Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.
St. Petersburg, April 11, 1887. (Received April 27.)
Sir: In order to obtain an accurate copy of article 21 of the Russian prize law of 1869, and which you desire to be sent to you, as by your dispatch No. 74, I applied to Prof. F. Martens, and I am indebted for the following reply:
The article 21 belongs to the Chapter III of the prize law, the title of which is as follows: “On the places in which the prize law is to be executed.”
The text of the article 21 is as follows:
“The right of making prizes is recognized only in the open seas. As for the open sea, it consists of waters which are not under the fire of neutral batteries, or 3 sea miles from the neutral shores.”
“In order to prevent any misunderstanding of the word only, I must say that in the articles 19 and 20 it is said that prizes may also be taken in the territorial waters of the enemy.”
From the above it will be seen that I was not literally accurate when I said that article 21 limited the jurisdictional waters of Russia to 3 miles from the shore. I had only a brief note of the tenor of the article before me and was somewhat misled by it.
But the implication seems unequivocal. In defining the open sea and jurisdictional waters of all neutral powers it would seem clear that she intends to recognize a, general rule applicable to all nations alike.
I am, etc.,