The Secretary of State to Ambassador Reid.
Washington , October 13, 1905 .
(Mr. Root informs Mr. Reid that the Newfoundland government has forbidden American fishing vessels already on the treaty coast to take fish within the treaty limits prescribed in article 1 of the treaty of 1818. They consider that their right is perfectly clear and in accordance with the construction of the treaty always followed and never questioned by the British Government, and they have been so advised by the Department. Should this prohibition be insisted upon at this time former difficulties, such as the Fortune Bay affair, indicate that serious trouble may result. Instructs him to urgently represent to the British Government that if any question is to be raised about the construction of the treaty of 1818 it should be done through diplomatic representation and not by the prohibition of a long-established practice without communication between the two governments, and to urge that the Newfoundland authorities be communicated with for the withdrawal of the prohibition. The Government of the United States will insist upon the rights American fishing vessels have always enjoyed under the treaty of 1818, and feels bound to afford them protection against violation of the treaty through interference by the Newfoundland authorities.)