the British Case upon a hypothetical mountain boundary approaching the shore of the mainland near the northern end of Revilla Gigedo Island, the United States deems it unnecessary to consider them in detail or to traverse the logic upon which they rest.





The United States in its printed Case claimed that the line of demarcation from the head of Portland Canal should follow the same course, on which the line touched the mainland, until it intersected the 56th parallel of north latitude. « This claim, in case the Tribunal shall find that there is no mountain range, such as was contemplated in the treaty of 1825, within ten marine leagues of the shore, the United States understands that Great Britain substantially concedes'. The boundary at this place, as drawn in the British Case (Map No. 26 in the Atlas accompanying this Counter Case) depends upon a mountain boundary intersecting the 56th parallel within ten marine leagues of the western shore of the continent. In case such range is more than ten marine leagues from the shore, or in case it should not intersect the 56th parallel, then the line proposed by Great Britain would fail.

Though this portion of the line seems hardly of sufficient importance to warrant an extensive discussion, the peculiar interpretation placed upon the language of the treaty and the resulting line now claimed by Great Britain are so much at variance with the general acceptance and understanding of the boundary for three quarters of a century, that they demand at least a passing notice.

It is asserted in the British Case that the line should be drawn to the place where a mountain range extending along the coast touches the 56th parallel, or in the case of there being no such mountain range, then to the point where a line drawn ten marine leagues from, and parallel to, the western continental shore would cross that degree of latitude. This interpretation of the language of the treaty the United States conceives to be contrary to the intent of the article and at variance with the usual method of tracing a boundary.

It is established by the Russian text of this portion of the treaty that the "it" of the English version and the "elle" of the French refer to the line, not to the canal. This also appears from the lan

CU. S. Case, App., p. 7.

(U. S. Case, p. 104.
6 British Case, p. 70.

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guage of the treaty itself, as any other interpretation would violate the grammatical rules of the French language. The terms of the treaty, if changed to correspond with this interpretation, would read, the said line shall ascend to the north along the channel called Portland Channel as far as the point of the continent where the line strikes the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude. There is no suggestion here that the line should turn abruptly to the east or the west; on the contrary it is to continue “to ascend to the north". It is apparent that by a natural reading of this description, without distorting it to meet some preconceived theory as to the rest of the boundary, the line would pursue the same course, which it was then following, until it intersected the 56° of north latitude.

Besides being the natural and not the forced interpretation of the treaty, such delineation is favored by the physical conditions existing at the head of Portland Canal. Beyond the “low marshy land” described by Vancouver, there extends a clearly defined valley for several miles inland from the termination of the fiord, which coincides with its general trend, thus forming a natural boundary as far as the 56th parallel.

In contrast to this convenient line of demarcation, Great Britain claims that on reaching the head of Portland Canal the boundary should turn abruptly toward the west at right angles to the course of the channel, mounting the precipitous side of the tiord, and should follow this course for a distance of almost sixty miles before reaching the 56th parallel, instead of five miles if drawn through the open valley of the Bear River.

It seems that, in attempting to reach a suitable starting point for a theoretical mountain boundary near the continental shore, Great Britain bas failed to observe that this portion of the proposed line actually intersects the northern part of Behm Canal, in fact cutting in two Bell Island, thus giving to Great Britain an outlet to the sea below the 56th parallel. Sir Charles Bagot had opposed the boundary, which was finally agreed upon in the treaty, on the very ground that Great Britain would be deprived of “sovereignty over all the inlets and small bays lying between latitudes 560 and 51°45'.") Great Britain now proposes to secure some of these very inlets and small bays, which the British minister in 1824 failed to obtain and on account of which he suspended the negotiations at St. Petersburg. a C. S. Counter Case, App., p. 241.

VU. S. Case, App., p. 159. 26626- -3

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The area (south of 56 north latitude), between the line proposed in the British Case and the one which the United States requests the Tribunal to find, forms a narrow wedge-shaped strip of territory not exceeding 150 square miles, bounded on the north by the 56th parallel and on the east by the valley of the Bear River. The area in dispute seems insignificant, but the determination of the line in accordance with the contention of Great Britain forms an important factor in the theory of the boundary presented in the British Case. If the line reaches 56° north along the course contended for by the United States, it is not to be supposed that the negotiators, without mentioning a change of direction, intended that it should turn on that parallel due west for sixty miles. The mountain chain which they stated that it was to follow must have been, in their minds, approximately near the point where the line reached the parallel, though not necessarily intersecting it. It is obvious that the hypothetical coast range of the British Case, if a series of isolated peaks can be so called, does not meet this condition.

