711.42131/64

The British Ambassador ( Geddes ) to the Secretary of State

No. 887

Sir: During their visit to Washington last July the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of National Defence took occasion to open discussions with you on the subject of a revision of the Rush–Bagot Agreement of April 28th, 1817, limiting the naval forces to be maintained by the United States and Canada on the Great Lakes. At this meeting it was suggested that the principles contained in the Rush–Bagot Agreement should be embodied in a new treaty in which due regard would be paid to the changed conditions of the times, and it was arranged that the Canadian Government should furnish the Government of the United States with a memorandum showing the extent and disposition of the armament at present maintained on the Great Lakes, together with a draft treaty containing the proposals of the Dominion Government in regard to this question.

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I now have the honour, by request of the Government of Canada, to transmit herewith, for the consideration of the United States Government a copy of the draft treaty in question, together with a memorandum14 showing the strength of the naval vessels now stationed on the Great Lakes.

The Dominion Government would be glad to receive in due course the views of the United States Government in regard to the terms of the draft treaty.

I have [etc.]

A. C. Geddes
[Enclosure]

Draft Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armament on the Great Lakes

Preamble

His Majesty the King, etcetera, and the United States of America,

Desiring through the abolition of their naval armament on the Great Lakes, to contribute to the maintenance of the peace and good understanding that has happily so long subsisted between them, and

Having to that end agreed to adapt to present day conditions the principles of the Agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America concluded at Washington on the 28th and 29th April, 1817, and to supplement by provisions relating to the Great Lakes the Treaty between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan for the Limitation of Naval Armament, signed at Washington on the 6th February, 1922.

Have resolved etcetera

Article One. The present Treaty shall apply to the waters of the Great Lakes, the waters connecting the Great Lakes, the international boundary waters of the St. Lawrence River, and the waters of Lake Champlain.

Article Two. No armed vessel shall be maintained on the waters designated in Article One by either High Contracting Party except in accordance with Article Three; nor shall there be passed, for any purpose whatsoever, from the sea into the waters designated, by either High Contracting Party, any vessel, either armed or unarmed, which has been designed, built or used for Naval purposes, without a mutual agreement beforehand.

Article Three. Such vessels may be maintained on the waters designated in Article 1 by either High Contracting Party as may be necessary for revenue and police duties.

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The numbers, specifications and armament of such vessels shall be agreed upon from time to time between the Canadian and American Governments.

Such vessels shall not be used on the waters designated in Article 1 for Naval or militia training or for naval manoeuvres.

Article Four. No vessel built on the waters designated in Article 1 for naval purposes shall have any offensive or defensive armament placed on board while it is in these waters.

Any such vessel shall be removed from these waters within six months of the date when it is ready for launching.

Each High Contracting Party shall promptly inform the other of any such vessel to be built on these waters within its jurisdiction, communicating the date of the signing of the contract, the date when it is ready for launching and its main dimensions.

Article Five. Should either of the High Contracting Parties become engaged in War which in its opinion affects the naval defence of its national security it may, after notice to the other High Contracting Party, suspend for the period of hostilities its obligations under Article 4, provided that it shall notify the other High Contracting Party that the emergency is of such a character as to require such suspension. On the cessation of hostilities this suspension shall terminate and Article 4 shall resume its full force and effect.

Article Six. The present Treaty shall be ratified in accordance with the constitutional methods of the High Contracting Parties and shall take effect on the exchange of the ratifications, which shall take place at Washington as soon as possible.

It shall remain in force until two years after one of the High Contracting Parties has given notice to the other of an intention to terminate it.

Within one year of the date on which such notice of termination has been received the High Contracting Parties shall meet in conference.

The present Treaty shall supersede the Agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America which was concluded at Washington on the 28th and 29th April 1817.

  1. Not printed.