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provisional line more in accordance with the Treaty stipulations should be adopted, which would allow the occupation by Canada of one of the ports on these inlets.
The despatch referred to the special reasons for an early delimitation of this part of the boundary, and stated that Her Majesty's Government thought it desirable that, if possible, the Joint Commission should in any case agree on some provisional arrangement for fixing a temporary line on the various inlets and rivers traversing the strip, and also at any other point at which disputes might arise pending a final settlement of the question. It was added that the boundary-line must, in the first instance, be sought in the mountains which border the coast, and that the important condition that the line is nowhere to exceed 10 marine leagues from the coast governed throughout.
The Government of the United States, on Lord Salisbury's despatch being communicated to them, handed to Sir Julian Pauncefote a Memorandum setting forth the views held by them.
This Memorandum pointed out that the Alaskan boundary had already been the subject of conventional arrangements, and that the Report of the Joint Commission was now available, and had made it possible for the Governments to carry out the stipulation in the last clause of Article I of the Treaty of the 22nd July, 1892, to proceed to consider and establish the boundary in question. It was stated that the Government of the United States would expect the Joint High Commission to seek to execute this stipulation by an agreement as to the boundary as fixed by the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825 and by the American-Russian Treaty of 1867. The United States' Government, it was added, had no reason to anticipate any other than a definite and satisfactory settlement of this important question by the Joint High Commission.
The Joint High Commission embarked upon its labours under the provision of the two documents just reverted to. The discussions and negotiations which took place were understood to be confidential, and will therefore not be here adverted to. The Commission separated without any settlement being made either upon the basis of right or of convention.
The adjournment of the Commission was followed by proposals to refer the matters in dispute to arbitration, and after a long correspondence the Treaty under which this Tribunal sits was signed at Washington on the 24th January, 1903.
CHARACTER OF TOPOGRAPHY.
The surveys made by the Commissioners appointed under the Convention of the 22nd July, 1892, disclose the following facts relative to the orography of the region bordering the coast:
In general character this region is wholly mountainous; though narrow borders of flat land are to be found in the valleys of the rivers and inlets, and occasionally on the ocean front. As a rule, the land rises from the water's edge in steep wooded slopes, forming the frontal foot hills of high mountain ridges, which are surmounted by peaks 3,000 feet or more in height. The summits of these mountains are bare, the timber line not rising to that elevation on any part of the coast in question, and not averaging more than 2,500 feet.
Further inland the mountains rise to greater heights-to 6,000 or 7,000 feet and upwards-along the southern part of the coast, while to the west of Cape Spencer the very lofty mountains of the Fairweather Range are found rising immediately from the coast. Between Portland Canal and Cape Spencer the mountain barrier is penetrated by the valleys of rivers, streams, and inlets. These valleys run back in a direction nearly perpendicular to the general direction of the coast, and are usually nearly straight for a considerable distance.
Opening into these valleys on either side are subsidiary valleys, also in general approximately straight, and running approximately perpendicular to the directions of the main valleys, and in parallelism to the coast.
The heads of these side valleys thus extending from adjacent main valleys inosculate with one another and so furnish welldefined depressions, which separate the mountain masses adjacent to the coast from those lying further back.
Thus appears a number of short ranges, or elongated mountain masses, of length considerably exceeding their breadth, and lying
with their lengths parallel to the general trend of the coast which
To an observer passing along the channels which separate the mainland from the adjacent archipelago, these mountains present the appearance of a range, parallel to the coast, which in general hides from his view the mountains behind, which are seen only where the coast mountains are cut across by the valleys above referred to.
At the northern end of Glacier Bay, the Muir Glacier discharges into the sea. The southeastern corner of this glacier also discharges into the Endicott River, which on a very direct eastern course, with very little descent, discharges into Lynn Canal.
Extending in the opposite direction, the northwest arm of Glacier Bay penetrates far inland, and separates the massive range of the Fairweather Mountains, lying north of Cape Spencer, from the mountains of the interior lying between Glacier Bay and the Chilkat River.
