Mr. Bayard to Mr. Olney.
London, April 29, 1896. (Received May 8.)
Sir: I beg leave to refer to my No. 653, under date of the 14th instant, in relation to the proposed negotiation of a joint treaty between the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and Japan, for the purpose of more effectually protecting seal life in the waters of Bering Sea, the North Pacific, and the Sea of Okhotsk, and extending the regulations promulgated by the Paris Tribunal in August, 1893.
I have the honor to inform you that on the 16th instant, following the terms of your instruction, I addressed a note to M. de Staal, the Russian ambassador at this capital, a copy of which led to a personal interview with his excellency on the 18th, at which we held a full conversation in relation to the fur-seal question, and reference was made to the communications, verbal and written, in 1888 between Lord Salisbury and the representatives at this capital of the United States and Russia.
I also drew his excellency’s attention to the correspondence of Mr. Lothrop, United States minister at St. Petersburg, and the State Department, which is published in the volume of Foreign Relations for 1888, (pp. 1854–1856).
His excellency well remembered and adverted to the ready concurrence by Lord Salisbury in 1888, in the urgent necessity which then existed for the establishment of a close season for sealing, and interdicting the capture of seals at sea during that period.
M. de Staal expressed marked satisfaction in the prospect of cooperation of the United States with Russia in procuring an expansion of the area for the interdiction of pelagic sealing, and expressed warm approval of my proposition of laying before Lord Salisbury a résumé [Page 287] of the events connected with far sealing in Bering Sea and the North Pacific for eight years past, and more particularly the history of seal capture since the promulgation of the award of the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration in August, 1893, and the regulations sought to be established thereunder, the express object and purpose of which had been, under the interpretation of citizens and officials of Canada, so largely rendered futile.
He expressed, however, his desire that I should address a preliminary note at once to Lord Salisbury, informing him of the nature of the instruction I had received, in order that M. de Staal could communicate to his Government that the cooperation of the United States to effect the purpose in view had commenced and been made known here.
Accordingly, on returning home I at once addressed a note, under date of the 18th instant, to Lord Salisbury, a copy of which, together with a copy of his lordship’s reply, received to-day, is herewith inclosed.
In the interview referred to nothing was said on either side in relation to the participation of Japan in the proposed negotiations, and I shall await the return of M. de Staal from the Imperial coronation ceremonies in Russia before I have any conference with the Japanese minister on the subject.
The interests of Japan in relation to protecting the seal species from wasteful and wanton destruction by pelagic sealing are, however, so similar to those of the United States and Russia that I can not doubt the ready and friendly cooperation of that Government.
It is my opinion, however, that at no point would the pecuniary loss arising from an extermination of the seals be so great as here in London, where the most profitable processes in preparing the sealskins are executed.
I have, etc.,