Mr. Hay to Mr. Tower.
Washington , September 6, 1899 .
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your note of the 27th ultimo, by which you inform me that, having telegraphed to the Marquis of Salisbury the alternative proposals for a provisional boundary in that part of Alaska circumjacent to Lynn Canal, you are now in receipt of telegraphic instructions from his lordship to communicate to me the reply received from the Canadian government to the effect that the government of the Dominion of Canada will agree to the second of the lines proposed, but suggest a slight modification in that, instead of following the course of the Klehini River it is proposed that the line should follow “the high bank of the river.” You explain that this change is sought in order to obviate the difficulties which have been heretofore brought forward because of the broken nature of the Klehini channel and the variable volume and course of the stream; and in conclusion you express the hope of Her Majesty’s Government that it may now be possible to come to a settlement of the provisional boundary question, as above indicated, marking the line upon the ground by the erection of monuments.
The second of the alternatives proposed in my note of August 3, was to draw the line from the peak marked 6500—on sheet No. 10 of the map of the United States commission, December 31, 1895—in the direction of the peak numbered 5025, but to stop at the Klehini and follow its course to the junction of the Chilkat, as proposed by us several weeks before the 3d of August.
From that point toward the summit of the peak numbered 5490 we have been in constant agreement. Your recital of the second alternative accords with this definition.
With these data, and incorporating the details as to which agreement exists, with inclusion of the modification now proposed by the Dominion [Page 326] government, our agreement as to the main points of the provisional boundary line in the territory circumjacent to the head of Lynn Canal is reducible to the following terms:
It shall be agreed between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain that the boundary line between Canada and the Territory of Alaska in the region about the head of Lynn Canal shall be provisionally fixed without prejudice to the claims of either party in the permanent adjustment of the international boundary—
In the region of the Dalton trail, a line beginning at the peak west of Porcupine Creek, marked on the map No. 10 of the United States commission December 31, 1895, and on sheet No. 5, Department of the Interior, Ottawa, March, 1898, with the number 6500; thence running to the Klehini River in the direction of the peak north of that river marked 5020 on the aforesaid United States map, and 5025 on the aforesaid Canadian map; thence following the high bank of the Klehini River to the junction thereof with the Chilkat River, a mile and a half, more or less, north of Klukwan, provided that this line shall be so drawn as to permit the free ingress and egress of American citizens to and from the valley of the Porcupine Creek; and from said junction to the summit of the peak east of the Chilkat River marked on the aforesaid maps 5490.
On the Dyea and Skagway trails, the summits of the Chilkoot and White passes.
It is understood, as formerly set forth in communications of the Department of State of the United States, that the citizens or subjects of either power found by this arrangement within the temporary jurisdiction of the other shall suffer no diminution of the rights and privileges which they now enjoy.
The Government of the United States will at once appoint commissioners, in conjunction with commissioners to be named by the Government of her Britannic Majesty, to mark the temporary line thus agreed upon by the erection of appropriate monuments.
I am unable from any maps or data at my command to ascertain the significance of the phrase “the high bank” of the Klehini River, which is employed in formulating the modifications of my second alternative which is proposed by the Dominion government. I may, however, rightly assume from the antecedent negotiations that the purpose is to draw a line free from the objections raised to one following the unstable bed of the Klehini River, and that this purpose is to be accomplished by setting the monuments at such convenient points on the bank of that river as shall secure them from destruction by flood or by the caving in of the bank. Without seeking, however, to establish these points now upon conjectural basis, the proposed modification is accepted in the confidence that the fixation of the provisional boundary line in that quarter can and will be effected with due and equal consideration for the respective interests concerned.
I have, etc.,