisheries Commission. The object has been so fully discussed by Ambasador Choate and the British Secretaries for Foreign Affairs that a reference to that correspondence" need only to be supplemented by two remarks.

In Lord Lansdowne's despatch of August 18, 1902, reference is made to what appears in the “Protocols of the Commission " during the Fisheries negotiations of 1888. His Lordship must have intended to refer to the minutes kept by the British members of that Commission, as the officially signed Protocols of the Joint High Commission were communicated in full to the Senate of the United States at the time the Fisheries Convention was submitted to that body, and printed as an Executive Document (see S. Ex. Doc. 113, 50th Cong. pp. 117126). An examination of these will show that no mention is made of the Dall-Dawson Conferences" or of the Alaskan boundary ques. tion. This fact confirms the position taken by the United States that the Fisheries Commission professed no authority to consider that question, and whatever was done by its members was purely extra-official and was not intended to commit either government.

It will be seen from the following extract that Dr. Dall fully understood the character and effect of his meeting with Dr. Dawson: “It was announced and agreed that the meeting was entirely informal: that neither party had any delegated powers whatever, and that its object was simply the arrival at a consensus of opinion as to some reasonable and business-like way of settling upon a line satisfactory to both countries, and the most practicable means of demarkating the line if one was accepted." It cannot seriously be claimed that what

a l'. S. Counter Case, App. Pp. 94-113. ) Ibid., pp. 135, 150, 159.

was said at such a meeting could be regarded as official, or that any government would adopt such a method of making its position known upon so important a question as a boundary line, if it was held to be in dispute.


A brief reference is made in the British Case" to the reciprocity conference which was held in Washington in February 1892, but in view of the importance attached to it by the British Foreign Office in the discussion with Mr. Choate, the subject seems to call for an explicit statement on the part of the Cnited States. The correspondence respecting that conference will be found in the Appendix to this Counter Case.”

It is asserted by Great Britain that a distinct statement of the British claims to the boundary, substantially as now presented, was made by the Canadian delegates at that conference. The correspondence shows that the main object bad in view by the Dominion Government in holding the conference was to discuss commercial reciprocity, and that all other questions mentioned were of slight importance compared with that matter. The subject of the Alaskan boundary was presented, but from the same point of view as in 1872–8 and in 1886-8, to the effect that a marking of the line was desirable; and out of the conference grew the convention of July 22, 1892, providing for a preliminary survey " with a view to the ascertainment of the facts and data necessary to the permanent delimitation of said boundary line"; a survey similar to the one which had been considered in 1858, but in which Canada, though invited, failed to participate. From the American reports of the conference it is manifest that there was no discussion of divergent views, and that no assertion was hinted at of a

“ British claim to the heads of inlets or of any rights on Lynn Canal.” But there is other evidence to establish this fact. The correspond

. ence between Lord Salisbury and Mr. Choate shows that when the subject of the Alaskan boundary was under diseussion in the Joint High Commission at Quebec in 1898, a map was introduced by the British commissioners with the boundary drawn upon it, giving the Portland Canal peninsula and the heads of all the inlets to Canada; and that an American member of the commission, who had also participated in

"p. 38.

b United States Counter Case, Ap pp. 11+-123; 135, 151, 161.


the conference of 1892, stated that the view then advanced was the first distinct statement of the British claim. The only qualification made by the British commissioners upon this statement was that the claim was put forth in the instructions to the British commissioners, copies of which had been sent to the Secretary of State of the United States on August 1, 1898.

A further proof from British sources that no divergence of views respecting the interpretation of the treaty of 1825 was developed in the reciprocity conference of February 1892, is to be found in the Debates in the Canadian Parliament. L'pon the return of the delegates to Ottawa, the speech from the throne of February 25, 1992, announced the results of the conference and among other things said, “ an amicable understanding was arrived at respecting the steps to be taken for the establishment of the boundary of Alaska.” During the debate in the Senate on the speech from the throne Honorable Richard W. Scott, the leader of the Liberal party of the Dominion, who had acted as Commissioner of Crown Lands when the proposition for a survey was under discussion between the two governments in 1873, and therefore well informed on the subject, spoke as follows:

It is quite true that an amicable understanding was arrived at respecting the steps to be taken for the establishment of the boundary of Alaska. It was not necessary to go to Washington to discuss that. The question has been discussed in despatches for twenty years. There was no dispute as to the boundary of Alaska. was settled in the treaty of 1825. The line was defined but not marked out. There is no dispute as to where it goes. It commences at Portland Channel and extends along the summit of the mountains, where these mountains do not extend more than 10 marine leagues inwards, and if they are more than 10 marine leagues, then 10 leagues are the limit to a certain meridian, and from that point it is a straight line to the Frozen Ocean.

No doubt it is a very expensive boundary. The expensive part of it is, of course, the fringe of land that runs along the coast up to a particular part where the meridian runs, because it is entirely a matter of cost; I have never heard of any dispute as to the interpretation to be given to the treaty, because the treaty is plain and speaks for itself. c

This view of the state of the boundary question in 1892 and of the interpretation of the treaty should commend itself to the consideration of the Tribunal, from the fact that the distinguished statesman who advanced it in Parliament is now a member of the Canadian Cabinet.







al'.S. ('ounter Case, APP., pp. 151-5.

b Ibid., p. 151.


pp. 167-8.

« VorigeDoorgaan »