The British Embassy to the Department of State


On the 29th ultimo the Secretary of State drew the attention of His Majesty’s Ambassador to the difficulty which had arisen in connection with the ratification of the Sockeye Salmon Treaty,3 the authorities of the State of Washington having objected strongly to the ratification of the Treaty by the United States Government, maintaining that the matters referred to in the Treaty came within the jurisdiction of the State of Washington and should be settled by direct negotiation with the authorities of the Province of British Columbia. Mr. Hughes therefore enquired whether some way could not be found to permit of a direct settlement between the authorities of the State of Washington and the Province of British Columbia [Page 291] in the form of police regulations to be issued by the respective local authorities.

Sir Auckland Geddes at once communicated in this sense with the Government of Canada, who have now replied by confirming the statement contained in Sir Auckland Geddes’ semi-official letter to the Secretary of State of June 23rd,4 to the effect that under the Canadian Constitution the Provincial Government has no jurisdiction whatever in connection with the regulation or administration of fishery questions. The Canadian Government therefore greatly regret that no such settlement as is proposed by the Secretary of State is possible. They point out that if the Treaty which was signed more than a year ago were to be ratified, the protection needed in order to reestablish the Fraser River system of salmon fisheries could be provided. Experience has moreover clearly demonstrated that such protection cannot be afforded otherwise than by joint efforts on both sides of the frontier. Until, therefore, the United States Government see their way to take final action in the matter, it seems clear that no further steps can be taken in the direction of more protective regulation of the fisheries by the Government of Canada.

  1. Note of June 29 not printed; for correspondence concerning signature of treaty of May 25, 1920, see Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. i, pp. 387 ff.
  2. Not printed.