Mr. Patenôtre to Mr. Gresham.
Washington, June 20, 1894. (Received June 21.)
Mr. Secretary of State: The London cabinet having asked, as you are aware, that certain modifications of detail should be made in the draft of the regulations adopted in 1890 by the Washington Marine Conference for the prevention of collisions at sea, the U. S. Government expressed its intention to agree to this proposition, which is now before the Federal Congress awaiting its approval. Great Britain suggested, moreover, that the new regulations should take effect March 1, 1895, so that an understanding among the powers at no distant day seems to be probable.
The Government of the Republic, desiring to facilitate this agreement, is prepared, so far as it is concerned, to abandon the reservations which it originally made, and to adhere to the British modifications. It would, however, be glad to know whether the Washington Cabinet, which took the initiative in the conference of 1889, proposes now to retain the direction of this matter by transmitting to the other powers for their approval the propositions to which it has itself agreed, or whether it intends to leave it to the British Government to secure the acceptance of its draft by its own diplomatic action. In the latter case we should not have to notify the U. S. Government of our adhesion, but that of Great Britain.
I shall be obliged to you if you will enable me to reply to the question which has been addressed to me. Thanking you in advance,
I beg, etc.,