to Mr. Bayard.
The Hague , July 23, 1886. (Received August 7.)
Sir: Referring to my No. 150 of the 10th ultimo, in which I reported the opening in this city of an international conference for the purpose of establishing order among the fishermen of the North Sea by putting an end to the abuses growing out of the traffic in spirituous liquors, I have now the honor to inclose herewith, for the information of the Department, three copie sin the Dutch text of the law of June 15, 1883, promulgating the treaty in the French text of May 6, 1882, between Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain and the Netherlands on the question of the fishing-police in the North Sea, and also three copies in the French text of the Procès-Verbaux of the International Conference held at the Hague June 10 to 25, 1886.
Your attention is especially invited to the particulars communicated to the conference by the British delegates.
- To the extract from a report on the North Sea fisheries, presented by Admiral Gordon-Douglas and Mr. Malan to the British Admiralty in November, 1884, a copy of which is inclosed herewith, and the original of which may be found printed on pages 23, 24, Annexe II, Procès-Verbaux.
- To the cases of “floating grog-shops in the North Sea,” referred to in Annexe III, on page 12–15, Procès-Verbaux, a copy of which is also inclosed herewith.
- To the annexe found on page 74, a copy of which is also inclosed, marked No. 5, containing the particulars respecting the quantity of spirits and tobacco to be taken on board a smack which was about to start for the North Sea.
It is understood that the representations made to this Government as well as to the other powers parties to the treaty of 1882, respecting the cases of disorder and scenes of dissipation which have arisen in connection with the liquor traffic amongst the vessels of the North Sea fisheries, fully confirmed the particulars and circumstances presented by the British delegate.
It appears that evils arising therefrom had become so widespread as to reach the homes of those who were dependent upon the fishermen for their support.
At all events the circumstances left no room to doubt that immediate remedies were imperatively demanded.
The Netherlands Government having taken the initiative the conference was convened at this capital.
By reference to the proceedings it will be observed that several interesting questions were discussed, amongst others, that respecting the [Page 753] right of visit and surveillance (fourth session, June 17, page 39–47, Proces-Verbaux).
It will be seen that after a full exchange of views upon that subject, the delegates agreed to adopt the principle that the supervision or surveillance should be exercised in accordance with the provisions of Article 26 of the convention of May 6, 1882, with a number of designated cruisers, the names of which must be communicated to the contracting powers.
It will also be seen that it was agreed that the intervention of the cruisers should be regulated conformably to the provisions of the convention of Paris of March 14, 1884, for the protection of submarine cables (page 47).
By reference to the proceedings of the third session, June 12, 1886, page 28–38, it will be seen that the questions relating to the modification of the customs laws of the several states were also the subject of discussion.
The exceptional position of the ports of Bremen and Hamburg was referred to by the German delegate to show that it would not be possible for Germany to introduce legislative measures contrary to the provisions of the German constitution guaranteeing freedom to those ports.
It is thought that the measures agreed upon by this conference, if finally adopted by the several Governments parties thereto, will prove efficacious in improving the condition of the fishermen.
I have, &c.,