No. 270.
Mr. Roustan to Mr. Bayard.


Mr. Secretary of State: The international conference for putting into execution the convention of March 14, 1884, for the protection of submarine cables, reassembled at Paris on the 1st of July last.

This conference, the object of which was explained to you by the ministerial circular contained in my note of April 14, 1887, terminated its labors on the 7th of July by signing a final protocol, according to which the convention of March 14, 1884, is to go into operation on the 1st day of May, 1888, on condition, however, that the five states that have not yet adopted the measures provided for by Article 12, viz, the Argentine Republic, Austria-Hungary, Brazil, the United States, and Roumania, shall at that time have conformed to the said stipulation. It is consequently important that the American Congress should take, before that date, such action as is necessary to secure the observance of the convention of March 14, 1884, in the United States.

The House of Representatives, having this object in view, passed a bill on the 8th of February last, which contained in its eighth section a provision which conflicted with the convention, inasmuch as it limited the scope of Article 4, as had previously been done by the English act of 1885, in lieu of which the submarine telegraph act of 1886 has since been passed. The bill in question, which would have caused additional delays before the convention could have gone into operation, was not passed at the time by the Senate, and is now null and void, owing to the fact that the present Congress is a new one. The Government of the Republic therefore hopes that the Federal Government Will be’ pleased to arrange matters with the committees of Congress on foreign [Page 368] affairs, so that the bill of February 8 may not be taken up again, or at least so that the eighth article may not be inserted therein, as that article must have grown out of a misunderstanding, inasmuch as the United States Government adhered to the interpretative declaration of December 1, 1886, and March 23, 1887, which should have resulted in preventing the presentation of the article in question.

In pursuance of my instructions, I have the honor, Mr. Secretary of State, herewith to transmit to you twenty copies of the report of the two meetings held during their last session by the representatives of, the powers that were parties to the international instrument of March 14, 1884. You will observe that the German Government, although not represented at the conference, signed the final protocol, which has consequently been approved by all the powers composing the Union for the protection of submarine cables.

Be pleased to accept, etc.,

Th. Roustan.