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THIRTY-SIXTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.

February 27, 1861.

Executive, No. 172-D. Mr. Mason made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the message of the President of the United States, dated on the 21st instant, with the documents accompanying it, have had the same under consideration, and now report:

It is stated in the message, and shown by the documents accompanying it, that, after a protracted correspondence between the Governments of Great Britain and the United States, they have been unable to agree upon the water line of boundary between the British possessions and the United States after the same diverges from the parallel of 49 degress of north latitude, as the same is prescribed in the treaty between the two Governments concluded at Washington on the 15th of June, 1846, and that it has been proposed by the Government of Great Britain to refer the same to the arbitrament and final award of either of the three powers named, that is to say: To the King of Sweden and Norway, the King of the Netherlands, or to the Republic of the Swiss Confederation.

And upon these facts the President submits to the consideration of the Senate the following interrogatories:

Will the Senate approve a treaty referring to either of the sovereign powers above named the dispute now existing between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, concerning the boundary line between Vancouvers Island and the American continent?

In case the referee shall find himself unable to decide where the line is by the description of it in the treaty of 15th of June, 1846, shall he be authorized to establish a line according to the treaty as nearly as possible?

Which of the three powers named by Great Britain, as an arbiter, shall be chosen by the United States?

The committee, after consideration, recommend to the Senate the adoption of the following resolution:

Resolved, That in the opinion of the Senate the boundary in dispute between the Governments of Great Britain and the United States should be referred to the arbitrament and final award of an umpire to be agreed on between the two Governments.

That such umpire should, if practicable, determine said boundary as the same is prescribed in the treaty aforesaid, or, if that be not practicable, then that he be authorized to establish a boundary, conforming as nearly as may be to that provided by said treaty; and that of the three powers referred to in the message of the President. the Senate would indicate as such umpire the Republic of the Swiss Confederation.

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MESSAGE RELATIVE TO THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES

AND GREAT BRITAIN, UNDER THE TREATY OF THE 15TH OF JUNE,

1846. To the Senate of the United States:

The treaty concluded between Great Britain and the United States on the 15th of June, 1846, provided, in its first article, that the line of boundary between the territories of Her Britannic Majesty and those of the United States from the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, up to which it had already been ascertained, should be continued westward along the said parallel “to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouvers Island, and thence southerly through the middle of said channel and of Fuca Straits to the Pacific Ocean.' When the commissioners appointed by the two Governments to mark the boundary line came to that point of it which is required to run southerly through the channel which divides the continent from Vancouvers Island they differed entirely in their opinions, not only concerning the true point of deflection from the fortyninth parallel, but also as to the channel intended to be designated in the treaty. After a long-continued and very able discussion of the subject, which produced no result, they reported their disagreement to their respective Governments. Since that time the two Governments, through their ministers here and at London, have had a voluminous correspondence on the point in controversy, each sustaining the view of its own commissioner, and neither yielding in any degree to the claims of the other. In the meantime the unsettled condition of this affair has produced some serious local disturbances, and on one occasion at least has threatened to destroy the harmonious relations existing between Great Britain and the United States. The island of San Juan will fall to the United States if our construction of the treaty be right, while if the British interpretation be adopted it will be on their side of the line. That island is an important possession to this country, and valuable for agricultural as well as military purposes. I am convinced that it is ours by the treaty fairly and impartially construed. But argument has been exhausted on both sides without increasing the probability of final adjustment. On the contrary, each party seems now to be more convinced than at first of the justice of its own demands. There is but one mode left of settling the dispute, and that is by submitting it to the arbitration of some friendly and impartial power. Unless this be done the two countries are exposed to the constant danger of a collision which may end in war.

It is under these circumstances that the British Government, through its minister here, has proposed the reference of the matter in controversy to the King of Sweden and Norway, the King of the Netherlands, or to the Republic of the Swiss Confederation. Before accepting this proposition, I have thought it right to take the advice of the Senate. The precise questions which I submit are these: Will the Senate approve a treaty referring to either of the sovereign powers above named the dispute now existing between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain concerning the boundary line between Vancouvers Island and the American continent? In case the referee shall find himself unable to decide where the line is by the description of it in the treaty of 15th June, 1846, shall he be authorized to establish a line according to the treaty as nearly as possible? Which of the three powers named by Great Britain as an arbiter shall be chosen by the United States?

