The American Ambassador to the British Foreign Office .
London , September 4, 1907 .
Sir: I am authorized by my Government to ratify a modus vivendi in regard to the Newfoundland fishery question, as follows:
It is agreed that the fisheries shall be carried on during the present year substantially as they were actually carried on for the most of the time by mutual agreement, under the modus vivendi of 1906.
- It is understood that His Majesty’s Government will not bring into force the Newfoundland foreign fishing vessels act of 1906, which imposes on American fishing vessels certain restrictions in addition to those imposed by the act of 1905, and also that the provisions of the first part of section 1 of the act of 1905, as to boarding and bringing into port, and also the whole of section 3 of the same act, will not be regarded as applying to American fishing vessels.
- In consideration of the fact that the shipment of Newfoundlanders by American fishermen outside the 3-mile limit is not to be made the basis of interference or to be penalized, my Government waives the use of purse seines by American fishermen during the term governed by this agreement, and also waives the right to fish on Sundays.
- It is understood that American fishing vessels will make their shipment of Newfoundlanders, as fishermen, sufficiently far from the exact 3–mile limit to avoid reasonable doubt.
- It is further understood that American fishermen will pay light dues when not deprived of their rights to fish, and will comply with the provisions of the colonial customs law as to reporting at a custom-house when physically possible to do so.
I need not add that my Government is most anxious that the provisions of this modus vivendi should be made effective at the earliest possible moment, and that in view of this and of the actual presence of our fishing fleet on the treaty shore we do not feel that an exchange of ratifications should be longer delayed. But my Government has every desire to make the arrangement, pending arbitration, as agreeable as possible to the Newfoundland authorities, consistent with the due safeguarding of treaty rights which we have enjoyed for nearly a century. If, therefore, the proposals you have recently shown me from the premier of Newfoundland or any other changes in the above modus vivendi should be proposed by mutual agreement between the Newfoundland authorities and our fishermen, having due regard to the losses that might be incurred by a change of plans so long after preparations for the season’s fishing had been made and the voyage begun, my Government will be ready to consider such changes with you in the most friendly spirit, and if found not to compromise our rights, to unite with you in ratifying them at once.
I am glad to be assured by you that this note will be considered as sufficient ratification of the modus vivendi on the part of my Government.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
The Right Honorable Sir Edward Grey, Baronet.