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mately set at rest by the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal created by a Treaty between Great Britain and the United States, signed at Washington on the 29th February, 1892, to settle the differences which had arisen between these two Powers respecting the seal fishery in Behring Sea.
As regards the territorial boundary on land, the negotiations for a settlement originated in a suggestion made by Count Lieven to the Duke of Wellington in September, 1822, and recorded by the Duke in a Memorandum of the 16th of that month. On this occasion Count Lieven suggested that if Great Britain had any claim to territory on the north-west coast of America, such claim should now be brought forward. These negotiations, which will be summarized below, resulted in the Treaty of 1825, the construction of which is now in question.
It will be convenient, before going into detail, to indicate broadly the points now in difference between the parties before this Tribunal.
In the accompanying Atlas will be found a map showing the different lines which have been suggested as giving effect to the Treaty applied to the topography as now understood. From this it will be observed that at the southern end of the line there is a dispute as to the channel along which the boundary ought to be drawn, in obedience to the provision which requires that it should follow "la passe dite Portland Channel."
On the side of Great Britain it is contended that Portland Channel means the channel which Vancouver can be shown to have so named, that is to say, the narrow channel north of Wales Island and Pearse Island, and extending into the interior for 82 miles.
The United States, on the other hand, maintain that the wider channel to the south of these islands must be taken to be denoted as the commencement of the channel referred to by the expression "la passe dite Portland Channel," the identity of which, so far as its upper part is concerned, is not in dispute.
Great Britain, however, further contends that if there is to be any departure from the clear nomenclature of Vancouver, there
are, as will be hereafter explained, other channnels up which the line should be drawn in preference to that suggested by the United States.
With regard to the rest of the line, the dispute is of a somewhat different character. According to Article III of the Treaty,
the line is to follow the crest of the mountains situated "parallèlement à la côte" to the point of its intersection with the 141st degree of west longitude. By Article IV it is provided that wherever the crest of these mountains is at a distance of more than 10 marine leagues from the ocean, the limit between British possessions and the lisière of coast which is to belong to Russia shall be formed by a line parallel to the coast, and which shall never be more distant therefrom than 10 marine leagues.
It is to be observed that the provision in Article IV, just mentioned, operates only in a given event, and then only as a corrective of the line primarily laid down, namely, that of the mountains. The event in which it is to operate is if the crest of the mountains, which extend in a direction parallel to the coast, is at a distance of more than 10 leagues from the ocean. It will be seen from the map already referred to, and more in detail from the large maps inclosed in the portfolio which accompanies this Case, that, in point of fact, the whole coast region is extremely mountainous, and that the mountains supply, speaking generally, the boundary stipulated for by the Treaty.
It is contended on behalf of Great Britain that the coast ("côte") with regard to which the mountains are contemplated as running in a parallel direction is the general line of coast of the Ocean (referred to in Article IV), and not the shore line of narrow inlets. breaking that line; and, further, that the expression "montagnes situées parallèlement à la côte" and "montagnes qui s'étendent dans une direction parallèle à la côte" do not necessarily denote mountain chains, but include the case of separate mountains in the vicinity of the coast, a line drawn through the summits of which would, roughly speaking, be parallel to the general line of the coast.
The contention of the United States, on the other hand, is that there is no defined range of mountains running parallel to the coast in this region, but that the whole region is a "sea of mountains," and that, therefore, the provisions of Article IV become applicable, and that the boundary is to follow, at a distance 17 of 10 marine leagues, and, even through this sea of mountains, the sinuosities of the coast. The latter phrase is, moreover, interpreted as requiring the line to be deflected inland on
the occurrence of every inlet, so that it shall in no place be less than 10 marine leagues from salt water.
The above, in broad outline, are the matters in difference, though a subordinate point may arise as to the manner in which the termination of the water boundary at the head of the Portland Channel is to be connected with the point at which the boundary commences to run by reference to the mountains, or the 10-marineleague limit, as the case may be.
A statement of the British territorial claims having been invited as already mentioned, written instructions were, on the 27th September, 1822, given by Mr. Canning to the Duke of Wellington for his guidance in connection with this question in any discussion which he might have upon the subject with Count Lieven at VeThese instructions were of a general character, and merely stated that the information with which the Duke had been furnished would enable him sufficiently to prove to the Russian Ministers that Great Britain, through the Hudson Bay's Company, had an equal, if not a superior, claim to that of Russia, and that the British claim extended to many degrees of higher latitude than the 51st parallel. The Duke of Wellington had several discussions with Count Lieven upon the point, in which the extent to which occupation had gone on either side was discussed in general terms; but it was afterwards agreed, as recorded in a despatch of the Duke of Wellington to Mr. Canning of the 29th November, 1822, that the Memoranda recording these discussions should be considered as "non avenus," and that the Russian Ambassador in London should address to Mr. Canning a note in answer to that which Lord Londonderry had addressed to Count Lieven on the Ukase of 1821 being communicated to him.
