No. 957.
Mr. Wurts to Mr. Bayard.

No. 201.]

Sir: I have to inform yon of the receipt of your instructions No. 141 on the subject of the inconveniences caused by the regulations of the Russian Government which prohibit foreign vessels from entering any port on the coast of Kamschatka other than that of Petropaulovski, and that I have communicated the substance of the same to the Imperial foreign office.

I have, etc.,

George W. Wurts.
[Inclosure in No. 201.]

Mr. Wurts to General Vlangaly.

Your Excellency: I am instructed by my Government to call the attention of the Government of His Imperial Majesty to the danger and hardship of the situation to which are exposed whaling and other vessels in the waters of Bering or Okhotsk Seas, by reason of the regulation of the Imperial Government which obliges all foreign vessels to go for repairs, stores, or assistance to the port of Petropaulovski, a town on the lower end of the peninsula of Kamschatka.

This is illustrated by the report of the commander of the United States ship Thetis communicating to the Navy Department of the United States a copy of a notice served upon the American whaling ship Belvedere by the commanding officer of the Russian corvette Alert during the whaling season of 1887. The Belvedere was at the time in Plover Bay, in Bering Sea, into which harbor she had put for the purpose of making necessary repairs; and among other things the notice contains is a statement that the captains of foreign vessels cannot repair or obtain stores for their ships on the coasts of Bering or Okhotsk Seas, or the peninsula of Kamschatka, but for all purposes must go to Petropaulovski, a settlement on the lower end of the peninsula above mentioned.

The Department of State of the United States is informed that the reason for this order is the desire of the Imperial Government to prevent an illicit traffic in intoxicating liquors, which has been carried on by foreign whaling vessels with the native Indians on the coasts and islands in the quarter referred to. To the accomplishment of this important design the Department of State does not desire to interpose any obstruction, and it recognizes the practical difficulties which the subject presents to the Imperial Government, with the long line of coast to be policed.

But the Department of State is reliably informed, and its information is readily supported by an inspection of the extent of the coasts in question, that vessels of the whaling fleet are compelled, by stress of weather and other casualty, to seek such places of refuge as Plover Bay to repair and refit. For example, the distance from that harbor to Petropaulovski is believed to be about 800 miles.

This fact alone establishes the impossibility of American whaling ships pursuing their ancient and accustomed occupation in the remote waters in question, under such an interdiction as the notice apparently seeks to impose.

In bringing this matter to the attention of the Imperial Government I sincerely trust that the Government of His Imperial Majesty will recognize the justice of the complaint of the Government of the United States, and that it will take such measures as may be necessary with a view of securing the American whaling fleet against molestation when seeking the harbors of the coasts and islands referred to for purposes legitimately connected with or incident to the object of their voyages.

I avail, etc.,

George W. Wurts.