No. 238.
Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard

No. 386.]

Sir: By referring to my No. 323, of December 14, 1886, it will be seen that on the 8th of said month the international conference for the protection of submarine cables, after deciding to again defer the execution of the convention of 1884, adjourned to July 1, 1887, in order to enable the states which had not yet done so to adopt the necessary legislation for the enforcement of the convention.

You will also remember (see dispatches No. 225, of May 27; 317, of December 2, and 323, of December 14, 1886) that in view of removing certain objections of American and English companies to Articles 2 and 4 of the convention, the conference at a former session had agreed upon a protocol and declaration, which were submitted for your approval with the dispatch No. 225 above mentioned.

Acting upon the authority given me by your No. 174, of November 24, 1886, I signed that declaration on December 1, 1886, with all the other members of the conference except the German ambassador, who was not prepared to do so at the time. He did so on the 23d instant, and I send you herewith the original instrument, signed by the plenipotentiaries [Page 292] of the twenty-five Governments represented in the conference.

In sending me this instrument, M. Flourens remarks that the conference, when it shall meet on the 1st of July, will have to fix the date of the application of the convention, the date of October 1 being agreed upon only informally, to regulate the position of the states which may not yet have adopted the necessary legislation, and to agree upon the mode of establishing how far other states which might accede to the convention have conformed their legislation to its requirements.

In view of reaching easily an understanding upon these three points, M. Flourens suggests that each plenipotentiary be empowered to decide them at once without reference to his Government, which may be done by means of a closing protocol, stating that all or part of the states, as the case may be, have conformed to the requirements of Article 12, and in view of either of these two contingencies the French foreign office has prepared two forms of a protocol, which the French minister at Washington has been instructed to submit to you.

In the opinion of M. Flourens the approval of this closing protocol will not involve any further constitutional formality, because the authority already given by the legislature of the countries where such authority is required embraces a clause (Article 16) stating that the convention will go into operation upon the day fixed by the high contracting parties.

M. Flourens having requested me to call your attention to these considerations, in order that at the first sitting of the conference, on July 1 each plenipotentiary may be in position to settle the pending questions above referred to, I shall feel obliged if you will kindly give me your instructions before that date, and inform me at the same time of the action of Congress with reference to the legislation for enforcing the convention.

I have, etc.,

Robert M. McLane.