Continuing north-westerly from Cape Spencer, the mountains above mentioned rise almost immediately from the ocean, until Alsek River is crossed.
This range is now commonly known as the St. Elias Alps. They lie well back from the shore, leaving a considerable margin of low-lying land between them and the ocean, until Yakutat Bay, and its continuation, Disenchantment Bay, are reached. West of Yakutat Bay lie Mount St. Elias and the mountain ridges between it and the ocean, which are almost submerged in the Great Malaspina Glacier.
THE QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED.
The first question to be answered by the Tribunal is—
The description in the Treaty of 1825 is
"A partir du point le plus méridional de l'île dite Prince of Wales, lequel point se trouve sous la parallèle du 54° 40′ de latitude nord et entre le 131° et le 133 degré de longitude ouest (méridien de Greenwich).”
The British Case on this head, proceeding, as it is believed, on admitted or indisputable facts, may be stated briefly and in general terms, supported by some references to the overwhelming evidence on which it is based.
Article IV of the Treaty provides
"Il est entendu, par rapport à la ligne de démarcation déterminée dans l'Article précédent
"1. Que l'île dite Prince of Wales appartiendra toute entière à la Russie."
It is true that an attempt was once made by the United States to apply this language to the island latterly named Wales Island, the southeasterly point of which Vancouver had named Point Wales. after a friend.
But it is understood that this contention is no longer pressed, and it will be so treated at present.
There can, indeed, be no doubt that "Prince of Wales Island," wherever it occurs, refers to the large island to the north of Dixon's Entrance shown in Vancouver's charts and described in his book, the main sources of information available to the negotiators. This land was rightly surmised by him to be "much broken and divided by water," but he did not verify his supposition, 46 and, while calling what was in fact a group by the name of "Prince of Wales Archipelago," he showed it in the chart, unsurveyed, as one island. Nor did he fix astronomically the
situation of the southern points. It was thus naturally called Prince of Wales Island during the negotiations and in the Treaty.
There are two southern points on this land, shown on the chartCape Chacon and Cape Muzon-both within the limits of longitude, and both very near the latitude mentioned in the clause. And, indeed, there is also on Bean Island a small island lying close on the west side of Cape Chacon, a point called Cape Nunez, the latitude of which is now ascertained to be between those of the two Capes Chacon and Muzon. This island may be treated as a discrepancy, and need not be separately noticed hereafter.
Obviously the negotiators, ignorant of the precise latitude, and therefore uncertain of the precise situation, desired to describe whatever point should turn out to be the most southerly. Recent investigations have shown that while Cape Chacon, the more easterly, is in latitude 54° 41' 25", Cape Muzon, the more westerly, is in latitude 54° 39′ 50′′, being thus slightly the more southerly.
Cape Chacon is, in fact, on Prince of Wales Island, the great island of the archipelago, and later formally distinguished by that name; while Cape Muzon, though represented, as from a distance it appeared to Vancouver to be, on a peninsula of that same island, is, in truth, on a separate island close adjoining.
Thus, Cape Chacon is the most southerly point of Prince of Wales Island as now known, and is the point in this sense answering the description. And it might be from one point of view rather more favourable to Great Britain than Cape Muzon.
But Great Britain concedes that it sufficiently appears that Cape Muzon, the more southerly point, fulfils the essential conditions of the Treaty, and should be held to be the point of departure.
And the result is, after all, substantially the same for the purposes in hand, whichever Cape is chosen. For the point under discussion is, in truth, important only as the starting-point of a line which was to leave the whole of Prince of Wales Island to Russia and which was to ascend to the north along the "passe" called Portland Channel. (See Article III: “La dite ligne remontera au nord le long de la passe dite Portland Channel."")
It thus appears (as will be elaborated on the subsequent questions) that if the starting-point should be held to be Cape Muzon,