Ambassador Reid to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London , July 23, 1908 .
Sir: The reply, in your letter of July 15, 1908, to my proposal of June 18, for a renewal of last year’s modus vivendi for the approaching Newfoundland fisheries season, with the same elasticity as before for local arrangements, has been duly considered.[Page 379]
I am gratified to learn that the Newfoundland Government was so well satisfied with the result of these arrangments under the modus vivendi for last year that it offers a formal undertaking that the American fishermen shall be permitted to conduct the herring fisheries this year in the same way.
It is proper to observe that our fishermen would have preferred last year, and would prefer now, to work the fisheries with purse seines, as heretofore, as provided in the modus vivendi of 1906. But they yielded last year to the strong wishes of the Newfoundland Government in this matter, and joined in the arrangement under the elastic clause at the close of the modus vivendi of 1907 by which, with the approval of the British and American Governments, they gave up also other claims in return for certain concessions. I must reserve their right to these and to purse seines, as heretofore enjoyed, as not now abandoned, and therefore to be duly considered in the pending arbitration before the Hague Tribunal.
But with this reservation, and with the approval of my Government, I now have pleasure in accepting the offer that the herring fishery during the ensuing season shall be conducted on the same principles as in the season of 1907, and the formal undertaking against interference with this by the Newfoundland Government, as a substantial agreement on my proposal of June 18.
We unite also with you in regarding this exchange of letters as constituting in itself a satisfactory agreement for the season of 1908, without the necessity for any further formal correspondence.
I am glad to add that Mr. Alexander, of the United States Fish Commission, will be sent again this year to the treaty shore, and that my Government feels sure that, through his influence, there will be general willingness to carry out the spirit of the understanding and work on the lines of least resistance.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,