File No. 342.112Sm6/19a.
The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador.
Washington, January 8, 1915.
Excellency: I again draw your excellency’s attention to the occurrence which took place at Fort Erie, Ontario, on December 28, 1914, in the course of which Walter Smith was killed and Charles Dorsch was seriously wounded through the acts of Officer Delaney of the Ontario police force and Corporal Archie Kayo and Privates Edmond Macintosh and Leslie Kinsman of the 44 Militia stationed at Fort Erie at the time, while attempting, in their capacity as officers and soldiers under orders, to effect, as they claim, the arrest of Smith and Dorsch for violation of the Canadian game law.
I have now received reports of the circumstances of the affair, including sworn statements of eye witnesses and a transcript of the testimony of witnesses taken at the inquest held by the Canadian authorities into the death of Walter Smith. From the facts disclosed it seems clear that the offense for which the arrest of the two men was sought was a minor one, said to have occurred within the jurisdiction of Ontario; that no resistance was offered or violence threatened by the injured men at the time; that the killing and wounding were inflicted intentionally, or, if not, through the gross and culpable negligence of the officers and soldiers in the most reckless manner in which they used their arms; and that the killing of Smith and the wounding of Dorsch were without justification or excuse. It is not believed that the acts of these Canadian officers and soldiers, as shown by the evidence at hand, will be justified or condoned.
The case is one in which, it is confidently believed, the Canadian authorities will take prompt and appropriate steps for the proper punishment of those shown to be guilty and for compensation to the relatives of the deceased and to the wounded man; and with this end in view I call your excellency’s attention to the matter.[Page 419]
The tragedy happened in the waters of the boundary stream between the United States and Canada, so long free from regrettable incidents of this character, although the inhabitants of both countries are in constant intercourse and are closely united by industrial ties and mutual interest. Naturally, the killing of Smith and the wounding of Dorsch in circumstances so unfortunate have provoked no little feeling of resentment on the American side of the boundary; and, as delay in a satisfactory settlement will tend to increase this feeling, I feel justified in urging you to inform me at as early a date as possible, of the intentions of the Canadian Government in the premises.
I have [etc.]