Sir Julian Pauncefote to Mr. Sherman.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, No. 686, of the 7th instant, in reply to mine of the 18th ultimo, in which I informed you that Her Majesty’s Government were prepared to agree to a renewal for the season of 1897 of the arrangement made in 1894 relating to the sealing up of arms, etc., with a view to the protection from unnecessary interference of sealing vessels proceeding to the fishery in Bering Sea, or returning to port during the close season.

You now inform me that the United States Government consent to extend to British vessels the regulations prescribed by the President under an act of Congress for United States vessels during the fishery season of 1897 (a copy of which you inclose), and you inquire whether I am authorized to accept the terms of those regulations, in which case certain changes would be made in them so as to adapt them to British vessels.

I have the honor to state in reply that I have no authority to agree to the application of those regulations to British sealing vessels. The latter are governed by regulations of a similar character prescribed under powers derived from a British act of Parliament, and any extension or alteration of them imposing any new restrictions or obligations would require the sanction of a further British order in council.

The arrangement of 1894 as to the sealing up of arms, being of an entirely voluntary character, required no legislation, and it can be renewed for the present season merely by instructions to the naval or other officials charged to carry it out. I should be much obliged if you would be good enough to inform me whether the proposal on the subject conveyed to you in my note of the 18th ultimo is agreeable to your Government.

In the meanwhile I shall not fail to transmit your note now under reply to the Marquis of Salisbury for the consideration of Her Majesty’s Government.

I have, etc.,

Julian Pauncefote.