No. 540.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose to you herewith a memorandum calling the attention of the United States Government to certain points in the report made by Lieutenant Schwatka, of the U. S. Army, of a reconnaissance made by him in Alaska, and to observe at the same time that he traversed British territory for a considerable distance without any intimation having been given to the British authorities of his intention of so doing. I may add, however, that Her Majesty’s Government do not attach any importance to this fact, and that no doubt had their acquiescence been asked it would not have been refused.

I have the honor, etc.,

L. S. Sackville West .
[Page 769]

Memorandum on Lieutenant Schwatka’s report.

In the wording of the resolution* adopted by the United States Senate on the 18th of April, 1884, the reconnaissance of Lieutenant Schwatka is described as extending from Chilkoot Inlet, Alaska, to Fort Selkirk, on Yukon River, Alaska. But, as is shown in sheet 5 attached to Lieutenant Schwatka’s report, part 2 of the map of the routes followed by him extends from Fort Selkirk, B. C. (standing for British Columbia); and at page 33 of his report, the latitude and longitude of Fort Selkirk is given as 62° 45’ 30” north and 137° 22’ 45” west, which is well within the territory belonging to Great Britain, which extends as far as 141° west.

It will also be seen on referring to pages 20 and 47 of the report that Lieutenant Schwatka has indicated two points, viz, Perrier Pass and 141° west longitude, which he has determined as defining the international boundary.

Although Her Majesty’s Government have agreed in principle to take part in a preliminary investigation of the Alaska boundary question, they are not prepared to admit that the points referred to by Lieutenant Schwatka in any way fix where the line should be drawn.

It is not sought to raise any discussion at the present moment in regard to the position of the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia, but, in order that it may not be prejudiced hereafter by absence of remark on the points alluded to above, Her Majesty’s Government have thought it expedient to call the attention of the United States Government to the foregoing observations.

  1. Resolved, That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, directed to transmit to the Senate the official report by Lieut. Frederick Schwatka, U. S. Army, of his military reconnaissance of 1883, from Chilkoot Inlet, Alaska, to Fort Selkirk, on Yukon River, Alaska.