Mr. Bayard to Mr. Hubbard.
Washington, August 9, 1888.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 492, of the 13th ultimo, in which you transmit a copy of a note from Count Okuma, minister for foreign affairs of Japan, of the 7th ultimo, in which he states the desire of his Government to instruct its representative in London to take part in the negotiations there pending between the Government of the United States and that of Great Britain, for a convention for the protection of seals in Behring Sea, provided the negotiations have reached a stage which would admit of such participation.
In reply you promised his excellency that you would request your Government to furnish you with full information respecting the progress of the negotiations.
No change is known to have taken place in the state of the negotiations at London since the Department last wrote you on the subject. Four months ago strong hopes were entertained here that the convention would soon be concluded. But the Department is now informed that the views of Her Britannic Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs have met with obstruction from Canada, where vessels are yearly fitted out for the purpose of preying upon seal life by the use of fire-arms and other destructive weapons.
It is not perceived, therefore, how the participation of Japan in the negotiations at London could promote their successful conclusion. [Page 1854] There is not known to be any difference of opinion between this Government and that of Her Britannic Majesty as to the necessity and propriety of the international arrangement, now under consideration, for the protection of the seals in Behring Sea.
The convention which Japan will seek to make on the same subject will, as you have indicated, have to be shaped in some respects so as to meet the wishes of Japan in regard to the protection of her interests in the sea-otter. What this Government deems necessary for the preservation of the seals in Behring Sea is entirely to prohibit the slaughter of them with fire-arms, nets, and other destructive implements, at a distance from the coasts. The Department would be glad to learn the views of the Japanese Government concerning the measures necessary for the protection of its interests in the otter, and to be furnished with information respecting their territorial and pecuniary extent.
I am, etc.,