The Acting Secretary of State to Chargé Carter.

No. 354.]

Sir: With reference to the Newfoundland fishery question, I quote for your information the substance of a telegram, dated the 6th instant, from Fisheries Agent Alexander:

“Fishermen fuify aware importance complying with the requirements of modus vivendi. No further trouble expected on account fishing Sunday.”

I am, etc.,

Robert Bacon,
Acting Secretary.
[Page 707]


correspondence respecting the newfoundland fisheries.a

Table of contents.

[Page 708][Page 709]
No Name. Date. Subject. page.
1 Mr. Root to Sir M. Durand. Oct. 12, 1905 Requests an interview with his excellency with regard to the alleged interference by the Newfoundland government with United States fishermen on the treaty shore. 1
2 do Oct. 19, 1905 Informs of views of the United States Government regarding the position of affairs on the coast of Newfoundland and the rights of American fishing vessels in those waters under the treaty of 2uth October, 1818. 1
3 To Mr. Whitelaw Reid Feb. 2, 1906 See No. 2. Views of United States Government have received the serious attention of His Majesty’s Government. Transmits a memorandum dealing seriatim with the six propositions formulated by Mr. Root, and with his observations respecting some of the provisions of recent Newfoundland legislation for the regulation of the fisheries. 5
4 Mr. Whitelaw Reid July 20, 1906 See No. 3. The foreign office memorandum has had Mr. Root’s careful consideration. Transmits a letter from Mr. Root giving reasons which prevent his agreement with several of the views therein stated. Requests that American fishermen exercising treaty rights shall not be interfered with by the Newfoundland government. 10
5 Sir M. Durand July 18, 1906 Transmits cuttings from Boston newspapers respecting Newfoundland fisheries. It appears State Department hold that the Newfoundland regulation prohibiting purse seining is unreasonable as against American fishermen. 16
6 The Earl of Elgin to Sir W. MacGregor. Aug. 6, 1906 Transmits No. 4. Mr. Root’s letter is engaging the careful attention of His Majesty’s Government. 17
7 The Earl of Elgin (telegraphic). Aug. 8, 1906 See No. 6. His Majesty’s Government are informing the United States Government of their willingness, pending further discussion of questions at issue, and without prejudice to such discussion, to negotiate a provisional arrangement for the ensuing fishery season. To report whether Newfoundland government have any suggestions to offer as to the nature of the agreement. 18
8 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Aug. 14). Will reply to No. 7 without unnecessary delay. Newfoundland government assume that His Majesty’s Government regard their consent as the essential preliminary to any modification of territorial or maritime rights. 19
9 To Mr. Whitelaw Reid Aug. 14, 1906 Acknowledges No. 4. His Majesty’s Government are ready to confer with United States Government with a view to some arrangement for ensuing fishery season. 19
10 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Aug. 16). Has received from his ministers comprehensive reply to Nos. 6 and 7. 19
11 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Aug. 17, 1906 See No. 10. To telegraph brief summary 19
12 Mr. Whitelaw Reid Aug. 16, 1906 Acknowledges No. 9 20
13 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Aug. 19, 1906 See No. 8. No question of ceding or exchanging rights at present enjoyed by community of Newfoundland. Explains object of proposed provisional arrangement. 20
14 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). do See No. 11. Transmits summary. Newfoundland government can not admit claims of United States Government. 20
15 do (Received Aug. 22). See No. 13. Committee of council strongly urge issue of proclamation to bring into force “foreign fishing vessels act, 1906,” and deprecate any provisional arrangement with the United States. 22
16 Sir W. MacGregor Aug. 20, 1906 See No. 14. Transmits copy of minute of council prepared by his ministers after receipt of No. 7. 22
17 do do Refers to No. 13. Transmits copy of letter to Sir R. Bond, calling his attention to fact that Newfoundland government had offered no suggestions that would facilitate the preparation of the proposals that His Majesty’s Government desire to submit to the United States Government to establish a modus vivendi. 27
18 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Sept. 3, 1906 His Majesty’s Government have received No. 14 with much disappointment. Informs of nature of their proposal to the United States Government. 28
19 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). do Refers to No. 18. Are Newfoundland government ready to indemnify His Majesty’s Government against any claims for compensation preferred by United States Government, and to agree to reference to arbitration, and to meet expenses of such arbitration? 29
20 To Mr. Whitelaw Reid do See No. 9. Submits proposals for a provisional arrangement. 29
21 To Sir W. MacGregor Sept. 7, 1906 Acknowledges No. 17. Approves terms of letter to Sir R. Bond. 30
22 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Sept. 8) See Nos. 18 and 19. Newfoundland government earnestly urge proclamation of act No. 1 of 1906, and undertake to apply it only to their own people. 30
23 Memorandum communicated by Mr. Whitelaw Reid. Sept. 12, 1906 Proposals respecting the suggested modus Vivendi in regard to the Newfoundland fishery question. Urge His Majesty’s Government to consent to the use of purse seines. 30
24 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Sept. 13, 1906 Refers to No. 22. Proposals for modus vivendi, including suspension of act No. 1 of 1906, made to United States ambassador on September 3. 31
25 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Sept. 15) Newfoundland government have learned with profound regret that His Majesty’s Government has proposed, as one of the terms of the modus vivendi, the suspension of the foreign fishing vessels act of 1906. Consider arrangement to be an interference with the internal affairs of the colony. 31
26 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Sept. 19, 1906 Informs of nature of United States memorandum on subject of modus vivendi (see No. 23). His Majesty’s Government propose to consent to use of purse seines. 31
27 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). do Refers to No. 25. Obervations on 32
28 Sir W. MacGregor Sept. 7, 1906 Refers to Nos. 18 and 19. Transmits copy of a minute of committee of council justifying policy of Newfoundland government. 32
29 To Sir M. Durand Sept. 20, 1906 Informed American ambassador of No. 26 36
30 To Sir W. MacGregor do Acknowledges No. 25. Reasons why His Majesty’s Government can not indorse policy of Newfoundland government, and why they concluded a modus vivendi with United States Government. 37
31 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Sept. 21) See No. 26. Newfoundland government can not become consenting parties to modus vivendi with the United States Government. They entirely dissent from views of United States Government in respect to use of purse seines. 38
32 Memorandum communicated to Mr. Whitelaw Reid. Sept, 25, 1906 Refers to No. 23. His Majesty’s Government accept arrangement set out in the United States memorandum, and consent to the use of purse seines by United States fishermen. 38
33 To Sir M. Durand Sept. 26, 1906 Views of Mr. Whitelaw Reid as to No. 32. His Excellency suggested suspension of the clause in the act of 1905 which made it illegal to enlist men within the 3-mile limit. 39
34 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Sept. 29, 1906 Refers to No. 31. United States ambassador informed on 25th September that His Majesty’s Government consented to use of purse seines on certain conditions. 39
35 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Sept. 29) Reports arrival of American schooner at Bonne Bay with purse seines. Newfoundland government desire to know whether they are free to enforce colonial customs and fishery laws. 40
36 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). Oct. 1, 1906 Informs of a private suggestion made by United States ambassador that Newfoundland government should suspend for fishing season prohibition to engage crews in territorial waters, in return for which United States vessels would stop using purse seines after 1st November. 40
37 To Sir M. Durand do Informed Mr. Carter that above proposal had been telegraphed to Newfoundland government. Question of date on which modus vivendi would be put in force. 40
38 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Oct. 4) Refers to No. 36. Newfoundland government unable to accept proposed arrangement with regard to purse seines. 41
39 Memorandum communicated to Mr. Carter. Oct. 4, 1906 Informs of above. Asks for views of United States Government on the modus vivendi proposals contained in No. 32. 41
40 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). (Received Oct. 5) Refers to No. 38. Inspector of fisheries sent to examine position at Bay St. George and Bay of Islands, so that proper steps be taken to preserve the peace. 41
41 Mr. Whitelaw Reid Oct. 6, 1906 Refers to No. 32. Authorized to ratify a modus vivendi in regard to Newfoundland fishery question on the basis of the foreign office memorandum. 42
42 To Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). do See No. 34. Informs of No. 41 42
43 Sir W. MacGregor (telegraphic). do Refers to No. 40. His Majesty’s ship Brilliant ordered to remain in Newfoundland waters until end of season. 43
44 To Mr. Whitelaw Reid Oct. 8, 1906 Acknowledges No. 41. Government of Newfoundland informed. 43
[Page 710]