Accordingly, on the 31st January, 1823, Count Lieven wrote to Mr. Canning proposing that on both sides the question of strict right should be provisionally put aside, and that all the differences to which the Ukase had given rise should be adjusted by a friendly arrangement, founded only on the principle of mutual convenience, and that such arrangement should be negotiated at St. Petersburg.
In pursuance of this proposal, Mr. Canning, by a despatch of the 5th February, 1823, desired Sir Charles Bagot, the British Ambas
sador at St. Petersburg, to proceed to open the discussion with the Russian Minister upon the basis of the instructions given to the Duke of Wellington.
Owing, however, to a doubt as to the position taken by the United States with regard to this territory, negotiations were not actually commenced till the following year. Sir Charles Bagot stated verbally to Count Nesselrode in August 1823, that he believed the British pretensions had always extended to the 59th parallel, but that a line of demarcation drawn at the 57th would be quite satisfactory. In two conversations which he had later with M. Poletica, who, in the absence of Count Nesselrode, was empowered to represent the Russian Government, Sir Charles Bagot gave him to understand that the British Government would be satisfied to take Cross Sound, lying about latitude 5740, as the boundary between the two Powers on the coast, and a meridian drawn from the head of Lynn Canal as the boundary in the interior of the continent. In reply, Sir Charles Bagot understood M. Poletica to suggest the 55th degree as that which Russia would desire to obtain as her boundary, and to intimate that it would be with extreme reluctance that Russia would consent to any demarcation which would deprive her of her establishment at Novo-Archangelsk (Sitka).
In January 1824, Sir Charles Bagot received new instructions to proceed with the negotiations, and on the 16th February had his first conference upon this question with the Russian Plenipotentiaries, Count Nesselrode and M. Poletica. He then proposed as the boundary a line drawn through Chatham Straits to the head of Lynn Canal, thence north-west to the 140th degree of longitude, and thence along that degree of longitude to the Polar Sea.
In reply, the Russian Plenipotentiaries at the next meeting offered a counter-proposal, which was afterwards, at Sir Charles Bagot's request, reduced into writing. By this counter-proposal, the Russian Plenipotentiaries proposed the 55th degree of north latitude as the line of demarcation on the north-west coast of America, being the limit which the Emperor Paul had assigned to the Russian possessions by his Charter to the Russian-American Company. Further, as that parallel cut Prince of Wales Island in its southern extremity leaving out of the Russian dominions two points of land, it was proposed that these two points should be comprised within the Russian limit, in order to avoid an inconven
To complete the line and make it as distinct as possible, the Russian Plenipotentiaries expressed a desire to make it follow the Portland Channel as far as the mountains which skirt the coast ("jusqu'aux montagnes qui bordent la côte"). From that point they suggested that the boundary should run along those mountains in a direction parallel (parallèlement") to the sinuosities of the coast as far as the 139th degree of longitude. It was explained that the principal motive which forced Russia to insist on the sovereignty of this fringe (lisère) on the continent from the Portland Channel northwards was that without that territory the Russian-American Company would have no means of maintaining their establishments, which would be thenceforth without a "point d'appui," and which would have no solidity. In return Russia offered the free navigation of all rivers which emptied themselves into the ocean within that fringe.
There are certain observations which have to be made upon the terms of this proposal. In the first place, it is clear that the limit in point of latitude which Russia was claiming in principle was the 55th parallel, and that it was only put further south so far as necessary to include two promontories on Prince of Wales Island, and to reach on the mainland a boundary marked by a channel. In the second place, it is clear that the island which they understood as Prince of Wales Island was the large island so marked on the map, the two southern extremities of which would be cut off by the 55th parallel of latitude. In the third place, the extent and the function assigned to the lisère which Russia desired to possess, are worthy of note. It was to be a mere fringe, as a protection and a "point d'appui." It will be found that this conception of the lisère was not departed from.
In reply to this counter-proposal, Sir Charles Bagot delivered an amended proposal in which he expanded the description which the Russian Plenipotentiaries had given of their proposed line. He described this line as being traced from the southern extremity of Prince of Wales Island to the embouchure of the Portland Canal, thence by the middle of that canal until it (the line) touched "la terre ferme," thence to the mountains which skirt the coast, and so on.
Sir Charles Bagot continued his despatch by pointing out that the adoption of this line would deprive His Britannic Majesty of