Lord Gough to Mr. Olney.

Sir: The recent development of the mineral resources of the country drained by the Yukon River, and the growing importance of the administration of that region, have rendered it highly desirable that the precise limits of the jurisdiction of the United States and the Dominion, respectively, should be more exactly determined than has hitherto been the case. With this object the well-known surveyor, Mr. William Ogilvie, who in 1887–88 conducted a survey of this tract of country on behalf of the Canadian Government and determined the point of intersection of the one hundred and forty-first meridian of longitude (the treaty boundary line between Alaska and Canada) and the Yukon River, has been instructed to proceed with the determination of that meridian with all convenient speed.

Her Majesty’s Government are desirous of securing the cooperation of the United States in this important work, and I would venture to suggest that such cooperation might, if the United States Government see fit, be given in one of two forms: First, and preferably, the appointment of a surveyor to act jointly with Mr. Ogilvie in determining so much of the line as may be found necessary for the purpose of defining the territory of the two countries at the points where the administration of public affairs actually requires this to be done; if the cooperation of the United States in surveying the line can not be had at this stage, that the demarcation of it which will be made on the ground by Mr. Ogilvie should be recognized by both countries for the present—without prejudice, however, to the rights of either party when, at a later stage, a joint delimitation of the line shall be made.

I am to point out that a precedent for the second of these alternative courses occurred in 1877 when the boundary between the possessions of the two countries on the Stikine River was surveyed by a Canadian officer, Mr. Joseph Hunter, and accepted by both on the conditions now suggested in respect of the Yukon. In the event of the latter alternative being adopted, it is thought that the United States Government would perhaps be willing to share the cost of the preliminary survey.

In having the honor to bring before you the desire of Her Majesty’s Government for the cooperation of the Government of the United States in this survey of boundaries, I have the honor to add that the convention entered into at Washington in 1892 for a joint or coincident survey of the territory adjacent to the boundary between Alaska and the northwest territories of Canada has relation only to the southern part of the said boundary, and not to the part of the boundary referred to in my present note.

I have, etc.,