to Mr. Bayard
Paris , July 15, 1887. (Received July 25.)
Sir: The conference relative to the protection of submarine cables met pursuant to its resolution of adjournment on the 1st of July at the ministry of foreign affairs.
The minister of foreign affairs opened the session, and explained that five powers, namely, the Argentine Republic, Austria, Brazil, the United States, and Roumania, had not yet passed the necessary laws to carry into execution the twelfth article of the convention. Since the adjournment in December last Germany, Spain, Guatemala, and Russia, all four of which were then in default, have enacted the necessary laws for carrying out the convention.
The minister of foreign affairs requests the representatives of the five states named as still in default to make such explanations in reference to this default as they might think necessary.
These explanations were made, and there appeared to be no material obstacle to the passage of the necessary laws at such time as might suit the convenience of the legislative bodies of the several countries in question, and all five of the representatives agreed to sign protocol No. 2, adopted at the December session of the conference, in virtue of which the convention would go into operation for all the powers that [Page 342] had voted the necessary laws to execute it, leaving the others to communicate through the French Government the adoption of their respective Jaws for its execution, at which time they would become subject to the operation of the convention.
At this stage of the Conference the representative of Great Britain expressed the desire of his Government that the convention should not go into operation until all the parties to it had adopted the necessary legislation to give it full effect, and he referred especially to the United States as one of the powers most interested in the question whose legislation had not yet been consummated. In pursuance of this view he proposed an adjournment until all the parties to the convention had enacted the necessary laws to give it effect. This view of the British delegate met with very little encouragement, and with entire unanimity the conference determined to fix a day (1st of May, 1888) for the convention to go into operation, provided all the parties to it had enacted laws for its execution, and protocol No. 2 was modified in that sense, and all the representatives to the conference agreed to sign it as modified ad referendum to their respective Governments.
I inclose herewith a translated copy thereof and the original duly signed by the representatives of all the powers, and I can not too strongly urge upon you the necessity of legislation by Congress prior to the 1st of May to give effect to the convention. In this connection I beg to call your attention to the fact that the law which passed the Souse of Representative is at its last session, and which was pending in the Senate at its adjournment, was defective in fixing a particular depth, say 100 fathoms, within which limit its provisions should not apply. No limit whatever would satisfy the terms of the convention, and Great Britain was obliged to amend the original statute enacted for its execution because of such a limitation.
I have, etc.,