to Mr. Phelps.
Washington, June 18, 1886.
Sir; I have received and read with much satisfaction your No. 293 of the 5th instant, inclosing a copy of a note addressed by you on that day to Lord Rosebery, in reference to the seizures of American fishing vessels in Canadian waters, and other interference with our commercial rights.
The views and arguments you adduce are fully in accord with the instructions already sent you, and are so ably advanced and enforced that I have for the present, and pending Lord Rosebery’s reply, nothing further to suggest on these points.
I now transmit for your information a copy of a note addressed by me, on the 14th instant, to Sir Lionel West, on the subject of certain verbal notifications not to approach the coasts of Nova Scotia, which, as I have been informed by our consul-general at Halifax, were given to four of our fishing vessels by the subcollector of customs at Canso, and the information from the collector at Halifax that no American fishing vessels would be permitted to land fish at that port for transportation in bond across the province.
In reply to my note, Sir Lionel West informed me that the subject has been brought by him to the notice of Her Majesty’s Government.
My notes of the 10th, 20th, and 29th of May last to Sir Lionel West continue without reply, and this, I suppose, is one of the serious impediments to prompt and practical exchange of views which results from the triangular attitude of the United States, the imperial Government of Great Britain, and the American dependencies of the latter power, towards all questions in which the interests of the provinces are involved.
The last note of the British minister, stating that he has brought the attention of Her Majesty’s Government to the questions raised by the action of provincial officials will, I hope, be productive of authoritative expression, and afford some solid basis for our judgment and progressive [Page 347] action, which has hitherto been so delayed from the somewhat anomalous relations of the Canadian authorities towards a convention to which they are not actual or responsible parties.
I am, &c.,