Record of the proceedings of the tribunal of arbitration at the twenty-fifth conference, held at Geneva, in Switzerland, on the 23d of August, 1872.
The conference was held pursuant to adjournment. All the arbitrators and the agents of the two governments were present.
Lord Tenderden’s statement about tables presented by Mr. Davis; arguments as to Florida; sundry decisions. The protocol of the last conference was read and approved, and was signed by the president and secretary of the tribunal and the agents of the two governments.
Lord Tenterden, as agent of Her Britannic Majesty, read the following statement:
As agent of Her Britannic Majesty, I have the honor respectfully to represent to the tribunal that the tables of claims which were pro forma presented to the arbitrators by the agent of the United States on Monday, 19th instant, but of which I was only furnished with copies on the night of the 21st instant, contain new and additional claims of the following description.
1. a. Claims for wages of crews of captured vessels from time of capture.
b. Claims for loss of personal effects of officers and crews.
There is no evidence as to the number of the crews, nor as to the long and varying periods for which their wages are calculated, nor as to any such personal effects having been in fact lost.
In short, these claims are wholly conjectural in amount and unsupported by any evidence whatsover.
2. Additional claims for shares of vessels not claimed for up to the present time, e.g.: where an individual claimant has only claimed for four-fifths of the value of a vessel, an arbitrary claim is now advanced for the first time on the part of the United States Government for the value of the remaining fifth.
It is not alleged that the part owner who had not previously claimed has now given any authority for this claim to be advanced. The strong presumption indeed is that he may have already received the value of his share from English or other foreign insurance companies, with whom it was insured, and who are not entitled under the treaty to advance any claim.
3. Claims previously presented have been increased in amount without any ground appearing for such increase.
The total amount of these three classes of claims, which are now for the first time advanced on the part of the United States Government, appears, in round numbers, to be at least two millions of dollars.
Independently of the fact that these additional claims are unsupported by any evidence, it is my duty respectfully to submit to the tribunal that the additional statement of any new claims whatever, in this stage of the arbitration, for the purpose of influencing or affecting the judgment of the tribunal upon any matter within its authority, is contrary to the provisions of the treaty.
The treaty contemplates that the statements of facts and evidence, constituting the whole case of each party, should be brought before the tribunal within the times and in the manner specified in Articles 3, 4 and 5, subject only to such further statements or arguments as under Article 5 the arbitrators may think fit to require or permit for the elucidation of any point contained in, or arising out of, the documents previously put in by either party.
I have also to submit that the introduction of such additional claims is not authorized by the request made by the arbitrators.
This request was that comparative statements of the results in figures of the claims already made, as appearing in the papers previously presented, according to the views of the respective parties, should be prepared, with explanatory observations, and laid before the tribunal, and it could not have been intended to afford the opportunity for bringing forward new, or increasing former, claims.
Under these circumstances, I respectfully request the arbitrators, to disallow, as unauthorized by them, and as contrary to the treaty, the tables containing such additional claims, presented by the agent of the United States, and the memorandum relating to them, without prejudice to his right to present other tables, accompanied by any explanatory observations, which shall be limited to the particular claims already set forth in the case and counter-case of the United States, and the appendices thereto.
The tribunal decided to adjourn the consideration of this matter until the next conference.
Sir Roundell Palmer, as counsel of Her Britannic Majesty, then read the argument required by the tribunal on Sir Alexander Cockburn’s [Page 37] proposal, upon the question of law mentioned in Prococol XXIV, and Mr. Evarts, as counsel of the United States, replied to it.
On the proposal of Viscount d’Itajuba, one of the arbitrators, the tribunal decided to adjourn until the next conference the further discussion upon the Florida, and to proceed with the definitive vote on each vessel separately.
The tribunal then decided that it had to consider only such vessels with regard to which claims were presented in the case and counter-case of the United States; every other question being consequently understood as dismissed from consideration.
Count Sclopis, as president of the tribunal, having read the Article VII of the Treaty of Washington, asked the tribunal whether, as to the Sumter, Great Britain has, by any act or omission, failed to fulfill any of the duties set forth in the three rules mentioned in Article VI of the treaty, or recognized by the principles of international law, not inconsistent with such rules.
The tribunal unanimously replied “No.”
The same question was asked as to the Nashville, and the tribunal unanimously replied “No.”
The same question was renewed as to the Retribution.
Mr. Adams answered “Yes, for all the acts of this vessel.”
Mr. Stæmpfli answered “Yes, as to the loss of the Emily Fisher.”
Sir Alexander Cockburn, Viscount d’Itajuba, and Count Sclopis answered “No.”
The same question was asked as to the Georgia, and the tribunal unanimously answered “No.”
The same question was repeated as to the Tallahassee and Chickamauga, separately, and the tribunal unanimously answered “No” for each of these vessels.
The same question having been repeated as to the Alabama, the tribunal unanimously answered “Yes.”
The same question was renewed as to the Shenandoah, and Mr. Adams, Mr. Stæmpfli, and Count Sclopis answered “Yes; but only for the acts committed by this vessel after her departure from Melbourne on the 18th of February, 1865.” Viscount d’Itajuba and Sir Alexander Cockburn answered “No.”
The definitive vote on the Florida was adjourned until the next meeting.
The conference was then adjourned until Monday, the 26th instant, at half past 12 o’clock.
- FREDERICK SCLOPIS.
- J. C. BANCROFT DAVIS.
- ALEX. FAVROT, Secretary.