Chargé Wheeler to the Secretary of State.

No. 176.]

Sir: With reference to the department’s telegraphic instruction dated March 5, 1909, proposing alternative procedure for the international prize court and the investment of this tribunal with the functions of a court of arbitral justice, and to its unnumbered instruction of November 3, 1909, inclosing an identic circular note on the subject for transmission to the minister of foreign affairs, I have the honor herewith to transmit a note, received today from the foreign office, with translation in English.

I have, etc.,

Post Wheeler.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Chargé Wheeler.

Monsieur le Chargé d’Affaires: In reply to the note of November 9, 1909, I have the honor to inform you that the minister imperial did not fail to submit to a thorough examination at the hands of a special commission the proposal of the Cabinet at Washington concerning the signing and ratification of The Hague convention of October 18, 1907, relative to the establishment of an international court of prize.

The American plan has been received with the strongest sympathy by the said ministerial commission, which fully recognizes the high practical value of the proposal of Mr. Secretary of State Knox as being able to facilitate the acceptance by all the powers of the above-mentioned convention concerning the establishment of an International Prize Court. However, considering the fact that the actual text of two additional protocols relating thereto, actually proposed by the American Government, should be first established by common consent by all the powers interested, and that on the other hand the project of the convention relative to the establishment of a court of arbitral justice—whose effective institution occupies so predominant a place in Mr. Knox’s plans—has not even been signed at The Hague, and would require, furthermore, to be amplified and modified in conformity with the American proposals, the ministerial commission is of the opinion that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to decide these questions—so complex, so important, and at the same time interesting all the powers signatory to the conventions of The Hague—by means of ordinary diplomatic correspondence. They could, on the other hand, be handled effectively only by an international conference—inasmuch as these questions would require, perhaps, the revision, from the standpoint of form and even, should such be the case, of their content, of the two conventions of The Hague which are contemplated in the new proposal of the Government of the United States of America.

Accept, etc.,