Appendix No. 1 —Article I of convention between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America. Signed at London, October 20, 1818 44
No. 2 —An act to enable His Majesty to make regulations with respect to the taking and curing fish on certain parts of the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador, and His Majesty’s other possessions in North America, according to a convention made between His Majesty and the United States of America 44
No. 3 —Order in council of June 19, 1819 46
No. 4 —An act to amend and consolidate the laws relating to the exportation and sale of bait fishes, passed June 1, 1889 47
No. 5 —Newfoundland foreign fishing vessels act, 1893 50
No. 6 —Convention between Great Britain and the United States of America for the improvement of commercial relations between the United States and His Britannic Majesty’s colony of Newfoundland, signed November 8, 1902 51
No. 7 —Speech by Sir R. Bond on second reading of foreign fishing vessels bill of 1905, delivered April 7, 1905 53
No. 8 —Speech by Sir R. Bond in moving house of assembly into committee on “the foreign fishing vessels bill, 905,” delivered April 12, 1905 61
No. 9 —Newfoundland foreign fishing vessels act, 1905 67
No. 10 —Speech by Sir R. Bond on the second reading of a bill respecting foreign fishing vessels, 1906, delivered May 4. 1906 68
No. 11 —Newfoundland foreign fishing vessels act, 1906 70
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