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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:

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Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine...... Jan. 24

Question in the House of Commons relating to the status of the Behring Sea fisheries question, and reply given by Sir J. Ferguson, transmitted.

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 extent. 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.




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

Mr. Adee to Sir J. Pauncefote.
Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Adee.

May 20
May 21

been mailed, and precise terms 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. Requests a reply to proposition of the 4th. 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

Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Adee.

Sir J. Pauncefote........

Sir J. Pauncefote..

May 27
June 3
June 3

reply is desired; revenue cutters have been ordered to proceed to the fisheries, and the orders would be made definite by the conclusion of an agreement.

Regrets the delay and makes excuse on the ground of the lateness of the proposal. Proposal for modus vivendi by the British government.

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. Paunce- June 4 Proposes substitutes for subdivisions 1 and 2 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 year.

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 upheld, but agrees to the appointment of one or two commissioners for the collection 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 seal-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 submitted 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.

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Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 10 ton.

Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine...... Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Wharton.

June 10
June 11


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

Debate in the House of Lords after passage
of the bill.
Reply has been received by telegraph from
Lord Salisbury who regrets that the sug-
gestions in regard to Russia have been re-
jected, but will authorize him to sign agree-
ment 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 presented.

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


Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 13 fote.

The President..

June 15 Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- June 20 fote.

sign agreement under previously understood condition as to joint commission. Appointment for the formal attestation to the modus vivendi.

Proclamation in re modus vivendi. Instructions issued by the Navy Department in pursuance of the above proclamation. Sir J. Pauncefote is furnished copies thereof and asked for instructions issued by the British government.

Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- June 21 Appointment of British commissioners under the 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 vivendi submitted.

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

Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Pauncefote.

Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Pauncefote.

June 26
June 26

Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr.Wharton June 27 Mr. Wharton to Sir J. Paunce- July 3 fote.

Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- July ton.


tion proposition No. 6, presented by Mr. Blaine on Dec. 17, 1890. 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 question of closed time to arbitration in such words as to attribute abnormal rights to the United States is met by a new proposition 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 Pribyloff Islands proposed. Instructions for the reception of the British commissioners at the fisheries transmitted. Instructions issued to British navy, as per note of the 24th, have been communicated to the Navy Department. Note of the 25th acknowledged. Commissioners to visit the Bebring Sea. Proposes they go and act together.

Reply to the above. Passage for the British 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 inclosed.

Sir J. Pauncefote to Mr. Whar- July 7 Instructions (in full) to the naval forces of Great Britain in the Behring Sea inclosed.


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