All important papers bearing on the questions are herewith commucated in the originals. Their return to the Department of State is requested, when the Senate shall have disposed of the subject.

JAMES BU INAN. WASHINGTON, February 21, 1861.

[List of accompanying papers. ] Mr. Crampton to Mr. Marcy, July 14, 1854. (See bound volume.) Mr. Marcy to Mr. Crampton, July 22, 1854, Senate Executive Document, No. 10, first session Thirty-sixth Congress, page 4. Mr. Crampton to Mr. Marcy, July 18, 1855. (See bound volume.)

Mr. Crainpton to Mr. Marcy, February 9, 1856. (See bound volume.)
Mr. Marcy to Mr. Crampton, February 20, 1856.
Same to Mr. Dallas, August 11, 1856.
Same to same, October 8, 1856.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Marcy, January 1, 1857. (See bound volume.)
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, January 17, 1859.
Mr. Campbell to Mr. Cass, January 20, 1859.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, February 4, 1859.
Same to same, February 25, 1859.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, May 12, 1859.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons, August 24, 1859.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, September 3, 1859.
Same to same, September 7, 1859.
Same to same, September 9, 1859.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, September 22, 1859.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, September 24, 1859.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, October 1, 1859.
Same to same, October 10, 1859.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, October 14, 1859.
Lord Lyons to same, October 15, 1859.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, October 20, 1859.
Same to Lord Lyons, October 22, 1859.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, October 24, 1859.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, October 24, 1859.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, November 11, 1859.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons. November 29, 1859.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, December 9, 1859.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons, December 16, 1859.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, February 4, 1860.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, March 2, 1860.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons, March 9, 1860.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, March 23, 1860.
Same to same, May 11, 1860.
Lord Lyons to same, May 25, 1860.
Same to same, June 6, 1860.
Mr. Cass to Lord Lyons, June 7, 1860.
Same to same, June 8, 1860.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, June 8, 1860.
Same to same, June 9, 1860.
Same to same, June 14, 1860.
Mr. Cass to Lord Lyons, June 25, 1860.
Mr. Irvine to Mr. Trescot, August 17, 1860.
Mr. Trescot to Mr. Irvine, August 18, 1860.
Mr. Cass to Lord Lyons, September 8, 1860.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, November 15, 1860.
Mr. Cass to Lord Lyons, November 26, 1860.
Lord Lyons to Mr. Cass, December 10, 1860.

THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, SPECIAL SESSION.

March 12, 1861.

As to the extension of time for exchange of ratifications of treaty with Costa Rica Mr. Sumner reported as follows:

Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the extension of the time for the exchange of the ratification of the convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States against the Republic of Costa Rica, signed at San Jose on the second day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty, to such time as may be convenient to the plenipotentiaries of the respective parties thereto, the limitations contained in the ninth article thereof to the contrary notwithstanding.

(Ex. Jour., vol. 11, pp. 294, 295.)
S. Doc. 231, pt 8- -9

March 13, 1861.

Mr. Sumner made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the message of the President of the United States submitting to the Senate the proceedings and award of the commissioners under the convention between the United States and the Republic of Paraguay, proclaimed by the President on the 12th of March, 1860, together with the proceedings and award thereon mentioned, have had the same under consideration and report:

That the message and award appear to have been considered by the Committee on Foreign Relations during the session of Congress which expired on the 4th of March instant, but that, from some inadvertence, no report of the action taken thereon by the committee was made to the Senate.

