HC Deb 02 August 1889 vol 339 cc175-6
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow College)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any information regarding the seizure of the British schooner Black Diamond by the United States Revenue cutter Rush; and whether this country and the United States have yet arrived at any understanding as to the extent of the latter's jurisdiction in the Behring Sea?

MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

I wish further to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government have yet received any authentic information regarding the alleged capture of British sealing schooners in and outside Alaskan waters; whether it is true that some of the Dominion sealers carry arms for the purpose of resisting the interference of States revenue cutters in the disputed waters of the Behring Sea; if so, whether this is in accordance with International Law; and what measures Her Majesty's Government intend adopting for the purpose of bringing this long-pending dispute to an amicable conclusion?


No authentic news have yet reached Her Majesty's Government as to the seizures of British vessels reported in the newspapers, and they are not aware that Canadian sealers carry arms for the purpose of resistance. No understanding has yet been arrived at between Her Majesty's Government and that of the United States in regard to the question of jurisdiction in the Behring Sea, nor am I prepared to state what measures Her Majesty's Government intend to adopt; but I need hardly say that they are fully alive to the importance of a settlement of the matters in difference.

In reply to a further question by Dr. CAMERON,


said: It would be rather rash to accept newspaper statements of utterances by members of the American Government either in one direction or the other.

An hon. MEMBER

How about the Press?


I have observed in the Press an indication of a very friendly feeling, as the hon. Member has remarked, and I have also seen reported conversations upon one side and the other, but it is impossible to take them as being authentic. As I have said, I believe there is a disposition on the part of the two Governments to deal with the question in a conciliatory manner, and the House may be quite sure that no opportunity will be lost by Her Majesty's Government in bringing about a satisfactory result.

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