In connection with this portion of the boundary the Tribunal is requested to examine the maps submitted in evidence by both the United States and Great Britain, which show that the universal understanding of the treaty by cartographers and by governments for seventy five years was the same as that now claimed by the United States.

Particular attention is directed to the Admiralty chart of 1868 of Portland Canal. It will be observed that the mountains lying to the eastward of the channel were named by Staff Commander Pender (the officer in charge of the survey) in honor of distinguished British subjects, while those along the western shore were named after citizens of the United States, by this means indicating to which nation the territory belonged. The Bear River valley is shown as far as the 56th parallel; to the west of this valley and north of Portland Canal appear Mount Johnson and the Reverdy Mountains. They lie directly in the area now claimed by Great Britain.

From the text of the treaty, from the evidence before the Tribunal, and from the long acquiescence of Great Britain as to the meaning of the treaty, the United States submits that the line between the head of Portland Canal and 56° of north latitude should be drawn

a British Case, Atlas, No. 23.

directly to that parallel along the axis of the valley, which forms a continuation of Portland Canal, and not diverted to a point sixty miles to the westward in order to meet a chain of mountains, the existence of which is denied by the United States, and the absence of which is affirmatively established.


The United States, in considering that portion of the line of demarcation, described in Articles III and IV of the treaty of 1825, between the 56th parallel of north latitude and the 101st meridian of west longitude, contends that the claims made in the British Case and the boundary drawn therein (Map No. 26 of the Atlas accompanying this Counter Case) are based upon false premises, which are in direct conflict with the evidence adduced and contrary to the intention of the high contracting parties and the meaning of the treaty.

The claim of Great Britain and the authority to draw the line of frontier as is done in the British Case rest upon the assumption of a “datum line" a based upon an erroneous meaning given to the words côte” and “océan;" upon the assumption that “la crête des montagnes" means the “summits" instead of the “crest” of the mountains;' upon a further assumption that distinct peaks can be said to parallel a coast line; upon ignoring the value of the word "* sinuosités" in the negotiations and treaty; and, above all, upon a misconstruction or a failure to construe the plain intent of the negotiators as evidenced in the correspondence.

The word côte or coast may be employed in three distinct ways; (1) geographically, to designate the physical coast, the line where water ends and land begins; (2) legally, to designate the political coast, the line adopted in international law as the basis for the extension of municipal jurisdiction over portions of the high seas contiguous to the territory of a nation; and (3) descriptively, as the name of a particular region.

(1) The physical coast line of the mainland under discussion, of which rirage and shore are synonyms, follows the limits of salt-water along all the meanderings of the continental margin, without reference to the adjacent islands.

(2) The political coast line (since all arms of the sea not exceeding six miles, and in some cases more, in width, and all islands are practically treated as portions of the mainland) extends outside the islands and waters between them. In the present instance the political or legal coast line drawn southward from Cape Spencer would cross to the northwestern shore of Chichagof Island and follow down the western side of that island and of Baranof Island to Cape Ommaney; at this point it would turn northward for a short distance and then cross Chatham Strait to the western shore of Kuiu Island; thence again turning southward along that shore and along the outlying islets west of Prince of Wales Island, the line would round Cape Muzon and proceed eastward to Cape Chacon; thence following northward along the eastern shore of Prince of Wales Island to Clarence Strait it would cross the latter at its entrance and proceed southeastward to the parallel of 54° 40' at the point where it enters Portland Canal. Thus the political coast line of Southeastern Alaska does not touch the mainland between Cape Spencer and 55 of north latitude.

< Ibid., pp. 16, 73.

a British Case, p. 73. b Ibid., pp. 27,


It should also be noted that there are no “inland waters " composed of salt water within the physical coast line, but within the political coast line there are a great number of straits, sounds and inlets, formed by the contour of the continent and the proximity of the islands to it and to one another.

(3) The coast used in a descriptive way is found in the names the “Northwest Coast", "the coast of Northwest America", and "the Coast" when used as a proper name or as the synonym of such

It may or may not in this sense include the islands adjacent to the territory so named.

The word océan, of which mer and sea are synonyms, is similarly used in three ways; (1) physically, to designate the entire body of salt water which surrounds all the continents and islands on the globe; (2) politically, as the waters beyond the legal coast line; and (3) descriptively, as a proper name of a particular expanse of the high seas.

The United States contends that the words “ côte” and “ océan" in Articles III and IV of the treaty of 1825 are used in their physical and descriptive senses only, and that to draw their limits artificially as is done in the case of a political coast is inconsistent with their meaning and with the intention of the parties to the convention. It would appear that a similar use of the word “coast" is to be found


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