The committee, therefore, have reconsidered the questions arising upon the documents referred, and, reserving for the decision of the Senate whether it be competent for a committee appointed under the special authority of the present session of the Senate to act upon a matter neither recommitted nor referred specially to them, respectfully request to be discharged from the further consideration of the message and award referred to in the premises, and report for that purpose the following order:

Ordered, That the Committee on Foreign Relations be discharged from the further consideration of the message of the President of the United States, of the 12th of February, submitting to the Senate the proceedings and award of the commissioners under the convention between the United States and the Republic of Paraguay, proclaimed by the President on the 12th of March, 1860, which had been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations at the second session of the Thirtysixth Congress, and not reported on by said committee at said session.

(Ex. Jour., vol. 11, p. 302.)

March 19, 1861. Mr. Sumner made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the message of the President of the United States dated the 16th instant, with the documents accompanying it, have had the same under consideration and now report:

The treaty concluded between Great Britain and the United States on the 15th of June, 1816, provided in its first article that the line of boundary between the territories of Her Britannic Majesty and those of the United States from the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, up to which it had already been ascertained, should be continued westward along the said parallel “to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouvers Island, and thence southerly through the middle of said channel and of Fuca Straits to the Pacific Ocean.” When the commissioners appointed by the two Governments to mark the boundary line came to that point of it which is required to run southerly through the channel dividing the continent from Vancouvers Island they differed entirely in their opinions, not only concerning the true point of deflection from the forty-ninth parallel, but also as to the channel intended to be designated in the treaty. After a long discussion of the subject, which produced no result, they reported their disagreement to their respective Governments. Since that time the two Governments, through their ministers here and at London, have had a voluminous correspondence on the point in controversy, each sustaining the view of its own commissioner, and neither yielding in any degree to the claims of the other. In the meantime the unsettled condition of this affair has produced some serious local disturbances, and, on one occasion at least, has threatened to destroy the harmonious relations existing between Great Britain and the United States.

The island of San Juan, with other small islands, will fall to the United States if our construction of the treaty be right; while if the British interpretation be adopted these islands will be on their side of the line. President Buchanan, in his message to the Senate of the 21st of February, 1861, declared his conviction that the territory thus in dispute “is ours by the treaty fairly and impartially construed.” But the British Government, on their side, have insisted that it is theirs. The argument on both sides seems to have been exhausted.

Under these circumstances, it appears by the correspondence submitted to the Senate that General Cass, by letter of the 25th of June, 1860, to Lord Lyons, the British minister at Washington, invited the British Government to make a proposition of adjustment:

And I have it further in charge to inform your lordship (says General Cass) that this Government is ready to receive and fairly to consider any proposition which the British Government may be disposed to make for a mutually acceptable adjustment, with an earnest hope that a satisfactory arrangement will speedily put an end to all danger of the recurrence of those grave questions which have more than once threatened to interrupt that good understanding which both countries have so many powerful motives to maintain.

The reply of the British Government to this invitation was communicated by Lord Lyons, in a letter addressed to General Cass, dated 10th of December, 1860, in the course of which he uses the following language:

In reference to the line of the water boundary intended by the treaty, with respect to which also Her Majesty's Government have been invited by the United States Government to make a proposition for its adjustment, I am instructed to inform you that Her Majesty's Government are glad to reciprocate the friendly sentiments expressed in your note of the 25th of June, and will not hesitate to respond to the invitation which has been made to them.

It appears to Her Majesty's Government that the argument on both sides being nearly exhausted, and neither party having succeeded in producing conviction on the other, the question can only be settled by arbitration.

Lord Lyons then proceeds to the details connected with the offered arbitration, and, in behalf of his Government, proposes that the King of the Netherlands, or the King of Sweden and Norway, or the President of the Federal Council of Switzerland, should be invited to be the arbiter.

And upon these facts the President submits to the consideration of the Senate the following interrogatories:

Will the Senate approve a treaty referring to either of the sovereign powers above named the dispute now existing between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain concerning the boundary line between Vancouver's Island and the American continent?

In case the referee shall find himself unable to decide where the line is by the description of it in the treaty of the 15th of June, 1846, shall he be authorized to establish a line according to the treaty as nearly as possible?

Which of the three powers named by Great Britain as an arbiter shall be chosen by the United States?

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