Ambassador Reid to the Secretary of State.

No. 250.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm my telegram of September 6 summarizing the modus vivendi in the Newfoundland fisheries for this year offered by His Majesty’s Government. I send herewith a copy of this telegram and a copy of the note from Mr. Campbell, one of the assistant undersecretaries of state, acting for Sir Edward Grey in his absence, in which the proposal summarized in the cable dispatch was made.

I have merely acknowledged this letter and said that I had hastened to acquaint you with its proposal.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

Whitelaw Reid.

Mr. Campbell to Ambassador Reid.

Your Excellency: In my note of the 14th August I stated that His Majesty’s Government hoped shortly to be able to submit to the Government of the United States proposals for a provisional arrangement which would secure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the forthcoming herring fishery on the coast of Newfoundland. I have now the honor, on the understanding mentioned in my note, viz, that the arrangement would be in the nature of a modus vivendi to be applicable only to the ensuing season, and not in any way to affect the rights and claims of either party to the convention of 1818, to submit the following proposals, viz:

His Majesty’s Government will not bring into force the Newfoundland foreign fishing vessels act, 1906, which imposes on United States fishing vessels certain restrictions in addition to those imposed by the act of 1905.
The provisions of the first part of section 1 of the act of 1905 as to boarding and bringing into port and the whole of section 3 of the same act will not be regarded as applying to the United States fishing vessels.
The United States Government will in turn direct their fishermen to comply with the colonial fishery regulations, as was in fact done last year with the exception of certain breaches of the prohibition of Sunday fishing.
The demand for payment of light dues will be waived by His Majesty’s Government.
The United States Government will direct the masters of United States fishing vessels to comply with the provisions of the colonial customs laws as to reporting at a customs-house on arrival in and departure from colonial waters.
As regards Head III of this arrangement, I would point out that of the three restrictions which the colonial fishery regulations impose on the herring fishery in the waters open to United States fishermen the first, viz, the prohibition of “purse” seines, is in force in all the waters of the colony. It is also in force in all the waters of Canada. The second, the prohibition of herring traps, is also in force in Placentia, St. Maty’s, and Fortune bays and in the district of Twillingate. The third, the prohibition of “herring” seines, is in force also, subject to some reservations as to baiting purposes, in the inner waters of Placentia Bay and in certain waters on the northeast coast. The application of these three restrictions to the herring bays of the west coast is, of course, prior to and not in any way connected with the present policy of the colonial government, and His Majesty’s Government have the testimony of the naval officers who have been employed on the treaty coast as to the destructive results of the use of seines. His Majesty’s Government therefore hope that the United States Government will recognize that His Majesty’s Government are, apart from any question of right, acting in the interests of the continuation of the common fishery in proposing as a part of the provisional arrangement compliance with the three restrictions mentioned.
The fourth restriction, viz, the prohibition of Sunday fishing, is of general application throughout the colony and is also in force in Canada. Having regard to the duration of the fishing season and to other circumstances, His Majesty’s Government do not feel that compliance with this prohibition involves any material inconvenience to United States fishermen. On the other hand, in view of the strong feeling against Sunday fishing which prevails in the colony, the disregard of it is fraught with possibilities of serious disorder. It is therefore hoped that the United States Government will assist His Majesty’s Government in the maintenance of peaceable relations between the two sets of fishermen by not countenancing any breach of the prohibition during the ensuing season.
As regards Head V, as explained in the memorandum communicated to your excellency on the 2d of February, a call at a customs-house, whether on entering or on leaving the waters of the colony, need involve no interference with a vessel’s fishing operations, and is in itself a requirement which may be reasonably made in the interests not only of the colonial revenue but of the United States fishermen.
I trust that you will be able to inform me at an early date that the arrangement outlined above is agreed to by your Government.

I have, etc.,

F. A. Campbell.

(In the absence of the Secretary of State.)