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The Behring Sea controversy, originating under President Cleveland's administration, with Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, Secretary of State, was resumed during the present administration, President Harrison, with Hon. James G. Blaine, Secretary of State. It can best be summarized in form as follows, the text being from official records:


Frox and to whom.




son, transmittedly given by Sir J. Fergus

1888. Mr. Phelps to Mr. Bayard .... Sept. 12 Great Britain will not enter into any conven

tion for the protection of the seal fisheries without the concurrence of Canada, which can not be expected. Recommends that

strong measures be taken to prevent the

1889. wholesale slaughter of seals. Mr. White to Mr. Blaine.....

Letter of Sir George Baden-Powell to the

London Times with regard to the Behring
Sea question, and a letter of Mr. Flower,

commenting thereon, in the same paper,

1891. transmitted. Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine...... Jan. 24 Question in the House of Commons relating

to the status of the Behring Sea fisheries

, Lord Salisbury to Sir J. Paunce- Feb. 21 Reply to Mr. Blaine's note of December 17. fote.

States that Great Britain took every step which it was in its power to take in order to make it clear to Russia that she did not accept claim to exclude her subjects for 100 miles distance from the coast which had been put forward in Ukase of 1821. Claims that words “Pacific Ocean," used in treaty of 1825 with Russia, did include Behring Sea. Proposes some changes to the

questions to be submitted to arbitration. Mr. Blaine to Sir J. Pauncefote Apr. 14 Gives six questions proposed for arbitration.

The United States claims the same right to power beyond 3 miles limit as Great Britain; cites act of Parliament of 1889 attempting to control body of water on coast of Scotland 2,700 square miles in ex

tent. Map of that body inclosed. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Blaine Apr. 20 The stoppage of all sealing at sea and on

land seems to be acceptable to Lord Salisbury, who wishes to know whether it would be preferred that the proposal come from

the British Government. Mr. Blaine to Sir J. Pauncefote May 4 Reviews the negotiations for a modus vi

vendi pending the result of arbitration; concessions made by the President in consequence thereof; recital of the obligations imposed on the North American Co., in return for the sealing privilege, which make it necessary that they should be allowed to take a limited number of seals contrary to the claim of Great Britain that sealing should be absolutely prohibited on both sides; submits terms of agreement on that basis.

From and to whom.



1891. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Blaine May 5 Acknowledges the above, of which copy has

been mailed, and precise terins telegraphed to London. Deprecates alleged delay; refers to previous interviews; mentions the exception taken at the two conditions that the right to kill a certain number of seals was reserved for the American Co., and that the modus vivendi was not to be put in force until arbitration was agreed upon, and expresses satisfaction that the latter

condition has been removed. Mr. Adee to Sir J. Pauncefote. May 20 Requests a reply to proposition of the 4th. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Adee. May 21 Reply requested has not yet been received,

but is expected to arrive in the course of a

day. Mr. Adee to Sir J. Pauncefote. May 26 Points to the reasons for which a prompt

reply is desired; revenue cutters have been ordered to proceed to the tisheries, and the orders would be made definite by the con

clusion of an agreement. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Adee. May 27 Regrets the delay and makes excuse on the

ground of the lateness of the proposal. Sir J. Pauncefote..

June 3 Proposal for modus vivendi by the British

government. Sir J. Pauncefote..

June 3 Assents to the first five questions submitted

by Mr. Blaine on April 14; makes a counter proposition in respect of question sixth, and

of compensation for damages sustained. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paupce- June 4 Proposes substitutes for subdivisions 1 and ? fote.

of the British proposal for modus vivendi of June 3; takes exception to subdivision 3 relative to the appointment of consuls, and objects decidedly to the condition 4 of the previous assent of Russia; suggests that'the navies of both nations enforce the agreement when it is concluded; reply

to proposal of June 3. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 6 Submits the telegraphic reply to the above ton.

note accepting the proposals therein on condition that the British government be allowed to supervise the execution of the agreement on the islands, and that the prohibition will be extended to the whole of the Behring Sea. Insists that the terms of arbitration and modus be agreed on simultaneously, as the suspension of sealing

could not be acceded to another yea Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 6 Reply to the above. Objects to the claim of fote.

supervision by British authorities of the killing on land which is already supervised by American officials whose integrity is to be upbeld, but agrees to the appointment of one or two commissioners for the collec. tion of facts to be placed before the arbitrators. Submits proposal embodying this

and other conditions agreed upon. Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine...... June 6 Debate on the scal-fishery bill in the House

of Commons, transmitted. The bill was

read in the House of Lords without debate. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 8 Submits, in reply to the above, an agreement ton.

telegraphed' from London and containing modifications of and additions to that sub

mitted in said note. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 9 Reply to the above. Protests against the fote.

presenting of new propositions at this time; proceeds to discuss them and submits a form of agreement drafted with slight modifications after that presented on June 6; insists upon the necessity of a speedy settlement,

From and to whom.



1891. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 10 Presents a defence of the motives of Lord ton.

Salisbury in introducing new propositions at this time, but says they will probably not be insisted upon except that for a joint cominission of four experts to report on the necessity for international arrange.

ments. Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine...... June 10 Debate in the House of Lords after passage

of the bill. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 11 Reply has been received by telegraph from ton.

Lord Salisbury who regrets that the suggestions in regard to Russia have been rejected, but will authorize him to sign agreement if assurance is given respecting the

commission of experts. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 11 Acknowledges the above and accepts, pendfote.

ing a fuller reply, the terms therein pre

sented. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 13 He has received telegraphic permission to ton.

sign agreement under previously under

stood condition as to joint commission. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 13 Appointment for the formal attestation to fote.

the modus vivendi. The President...

June 15 Proclamation in re modus vivendi. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 20 Instructions issued by the Navy Department fote.

in pursuance of the above proclamation. Sir J. Pauncefote is furnished copies there. of and asked for instructions issued by the

British government. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar. June 21 Appointment of British commissioners under ton.

he agreement announced to visit Pribyloff

Islands, Sir J. Pauncefote (memoran- June 23 Instructions issued to British naval senior dum).

officer stated. Suggestion of indemnity for any act in execution of the modus vi

vendi submitted. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 25 Objections of British government to arbitrafote.

tion proposition No. 6, presented by Mr. Blaine on Dec. 17, 18%. Reply to Lord Salisbury's note of the 26th of February, 1891, and of Sir J. Pauncefote's of June 3. The objection of the reference of the ques. tion of closed time to arbitration in such words as to attribute abnormal rights to the United States is met by a new proposi. tion avoiding that objection; submits also a final clause in the matter of indemnification by which the interests of the United States as owner of the seal fisheries are not ignored as in the suggestion made in the note of June 3. Agreement in regard to the appointment of commissioners to

visit the Pribylofl Islands proposed. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 26 Instructions for the reception of the British fote.

commissioners at the fisheries transmitted. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 20 Instructions issued to British navy, as per fote.

note of the 24th, have been communicaied

to the Navy Department. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr.Wharton June 27 | Note of the 8th acknowledged. Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- July 3 Commissioners to visit the Behring Sea. Profote.

poses they go and act together. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- July 6 Reply to the above. Passage for the British ton.

Commissioners has already been arranged for but they will be instructed to coöperate

as much as possible. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- July 6 Act of Parliament and order in council in ton.

pursuance of modus vivendi agreement in

closed. Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- July 7 Instructions (in full) to the naval forces of ton.

Great Britain in the Behring Sea inclosed.

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