Mr. Olney to Sir Julian Pauncefote.
Washington, July 2, 1896.
Excellency: Referring to previous correspondence concerning the question of firearms on board Canadian sealing vessels, and particularly with reference to your notes of the 3d and 20th ultimo, respectively, on the subject, I have the honor to inclose for your information and consideration a copy of a letter of the 30th ultimo from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, submitting certain modifications of the regulations proposed in your note of the 20th ultimo in regard to the matter.
You will observe that Mr. Hamlin suggests that vessels proceeding direct to Bering Sea from Victoria should present the certificates alluded to in your note to the deputy collector of customs or to Capt. C. L. Hooper, Revenue-Cutter Service, in charge of the United States patrolling fleet at Unalaska, and that thereupon said vessels be searched by duly authorized patrolling officers and the fact indorsed on the certificates; that such certificates, duly indorsed, may be accepted by the officers of the patrolling vessels as evidence of the fact that no firearms are concealed on board, unless some information or evidence of violation of law other than mere suspicion is in the possession of or found by the boarding officer; and that a representative of the United States Government be allowed to inspect all seal skins taken in Bering Sea and landed at British Columbian ports to discover whether or not the seals have been shot.
Mr. Hamlin assumes that as regards vessels now in or en route to Japanese waters, it would be impossible to carry into effect the arrangement proposed, but that he will communicate with Captain Hooper of the patrolling fleet, and inform him as to the efforts of the collector at Victoria to bring about the transshipment of firearms belonging to Canadian vessels or the leaving of them at some rendezvous, and that the same information will be communicated to the officers of all the patrolling vessels.
This Department is of the opinion that if the suggestions proposed by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury could be adopted they would obviate much of the trouble and delay caused by the searching of British vessels. I therefore beg to be informed as speedily as possible as to whether or not Her Majesty’s Government will agree to the foregoing suggestions in order that the Treasury Department may be able to cover by one instruction to the patrolling fleet all the questions raised by your note of the 20th ultimo.
I have, etc.,