The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador.

No. 344.]

Excellency: With reference to the Newfoundland fishery question I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of my letter of the 25th ultimo to the Secretary of the Treasury, the contents of which have already been communicated to you orally. The Secretary advises me that it has been forwarded to the collectors of the ports of Gloucester and Boston, with instructions to make it known to the American fishermen.

I have, etc.,

Elihu Root.
[Page 499]

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Sir: The immediate difficulty experienced by the American fishing fleet on the treaty coast of Newfoundland appears to have been happily disposed of. There are, however, some other questions bearing upon the relations between the recent legislation of Newfoundland and American rights under the treaty of 1818 with Great Britain from which, in default of a clear understanding, further difficulties may possibly arise. These questions are now under consideration by the two governments with a confident expectation of reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

In the meantime I wish to bring to the attention of our American fishermen some expressions contained in a recent letter received by me from the British ambassador. He says:

“I note with satisfaction that the Government of the United States will do everything in their power, as we on our side shall certainly do, to prevent any collision between American fishermen and those of Newfoundland, and I trust that they will also do everything in their power to prevent the occurrence of any other untoward incident pending inquiry into the question of the Newfoundland ‘act respecting foreign fishing vessels,’ and the supposed misapprehension on the part of certain Newfoundland officials with regard to the status of vessels on the American register.

“The Government of the United States can not doubt the desire of His Majesty’s Government to adhere strictly to all treaty provisions, and all that seems required in order to bring about a satisfactory conclusion in a case of this nature is the exercise by those concerned on both sides of patience and temper in the assertion of what they conceive to be their rights. It would be most unfortunate if the case were to be complicated by any precipitate action on the part of American fishermen or local officials. I will do all I can to prevent such action on the part of the local officials and look to you with confidence to prevent it on the part of the American fishermen.”

We can not fail to agree heartily with the spirit and purpose thus expressed by the British ambassador. I am sure that knowledge of the fact that the Government of Great Britain is dealing with the subject in this spirit will lead all American fishermen to exercise under all circumstances the patience and good temper which the ambassador justly deems so important.

May I ask that you will communicate the contents of this letter to the collector of the port of Gloucester with the request that be bring it to the notice of the owners and masters of the American fishing fleet, so largely owned at that port?

I have, etc.,

Elihu Root.