No. 269.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Roustan .

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your note of the 14th ultimo, transmitting a dispatch, with inclosures, addressed to you by your Government in relation to the convention for the protection of submarine cables, and particularly requesting you to ascertain the situation and intentions of this Government with respect to that convention.

As the bill which was pending before the last Congress to execute the provisions of the convention was not definitively acted upon by that body it is not thought that this Government is in a position to authorize its diplomatic representative at Paris to sign the draft of a final protocol, marked in your note as inclosure No. 1, which is intended to fix a certain day for the convention to take effect.

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The second draft of a protocol, marked inclosure No. 2, provides that the convention shall take effect on a day to be fixed by the plenipotentiaries of the signatory powers at their next session at Paris; but it also provides that if, on that day, any of the Governments in question shall not have adopted the requisite legislation to execute the convention, its operation shall be suspended as regards such state until notice shall be given by it to the contracting parties, through the French Government, of the adoption of appropriate legislation. To this protocol no objection is found, and the minister of the United States at Paris will be empowered to sign it. In order, however, that it may be considered, in the terms of its last clause, “as forming an integral part of the international convention of March 14, 1884,” the protocol will be Submitted to the Senate (before which body the explanatory protocol signed on the 1st of December last is now pending) at its next session; and as the convention is now awaiting for its execution the action of the next Congress, it is not supposed that the course stated will be productive of any delay.

Accept, etc.,