Mr. Adam to Mr. Sherman.
Manchester, Mass., August 11, 1897.
Sir: In view of the influx of large numbers of persons into the Yukon district on both sides of the one hundred and forty-first meridian, it would appear to be for the general interest that the facilities for communication with the interior of the country should be increased. Navigation by the Yukon is open only for about four months out of the twelve, so that under present conditions the population is left isolated for the rest of the year.
The Governments of the United States and of Canada propose sending into their respective territories a military force to maintain law and [Page 328]order; bat the opening up and maintenance of communications with the interior districts during the period when navigation ceases on the Yukon is an object of no less importance and general interest.
It would therefore seem most desirable, pending the settlement of the international boundary line between the United States and the Dominion of Canada, south of Mount St. Elias, that, while reserving the rights of either country, a permanent route should be created, giving access to the interior at all seasons of the year.
Of such routes, that which appears to offer the fewest obstacles would start from the head of the winter navigation on the Lynn Canal, crossing the mountains by White Pass, or by any other pass which might prove more easy of access, and proceeding northward to Fort Selkirk, and from thence to Klondike.
Should the United States Government have no objection to the proposal, the government of Canada is willing to undertake to open communication by constructing a telegraph line from the head of winter navigation on the Lynn Canal for a distance of about 80 miles across the summit of the mountains, by whichever pass is found most practicable, to a suitable point northeast of the mountain range, from which a trail can be readily followed to Fort Selkirk and on to Klondike.
The Dominion government would likewise erect shelters at distances of from 40 to 50 miles along the trail, and maintain dog trains during the winter months for the conveyance of mails to and from the interior. Travelers, on reaching Klondike, will find the surrounding country to be accessible, and it is hoped that by this scheme more constant intercourse with the interior can be established than by any other plan.
The Governor-General of Canada has requested me to invite your most favorable consideration to the above proposals, and his excellency would be glad to learn at the earliest possible moment whether the Government of the United States is prepared to concur therein; and, if not, in what particulars they would wish to suggest any different arrangements.
I have further the honor to state that Her Majesty’s principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, to whom the Canadian proposals were submitted, indorses them, and has instructed me to urge upon the United States Government the absolute necessity for adopting some measures of similar import.
Of that necessity no further proof need be sought than the circular issued yesterday by the United States Secretary of the Interior, warning persons intending to cross the White Pass of the existing block at that point.
I have the honor, etc.,