Mr. Gresham to Mr. Bayard.
Washington , October 27, 1893 .
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your dispatch of the 30th ultimo, in which you state that, on Lord Rosebery’s return to London from Balmoral, you will continue your efforts for adequate and concurrent action on the award of the Paris Tribunal. You also say:
To suspend wholly, even for a single year, the seal catch on the islands might be highly prejudicial to the United States or their lessees, and, as in the provisional or temporary arrangement of May, 1893, between Russia and Great Britain, a limit of 30,000 seals on the Russian islands was agreed to, it would seem a very reasonable figure to adopt for the catch on the Pribilof Islands, whose product has been supposed to be about double that of the Russian islands. I would respectfully ask for an expression of your views on this subject, and how far we ought to go in restricting the seal catch on these islands.
I sent you yesterday copy of the contract which secures to the North American Commercial Company the exclusive right to take seal on the Pribilof Islands, thinking it advisable that you should know the precise relations between the United States and that company. The President is not now prepared to say how far we ought to go in limiting the seal catch should Great Britain make a demand of that kind. You are well informed on the subject of the seal industry and all matters relating to it, and we rely with confidence upon your judgment in dealing with Lord Rosebery. If Great Britain firmly insists that only a limited number of seals shall be taken on the islands, and you must yield or fail in the effort to obtain a satisfactory understanding for concurrent action, you can report the fact to me, and I will communicate it to the President for his direction.
I have no doubt you will be impressed by the reply of the Japanese minister when I asked him, in an informal conversation, if his Government was willing to give its adhesion to the regulations recommended by the arbitrators. You have the substance of that conversation in my instructions of the 24th instant. I must say that the position of Japan seems to be reasonable. An agreement between the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and Japan, of the character suggested by the minister of the latter country, for the protection of the seal north of a line reaching from California to Japan, along the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude, would likely be respected by other powers. It is very important that the two Governments should come to an understanding which will secure the desired result before the next sealing season begins, and it is not doubted here that you are striving to accomplish that end.[Page 128]
The Russian minister told me a day or two ago that, when informed of the means adopted by the United’ States and Great Britain to give practical effect to the regulations, his Government would without delay determine whether or not it could give its adhesion, as requested. It may be that other powers will not be willing to be bound by the regulations recommended by the tribunal without knowing what means will be employed by the two Governments for their enforcement.
I am, etc.,