Session of Friday morning, July 4.
The session opened at 10 o’clock a.m.
Mr. Peirce, the delegate of the United States, recalled that he had expressed during Tuesday morning’s session a desire to give further information to the arbitrator, but that he had to await a communication from his Government. He said:
“In the first session the arbitrator asked me, ‘What is the extent of jurisdiction which the United States claim to-day in Bering Sea?’ and I replied that the American Government now claims an extent of 3 miles. I wished that this reply might be sustained by the Secretary of State, Mr. John Hay. I am now in receipt of a dispatch, and in accordance with the authority which I have received from the Secretary of State of the United States, dated July 3, 1902, I repeat that the Government of the United States claims, neither in Bering Sea nor in its other bordering waters, an extent of jurisdiction greater than a marine league from its shores, but bases its claims to jurisdiction upon the following principle: The Government of the United States claims and admits the jurisdiction of any State over its territorial waters only to the extent of a marine league, unless a different rule is fixed by treaty between two States; even then the treaty States alone are affected by the agreement.”
He made this declaration of his Government in the capacity of agent and counsel accredited to this court and especially instructed to make this declaration.
Mr. Peirce said that he would hand a copy of this declaration to the arbitrator.
Mr. Komarow, the delegate of Russia, asked if this declaration was a universal application, and if there is no exception made in favor of certain industries.
Mr. Peirce said that this declaration applies to all cases. He said he would give a copy of it to the delegate of Russia.
The Arbitrator, Mr. Asser, expressed his thanks to the two powers who have been pleased to have done him the honor to confer upon him the office of arbitrator. He complimented the two delegates upon the preparation of the memorandum and the rejoinders, and assured them of his appreciation of the supplementary information. He thanked the experts also. The task of the Russian experts, who were obliged to express themselves in another language, was particularly difficult. They, nevertheless, made clear more than one point. He particularly thanked Mr. Charles Townsend, who, by his works and his scientific knowledge, greatly facilitated the task of the arbitrator. He thanked the secretaries also.
He said by the terms of the convention he would have to render his decision within six months from to-day. He had, however, no intention of delaying his decision for six months. After having reread [Page 441]all of the documents he would proceed at once to the preparation of the award.
In concluding he expressed the hope that the result of the labor in which they have here been engaged might consolidate the good relations between the United States of America and Russia.
Mr. Peirce delivered the following speech:
“The object of our reunion in this hall being fulfilled, it is my very agreeable duty to address a few words of thanks to the distinguished arbitrator who kindly consented to judge between my country and its friend, the great power of the north, whose illustrious sovereign has added imperishable laurels to his crown by his initiative, the result of which is the existence of this Permanent Court of Arbitration, whose hall our sessions here have inaugurated in the use to which it is destined. And I congratulate those who are assembled in this hall for that end, as well as the two great powers, the parties in this litigation, on having assisted at the baptism of this child of a great destiny. I thank the Permanent Court of Arbitration for myself, as well as for my Government for the privilege which has been accorded us.
“In thanking the honorable arbitrator, I pay homage to his perfect impartiality, his indefatigable patience, and his remarkable perspicacity. While I have greatly admired his qualities, of which each day he has given us new proof, I can not say that they have surprised me. When my Government proposed to the Russian Government to submit the differences that existed between them to him it was because it recognized in him these same qualities, together with a profound knowledge of the principles of law and justice. And the Government of the United States, as well as the individual claimants in this affair, have intrusted their interests into his hands with perfect confidence.
“To my colleague of Russia I wish to express my sincere thanks for his unvarying courtesy toward me as well as toward the United States experts. I congratulate the defendant party on the learning, tact, and intelligence of the delegate it has selected.
“As for the affair, it rests in the hands of a just, reasonable, and learned arbitrator, and, although no one knows what his decision will be, I for my part know that it will be just and will do honor to his great reputation.
“It is quite true, as my colleague has well said, that at the end of this affair there will be neither conqueror nor conquered, but I wish to add that the Goddess of Peace, mother of Arbitration, confer upon both the contracting parties laurels more illustrious than those with which Victory crowns the conqueror.
Mr. Komarow said that he shared in the expressions and sentiments to which Mr. Peirce had given expression.
Mr. Asser announced that the labors were ended.
The session adjourned at 11 o’clock.