Mr. Gresham to Sir Julian Pauncefote.

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 21st instant, in reply to the inquiry made in mine of the 16th, whether Her Majesty’s Government adhere to the determination to postpone the enforcement of the rules agreed upon for the prevention of collisions at sea until some time after March 1. You refer to the difficulty in which Her Majesty’s Government find themselves with regard to this question and their inability at present to fix a date for bringing the regulations into force, and express the hope that the President may find it possible to issue a supplementary proclamation deferring the date.

As explained in my note of October 22 last, the President has no option in the matter. His power was exhausted by the proclamation fixing the date on which the act of Congress of August 19, 1890, as amended by that of May 28, 1894, is to come into effect, this date being as much a part of the act as if incorporated in it.

Accept, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.